Ultimate Guide to Using Costco Travel to Save Money in 2024

We are already familiar with the retailer Costco for offering bulk grocery items, gas, and household goods at rock-bottom prices, but what most of us didn’t know is that the retailer also offers equally amazing deals on cruises, vacation packages, as well as car rentals. You might be thinking, Costco is a retailer, what does it know about travel? Apparently, it knows a lot. For over 20 years, since the year 2000, Costco has been in the travel space and brings the same highly selective group purchase practice to travel and vacations as they deliver to the aisles of their warehouse. 

This travel and vacation service of Costco is known as Costco Travel. Costco Travel is like an easy-to-use online travel agent that, depending on the level of your membership, offers a limited selection of top-tier trip options with enviable perks and rebates. Even though Costco Travel is not a good deal for independent travelers, those who are seeking one-click booking on package trips will benefit greatly from it. Moreover, Costco’s rates on car rental are extremely hard to beat. The only catch to using Costco Travel is that you have to be a member of Costco. 

Costco Travel 

Cost of Costco Membership 

Costco Membership

Costco offers two membership categories with two levels of pricing and benefits under each. The first type of Costco membership is Personal Membership, which harbors two levels, the Gold Star Personal Membership and the Executive Personal Member, the Gold Star Personal Membership costs $60, while the Executive Personal Membership costs $120 with a 2 percent annual award. The second category of Costco membership is called the Business Membership which includes two levels i.e. the Business that costs $60 and the Business Executive that costs $120. 

If you are stuck between choosing the best membership, we advise that you go for the executive membership as with its 20 percent reward, maxing out at $1000 each year could help you save a lot of money. Moreover, Executive Membership holders are also eligible for upgrades as well as extra travel perks depending on the trip. Keep one thing in mind, the Executive Membership 2 percent reward applies to all of your Costco purchases except gas and a few other items. Given below is a sample table that shows how your savings can build up via the 2 percent Executive Membership.

Paid Executive Membership 2% Reward   
Monthly Purchases Yearly Purchases Approximate Annual Reward
$4,170$50,040$1,000 (max)

Costco Travel Flights

Keep one thing in mind Costco does not sell standalone flights, you can purchase them when bundled with lodging or travel packages. Given below are a few benefits of purchasing Costco Travel packages:

Time Saving and Hassle Free – With Costco Travel you can search and book all your travel needs including plane tickets in one place. You receive one itinerary that includes flight deals as well, making it easy for you to keep track of it all.   

Accumulate Frequent Flier Mileage – With Costco Travel you can continue to earn frequent flier mileage and can enter your mileage membership numbers when booking. 

Rewards and Perks – The holders of Executive Membership get a 2 percent reward on all non-taxable Costco Travel that includes airfare. 

However, where there are pros, there are cons. Given below are some downsides associated with buying a flight ticket from Costco Travel: 

Cancellation Fees – When booking a flight with Costco Travel it may be subject to cancellation fees. 

Pricing – Costco’s package deals might sometimes be a tad bit more pricey than booking your flights independently. 

Limited Choice – When booking with Costco Travel you get a limited choice of airlines, as Costco does not work with all of them.  

Seat Selection Trouble – Those who use Costco Travel have complained of seeing limited seating choices. Some have even reported seating maps being unavailable when booking flights. 

Costco Travel is Your Customer Service in Case of a Problem not the Carrier – In case there is an issue with your flight, you have to contact Costco Travel for resolution or changes. Complaints have been received from Costco members due to long hold times. 

Booking a Flight with Costco Travel 

Booking a flight with costco Travel

If you wish to book a flight with Costco Travel, you will have to visit their homepage and use the main search form. When using the search form to book a Vacation Package, first enter the destination and region you are traveling to along with the departure and return dates of your travel. You can also search for a flight with a cruise or even a hotel stay. Just keep in mind that you can only book a flight with Costco if it is bundled with a travel package. 

When filling out the form, after typing all of your destination and region details, move towards the Flying From field, and from there select your departure airport as well as your flying class. Moreover, in case you are traveling with kids, enter their ages to get accurate pricing on the package. Once done, click on Find My Vacations to view your travel options. 

In order to book a package, click on View Details & Customize. Afterward, review, checkbox, and click on I Understand on the Travel Advisory. Now you will be able to explore your flight options. At the top of the page, you will see Included Flights, these are the ones that Costco Travel selected as the most affordable and convenient for your package. To view additional flights, you can scroll down or can also use the filter to narrow your research. If a flight appeals to you, you can book it by clicking Select.

A notification will then pop up confirming the price change and new flight selection, click on Accept and you are done. If, however, you want to go with the included flight, all you have to do is click Continue to the Hotel in the upper right-hand corner and complete your booking. 

