5 things to know about the Costco car rental program

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Costco Wholesale storefront
Image Credit: Dreamstime

The Costco car rental program is one of the little-known membership benefits at the warehouse club chain.

In this article, we’ll take a look at how the Costco car rental program works, which companies you can rent from and how to cancel a Costco car rental, among other things.

Here’s what you need to know about the Costco car rental program

Costco doesn’t just give you the best deals on food, clothing, household items and more inside the walls of its warehouse clubs. Through Costco Travel, you also have access to some of the best deals on rental cars when you want to hit the open road, too.

“People seem to be really happy with renting cars through Costco,” money expert Clark Howard notes.

In particular, Clark names Costco’s no-fee policy about adding a second driver to your rental as a real selling point.

“One of the things members really like is if you’re going to rent a car for leisure as a couple or family, pretty much everybody else charges you for a second driver, which adds $10 or so a day to your rental. But when you rent through Costco, normally you pay no second driver fee. So that’s a really valuable thing.”

Table of contents

1. How does Costco car rental work?

Costco doesn’t maintain a fleet of rental cars waiting for its customers. That wouldn’t be cost-effective.

Instead, the warehouse club partners with several well-known rental companies to offer cars for rent at a discounted rate. Its large membership base affords group-negotiating power, which means you often get the best deal on a rental car.

There are two ways to reserve a rental:

  1. Through the Costco Travel website
  2. Or by calling 1-866-921-7925

And if you’re a Costco Executive Member, you can now receive an annual 2% reward on Costco Travel purchases (up to $1,000). That’s in addition to the 3% you can get back on travel expenses if you use the Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi.

2. Which car rental companies participate?

At this time, four popular car rental companies participate in the car rental program:

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  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Enterprise
Costco Travel's car rental homepage
Costco Travel’s car rental homepage

3. How old do you have to be to rent a car through Costco?

You can rent if you’re younger than 25. However, you won’t get access to the negotiated discount rate. In fact, you’re likely to pay more.

“Drivers younger than 25 may incur a fee when reserving and must book directly with the rental company at 1-877-849-2730, option 1,” Costco notes in its FAQs. “The fee varies by company and location.”

4. Does the program work internationally?

Yes, the Costco car rental program works both domestically and in these select international locations:

  • Canada
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Netherlands
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom

5. How do you cancel a Costco car rental?

If you decide you don’t need your rental car — or maybe you find a better deal elsewhere — it’s easy to cancel:

  1. Log in to your Costco Travel account
  2. Select the Current booking
  3. Click the “Cancel” button
  4. Click “Yes” when the pop-up asks you to confirm cancellation

You’ll get a confirmation of your cancellation emailed to you. And there is never a charge for cancelling an online rental car reservation.

As an alternative to cancelling online, you can also call the company directly at 1-866-921-7925.

Final thought

Renting a car though Costco can save you money between the negotiated discount rate and the fact that they don’t charge for an additional driver.

That said, it’s important to always comparison shop! That’s exactly what Clark says he does:

“Costco seems to be able to get people better rates a majority of the time than you can find on your own. But not always. So what I do when I’m renting a car is I go look at Costco.com and I go look elsewhere. Then I just go with whichever is the better deal.”

More Costco stories on Clark.com: 

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