If you’re anything like money expert Clark Howard, you’re probably used to getting almost everything — from clothes to food to pet supplies and home goods — at Costco. But have you ever thought about booking your getaways through Costco Travel?
In this article, we’ll take a look at how Costco Travel works talk about the pros and cons of booking your trips through the warehouse giant.
Costco Travel: What you need to know about travel packages, car rentals, cruises and more
Costco uses its bulk-buying power to negotiate discounted rates on travel packages (including airfare and hotel), car rentals, cruises and more for members at CostcoTravel.com. Members can also call 866-921-7925 for bookings.
So just how much can the warehouse club save you on your trip?
Our in-house travel expert Clara Bosonetto compares Costco Travel to the AAA discount you may be familiar with. Members may see a 10% savings overall through booking with Costco.
With that in mind, here are some other things you need to know before booking your trips through Costco Travel…
1. Costco Travel packages offer a one-stop-shopping experience
As with many travel websites, Costco lets you book an entire vacation online. This appeals to people who like to have all the moving parts of planning a trip (airfare, accommodations, activities, etc.) handled in a neat, organized way.
But the cookie-cutter approach can have its downsides.
“Costco hotels and resorts tend to be the big box type vs. boutique or off-the-beaten-tracks properties,” Clara says. “Due to volume bookings, these preferred hotels often throw in a dining credit, an activity or a room upgrade — small perks that can mean big a difference to some.”
As a longtime travel agent, Clara notes another possible downside with Costco Travel is that you’ll probably never get the same representative twice if you’re booking over the phone.
“Customers can call to speak with a rep, but they will get a different one each time versus working with a local agent,” she says.
Read more about booking Costco Travel packages here.
2. Booking a hotel with Costco Travel is easy
As with all the prices you’re quoted at CostcoTravel.com, hotel rates include upfront pricing that includes taxes.
Costco works with a variety of brand-name hotels including:
- Fairmont Hotels and Resorts
- Hyatt Hotels and Resorts
- Raffles Hotels and Resorts
- Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts
Read more about booking a hotel through Costco here.
3. Here’s what you need to know about Costco Travel car rental
Costco Travel works with popular rental car brands including:
In addition to U.S. rentals, you can rent a car through Costco Travel for use in Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.
One of the nice features of renting a car through Costco is that the additional driver fee is waived.
Read more about booking rental cars through Costco here.
4. Costco Travel offers great last-minute deals on cruises
Costco partners with a variety of mainstream cruise lines to offer deals to members. They include:
- Celebrity X
- Crystal Cruises
- Disney Cruise Line
- Holland America Line
- Norwegian Cruise Line
- Princess Cruises
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises
- RoyalCaribbean International
- Uniworld Boutique River Cruises
According to Bosonetto, Costco is a great place to book last-minute cruises because you’ll often get perks such as onboard credits.
And, here’s another nice feature: If you don’t use all the onboard credit you’re given, you can get a partial refund before disembarking.
“If a Costco Cash Card is issued, it can be used in a store,” Clara says.
Read more about booking Costco cruises here.
5. You can earn 2% on everything you do with Costco Travel
Thanks to a recent change, Costco Executive Members now receive an annual 2% reward on Costco Travel purchases (up to $1,000)!
This 2% is on top of the 3% you can get back on travel expenses if you use the Costco Anywhere Visa by Citi.
The 3% back anybody can get using the Costco Visa card, while the extra 2% back is reserved solely for Executive Members who pay an annual membership fee of $120.
However, certain expenditures are restricted from this offer. They include:
- Trip protection
- Travel purchased through a third-party such as activities and tours
- Baggage fees
- Rental car equipment
- Resort charges
- Port charges
- Resort and cruise line fees
See the full details on how the 2% reward is calculated here.
If convenience is king for you, you may want to give Costco’s travel offerings a try.
However, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys hunting for travel bargains, you’re likely to score better deals booking solo — without the help of the warehouse club.
“I still believe in booking airfare and accommodations separately for the lowest vacation price,” Clara tells us. “But again, some don’t want to spend the time to do this. As you know, it’s a lot of work!”
More Costco stories on Clark.com:
- 7 things to know before you buy gas at Costco Wholesale
- Costco members: Here are the best deals & coupons this month!
- 5 things to know before you buy glasses from Costco Optical