Save Time & Money With Costco Travel Part 3: Car Rentals

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Save Time & Money With Costco Travel Part 3: Car Rentals

Million Mile SecretsSave Time & Money With Costco Travel Part 3: Car RentalsMillion Mile Secrets Team

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I shared how Costco Travel offers a fantastic way to save money and get extra perks for vacation packages

But Costco members can also use the travel program to find great rental car deals.  Most of the team at Million Mile Secrets book car rentals this way, including myself.

Because you can often find the cheapest prices.  And reservations are flexible, so you can cancel at any time without paying a fee.

Costco Travel Rental Cars
You Can Find Great Deals on Rental Cars Through Costco Travel

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

If you’re booking a rental car, you can use Costco Travel to quickly compare prices and book with these 4 major rental car companies:

  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Enterprise
Costco Travel Rental Cars
Alamo Is One of the 4 Rental Car Companies You Can Find Through Costco Travel

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!

Costco Travel Rental Cars
Avoid Long Lines When You Add Your Loyalty Number to Your Costco Travel Rental Car Reservation

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 PortalCostco
HotwireBest Price
Economy Car ~$287~$336~$225Hotwire
Intermediate Car~$321~$313~$318Costco Travel
Full-size Car~$301~$280~$332Costco Travel
Standard SUV~$758~$557~$476Hotwire

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.

Costco Travel Rental Cars
Book a One-Way Rental to Drive on the Pacific Coast Highway to See the Beautiful California Scenery

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 PortalCostco TravelHotwireBest Deal
Economy Car Not available~$372~$402Costco Travel
Intermediate CarNot available~$548~$390Hotwire
Full-size CarNot available~$396~$416Costco Travel
Standard SUVNot available~$576~$494Hotwire

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 PortalCostco TravelHotwireBest Price
Economy Car ~$82~$49~$52Costco Travel
Intermediate Car~$90~$84~$91Costco Travel
Full-size Car~$97~$92~$93Costco Travel
Standard SUV~$145~$150~$153Chase 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

Link:   13 Credit Cards That Offer Primary Rental Car Insurance

Link:   What to Do When Renting a Car & You Don’t Have Personal Car Insurance

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.

Costco Travel Rental Cars
My Friend Was Happy to Have Primary Rental Car Insurance When He Backed His Car Into a Pole

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:

Bottom Line

Costco members can find great rental car deals with Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise through Costco Travel.

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.

Don’t forget to add your rental car reservation details to AutoSlash to see if you can save even more money!

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?

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Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

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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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It is very clear that Costco members do not get the best prices on rental cars. Not sure why they are telling us that we do. In fact when I was researching the cost of rental cars, the Costco prices were substantially higher.

Million Mile Secrets

Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s a good reminder to always double check the prices with other sites to ensure you’re getting the best price.

I am a costco member and will i be able to rent a car without a credit card?

I am Canadian wanting to rent a car in Bellingham Wash. as we are flying into Bellingham, drive to BC and then drive back to Bellingham and drop off the car. Is this allowed through Costco? Can you cross into another country with a rental?

With Budget (and maybe others ) you might be able save more by paying up front when you make the reservation

One advantage renting a car from Costco is that you can cancel at the last minute with no loss of money or points unlike UR.

Very true! It’s great to have flexibility.

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