Agoda Pay Later: How I ended up paying more at Agoda?

Hey, folks. If you are using Agoda to make your hotel booking, are you aware that you may be charged more if you choose the Agoda Pay Later option? Read on and I’ll share with you my recent experience and how you can avoid such unexpected charges.

This is a public service announcement as I did not intend to churn out any post just before a trip – I have too many Travel To-dos to clear. Hope this post will help someone save some money when planning their travel.

Agoda Pay Later pin


History: I’ve been a fan of Agoda since eons ago

I have been with Agoda for many years, probably even before they became this popular. Their platform has consistently produced lower prices when compared to other hotel booking portals.

However, since 2017, I found myself having to deal with a premium charge of about 7% compared to the price that was shown to me during booking. This puzzled me as I have always been using the “Free Cancellation” option. And it had never created a price variance that would cause me to sit up, let alone to write a blog post on it. 

7% in hotel fees isn’t exactly a negligible cost when we are talking about hundreds of dollars in payment per transaction.


Not easy to know I was charged more by Agoda

As someone who is into finance and investment, I do keep a record of my expenditure. If I didn’t, I honestly wouldn’t have noticed the price variance charged by Agoda between “Booking Date” and “Charged date”.

By the time my card was charged (weeks or months later), my memory had failed me as to the amount presented during booking confirmation. I tried using Agoda’s portal to trace my bookings, but could no longer see the “Old Price”. I could only see one price, i.e. the new (and higher) price that they charged to my card.

When the old price was no longer viewable, there’s no easy way to know that I was paying more. Luckily, I’d manually recorded the price in my Travel excel sheet when making the booking.

An example to help you visualize the scenario

This is an example to help you visualize the scenario.

  1. On 8 January, the booking was confirmed at S$500 using ‘Free Cancellation, Pay Later’ option
  2. On 22 January, S$535 was charged to credit card – that’s $35 more than what consumer had agreed to
  3. Customer’s Booking history now only reflects $535. He can no longer see the $500 that he had earlier agreed to.
  4. He may not be able to recall or verify that there was indeed a $35 premium to the new price


Why Agoda charged me 7% more than the price shown during booking? 

After noticing the 7% premium charged to my card, I gave Agoda a call. Here’s why I was charged more and how you could avoid facing a similar situation.

Agoda’s representative told me that it was because I had chosen Free Cancellation, Pay Later option which was open to currency fluctuation. I fully understand because when I’d decided to take up that option, I was prepared for currency variance, but didn’t anticipate a 7% fluctuation within two weeks. 

I would have bought his argument if I wasn’t attuned to finance or investment. “But JPY-SGD only fluctuated within a 1% band. Why did Agoda charge me 7% more?”, I asked the local representative.

For those who are into investment, you would know how the Japanese Yen is a stable currency which many buy into when hedging their position.

Agoda Pay Later

Reason No. 1 offered by Agoda Rep

The patient Agoda representative then explained that the rate I saw online was the wholesale currency rate. Actual rates used by organizations and banks would be less attractive. Well, of course, I understood this concept.

So I added further, “Yes, I’d used wholesale prices 2 weeks ago to compare against forex wholesale prices of today. It’s within a 1% variation.”

Reason No. 2 offered by Agoda Rep

He then explained that banks could charge more on their end resulting in a higher fee. This didn’t seem like a valid explanation to me because I would be charged by bank whether I opt for same-day payment or Pay Later option. In either case, banks need to earn – so this is a constant to me.

“Do you mean the bank would charge me less if I’d chosen the “Pay Now” option?” 

Reason No. 3 offered by Agoda Rep

Obviously, he couldn’t continue this reasoning with me based on logic because I think he knew deep down that I was charged more than what I should have been charged for.

He replied, “I can only share that there is overhead costs when you choose to Pay Later.”