Is It a good deal to Book Flights with Costco Travel?

Those who use Costco Travel rigorously, swear by it and claim to have gotten better deals on flights that are bought as part of Costco Travel package. However, before booking make sure to search comparable flight prices to get a better idea. As Costco Travel does not itemize the pricing of the travel package, it gets a bit difficult to know how much the flight costs. However, you can compare your Costco Travel flight by comparing the price of the package with and without the flight, to do that unclick the Flying From box. 

Airlines Costco Travel Works With 

Given below is a list of the carriers that Cost works with:

  • Aegean Airlines
  • Aer Lingus
  • Air Canada
  • Air Europa
  • Air France
  • Air New Zealand
  • Air Tahiti
  • Air Tahiti Nui
  • Air Transat
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Alitalia 
  • American Airlines
  • Bahamas Air
  • British Airways
  • Cayman Airways
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Fiji Airways
  • Hawaiian Airlines 
  • Iberia
  • Lufthansa
  • Olympic Air
  • Sky Express
  • United Airlines
  • WestJet
  • Virgin Atlantic

Car Rentals via Costco Travel 

To get the best deals on rental cars make your way to Costco Travels where you can get better car models for lower prices as compared to the travel industry’s most reputable car rental agencies. Given below are the perks associated with renting a car via Costco:

Low Pricing – Costco Travel offers car rentals from the highest quality vendors at the lowest prices. 

Renting a Car via a Reputable Agency – One great perk of Costco Travel is that it does not work with low-cost carriers. 

Additional Drivers are Free – Additional drivers, which normally cost, more than $10 per day are induced for free with every car booking. 

No Upfront Payment – You can reserve a car via Costco Travel without any deposit or prepayments. 

Free Car Rental Cancellation – You can easily cancel a car rental without facing any penalties. 

No Hidden Fees – There will be surprises waiting for you at the rental counter, ad cost rental car pricing comes with taxes. 

Easy to Find the Best Deals – The Costco Travel website displays car rental options in an easy-to-view grid which makes it simple and easy to find the best deals. 

Loyalty Program Points – You can earn loyalty program points by renting a car via Costco, all you have to do is enter your preferred loyalty program number while booking to earn points. 

Rebates and Rewards – Some car rentals include a free Costco Shop Card. Whereas Executive Membership holders earn a 2 percent reward on all non-taxable rental car bookings.  

Renting a car with Costco sounds like a great idea however there is one con associated with it:

Limited Choice of Car Rentals – Costco works with only four car rental agencies which means that neither will you be able to rent from major rentals like Hertz nor will you be able to book a car from discount agencies such as Fox, Payless, or Sixt.

Is Renting a Car via Costco a Good Idea?

Renting a car via Costco is a great idea, because not only do you get tax-inclusive low prices, but also get a free additional driver, not to mention the many perks and rebates that come with renting a car from Costco. 

Car Rental Companies that Costco Works With

Given below are the fur car rental companies that Costco Travel works with:

  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Enterprise 

Renting a Car with Costco

Car rental via Costco Travel

Go to the Costco Travel homepage, from there you can either click on the Rental Car option in the main menu or the Rental Car option in the main search box. Once you are done selecting, enter your pickup and drop-off locations as well as times and dates. If you are considering booking a roundtrip, your pickup and drop-off location will be the same. However, for one-way rentals, click on the option Drop Off At A Different Location and then enter your drop-off location. Once you have filled in all these details click on Find My Car to view your car rental options. 

Select the price and car that you find suitable and book it by clicking Continue. You can also select optional equipment for your rental like Wi-Fi, booster seat, and much more. Once you have clicked Continue you will be asked to log in to finalize the booking. Once you are logged in, enter their contact information, and accept the terms and conditions. In the end, click Finalize Booking. 

Costco Travel Vacation Packages 

Costco vacation packages normally include, lodgings, airfare, airport transfers, as well as car retails. Depending on your trip, some even include activities. Costco Travel harbors four main categories of travel packages:

Costco Travel Vacation Package – This package includes stays at hotels or resorts, and airport travel as well as some extras. Package pricing usually includes airfare; however, you can opt for a package without the flight. You also have the option to build your own package by selecting any suitable combination of airfare, hotel, or car rental. 

Costco Travel Specialty Vacations – These kinds of vacations are for African safaris and guided travels and are booked with outside providers, at prices exclusive to Costco members. 

Costco Travel Cruises – Costco Travel also offers cruise packages that are available on 12 different cruise lines.

Costco Travel Theme Parks – This package includes discounted stays bundled with admission tickets to theme parks like Universal and Disney. 

Costco also sometimes assigns one of the three valuable labels to their travel packages which include:

Kirkland Signature – With this label, you can expect the best rooms at the lowest prices and the most extras. 

