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How to save time and money with Costco Travel

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How to save time and money with Costco Travel

Joseph HostetlerHow to save time and money with Costco TravelMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Did you know that 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. You can save lots of money compared to booking through an online travel agency like Orbitz or Expedia.

Costco Travel is an MMS favorite for car rentals. Team members have booked for $100+ less than the prices shown on other sites. You can potentially save much more or get bonus perks with other travel packages.

I’ll share details about the Costco Travel program, and explain why some might benefit from booking a trip with the warehouse club.

Planning a Greek getaway? Costco members might save money or get extra perks booking through Costco Travel. (Photo by cge2010/Shutterstock)

What is the Costco Travel program?

To help folks save on travel, Costco takes advantage of the same bulk buying methods it uses for other products it sells in their clubs.

Costco negotiates prices with hotels and travel destinations around the world to arrange packages and rental car discounts for members.  Many times, you can book a vacation getaway that includes extra perks like:

  • Free breakfast
  • Resort credits
  • Room upgrades
  • Shuttle transportation
  • Costco cash card

To use the Costco Travel program, you must be a Costco member, which costs:

  • $60 per year for an individual membership
  • $120 per year for an executive membership

One of the perks of an executive membership is earning 2% cash back annually on eligible Costco purchases. You don’t have to be a member to browse travel packages on the Costco Travel website. 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
  • Cruises
  • Vacation packages (including flights)

Keep in mind, you can’t just book airfare through Costco Travel. The airfare is added as part of a larger vacation package. Here are three ways you can book with Costco Travel.

Vacation packages

I like that Costco Travel can be a one-stop tool to book an entire vacation. 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 Travel vacation packages, you can select a destination, your travel dates, and your departure city. Costco will quickly show you all 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 that 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 a Costco Travel cash card. 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. Using miles and points for free flights to your destination will dramatically lower your final cost.

I compared one of the Costco Maui vacation packages, which costs ~$6,755, to the cost of booking each item individually. I found there was nearly a $2,000 savings with the Costco package!

Also worth noting is that you can book Disney World packages and guided tour vacations.

Car rentals

If you’re booking a car rental, you can use Costco Travel to quickly compare prices across these four major rental car companies:

  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Enterprise

For example, I searched a sample 2-day rental in Baltimore.

I compared prices with online travel agency sites like Orbitz and Priceline. In this case, the prices were similar, but sometimes you can get a nice savings booking through Costco. Costco members also get a free additional driver.

Cruises

Cruise 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 Travel gift card. For example, I searched Costco Travel cruises for a sample Disney Cruise. You’ll get a Costco Travle 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.

You’ll see the Costco “Included Extras” to the left of the price points.

The amount on the Costco Travel cash card can be significant. For example, with the sample Disney Cruise I found, you can get between $285 and $2,445 back. That’s a nice way to save the next time you shop,

You typically receive the Costco cash card back a few weeks after returning from the trip.

Costco Travel accepts Visa and 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 online. Whichever card you choose, ensure that it’s got fabulous travel insurance, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which comes with valuable benefits like:

  • Luggage delay reimbursement (kicks in after just six hours!)
  • Trip cancellation & interruption insurance
  • Trip delay insurance

Folks looking to earn cash back on their Costco Travel purchase might consider using the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi. It earns 3% back for eligible purchases through Costco Travel. You can also use any of the best credit cards for travel, which earn bonus points for travel purchases. Costco Travel codes as a travel agency/tour operator, so it’ll give you bonus points. Otherwise, check out our post on the best credit cards to use at Costco.

The information for the Costco Anywhere Visa card has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom line

Folks with Costco memberships can use Costco Travel as a one-stop tool to book great vacation packages to places like Europe, Las Vegas, Hawaii, and many other destinations. Not only does this make the vacation-planning process much faster and simpler, but 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.

Have you booked with Costco Travel? We’d love to hear your experience. And subscribe to our newsletter for more cheap travel tips delivered right to your inbox.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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If you book travel through Costco and use chase reserve do you get 3x

I would also like to know. thanks

Matt the Coffeeman

For rental cars, you will get the 3% plus primary rental insurance with the CSR because you don’t pay until you reach the rental car company.

You DO get 2% back if you are an Executive Member. This is from the Costco website:

“For Executive Member purchases made directly from Costco Travel, a 2% Reward will be earned and applied after travel is completed. Must be an Executive Member when travel starts. Excludes taxes, fees, surcharges, gratuities, trip protection, and portions of travel purchased through a third party such as activities, tours, baggage fees, upgrades, rental car equipment, resort charges, port charges, resort and cruise line fees and similar extras. Other terms, conditions and exclusions applicable to the 2% Reward apply.”

We just booked the Ritz in Aruba for 6 nights for the price of 2 nights booked anywhere else!

Executive Members do receive 2% back on Costco Travel. They changed it back in 2017.

This is a recycled article (as evidenced by the three-year-old comments below, including replies from Daraius!) that needs to be updated.

Just got back from the Big Island. We saved $40 each for 6 adults on the BodyGlove snorkeling trip. It was fantastic! All top notch equipment, great food breakfast and lunch, and the nicest crew ever! Can’t wait to do it again!,

Me too

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