What he said above was very vague, but I think he might not be in a position to share too much. As a consumer, I can only interpret this as a confirmation that Agoda charged more than the currency fluctuation to compensate for the additional resources required to provide this Pay Later option. However, to a consumer, we weren’t told we would need to pay anything more than actual currency variance. So this, in my opinion, isn’t fair to consumers.

I didn’t say much thereafter and was surprised when he volunteered to give me a refund of the nett difference. But he made me agree that this was a one-off concession.


How do you avoid being charged a premium?

Does it mean you will be charged a premium whenever you choose a Free Cancellation booking option at Agoda?

Agoda Pay Later Pin


It depends. If you choose a Free Cancellation, Pay Later option, you would likely be paying more (quoting what the Agoda customer representative told me). Based on my experience, it’s about 7 times more than the actual currency fluctuation. This happened to my last two bookings (Phuket and Japan) since 2017.

The way to get the price you see during booking while still enjoying free cancellation is to opt to PAY NOW instead of PAY LATER.

Agoda Pay Later pin
Choose this option and you’ll likely end up paying more

What does ‘Free Cancellation, Pay Now’ option mean?

Even if you choose to PAY NOW, you can still enjoy free cancellation. That would help to lock in the price as promised by Agoda.

One thing remains unclear – if I cancel later, will I receive a refund of the actual amount deducted or those subject to Agoda’s currency rate (which doesn’t seem attractive). That is, will I receive 7% less of what I’ve paid?

Updated in 2020: Ever since I noted the “premium charges” associated with Pay Later option, I’ve opted to either Pay Now, or Pay at the Hotel (using that country’s currency). So far, I have not been subject to additional charges based on such payment selections.  


In a Nut Shell, avoid using Agoda Pay Later option 

Things seem to have changed because I didn’t experience such wide price swing previously with Agoda. If you are firm on your hotel decision, it may be cheaper to choose either Book Now, or Free Cancellation > Pay Now.

Will I continue to use Agoda? 

Yes, as long as Agoda offers me the best price as compared to other booking portals. So far, Agoda seems to be able to beat the market. I just have to be very careful when confirming the booking. I will refrain from selecting “Pay Later” option in future.

If I am not at the stage of committing to the hotel and prefer some flexibility, I may book using other booking portals, such as

Am I happy with Agoda?

I think things can be spelled out clearer to prevent any misinterpretation or misrepresentation. When a hotel portal advertises “Free Cancellation: book risk-free and lock in this great price today”, it isn’t clear that this ‘price lock-in feature’ would be void if a customer chooses to pay later.

Furthermore, is there a need to charge 7% more when actual currency fluctuation is just a fraction of that (1%)? I did not receive a clear explanation on this.  

Agoda Pay Later

There is certainly room for improvement! Or perhaps the fault lies with me getting way too comfortable with Agoda, having used it for many years without any problem. Maybe whatever happened was indicated in some fine prints that I’d missed? Did you notice something written about this in Agoda’s fine prints? Do you read fine prints? Do most customers read full terms and conditions? ;)

Updates (2020): Some readers have highlighted that the T&C now shows the following statement: “Daily Adjusted Rate – Bloomberg Generic Composite Rate on the day payment is processed plus 5%.” Do take note as most general users would likely not see these fine prints. 

Hope this post that I churned out in a hurry would help you save some money. Share this post with your family and friends to help them too (share button on the left or bottom of this article). Chat soon and see ya!


Being an honest blogger isn’t easy. Show us some love to keep us going. You can support us by subscribing to honest reviews. Thank you and I’ll see you soon. :)



(This post was first published in June 2018 and updated in Jan 2020)

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35 thoughts on “Agoda Pay Later: How I ended up paying more at Agoda?”

  1. Hi, thank you so much for this. Lucky me to stumble upon a thread in Tripadvisor regarding Agoda. Anyway I`d like to ask you a few question if that`s okay.

    1. In My Booking page on Agoda there is a statement like this, below the total price.

    You will be charged the IDR equivalent of MYR 995.65 on your pay date of Friday, July 12, 2019. Exchange rates may vary.
    Included in price: Service Charge 6.6%

    According to that statement, will I pay an amount equal to MYR 995.65 on the deadline given (fee inc) or MYR 1066 (995 + 6.6% fee)?

