My honest and detailed Costco Travel review–find out about all of their travel deals and if they’re right for you.
I fell in love with Costco because of their famous $1.50 hotdog and soda combo. But these aren’t the only deals that they have.
When it comes to selling package deals, Costco knows how it’s done. You can’t find better deals than their Kirkland brand products, gas fill-ups, and travel packages!
That’s right; I said travel packages. Costco Travel is a leader in selling vacation packages available only to members.
Costco is different from your ordinary travel search engine. They offer bundles for your favorite theme parks and cruise lines. But is it worth the membership?
Keep reading to determine if the membership is worth springing for.
Note: this article contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.
Table of Contents
What is Costco Travel?
Costco is a members-only wholesale company that opened its first warehouse in 1983. Their popularity snowballed from there.
Costco was the first company to reach $3 billion in sales in its first six years. In 2000, they branched out and created Costco Travel.
The funny thing is that to this day, many people still don’t know Costco also sells travel packages! These packages can include flights, hotels, cruises, cars, and more.
They work with an individual tour company to sell you the same travel packages as the tour companies but with added benefits.
How Does Costco Travel Work?
You’ll have to become a member to get a Costco Travel package. There are two levels of membership that both allow you to take advantage of these Costco Travel deals.
The basic “Gold Star” annual membership costs $60. With this level, you’ll be able to receive the unique Costco offers at their warehouses and online.
The “Executive” membership costs $120. As an executive member, you’ll enjoy all of the benefits of the Gold Star membership and extra perks such as:
- Exclusive deals and benefits on Costco services
- 2% cash back on Costco and Costco Travel purchases
Both membership levels are great deals and help you save money.
Search for a Travel Package
Start by clicking the travel service you’re looking for on the Costco Travel website. To find a vacation package from there, enter your destination, region, and dates.
You can adjust the dates in each city for your Costco Travel vacation packages. It’s possible to add flights, but many Costco members book flights separately.
There’s also no separate search engine for booking flights. You can get a better price and have more control over which flight you take by doing it yourself.
I suggest creating a Costco Travel account to manage your vacation packages, rental cars, and hotel rooms.
Costco Travel Review: My Experience With Using Costco Travel
Costco Travel Vacation Packages
One of the biggest perks of these travel packages is the convenience of booking your vacation through Costco. I used Costco Travel on one of my recent trips to Costa Rica.
The package I purchased was around $6,000 for two weeks at a resort, which is a reasonable price.
While searching, you’ll notice that each of the vacation packages provides a list of benefits.
Some resorts give you breakfast for free and food credits per day. Others won’t include any food at all. Pay close attention–it’s frustrating when you expect everything to be paid, but it’s not.
Costco Travel doesn’t automatically include airport transportation either. When clicking through, you have to choose from multiple transportation options.
Executive members can use their 2% cashback reward on any vacation package.
I like to book directly when purchasing a flight. However, Costco Travel airline tickets don’t exist for purchase separately. These flights always come as part of a package.
You can choose from a few options under the packages section that come with a flight: flight + hotel, flight + hotel + car, and the total vacation package.
Even if you have trip insurance, that won’t help with flight issues. If a problem arises, they’ll send you to the airline instead.
When booking a hotel room through Costco Travel, you should know a few things.
If you’re looking for a hotel in certain cities, you’ll need a Costco membership to see the total price.
Some popular cities worldwide aren’t available on Costco Travel, so you’ll only see travel packages without hotels for those cities.
To book a hotel for New York City, for instance, you’ll have to book the hotel directly.
Costco Rental Cars
Costco Travel has an easy interface for booking a rental car. However, they show only a select few car rental companies.
When I was looking for car rentals in Italy, I got only four different car rental companies to choose from. Those were Alamo, AVIS, Budget, and Enterprise.
Car rentals can be expensive, so I suggest comparing prices with other companies before purchasing from Costco Travel.
Costco Travel Cruises
Costco Travel offers its Costco members the ability to purchase a cruise through their easy-to-use search engine. Most other travel booking sites don’t provide this feature.
You can choose the destination you want and even a specific cruise line. There are also options to look specifically for Alaskan cruises only.
Depending on how many days you choose for your cruise, several different options will appear. You’ll get the same Costco value when you’ve booked through Costco.
There will be many reviews for each route, and select cruises are up to 30% off. Below are the different cruise lines you can choose from (not including Alaska cruises):
- Celebrity Cruises
- Disney Cruises
- Holland America Line
- Norwegian Cruise Line
- Princess Cruises
- Regent Seven Seas Cruises
- Royal Caribbean
- Uniworld Boutique River Cruises
Even with Costco Travel’s alleged 30% savings, the price still seems the same as booking directly.
