Traveling Doctor

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Agoda’s little secrets

What’s more to know about Agoda? Isn’t it just a site where you book your hotel rooms and flights? Let me show you the tricks that I picked up over the years that will get you the best value for your dollar.
Insider Deals
Agoda sometimes offer better rates through “insider deals” to “members” than “non-members” (i.e. being signed into an account registered with them when booking). Spot the difference (Hint: Look at the entry for Hotel Sardonyx Ueno):
Agoda - Without insider deal
Agoda - With insider deal
Yep! An insider deal is being offered for this hotel. For a two nights stay, the cost savings would be $7 (a 2% savings just from signing in).
So be sure to register and sign in when checking out the different options. You might score a hit with cheaper prices.
“Gift cards”
Another reason for registering and signing in is to benefit from Agoda’s rewards program.
If you were an Agoda user previously, you will recall their rewards program. My recollection is that you have to spend a certain amount to earn points. The points can be redeemed in blocks of 12500 points for a US$25 discount off your next purchase.
This was troublesome as you have to accumulate your points and if you don’t travel too often, it will take ages to get any substantial savings.
Agoda now has converted it to one where you can redeem your rebates at anytime:
Agoda Gift Cards are our best rewards program ever. Designed with your feedback, Gift Cards are simple, flexible, and easy to use.

Redeem in any amount, whenever you’re ready. No more waiting. No more worries about points expiring because you don’t have the redemption minimum. No more converting points to currency. Your Gift Card balance is a real currency value, so you know exactly how much you earned.

It appears that Agoda has some algorithm running at its own end and will reward customers who frequent them regularly with better rewards:
Our goal is to maximize the rewards for all Agoda members. Rewards are calculated on a number of factors. We reward our most loyal customers with best benefits possible, so Gift Card amounts will generally rise with more bookings.”
Agoda Secret Deals
If you are browsing Agoda, you may sometimes see this “Secret Deals” feature appearing. So what are they? Agoda’s explanation is:
What are Agoda Secret Deals?

Due to the close relationship it enjoys with its partners, is frequently able to offer high-end rooms at very attractive rates. For various reasons, these properties prefer to stay anonymous. This means customers can enjoy great savings on quality accommodation at distinguished brands worldwide, from luxurious five-star to charming boutique.

How does it work?

It’s simple! Browse the list of Agoda Secret Deals and apply filters based on your preferences. Book the deal that matches your liking and upon completion, the accommodation name, location, and contact details will be revealed.

So is it really an unknown until you make a booking? The answer is NO!
Let us see how to solve this puzzle.
I found this deal on Agoda (using the Secret Deal tab – See red arrow) for a 4 stars hotel in Ginza:
Secret Deal (1)
Let’s say that I am interested to book this property. I will just swap the filter back to any ordinary filter (e.g. Recommended – See orange arrow) and scroll down to Neighborhood portion of the page and select “Ginza”. This will filter out all the non “Ginza” properties:
Secret Deal (1) - Ginza
You should still be able to find your “Secret Deal” property in the filtered results (as it should be in Ginza).
Now look at two distinguishing data entries in the Secret Deal: The review score and the other of reviews. So in our example, it’s 9+ and 870+ respectively. The actual hotel would have figures between 9.0-9.9 and 870-879. You can either manually scroll through the pages OR you can just search “87” (in this case “87” because the number of reviews is between 870-879). This would reveal the identify of the hotel:
Secret Deal (2) - Ginza Stars Reviews
Secret Deal (3) - Ginza Stars Reviews
The price difference is substantial at $43 a night (for just a few minutes of work):
Secret Deal (4) - Ginza Stars Reviews
Secret Deal (5) - Ginza Stars Reviews
I covered PointsMAX (and to disgress slightly, Agoda’s price guarantee policy) briefly in my earlier articles – How to get the cheapest deal? ; Frequent Flyer Miles – What are they?
PointsMAX, as explained by Agoda, is a way to earn extra loyalty points on existing loyalty programs that you might already be a member of:
As at the date of this article, the recognised programs are:
PointsMax 1
PointsMax 2
PointsMax 3
Subject to the qualifications I made previously in my other articles, do note that while it may sound like a good idea to earn extra points through your bookings with Agoda, the points are often tied to your booking price. The higher rate you pay, the more points you get. So, if you done your job well in squeezing Agoda for the cheapest rates possible, do expect to either receive nothing under the PointsMAX program or negligible amounts.
Why not check Agoda today for your next trip? By booking through the affiliate links on my page, you will not pay anymore than would you have paid had you booked directly with Agoda. However, I will earn a small commission which will go a long way to help fund this blog.
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Any suggestions that I may have missed out? Leave them in the comments section below.
Be sure to check out my other posts covering different aspects of travelling and also my review of Agoda’s flight booking services.

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