    2. or is best in terms of price transparency? No hidden fees etc

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Donny, thank you for stopping by.

      1. Based on what you have indicated, I will interpret it that the price MYR995.65 is inclusive of service charge, i.e. MYR995.65 should be the fee to pay. However, the statement also indicated that it’s subject to exchange rate fluctuation. So you probably wouldn’t know how much you will be charged until your card is deducted.

      2. I have only recently resumed using because Agoda consistently produced the lowest fees until the recent experience. One thing you may like to know, both of them are under the same company, i.e. Priceline.

  2. My wife and I just went through a very similar experience with Agoda. My experience in complaining was similar to your own. Little did Agoda know I have a background in Mathematics and worked in Forex in New Zealand a long time ago. My own calculation is that we were charged 7% more (the same as your own calculation) for our booking in Myanmar than we should have been AFTER allowing for exchange rate variation between the time of booking and when the credit card charge was put through. My phone conversation with Agoda initially seemed promising but in the end I just got an email a couple of days later stating something like ‘exchange rates vary’ etc. much as you did. A google search of others having similar issues produced pages of results and led to your article.

    I can’t be bothered pursuing it further with them over just a few dollars though I suspect if I went back over earlier bookings I’d have found the same discrepancy and found that we’ve been done out of a lot more than that if I added it all up. I will simply cease to use Agoda and encourage others to do the same.

    In future, we will be using as their policy (when we’ve used them before) is to be far more transparent and honest and it is easy to reconcile their charges as they charge in the hotel’s currency and let you are your credit card company worry about the exchange rate (which you then see on your statement). I’d rather pay a bit more to use an honest and transparent company than continue using a company that is misleading (the best I would say) in their charging practices.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience, Mark. It seems to confirm that “Pay Later” will definitely increase the fee no matter whether the Forex move against or in our favor. It wasn’t like this in the past, and its seems to me like a relatively-new profit-boosting practice.

      Yes, I think a lot of people wouldn’t even know they have been charged a higher price as audit trails available to consumers are gone. Also, many who are not into Finance or Investment would just accept the reasons provided for the variation. I used to use years ago until I found Agoda offering a better price. Perhaps, it’s time to relook at again. :)

      1. My wife and I have been talking about all of this a bit further today. I think we will continue to look at Agoda as well as Booking but I think we will likely be making future decisions on which to use for an individual booking based on the Agoda price possibly being 7% (or more) greater than what is stated on their site because of this hidden practice. Frankly, unless Agoda is at the very least a generous 10% less (and preferably a LOT more than that) than the Booking price, I’m always going to be inclined to choose the company that is honest in their dealings with customers (Booking) and not use the one whose policy seems to be to mislead intentionally (Agoda).

        The lack of an audit trail with Agoda has always been one of those back-of-my-mind concerns I’ve had and now I know why it has always bothered me. are clear in what they do: when the transaction comes up on our credit card statement, I can see the charge in the foreign currency from Booking or the hotel directly and make sure it is the same as what we booked. (I then see the credit card company’s forex rate and then finally the NZD figure of course; all very transparent and I know I’m not being cheated)

        I also had a conversation today with a friend who used to see it from the other side of the transaction: he ran a hotel in Australia. He had warned me ages ago about all the problems he’d had with Agoda when dealing with them and how much easier it always was working with Booking. I got a very much deserved “I told you so!” from him this morning.

        We’ve had a number of other niggling concerns with Agoda over the last couple of years we’ve used them but I don’t want to complicate things by getting them into them here. We never had issues with Booking and will be happy to use them again in future. Ironically, of course, they are both part of the same big company!

          1. Unfortunately … and I really hate to raise this possibility … the explanation might be that one is run out of Asia (i.e. Agoda) and the other is run out of the Netherlands (Booking). Is the explanation of the vastly different ways they treat their customers as simple as that? It would be sad if that were the explanation.