Others are getting certain benefits like a Costco gift card and onboard credit. It’s worth booking through Costo Travel if you get these perks.
Other Deals Through Costco Travel
Theme Parks & Speciality Vacations
If you look further into the Costco site, you’ll find that they offer even more vacation packages.
These packages aren’t cheap but are some of the most sought-after bucket list trips. You can choose from many adventures if you want a family-friendly experience.
Going on an African safari has been on my list for many years. Costco Travel has full trips planned for you already. It’s absolutely amazing–like having your own travel agent.
These guided vacations might not have lower prices, but having your trip booked through Costco Travel is more straightforward than other travel sites.
Costco Travel works with other travel agencies to get travel deals for its members. Executive members enjoy extra perks like free upgrades, food/spa credits, and more.
Costco Travel also offers upgraded Kirkland Signature vacations. It’s the same brand you know and love but with travel. Costco Travel offers deals on these trips for up to 20% off.
Kirkland Signature has featured deals that last only a short time. You can scroll through pre-built vacation packages with set dates.
These deals often offer other perks and services, making Kirkland Signature deals impressive ways to kick back and relax.
Cash Back on Purchases
As an executive member, you can enjoy up to 2% cash back on purchases through Costco and Costco Travel.
There’s also a credit card called “Costco Anywhere Visa,” which gives you 3% cash back. Having their credit card is helpful if you know you’ll purchase from Costco Travel often.
Different Payment Options
When using Costco booking, you’ll be happy to hear there’s a flexible payment option. You’ll only have to pay a small percentage (in comparison) upfront.
If you’re using Costco Travel booking services, you can also choose a payment plan to spread it out. Who doesn’t love a good payment plan?
Membership is Necessary
To get Costco Travel exclusive deals, you must be a member.
This downside might not be a big deal to Costco members who pay the membership solely for Costco Wholesale. And, considering what you get from it, the membership cost isn’t that steep.
The extra price you’ll pay for a travel agent will cost you more. Plus, you don’t get the other services that Costco offers.
Hidden Extra Expenses
When I chose my vacation package to Costa Rica, I noticed that these resorts didn’t always offer free food and beverages. Instead, some gave you “credits.”
If you don’t read closely, you might think the food and drinks are free (especially given the prices).
I saw this less often when purchasing my Costco Hawaii package, but you should still keep an eye out.
Costco Travel Cancellation & Exchange Policy
Canceling your vacation package is easy. You can get a refund if you cancel within 48 hours of departure. Each scenario is different, though.
Log into your Costco Travel account. Click ‘bookings,’ then ‘upcoming,’ and ‘cancel.’ There, you’ll see your upcoming trip and how much you’re eligible for in return.
Costco Travel insurance can help if any unforeseen circumstances arise.
FAQs About Costco Travel
Is Costco Travel the same as Costco?
Costco owns Costco Travel, but they are different business sectors. Costco Wholesale is what most people know Costco for, and Costco Travel is strictly for travel.
Can Costco save you money on flights?
Costco won’t save you money on flights, but you can get many of the same flights as you usually can find on other websites.
How far in advance should I book Costco Travel?
When booking a travel package through Costco Travel, purchasing it between three and six months in advance is best.
Do you get two percent back on Costco Travel?
Purchases through Costco Travel are eligible for 2% cashback. This is a massive perk of an executive membership. Members receive up to $1,000 cashback.
Do you have to be a Costco member to use Costco Travel?
You must be a Costco member to purchase vacation packages through Costco Travel. One of the downsides to Costco Travel is the entry barrier, but it’s worth the cost.
Conclusion: So, is Costco Travel worth it?
Using Costco Travel discounts is a no-brainer if you’re already a Costco member. At the very least, it’s worth a search to see if they have any deals that you fancy.
Costco Travel is a good deal for those who love having someone plan everything for them and do it often.
Spending $6,000 a year on travel pays for the executive membership solely from the cash back.
Costco Travel isn’t great for budget travelers. It’s also not the best option for you if you don’t like a strict plan when traveling.
But, even so, there’s still some value in having Costco Travel car rentals.
A Costco membership alone is so valuable for most people that it’s worth factoring the travel perks into the equation.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Phillip Anderson is a freelance travel writer, personal trainer, and adventure enthusiast from Virginia Beach. Growing up, he spent most of his days either hiking in the Shenandoah, going to the beach, or working out. He is currently traveling through Latin America while working on projects to share his adventures with the world.
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