As a proud Costco member, you already know that shopping at your favorite warehouse club can save you a bundle on everything from giant packs of paper towels to tantalizing rotisserie chickens. But did you realize that your Costco membership also unlocks exclusive travel discounts and perks through Costco Travel?
Keep reading to discover the key things every Costco member should know about booking hotels, rental cars, cruises, flights, vacation packages, and more with Costco Travel. We’ll outline all the ways you can save, the extra benefits you’ll enjoy, and some smart tips for getting the best deals.
An Overview: What Exactly is Costco Travel?
Launched in 2000, Costco Travel is Costco’s full-service, in-house travel agency. It offers a wide range of popular travel products exclusively for Costco members, including:
- Vacation packages
- Rental cars
- Theme park packages
- Specialty vacations like safaris, tours, and guided travel
While anyone can browse prices and destinations on the Costco website, only current Costco members can view rates and book trips. And yes, you’ll need an active Costco membership to take advantage of Costco Travel deals and perks before or at the time of booking.
Both standard Gold Star and Executive memberships qualify. Upgrading to an Executive membership makes sense for frequent Costco shoppers spending over $3,000 per year since Executive members earn 2% back (up to $1,000) on Costco purchases. That 2% reward applies to Costco Travel as well.
Executive members also unlock extra travel perks like resort credits, shipboard credits, complimentary meals and more on select Costco Travel vacation packages.
5 Key Benefits of Booking Travel Through Costco
From exclusive member pricing to high-value bonuses and hassle-free changes, Costco Travel offers some clear advantages for Costco members. Here are five of the best perks to know about:
- Unbeatable Member Rates
Costco negotiates with travel suppliers to secure exclusive discounted pricing and value-adds that only members can access. You’ll often score lower rates on hotels, cruises and vacation packages than the prices available to the general public on other sites.
- Generous Onboard Credits and Resort Perks
On many cruises and vacation packages, Costco Travel provides its members with free Costco Shop Cards worth $25, $50, $100 or more. For a 7-night cruise you may receive a $100 credit per cabin, while longer voyages can score up to $300 in Costco cash.
Executive members unlock even higher shipboard credits on select cruise packages, along with extra resort credits at certain hotels, spa treatments, free meals and more.
- Easy Changes and Cancellations
Booking your trip through Costco Travel means zero change fees and free cancellations on most vacation packages and cruises. You’ll have extra flexibility if your plans shift.
- Costco’s Amazing Return Policy
The same risk-free return policy that makes shopping at Costco warehouses so appealing extends to Costco Travel as well. If you aren’t completely satisfied with your trip, you can request a full refund within 90 days of your booking.
- Travel Insurance and Assistance Included
When booking vacation packages with Costco Travel, you’ll automatically receive travel insurance coverage like trip cancellation/interruption protection, emergency medical/dental coverage abroad and baggage loss insurance. That’s an extra cost saver!
Booking Your Next Trip: Costco Travel’s Offerings Explained
From all-inclusive resort packages to choose-your-own hotel, flights and car rental bundles, Costco Travel provides a full suite of travel booking options. Here’s what you can expect when planning various types of vacations through your favorite warehouse club:
Costco Travel offers pre-bundled vacation packages including flights, hotels, airport transfers and sometimes rental cars to destinations across the U.S., Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, Canada, Europe and beyond.
These customizable bundles often provide the biggest bang for your buck over piecing together a DIY vacation. Costco Travel combs through millions of potential flight and hotel combinations to find member-exclusive pricing on packages that typically include:
- Nonstop or connecting airline tickets from your closest airport
- 3 to 7 nights (or more) hotel accommodations
- Round-trip airport transfers at your destination
- All taxes/fees
- Costco Shop Card worth $50 to $500+ depending on length of stay
You’ll enjoy extra convenience, built-in travel protection and the flexibility to modify dates, room types, number of travelers and more with no change fees.
Kirkland Signature Vacations
Vacation packages labeled Kirkland Signature come with hand-picked hotels, bonus inclusions like dining or spa credits and guaranteed best rates. Expect resort credits ranging from $25 to $250 per booking along with extras like waived resort fees, welcome drinks, discounted green fees, activity vouchers and upgrades.
As an Executive member, you may score free breakfast, guaranteed early check-in/late check-out and higher resort credits at certain properties booked via Kirkland Signature vacation packages.
You can book hotel stays internationally or closer to home directly through Costco Travel. However, outside of pre-set vacation packages, Costco Travel’s stand-alone hotel inventory is somewhat limited. If you want maximum flexibility to pick your own flights, car rental company and travel dates, booking hotel + air + car as a bundle is best.
When booking member-only hotel rates through Costco, keep in mind you likely won’t earn hotel loyalty points or receive elite member benefits and status perks.