          2. I’m not quite sure about the regulatory difference in different regions of the world. Maybe someone who is familiar can shed some light.

  3. I’m also dealing with this issue at the moment! Adding my experience here just in case it stops others from falling victim.

    I had made a “Pay Later” booking for a hotel in Thailand a few months ago, I had to call Agoda today to update my credit card for the booking as the original one had expired. I was told once the credit card details were updated I would be charged instantly (wasn’t an issue for me), however they also said they can only charge me in my credit card currency (AUD) rather than the local currency of the hotel (THB), this is where I got a bit suspicious. Based on the locked-in rate of 18,146 THB they said I would be charged $825 AUD, I quickly checked the exchange rate (XE) while still on the phone and it should have been $750, I questioned why their exchange rate was almost 10% worse than XE on the very same day and they could not provide an explanation, I even escalated to the supervisor and he also couldn’t explain.

    I could understand perhaps a 2 – 3% mark up on the XE exchange rate but 10% is just ridiculous, it sounds like they are fabricating the exchange rate as he quoted the price before even charging my credit card. For larger bookings this can cost someone hundreds of dollars.

    Valuable lesson learned, DO NOT use the “Pay Later” option!

    1. Hi Chris, thanks for sharing your experience with the online community. It’s certainly not fun to be quoted a 10% premium over the actual Forex. I’ve checked on my end and you’re right, the wholesale rate is just AUD750. Marking it up to AUD825 sounds hefty and unreasonable.

      Just to clarify, what was the amount that was supposed to be charged based on your initial booking? And in which currency? Did you manage to get a favorable outcome after speaking to the supervisor? Hope things turn up well so that you can focus on other travel logistics.

      1. Hi Nicole, I tracked down my booking confirmation email which stated $726 AUD based on the exchange rate back in February, after checking historical exchange rates it looks like they used the wholesale rate to quote. Since then the AUD has declined 4% but their new quote ($825 AUD) is now 14% higher, this is a 10% difference which they could not explain. Very shady tactics to initially quote based on the wholesale rate but when it comes time to charge the customer they use an extremely inflated rate! I work in Finance so I’m familiar with exchange rates but even the average consumer would notice such a large mark up.

        Even though the supervisor was agreeing with my points regarding these dodgy exchange rates he still could not provide a solution. Luckily the booking was refundable so I contacted the hotel and asked them to match Agoda’s price so I could book with them directly, they agreed and I happily cancelled my Agoda booking. Hotels always prefer for guests to book directly so they’re usually very accommodating with matching prices.

        1. Wow. That’s a great strategy. Thanks for sharing. I want to try it too. :) And I’m happy things turn out well for you. I think the inflated markup should be a top-down “strategic” move. The staff probably can’t do much, except front unhappy customers.:(

  4. I think another way to avoid this is you have to search your listings in the currency of the country you are travelling to. If you choose to search in Japanese yen, you will then have an option to choose whether to get charged in your card currency or in yen even with the Pay Later option, and the exchange rate will be determined by your card company and not Agoda’s stupid exchange rate.

    1. Quoting an earlier comment from Chloe “I think another way to avoid this is you have to search your listings in the currency of the country you are travelling to. If you choose to search in Japanese yen, you will then have an option to choose whether to get charged in your card currency or in yen even with the Pay Later option, and the exchange rate will be determined by your card company and not Agoda’s stupid exchange rate.”

      Will the above method from Chloe solve the problem? Thanks

  5. Hi thanks for this article because reading this article i cancel my current booking with Agoda (book now pay later but free cancellation).
    I also found actually ow in T&C, they already mentioned that they will charge 5% on top of currecy exchange rate

    Agoda rates
    If your Payment Currency is the same as your payment account currency, but different from either the Property Currency or your Display Currency, Agoda will use our Indicated Rate or Daily Adjusted Rate to convert prices. The applicable rate will depend on choices you select when viewing listings and making a booking, as described below.