Buyer’s Choice – This label is one tier below Kirkland Signature and includes top-quality brand-name vacations, rental cars, and cruises. 

Limited-Time Deals – As the name suggests these deals are for a set time only and are available, members have to book these by a set date. 

Pros and Cons of Costco Travel Packages 

Given below are some of the many perks of Costco Travel Packages:

Cost Efficient – Cost Travel packages can help you save hundreds of dollars on your trip. 

Time-Saving – Costco Travel packages are time-saving as they allow you to book everything including accommodation, car, and flight all in one place.

Travel Advisories – During the booking process, Costco will also alert its members to important visitor information and travel advisories. 

Partial Payment – In order to secure your booking, Costco Travel may ask for partial payment. 

Rebates, Rewards, and Extras – You can earn rebates in the form of Costco Shop Cards by opting for its various travel packages. These Costco Shop Cards are valued at 5% to 8% of the lodging costs. When it comes to rewards, in addition to the usual 2 percent reward on all non-taxable travel spending, Executive Members are also given various perks like resort credits and room upgrades. These perks and benefits depend on the kind of trip you are taking. 

One main con associated with booking a travel package via Costco is:

Limited Choice – Costco Travels worked with a small number of lodging vendors in some destinations. In case you do see a resort or hotel you like for the place you are visiting; you will have to look for accommodation booking elsewhere. 

Is It a Good Idea to Go for Costco Vacation Packages?

Similar to flights and rental car bookings, it is best to research and compare other options first to ensure that Costco Travel offers the best deals. On the surface it appears that Cost Travel packages are a good deal with their rebates, rewards, and perks, however, the limited choice of accommodation vendors might cause some difficulty. Moreover, booking a travel package with Costco spares you some time to work on your packing and travel planning, as Costco Travel offers a one-stop booking platform.   

Costco Travel Cruises

Some of the most experienced voyagers swear by Cost Travel Cruises and claim that Costco is their first and last stop when planning a cruise because of its rebates, many rewards, and countless perks. For example, if you are booking a five-night Western Caribbean Disney cruise for a party of four in the most budget-friendly room, the cost of it on Costco Travel will come out to be $7,303, including tax as well as a $595 Costco Shop Card.

Whereas the same trip costs $7,358 on the website of Disney Cruises. Even though the price difference is not much considering the rebate and the 2 percent Executive Member rewards, Costco Travel offers a much better deal on cruises. Costco works with 12 major cruise lines the names of which are given below:

  • Azamara
  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • Celebrity Cruises
  • Cunard
  • Disney Cruise Line
  • Holland America Line
  • Norwegian Cruise Line
  • Princess Cruises 
  • Regent Seven Seas Cruises
  • Royal Caribbean
  • Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Pros and Cons of Costco Travel Crusie

Given below are some of the pros associated with booking a cruise via Costco Travel:

Pricing – Costco Travel offers the most competitive pricing on cruises, even before taking into account the rebates and rewards. 

Value Labeling – Labels like Kirkland Signature and Buyer’s Choice offer the best value for cruises.

Price Reductions and Changes – Members of Costco can easily track cruise price drops in order to get a better deal and then contact Costco to honor price reductions. 

Rebates – If you book one of the 12 cruises mentioned above, you will get a 5% to 8% rebate on non-taxable cruise costs in the form of a Costco Shop Card.

Perks and Rewards – On non-taxable cruise spending, Executive Members get a 2 percent reward as well as extras such as shipboard credits, room upgrades, and much more. 

Cons associated with booking a cruise via Costco Travel are:

Limited Options – Costco only works with 12 cruise lines offering voyages only a limited choice. 

Rebates instead of Shipboard Credits – Unlike most travel agents, Costco offers its members rebates in the form of Costco Shop Card instead of shipboard credits. The shop cards even though offer a high value, members have to wait about four to six weeks after the trip to receive them. 

Costco Does Not Track Price Drops – Most travel agents tend to track cruise prices and share price reductions with customers, however, Costco does not. Therefore, voyagers themselves have to keep track of prices and request Costco Travel for adjustments. 

Not Fit for First-Time Cruises – As Costco Travel customer service agents are not cruise specialists, it’s best for first-time cruisers, who might have a lot of questions, to book a cruise with a dedicated specialist.

Costco Travel Theme Parks

Given below are the theme parks that Costco works with:

  • Walt Disney World
  • Universal Orlando
  • Disneyland Resorts

When it comes to theme parks, Costco Travel savings are huge. For example, if you book a one-week trip to Walt Disney World via Costco Travel, for a family of four with five-day Park Hopper tickets and a stay at The Art of Animation, you will have to pay $5,139. While the same package booked on the website of Disney will cost $6.985. Apart from pricing, booking a theme park package with Costco offers tons of rebates, and rewards as well for Executive Members. 

