You can find a lot of things at Costco besides bulk groceries: gas, prescription glasses, electronics, free samples—and your next vacation. Yes, that’s right: Flights, hotels, rental cars, and vacation packages are included in the long list of benefits available to Costco members. With post-pandemic travel demands causing prices to rise, it’s worth looking at different options so you can save money on travel.
“Costco has pre-negotiated rates with hotels, car rental companies, tours…so by booking through them, you’re using their bulk rates to save,” says Alex Miller founder and CEO of travel site UpgragedPoints. Costco is partnered with many top airlines and hotels, so you can have a vacation that is both luxurious and fun without breaking the bank. Besides hotel and flight deals, Costco travel includes cruises, all-inclusive vacation packages, and more to destinations in the U.S. and outside of it.
All you need in order to use the brand’s travel benefits is a Costco membership—either the $60 per year Gold Star membership, or the Gold Star Executive, which is $120 annually. Executive members get a yearly 2 percent cash-back reward on purchases made from Costco travel. Here is what you need to know about booking your travel through Costco and how to maximize your savings.
Compare deals for services and packages with other vendors.
Yes, Costco offers some great deals on travel—but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your research. Before booking your travel with Costco, do some comparison shopping to see if you can get a better deal on hotels or flights elsewhere. Travel blogger Christine Le, owner of the Luxury Under Budget blog, recommends checking the Costco hotel package first and then the hotel and flight package to see how much extra the flights cost you. Then, see if it’s cheaper to book the flight directly through the airline or through Costco—this way, you can be sure you’re actually saving money.
“When I searched for a five-day trip to Hawaii on Costco, it cost $1700 for flight and hotel for two people, while hotel package alone was only $990,” says Le. She discovered that Alaska airlines had tickets on sale to Hawaii that were $99 one-way, and booked her flights through them instead. “Booking the Costco hotel package and flight separately saved me $300 more than booking the hotel and flight package,” Le explains. Do your research and don’t be afraid to cocktail your travel deals to get the best possible rates.
Costco packages may include exclusive perks.
Many Costco vacation packages include exclusive perks, such as credits for food and drinks, massages, or excursions, which can save you money on your trip and make it more enjoyable. Offers like cabana and tour credits allow you to get the most bang for your buck and not have to pay any additional fees.
“Costco offers one of the best travel benefits and accommodations,” says Elizabeth Hicks, co-founder of parenting platform, ParentingNerd. Hicks booked a seven-day vacation for two to London and Paris through Costco that cost $5,000 and included flights, spacious rooms, and about $400 to $500 in credit. “It came with a three-course dinner for me and my friend. We could also order free champagne after evening,” says Hicks. Their hotel in Paris included a daily breakfast buffet.
Booking a rental car through Costco can save you money.
If you’re planning on driving around and doing your own exploring on your trip, consider using Costco’s rental car services. Torben Lonne, co-founder of travel and diving gear review guide DiveIn, says he recently saved big on car rental by booking through Costco.
“Thanks to Costco travel, I was able to rent a medium-sized SUV for 10 days for only $240,” says Lonne. Hicks says she saved $300 by booking a rental SUV through Costco on her family’s trip to London last year. Rental car prices have gone up because of the travel demand, so it’s a good idea to shop around for budget-friendly options. Costco is partnered with all the major car rental companies, and can help you find the best offer.
Costco travel can save you time and hassle.
If you’re one of those people who wants go on vacation and have all the logistics figured out, booking your travel through Costco might be the way to go. “Booking through Costco is very similar to using a travel agent,” says Miller. “They’ll book the elements you need, and you’ll receive a reservation or booking number which you give to the car rental company, hotel, etc.,” he adds.
Having logistics such as airport transfers, rental cars, and tour credits taken care of can save you money and make your vacation a lot more relaxing. Plus, according to the Costco travel site, the price you’re quoted includes taxes and service fees, so you know exactly what you will be paying. While prices and savings can vary based on destination, Costco travel is worth considering for competitive, inclusive deals on your next trip.