    Indicated Rate – Bloomberg Generic Composite Rate mid-rate on the current day.
    Daily Adjusted Rate – Bloomberg Generic Composite Rate on the day payment is processed plus 5%.

    Book Now Pay Later bookings
    If you choose a Payment Currency that is different from the Property Currency or Display Currency, Agoda will use our Daily Adjusted Rate on your payment date to convert the Property Currency price to your Payment Currency. When you select your Payment Currency on the booking page, we will show you the price in the Property Currency that will be used to determine the total charge on your payment date.

    Again, who read T&C before booking ?????

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience and pointing out on the T&Cs.

      You’re so right! Who reads T&C before making bookings. They are more likely to see the “Free Cancellation” and “risk-free” messages plastered on the listings. Therefore, I’ve now preferred to confirm booking on the spot if I can. It’s a hit and miss as prices could vary later on. But most of the time, it worked well for me.

  6. Does anyone have good or bad experience using They have the book 10 nights and get 1 night free. Does that work out to be about 10% off? Thanks

  7. After doing some more reading, it looks like the method mentioned by Chloe above will work. Just choose to pay in Japanese Yen then one would avoid having the exchange rate being handled by Agoda. It’s best to use a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign currency transaction fee.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Peter. Do come back and let us know how it works for you when you’ve tried Chloe’s suggested method.

  8. Hi,

    I’m currently searching, comparing & booking hotels for our Japan trip. I am so glad I found this and many thanks for posting this, Nicole.

    I have a habit of making any bookings in the currency of the country I will be visiting, so no problem with Chloe’s suggestion.

    However I have made hotel bookings with Agoda, and I just booked with whichever gave me the least price for the same hotel, same type of room and same requirements I set.

    Now having read this post, I’m thinking of switching my Agoda bookings to The thing is, Agoda bookings give us option to get bonus Miles to our Mileage Membership. I don’t see that possibility with

    1. Hi Donna, thank you for sharing your experience with us. And I’m glad to have you here too. :)

      I also booked with whichever gives me better rates and I straddle between Agoda and Sometimes it can be time-consuming as their rates would fluctuate by the day or even hours and I think it’s due to algorithm. Like when I’ve decided to book Agoda, the rate would increase the next time I login. I’ve yet to figure out how to beat the system. :)

      You can read one of my experiences here:

      I don’t think you have to switch away from Agoda totally. If you are firm on a hotel, maybe the Pay Now option would help although it’s not 100% guaranteed that the price won’t drop further once you’ve committed. It’s a risk we have to take if we don’t want to be charged unreasonable exchange rates. :)

  9. Just to confirm — Chloe’s suggestion is spot on.

    I just canceled and re-booked the same property for an upcoming trip to the Maldives using the Book Now, Pay Later option… In my new booking confirmation email, I no longer see this:

    “You will be charged the X currency equivalent of Y currency on [travel date] using Agoda’s currency exchange rate under our terms of use.”

    Under Total Price, it now has this instead:

    “(to be charged on travel date)”

    1. Thank you for sharing, MD. So it seems like our options are: 1) Pay Now and NOT incur additional charges, 2) Pay Later using destination’s currency and incur Bank/Credit Card’s foreign exchange rates or 3) Pay Later using our local currency and subject to Agoda’s foreign exchange rates?

      To all readers, do feel free to share your experience if you have extra insights. Thank you.

  10. I started using Agoda recently, and this has been a very helpful conversation. I’m still a bit confused though…

    I live in the US and made two “Pay later” bookings for a Japan vacation (at different hotels). I never changed the site’s currency option, so I imagine it defaulted to USD.

    Now when I check my bookings, here’s what I see:
    Booking #1: You pay JPY 127,000. You will be charged the USD equivalent of JPY 127,000, using Agoda’s currency exchange rate.
    Booking #2: You pay USD 1,081.

    If I’m understanding correctly, it sounds like Booking #1 will be subjected to Agoda’s currency rate and the 5% extra fee.

