Costco Car Rental: Is It Worth the Membership?

We Compared Costco Travel Car Rentals to Other Booking Sites to Find the Best Value

By: Carolyn Fitchard

Man holding a car key

If you’re looking for cheap car rentals, look no further than Costco. The warehouse club has expanded its bulk goods offerings to include discount travel through the member-exclusive Costco Travel program. And a big part of that program, aside from hotel bookings, cruises, and vacation packages, is car rentals. The program is free to join for Costco members, but is it worth the membership fee (which starts at $60/year) if you’re not? The Groupon Coupons team crunched the numbers to see how Costco Travel car rentals compare to other booking sites, and whether it’s worth the price of admission.

What is Costco Car Rental?

Costco Travel, the members-exclusive booking site, partners with Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise to get you competitive rates on car rentals. If you’re 25 or older, have a valid driver’s license, and are a current Costco member, you can use the Low Price Finder tool to search for car rentals all over the country. All taxes and fees are included in the price, so what you see is what you get. Costco Travel will also provide automatic discounts, like 25% off base rates, when available. That means less hunting around for Costco coupons. Here are a few perks of Costco car rentals:

  • The fee is waived for one additional driver
  • You can book now and pay later at the counter
  • There are no cancellation fees
  • Gold Star Executive members can earn a 2% annual reward
  • Earn 3% cash back rewards with the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi

Costco Car Rental Pricing Breakdown

How Much Can You Save With Costco Car Rental?

When we searched for a two-day car rental with the same pick-up and drop-off location of JFK Airport, Costco Travel listed out all the rental options from Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise. Highlighted at top is Costco Travel’s pick for the best deal, which ended up being an intermediate car (Toyota Corolla or similar). It factored in a $25 coupon and 25% off base rate discount right into the rental price. The tabs show how this price compares to renting a similar model from the other brands. In this case, renting from Avis saves you up to $77, which is roughly the average savings across other car models.

Costco travel car rental vs. hotels.com & booking.com

Costco Car Rental Vs. Other Travel Booking Sites

One limitation of Costco Travel is that they partner with half the car rental companies that booking sites like Hotels.com and Booking.com do. That means less competitive prices, especially from super budget-friendly rental companies like Dollar Car Rental and Thrifty Car Rental. We did the same search as above across all three booking sites to see if Costco Travel really provides the best value. Here’s what we found:

  • Costco Travel: $252 via Avis
  • Hotels.com: $142 via Dollar Car Rental (with 16% Pay Now discount)
  • Booking.com: $299 via Thrifty Car Rental

Our takeaway: Costco Travel stacks up well against Booking.com, but it doesn’t match the competitive price Hotels.com achieves with the 16% Pay Now discount. For that reason, it’s still best to compare prices across booking sites before reserving your next car rental.

Is Costco Car Rental Worth It?

According to our research, Costco Travel won’t always be your cheapest option for booking car rentals. It is, however, convenient for current Costco members, especially those getting the 2% annual reward for Executive Members or the 3% cash back from the Costco Anywhere Visa Card by Citi. But if you’re thinking of getting a Costco membership solely to save on car rentals, you’re better off ditching the membership and comparing prices across other booking sites instead.


Looking for more ways to save at Costco? Check out our collection of Costco coupons for deals on memberships. You can also learn more about the benefits of a Costco membership, including saving with Costco gas.

Sign up for 20% OFF

Stay in the know with emails and save on experiences you'll love near you. Good for three days only!