“Disappointments are just God’s way of saying ‘I’ve got something better’. Be patient, live life, have faith.” -Unknown
I had a grand time in Hong Kong back in March of this year. Traveling with my friend, Jana, and touring Hong Kong for the first time without my sister by my side was one of my life’s greater adventures. While we have had our share of travels when we were still working together as bank auditors, going outside of the country was a different experience. I am just so happy that she got to share her first international travel with me.
After I got back, I could not immediately get rid of the travel bug. I kept on searching for new places to visit and spent so much time on the sites of Agoda and Klook. It felt like I needed to go somewhere else this time after having gone to Hong Kong for five times already since 2016.
Booking the flight to Singapore
I talked to my cousin’s wife, Tabitha, about Singapore because that’s her home country. I asked her about the places to see and the best time to go there. She told me that August 9th was their National Day and that there would be fireworks on that day. I then decided that I was going to Singapore around that period.
One day, an ad for a seat sale to Singapore popped up in my Instagram feed. I immediately booked my flight via Cebu Pacific and opted to pay in cash within 24 hours. As soon as I got permission from my boss to go on the trip, I changed my payment method to credit card payment. I booked a flight on August 9 and was going to return on August 12.
After booking, I realized that the changes I made to remove the meals and travel insurance to get 20kg baggage allowance didn’t push through. As such, I had to pay additionally for my baggage allowance. That was the first of my series of mishaps on my journey to Singapore.
Booking my hotel
Since I was saving GetGo points for future flights, I booked my hotel via Agoda because they are GetGo’s partner in earning points. For more information on how to earn GetGo points to redeem Cebu Pacific flights, click here.
I booked a room in Fragrance Hotel-Selegie because there was a good deal and they offered free breakfast already in the package I was getting. I also loved that they shower section of the bathroom was separate from the toilet, unlike in most Hong Kong hotels. I also loved how cute the room looked and was excited to see it in person. In my excitement, I was supposed to pay at a later date but I did not notice that I clicked “pay now” instead. I booked and paid for the room in April.
Two months later, I got an e-mail from Agoda saying that my booking was canceled and that they were offering J8 Hotel as my alternative.
I contacted Fragrance Hotel-Selegie to confirm and they did say that they did not agree with the third-party provider about the rates, hence, canceling my booking. They said the cancellation happened in May.
In my attempt to understand the situation, I learned that Agoda does not deal with the hotels directly. Agoda has suppliers who are in direct contact with the hotels. I could not confirm whether it was Agoda’s supplier or Agoda itself that was remiss in informing me of the cancellation that happened way back in May. Also, I did not appreciate that the reason given to me was different from what the hotel explained to me.
I pestered their customer service almost every day because I was worried I wasn’t going to get a hotel to stay in. I was also worried about their refund policy because I was sure it was going to take months. With one month left for my trip, I did not have spare funds to book another hotel while waiting for Agoda to refund me. The waiting was a nightmare and it dampened my first experience booking with Agoda.
Thankfully, J8 Hotel accepted my booking. It took about a week or two to have my concern resolved. I had to change my plans to accommodate the change in my hotel, but that was not a huge problem for me. In my mind, I was thinking that God was probably getting me a better place to stay in. I will post a review of my stay in J8 hotel soon.
Despite my bad experience initially with Agoda, I was still thankful for the very patient and kind customer service agents that handled my follow-ups. I can only pray that this does not happen again in my future trips because I decided to still book with Agoda and just e-mail the hotels to confirm that my bookings are indeed confirmed and existing in their database.
Have you had any problems with Agoda too? How quick was Agoda in resolving your concerns?