We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
I shared how Costco Travel offers a fantastic way to save money and get extra perks for vacation packages.
Because you can often find the cheapest prices. And reservations are flexible, so you can cancel at any time without paying a fee.
I’ll compare rental car rates for sample reservations at Costco Travel with other popular booking sites!
Save Time & Money With Costco Travel Index:
Costco Travel Rental Cars
Link: Costco Travel
Link: Costco Rental Car FAQs
You can book rental cars online or by calling Costco at 866-921-7925. No credit card information is required at the time of the reservation because you pay when you pick up the car.
Keep in mind, you must be over the age of 25 to book a rental car through Costco Travel. For folks under 25, check out my post about how to get the lowest rental car prices.
When you book through Costco, you can directly link your car rental loyalty number during the booking process if it’s with Avis, Budget, or Enterprise. And you should be able to add your reservation to your Alamo account after you book. This means you can earn points and skip to the front of the car rental line!
And one of the perks of booking through Costco Travel is you get a free additional driver at certain locations. This benefit can save you ~$13 per day depending on the rental car company.
Note: For Alamo and Enterprise, the additional driver fee is waived for rentals in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, and Spain. For Avis and Budget, the fee is waived for rentals in the US. And the additional driver must meet all renter requirements, but they do not need to be a Costco member.
Plus, when you book through Costco Travel, you can add your reservation information to AutoSlash. I’ve written how this free service is an amazing way to save money if prices drop.
To compare rental car prices, I researched 3 sample trips using:
Keep in mind, Hotwire does NOT always tell you the name of the car rental agency and the exact car model until you pay for the rental. But the benefit is they partner with several more rental car companies, including Sixt.
And Hotwire reservations are not as flexible as Costco Travel. So while they might have the cheapest price, you might not be able to cancel or modify your reservation.
Here’s what I found for 3 sample trips!
1. 7-Day Rental in Maui
I checked a week-long rental in Maui in July 2017. Here are the prices I found for different vehicle types.
|Chase Travel Portal||Costco|
|Intermediate Car||~$321||~$313||~$318||Costco Travel|
|Full-size Car||~$301||~$280||~$332||Costco Travel|
Out of the 4 vehicle types, Costco Travel has the best deal for an intermediate and full-size car. And Hotwire had the best prices for economy cars and standard SUV.
Regardless of which company you book with, just don’t lock your keys in the rental car in Maui like I did!
2. One-Way Rental From San Francisco to Los Angeles
I checked a 4-day one-way rental from San Francisco to Los Angeles. This is a popular route for folks looking to drive along the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway.
You can NOT book a one-way rental through the Chase travel portal. But here are the prices I found on the other sites.
|Chase Travel Portal||Costco Travel||Hotwire||Best Deal|
|Economy Car||Not available||~$372||~$402||Costco Travel|
|Intermediate Car||Not available||~$548||~$390||Hotwire|
|Full-size Car||Not available||~$396||~$416||Costco Travel|
|Standard SUV||Not available||~$576||~$494||Hotwire|
Similar to the first example, the best price depends on which vehicle type you rent. So folks looking for an economy or full-size car can get the best deal through Costco.
3. Weekend Rental in Montreal
I checked a Friday to Sunday rental in Montreal.
|Chase Travel Portal||Costco Travel||Hotwire||Best Price|
|Economy Car||~$82||~$49||~$52||Costco Travel|
|Intermediate Car||~$90||~$84||~$91||Costco Travel|
|Full-size Car||~$97||~$92||~$93||Costco Travel|
|Standard SUV||~$145||~$150||~$153||Chase Travel Portal|
The majority of the rentals for this example are cheaper through Costco Travel. The exception is for a SUV, which is ~$5 cheaper through the Chase travel portal. But remember you can add an extra driver for free through Costco. So it could be worth it to pay slightly more.
Save Money Using Primary Rental Car Insurance With Certain Credit Cards
There are several credit cards that come with primary rental insurance when you use one of the cards to pay for your rental and decline the rental company’s collision damage waiver (often called CDW or LDW).
The primary rental insurance covers theft or damage to your vehicle. But NOT damage to other vehicles, property, or injuries.
For liability coverage, you’ll have to rely on your own personal auto insurance or purchase a supplemental policy from the rental car company.
Here are a few popular cards that offer primary rental car insurance:
- Chase Sapphire Preferred
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card
- United MileagePlus® Explorer Card
Besides cheap prices, booking through Costco Travel means you get a free additional driver at certain locations. This benefit can save you ~$13 per day depending on the rental car company.
I compared rental car prices on Costco Travel, Hotwire, and the Chase travel portal. The results showed Costco travel prices were either the cheapest or very competitive to the other sites. And Costco Travel reservations are flexible, so you can cancel at anytime without paying a fee.
I’ll tell you about using Costco Travel to get great deal on cruises in the next part of the series.
Do you book rental cars through Costco Travel?