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Did you know Costco members can save money booking car rentals, vacation packages, and cruises?
The Costco Travel program can be a great option for folks who book paid travel instead of redeeming miles & points. Because you might save lots of money compared to booking through an online travel agency like Orbitz, Expedia, or Priceline.
For example, team members Jasmin and Harlan each booked week-long car rentals through Costco Travel and saved $100 off the prices shown on other sites. And you can potentially save much more or get extra perks with other travel packages!
I’ll share details about the Costco Travel program. And explain why some folks might benefit from booking a trip with the warehouse club!
What Is the Costco Travel Program?
Link: Costco Travel
To help folks save on travel, Costco takes advantage of the same bulk buying methods it uses for other products it sells in their warehouse clubs.
Costco negotiates prices with hotels and travel destinations around the world to arrange packages and rental car discounts for members. And many times, you can book a vacation getaway that includes extra perks like:
- Free breakfast
- Resort credits
- Room upgrades
- Shuttle transportation
- Costco cash card
But to use the Costco Travel program, you must be a Costco member, which costs:
- $55 per year for an individual membership
- $110 per year for an executive membership
Note: Starting June 1, 2017, an individual membership will cost $60 and an executive membership will cost $120. So if you’ve been thinking of becoming a member, now is a good time before membership fees increase!
One of the perks of an executive membership is earning 2% cash back annually on eligible Costco purchases. Unfortunately, Costco Travel purchases do NOT qualify for this benefit.
You do NOT have to be a member to browse travel packages on the Costco Travel website. So you can explore to find travel inspiration or see if there are any good deals.
Book Travel With Costco
Through Costco, you can book lots of different types of travel, including:
- Car rentals
- Vacation packages (including flights)
Keep in mind, you can NOT just book airfare through Costco Travel. The airfare is added as part of a larger vacation package.
I’ll have more detailed posts about booking different types of travel with Costco in the future. But here are 3 examples.
1. Vacation Packages
I like that Costco Travel can be a one-stop tool to book an entire vacation. And they provide upfront pricing, which includes all of the taxes & fees. So you won’t get hit with unexpected charges after you book.
With Costco vacation packages, you can select a destination, your travel dates, and your departure city. And Costco will quickly show you all of the available packages and prices.
I searched a sample family vacation to Maui for 2 adults and 2 children departing from Phoenix.
The results show 23 available packages, which include different price points and hotel options.
The great part is selecting one of these packages will get you the flights, hotel, and rental car for your trip. And certain packages include extras like dining credits, room upgrades, or Costco cash cards.
You also have the option to customize your trip by adding excursions, changing the flight times, and much more.
If you’d like, you can also book your trip without a flight. This means you can use miles for an award flight. And use Costco Travel to book the hotel and rental car.
I compared one of the Costco Maui vacation packages, which costs ~$5,908, to the cost of booking each item individually. And I found there was nearly a $2,000 savings with the Costco package!
With Costco Travel, you can also book Disney World packages and guided tour vacations.
2. Car Rentals
If you’re booking a rental car, you can use Costco Travel to quickly compare prices across these 4 major rental car companies:
For example, I searched a sample 2-day rental in Baltimore.
But sometimes you can get a nice savings booking through Costco. And Costco members get a free additional driver.
I know lots of folks who book cruises through Costco.
The prices might be similar to those available directly with the cruise line. But booking with Costco can get you hundreds of dollars back on a Costco cash card.
For example, I searched a sample Disney Cruise. And you’ll get a Costco cash card just for booking with the warehouse club. You can use the cash cards just like a gift card to pay for merchandise or fuel at Costco.
And the amount on the Costco cash card can be significant. For example, with the sample Disney Cruise I found, you can get $235+ back on a Costco cash card. That’s a nice way to save the next time you shop!
You typically get the Costco cash card back a few weeks after returning from the trip.
Pay for Costco Travel Package With a Visa OR MasterCard
Costco only accepts Visa cards for in-store purchases. But you can use a Visa OR MasterCard when paying for a Costco Travel package.
- Lost luggage
- Trip cancellation & interruption
- Trip delay
Or you can pay with the Chase Sapphire Reserve and get similar coverage.
Folks looking to earn cash back on their Costco Travel purchase might consider using the Citi Costco Visa card.
Because Costco Travel purchases qualify for 3% cash back. And remember, this card has no annual fee if you have a paid Costco membership.
Certain packages can include thousands of dollars in savings compared to booking each part of the trip individually. Even if prices are similar, Costco might offer extra perks like resort credits and room upgrades.
You can also use Costco Travel to find and book cruises and rental cars.
I’ll have more upcoming posts about how you can save time and money with Costco Travel.
Have you booked with Costco Travel? I’d love to hear your experience!