    But will Booking #2 also be subjected to any currency rates/fees? Or am I okay since it says it’s in USD (even though the hotel is in Japan).

    I’m starting to think it may be better to just always choose the “Pay at the hotel” option. But curious to hear what you guys think. Thanks!

  11. I am currently going through the same issue with Agoda, and getting the same ‘non-committal’ responses from Agoda’s customer service department.
    To be honest, I find this unacceptable, and I’m thinking of lodging a complaint with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority.

  12. Today is Nov 2020, and we are on the same boat, I booked at my country’s local currency then my fault is that I did not read thru the email confirmation as it suddenly says Euro with condition of value will change at the time of payment; when I had this checked, they argue that it is a condition reflected during booking, which I clearly remember with my two eyes that it did not say this… so now we are on the edge if we should continue with it, with their hefty exchange rate and lose this availability; the saddest part is even if they guaranteed now the Euro value on the day of payment, their Agoda exchange rate is ridiculous, and they seem to be not affected with complaints…. lost.

  13. I was severely dinged on a recent Pay Later booking for Paris. I received a confirmation in Euro for ~3,100 and was charged ~4900 in Canadian. This suggests an exchange rate of 1.60 when the Bloomberg exchange rate was 1.35 on the day I was charged. The reps kept on referring to the T&Cs as the reason and I countered back that according to their T&C (Bloomberg + 5%), the exchange rate should have been closer to 1.40 (1.35 + 0.05) and the rate I was charged did not align with their T&Cs. I suspect they did an additional conversion to US dollars on my booking date (so Eur 3100 x 1.11 USD/EUR to get US 3440) and then used the US 3440 amount and US exchange rate + 5% on my charge date (US 3440 x (1.38+0.05) CAD/USD = CAD 4900) as this aligns to the CAD amount I was charged. Very complicated, not transparent and unlikely a rep would be able to explain this. The phone rep was very reasonable (had to ask for the manager) and said they would credit me back the difference (note: don’t use chat to resolve this issue). So lesson learned on choosing the Pay Later option in Agoda. May be best to book direct with the hotel if you can.

  14. I wished I read this earlier. I am just slapped with close to 10% additional cost by using Pay later option. It’s not 5% since the market rate for Yen has gone weaker since I booked. The rep refused a refund and could not even explained the points you stated above. They should not be promoting this feature when consumers do not benefit at all, and the rates are not published as a guide. I felt scammed. I read from some reviews that even free cancellation comes with a cost. Readers pls do your research before using their platform. I’ve been booking hotels through online platform and this is the first time I encounter such huge costs. (FYI- I chose to pay in Yen)

    1. Sorry to hear about the additional costs incurred. Seems like it’s better to stay away from “Pay later” option, local currency payment or not. Thanks for sharing your experience with our readers, ST.

  15. There is something deeper here. I read that there was potentially a fx rate difference (last year I booked with Agoda, it charged all my credit cards in the local currency) so I assumed the fine print that was on the booking page was related to that. They charged my card as expected, and I noticed it was 16% higher than I expected.

    I read the fine print, okay bloomberg rate and +5%…okay annoying but that still does not reach 16%. I got all the same reasons you got except I never received the last one (where the rep was somewhat honest). All they told me was to avoid this type of stuff, avoid BNPL. I would have accepted the 5% rate, but 16% is unreasonable.

    They never let me charge the credit card in the local currency (they let me do that last year, not sure what changed). Now you might have to change the display currency (the setting on the site) to the hotel currency to avoid FX change.

    I’m going to try to call them to credit the difference.

  16. I just got trapped by Agoda into paying for my booking when my intention was just to change credit card details. My only option was to cancel my booking and rebook, which is not possible.
    The booking is JPY 142,200. Oanda currency exchange is SGD1 to JPY111. I was charged SGD1,464 by Agoda. That’s like SGD1 to JPY97. I felt like being robbed! It’s really disrespectful of Agoda to earn money like this.

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