Packages With member-exclusive rates across 11 top cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Disney, Princess and more, Costco Travel provides a simplified way for first-time and experienced cruisers to plan their next sea-faring adventure.
You’ll enjoy discounted Costco member fares with extra onboard credits ranging $25 to $100+ per cabin, depending on ship, itinerary and room type. Executive cardholders unlock the highest shipboard credits for ultimate cruise value.
Costco Shop Cards worth up to $325 per cabin make Costco Travel cruise packages even more enticing. Other perks may include free gratuities, unlimited drink packages, free Wi-Fi and reduced deposits.
Theme Park Packages
If you’re planning a family trip to Orlando’s famous theme parks, Costco Travel bundles discounted stays at top Universal Orlando and Walt Disney World hotels with multi-day park tickets. Popular options like Early Park Admission, Universal Express Unlimited ride access, Disney Genie+ line skipping and transportation are also included in select packages catered to family travelers.
Securing rental cars alongside flights and hotels through Costco Travel ensures seamless transportation at your destination while maximizing member savings. When booking directly on major car rental sites, prices can swing wildly, but Costco Travel locks in low member rates.
You’ll also score generous extras like unlimited free additional drivers with Alamo, Avis, Budget and Enterprise rentals. Automatic upgrades, waived underage surcharges for drivers as young as 20 and free cancellation make Costco Travel the ideal one-stop rental car shop.
Specialty and Guided Vacations
Beyond standard hotels and packages, Costco Travel provides unique specialty vacations like:
- African safaris
- Guided tours across six continents
- River cruises through Europe and elsewhere
- Packaged trips catering to solo travelers, adventurers, foodies, 18-35-year olds and more
This option takes the work out of planning while letting you experience world-class trips packed with insider access, cultural immersion, amazing guides and more. Explore multi-country journeys with lodging, activities, transportation and most meals included.
5 Clever Hacks to Unlock the Best Deals
While Costco Travel’s everyday member rates beat most online travel sites, you can maximize your savings by following these expert tips:
- Be Flexible with Dates and Destinations
Costco Travel lets you filter vacation package search results by price, travel month, destination and more. If your schedule permits, look at different date ranges and locations to reveal the best discounts.
- Watch for Limited-Time Promotions
Ongoing deals and flash sales offer huge value on Costco Travel’s already low member rates. Sign up for emails and check their Special Deals page routinely to discover promotions like 20% off vacation packages or up to $750 in resort credits per booking. Site-wide sales knock pricing down even further.
- Let Costco Upgrade Your Rental Car
One little-known tip when booking rental cars through Costco Travel is that you will often score a free upgrade when picking up your vehicle. So go ahead and reserve an economy or compact car, then smile big when those keys to a premium SUV or minivan get handed your way.
- Book Refundable Rate Hotels
While Costco Travel provides exceptional hotel deals within packages, their stand-alone hotel inventory can be limited. When booking hotels independently, opt for refundable rates that allow free cancellation in case you decide to upgrade to a Costco Travel vacation package later on.
- Price it Out Yourself First
As with any travel booking site promising amazing deals, be sure to compare Costco Travel package rates and inclusions against what you could book independently. Factor in every individual element like flights, hotel, airport transfers, travel insurance and dining credits to confirm you’re getting the best value.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re new to exploring everything Costco Travel offers, chances are you still have some questions. Here we’ll tackle some of the key basics:
Do I need a Costco membership to use Costco Travel?
Yes, an active Costco membership (Gold Star or Executive level) is required both at the time of booking travel through Costco and when taking your trip. Non-members cannot access Costco Travel rates or perks.
Can Costco Travel save me money compared to other sites?
Absolutely! Costco Travel provides members-only pricing that cuts out markups you’ll find on public travel websites. Bundled vacation packages, in particular, offer high value over piecing together flights, hotels and more yourself without Costco’s buying power.
What forms of payment does Costco Travel accept?
Payment options include all major credit cards, debit cards, cash, traveler’s checks, gift cards or certificates, and Costco Shop Cards. You can also use Costco Travel Certificates toward eligible purchases.
Can I earn hotel loyalty points/status by booking through Costco Travel?
Unfortunately, no. By booking hotels via third-party sites like Costco Travel instead of directly through brand channels, you usually won’t earn points, nights credit or receive elite member benefits.
Is Costco Travel better for certain types of vacations?
Definitely! Packaged vacations including flights tend to offer the highest proprietary member savings. Costco Travel cruise packages also guarantee some of the lowest rates along with generous Costco Shop Card credits topping $100. Specialty vacations too are exclusive for members.
Discover Endless Possibilities with Costco Travel
No matter where your wanderlust takes you, booking through your go-to warehouse retailer unlocks exclusive affordability and perks guaranteed to amplify your vacation. From weekend road trips to total bucket list blowouts, let Costco Travel make getting there part of the whole exciting adventure.