Are you thinking about your next vacation, but wondering how you will afford it? Well, if you’re a Costco member, you can benefit from the company’s travel program, exclusively available to Costco members with tons of savings and perks.
However, before you get your credit card ready, read below for more information on what to expect when you book your trip using Costco Travel!
15 Things to Know Before Booking With Costco Travel In 2023
1. Members Actually Can Book a Vacation With Costco Travel
Costco Travel is a one-stop shop for booking vacations and trips. Founded over 20 years ago, Costco Travel “is a wholly owned subsidiary” of Costco Wholesale, with offices in Issaquah, WA, right near the main corporate headquarters.
The program can be accessed at CostcoTravel.com, and shoppers can choose from hundreds of different experiences, packages and destinations.
You must be a Costco member to access the deals and steals at Costco Travel, however, so non-member bookings are not allowed.
2. Costco Travel Is Operated by Trained Employees (and They’re Probably Hiring)
Unbelievably, Costco Travel alone employs over 700 travel professionals, including a full suite of business and tech professionals.
The Costco Travel website proudly purports, “We are also trained professionals who can expertly advise you in planning and booking your vacation.”
Costco is a notoriously benevolent employer, and if you have ever wanted to work for the company, but didn’t want to work in retail, it’s always hiring at Costco Travel.
A brief look at the hiring website reveals the full panoply of positions at Costco Travel, from travel reservation agents (training provided) to IT professionals and engineers.
3. Booking Through Costco Travel Is a Familiar Experience
Costco Travell’s website has a very familiar layout, similar to rival sites like Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz.
Shoppers choose the travel accommodations they require – packages, hotels only, cruises, rental cars, etc. – the destination, and the dates.
4. Costco Travel Prices Will Likely Save You Money
You might be wondering if Costco Travel is any different from those big-name travel sites – because otherwise, why bother with it?
Business Insider ran a little experiment to compare Costco Travel to those rivals, and they found that overall, customers could save up to 30 percent booking through the company.
However, Business Insider did find that the savings were often much less, sometimes as little as four percent from competitors. Also, Costco Travel occasionally did not have the best deal.
So, if every penny counts on your next trip, Costco Travel likely has the lowest price tag, but just to be sure, it pays to shop around and compare.
5. Check Out the Costco Travel Hot Buys
If you’re feeling the wanderlust and have a flexible schedule, you can check out Costco Travel’s Hot Buys section.
These are like “sale” or “clearance” trips that are extra discounted for a limited time and are often all-inclusive, with extra perks like resort/spa credit or Costco shop cards.
6. The Costco Travel Site Keeps No Pricing Secrets
One of the best features of the Costco Travel site is that it’s upfront and transparent about the pricing.
If there is an associated fee with your trip, your shopping cart will reveal it as you compile your travel items.
This ensures that when you reach the final booking page, you aren’t suddenly shocked by a jump of $100 (or more) in your total.
7. Choose From a Variety of Costco Travel Packages
Costco Travel offers hundreds of different travel package combos, including:
- Full getaway packages
- Just hotel accommodations
- Hotel + Flight
- Hotel + Flight + Car
- Hotel + Car
- Rental cars
- Theme parks (think Disney!)
- Guided travel (through partnership with Trafalgar)
- African safaris (through partnership with Lion World Travel)
Destinations include domestic and international cities, tropical climates and snowy getaways, slow-paced beaches and adventurous treks.
Check out all the available destinations on this page by scrolling down to the map (about mid-page).
8. Airfare Is Not Included in All Costco Travel Packages (But Can Be Purchased)
Unless specifically mentioned in the trip listing, airfare is not automatically included with all vacation packages on Costco Travel.
However, via CostcoTravel.com, “Airfare can be purchased as an add-on with most…vacation packages.”
This can actually work in your favor if you’re a frequent flier and you have points or miles that you can apply at your specific airline of choice.
9. Reserve Plane Seats After Confirming Costco Travel Booking
If your vacation package with Costco Travel does include airfare, don’t panic if you go through the booking process without picking seats, as you can pick your plane seats after booking is confirmed and completed.
As well, some airlines seat on a first-come-first-serve basis, so there are no reservations required – just early arrivals and a good place in line.
10. Expect to Fly or Stay With Top Names Via Costco Travel
Costco is the fifth-largest retailer in the world, and with that kind of clout comes the power to negotiate on the company’s own terms.
This is where customers benefit, whether with mark-downs on coffee pods or overnights at a Walt Disney Resort.
Costco Travel is partnered with some of the biggest names in the travel industry, from airlines like American Airlines, to hotel chains like Hilton and Hyatt.
11. Disney Is a Great Destination for Costco Travel Bookers
The Disney theme parks are an experience like nothing else, but when resort suites go for upwards of $700 or $800 a night – who can afford that? Costco Travel aims to make your family’s vacation magical even for your wallet.
Build your own trip, or choose from Costco Travel’s many different Disney packages with different amenities and inclusions.
You can even book your Disney Cruise Line vacation, guided tours with Adventures by Disney or the Aulani resort in Hawaii.
12. Executive Members Can Benefit From Costco Travel Perks
Costco’s Executive members may see little bonus travel perks when they book with Costco Travel, which could include spa credits or resort credits or a hot breakfast each morning of the stay.
13. Costco Travel Can Also Help Executive Members Rack up Reward Dollars
Another major perk for Executive members is that money spent on Costco Travel also goes towards their yearly Rewards account.
Costco gives back two percent of purchases made at the store (or its subsidiaries, which includes Costco Travel).
So, if you spent $4,000 on a family vacation, you can count on at least $80 back at the end of the year.
14. Regular Members Can Get Money Back on Costco Travel Vacations, Too
Regular, non-Executive Costco members can also earn money back with their Costco Travel vacations as well. By qualifying for a Costco Visa card, they can earn three percent back.
In fact, Executive members can actually earn both, with their two percent back for being part of the Executive circle, plus three percent back if they book with a Costco Visa card.
15. Use Costco Travel to Book a Car Rental
Something that shoppers might not consider when using Costco Travel is to simply book a car rental the next time they need one.
We’re so used to going straight to the rental place directly, but Costco negotiates deals for Travel customers, so you could save money by using the website instead.
You don’t have to book an entire vacation to get a car rental through Costco Travel; simply select Rental Cars at the top of the website. In fact, you can even book by company!
To know more, you can also see our posts on whether or not Costco takes passport photos, things to know before buying Costco insurance, and if Costco sells stamps.
Costco Travel offers a wide array of affordable travel options and vacations, whether you’re looking for an all-inclusive package or just a flight and a rental car.
Customers can save up to 30 percent compared to competitor online booking sites, and Executive members save even more with every dollar spent applied to annual rewards.