By: Carolyn Fitchard
Rotisserie chicken, bulk toilet paper, and … vacation packages? You read that right! Costco members can now save on their next vacation through Costco Travel, an exclusive members-only travel service. The booking site makes it easy to find deals on hotels, flights, car rentals, and vacation packages all around the world. But does it give you the best value? The Groupon Coupons team compared Costco Travel against popular booking sites Hotels.com and Booking.com to see if it lives up to the hype.
Costco Travel is an exclusive members-only booking site that calls on Costco’s buying authority to negotiate low rates for hotels, flights, rental cars, and vacation packages. If you’re already a Costco member, you can create a Costco Travel account for free and start searching these popular travel categories:
Book at a number of hotel properties across the country:
Costco Travel gives you access to some of the most popular cruise lines, including Disney Cruise Line, Carnival, and Princess Cruises. The price of the cruise includes accommodations, onboard activities and entertainment, most onboard meals and snacks, and an itinerary of ports of call. There are two ways to save on cruises with Costco Travel:
Costco Travel’s Low Price Finder searches for the best value from these popular car rental brands:
You can generally find the best value on Costco Travel by bundling your travel accommodations and transportation together. Here are a few options:
We searched for hotels and other travel options on Costco Travel, Hotels.com, and Booking.com to see which site gives you the best deal. These prices include taxes and fees.
King Deluxe Room at Kimpton Gray Hotel in Chicago | 2 People | 2 Nights
Standard Room at Crowne Plaza in New York City | Round Trip Flight ORD to JFK | 2 People
ORD Pick-Up and Drop Off | Economy Car | 3 Days
Our takeaway: We found that Costco Travel has slightly lower car rental rates when compared to the other booking sites. When it comes to finding the cheapest deal for hotels and flight packages, you’re better off searching the other booking sites and comparing prices. For this search, Booking.com had an edge on the cheapest hotel prices (even for a splurge-worthy accommodation), while Hotels.com had the lowest package rate for flights and hotels.
In addition to the low rates you get every time you book with Costco Travel, you stand to save even more with the limited-time deals. At the time of this article’s publication, Costco Travel was offering $200 Instant Savings on vacation packages in Los Cabos, Cancun, and San Diego. But you have to book fast to get the best savings.
Executive Members earn an annual 2% reward on Costco Travel purchases. Additionally, they get exclusive savings, such as resort credit, spa credit, and shipboard credit, on select vacations.
Use the Costco Anytime Visa Card by Citi (subject to approval) to earn 3% cash back on eligible travel. You’ll also get 4% cash back on eligible gas, 3% cash back on restaurants, 2% cash back on all other purchases at Costco, and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
In our research, we found Costco Travel to be a good deal for finding cheap car rentals. But for hotels and vacation packages, other booking sites offer more competitive prices so it’s best to look around. We did like some of the perks that come with booking a Kirkland Signature Cruise, such as spa credit and Costco Shop Cards, as well as the 3% cash back rewards you get from using the Costco Anytime Visa Card by Citi.
While not included in the initial price, you have the option of adding airfare to your travel package for an additional fee.
Depending on when you book and the type of package you’re booking, you may be able to set up a scheduled payment plan with Costco Travel. Call 1-866-921-7925 to speak with a Costco Travel expert.
Check out our collection of Costco coupons to save on membership fees or snag a Costco Shop Card.