The only con associated with booking a theme park visit via Costco is that first-time, inexperienced visitors can get confused. Therefore, it is best for first-time visitors to book the visit with a dedicated theme park travel agent who can easily answer their questions to remove any confusion.

Costco Travel Hotels 

When booking a hotel via Costco, expect a limited number of accommodation options, as Cost Travel works only with a few select hotels. However, if you are lucky enough to find lodging at Costco expect to get better prices, perks rebates, and rewards that are unavailable anywhere else. Given below are some of the benefits associated with booking a hotel via Costco:

Time-Saving – For travelers who are indecisive and suffer from decision fatigue, Costco is a great platform as its limited number of hotels helps them narrow down their options easily.

Price – Costco offers a better price for rooms with their vendors.

Partial Payment – To secure hotel bookings, Costco may ask its members to deposit partial payment depending on the accommodation and travel date. 

Price Reductions – In case you see a reduction in price on your accommodation booking, you can contact Costco customer service and ask them to pass on the savings. 

Rebates, Rewards, and Extras – For some accommodation bookings, Costco offers rebates in the form of a Costco Shop Card that are valued at 5% to 8% of lodging costs. Moreover, regardless of membership levels, you can get many extras when you book a hotel via Costco like late checkouts and airport transfers at no additional cost. Executive Members are, however, eligible for several other perks like earning a 2 percent reward on non-taxable hotel spending. 

Given below are some of the cons that are associated with booking a hotel through Costco:

Offers Limited Selection – The selection of hotels offered by Costco is extremely limited. As of yet, the retailer works only with four major hotel brands some of which have only middling ratings. Travelers coveting boutique or exemplary lodging will have to take their business elsewhere. 

Limited Family-Friendly Accommodation Options – Most of the accommodations provided on Cost are not family-friendly. Families mostly prefer spacious accommodation with separate bathrooms in one unit. Costco however fails to provide such lodgings. 

Is Booking a Hotel via Costco a Good Deal?

Costco Travel nearly always offers good deals on accommodations not to mention the rebates, rewards, and perks associated with booking lodgings via Costco. 

Hotel Companies that Costco Travel Works With

  • Costco works with four major hotel companies that are:
  • IHF Hotels & Resorts – This includes 15 hotel brands such as the Kimpton Hotel, Holiday Inn, and the InterContinental.
  • Fairmont Hotels $ Resorts 
  • Hyatt – this includes 12 Hyatt brands spread across South and North America.
  • Swissotel Hotels & Resorts 

Booking a Hotel with Costco 

Costco Hotel

To book a hotel via Costco, go to the webpage of Costco Travel. Click the hotel icon on the main search form to begin a hotel-only search. You can also browse hotel brands from the main menu dropdown. All you have to do is select your preferred hotel brand and you will be redirected to a page with the same search box, however, on that page you will be able to scroll down to see all, the featured properties of the brand. 

When using the main search box to find hotel strays, all you have to do is fill in your destination with travel dates, number of rooms, and number of travelers. Once you are done click on Find My Hotel. In case you are traveling with children, mention that in this form as their ages might have an impact on the rooms requested. 

Once you click on Find My Hotel you will be directed to a page where you will see several things like preparty photos, the total price of your stay, reviews from other Costco Travel members, and well as included extras. In order to continue with the booking all, you have to do is click on View Details & Customize.

From there read through and agree to the Travel Advisory. Once you have agreed with the Travel Advisory you will land on a page where you will see your hotel details. Once you have checked all the details you can either click on Continue to Transportation, if you wish to include transpiration in your package. If not, just select Continue to Recap to log in and book the place.

Perks of Booking with Costco

  • Offers market competitive pricing.
  • Several vacation packages and hotel bookings come with a complimentary Costco Shop Card.
  • Executive Membership holders get a 2% reward on all non-taxable trip costs. 
  • You can pay for a trip via your Costco Anywhere Visa card to get an additional 3 percent cashback on travel. When you combine this benefit with a Costco Shop Card and a 2% Exclusive Membership reward, you can tally a 10% return on your travel spending. 
  • Some trips sold on Costco Travel also offer numerous extras like complimentary airport transfers, and late checkouts regardless of membership type. However, Executive Membership holders do get some additional perks and benefits like spa credits, complimentary meals, VIP airport experiences, room upgrades, and much more. 
  • Costco Travel is also quite convenient as all your travel documents and bookings will be from one vendor only.
  • There are no hidden fees when it comes to booking travel packages with Costco and all the travel package prices are inclusive of taxes and fees, except for some local and departure taxes collected by the government. 

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