Despite the prevalence of ridesharing, renting a car is still one of the easiest and most convenient ways to get around on vacation.
Costco, the fifth largest retailer in the world, offers this service at a special discount to its members, thanks to its partnership with major rental companies. Before booking a car, though, read this list of 15 things to know before using Costco car rental for more information!
15 Things to Know Before Using Costco Car Rental In 2023
1. Costco Car Rental Is Part of the Company’s Travel Program
Costco offers a full suite of travel packages and benefits, including all-inclusive getaways, flights and hotel accommodations, and even rental cars.
So, if you’re planning a vacation or getaway somewhere, check out Costco’s car rental program for the duration of your stay.
However, you might also want to check and see if Costco offers your destination for less than the other big-name travel sites.
2. Costco Car Rental Is Available Only to Members
As a part of Costco’s money-saving travel program, its car rental discounts are also limited only to members.
You can sign up for just $60 per year (the Gold Star membership), or if you have the cash and like even bigger perks, get the Executive Membership for $120 per year.
When you realize the full breadth of what a Costco membership entails, you can see how the memberships start to pay for themselves.
3. You Can Choose From Major Brands with Costco Car Rental
Costco has partnered with four of the biggest names in the car rental industry, including the following:
While there are only four options (conspicuously missing are Hertz and National), these are still some of the largest, so you’re sure to have a wide selection of vehicles to choose from.
4. Use Costco Car Rental in Canada and Europe, Too
Costco car rental is not limited just to the U.S., as members in our neighbor-country to the north, Canada, are also eligible to take advantage of the discounts. Additionally, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain and the UK also support Costco car rentals as well.
5. Pick From a Recently Expanded Costco Car Rental Selection
According to Better Homes & Gardens, in 2021 Costco “expanded the car categories available to members.” What that means is that customers can now find automobiles like hybrids, which get better gas mileage, or Jeeps, which are great on more rugged terrain.
The selection of SUVs expanded, as well as electrical vehicles, and for those who want to look uber-stylish, there are sports cars available, too!
BHG writer Mia Taylor reports that the reason for this expansion was by customer request! Costco actually listened to its shoppers and gave the people what they wanted.
6. Save up to 30 Percent off Regular Rates with Costco Car Rental
Car rental companies may claim to have the best prices, but the truth is, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen how low the Costco car rental program charges.
AutoSlash reports that customers can receive up to 30 percent off the normal rental rates by renting through Costco, and the biggest deal is through Budget. As well, customers who rent with Avis can save up to 25 percent.
The discounts with Enterprise and Alamo aren’t public, but they are always offering discounts, as well as special perks like upgrades.
7. Executive Members Get Two Percent Back Using Costco Car Rental
Costco’s Executive members pay more each year, but they also save more and get more perks than their Gold counterparts.
Part of the Executive membership includes two percent cash back annually, which you can earn through Costco warehouse purchases and travel, including car rentals.
As well, Executive and Gold members can save more by using the Costco Citibank Visa credit card, where shoppers earn three percent back on Costco travel purchases.
8. Booking a Costco Car Rental Is Quick and Easy
Booking a car rental with Costco is easy to do, and all you need is access to the internet. Simply visit CostcoTravel.com, and in the top menu (or the inset menu just below the logo), select Rental Cars.
You’ll add the city where you’re picking it up, the dates needed and the times, and the results page will give you all the options available, including the types of car (with a “similar” car type listed as an example) and a break-down of prices at each rental company.
The most affordable option for each type of car is highlighted with red print, making it easier to see which company offers the very best price.
9. You Don’t Even Need a Credit Card to Book a Costco Car Rental
One of the perks of renting a car via Costco is that you don’t need to enter any credit card information when you make your reservation. So if you need a little time to save more for your trip, renting the vehicle through Costco allows you to do that.
At the time of pick-up, though, you will need to bring your credit card (debit cards are only acceptable at some locations).
10. You Can Purchase Costco Car Rental Insurance
Car rental insurance is available as an add-on at the time of pick-up. However, if you’re planning on paying with your Costco Citibank Visa, it actually includes rental insurance already- you won’t have to pay anything extra!
11. There Are No Costco Car Rental Cancellation Fees
Because you aren’t forking over any money at the time of booking, Costco car rentals do not come with cancellation fees. You can simply cancel your reservation online and not incur any monetary fees for doing so.
12. Changing Your Costco Car Rental Is Easy
In addition to canceling your Costco car rental, you can also make changes to it. You access the rental the same way as the cancellation, using the online account that you used to book the rental.
Next, you can make whatever changes you like, and you can do so without incurring any fees.
13. In Many Cases, the Costco Car Rental Additional Driver Fee Is Waived
If you’re traveling with a partner or a friend, it makes sense that you would want both individuals eligible to drive the rental car.
While many rental companies charge extra for that privilege, customers who use the Costco car rental program have that fee waived.
All four rental companies waive the fee in the U.S., while Alamo and Enterprise both waive the additional driver free in Canada, the UK, Germany, Ireland and Spain as well.
14. Costco Car Rental Applicants Under 25 Have Some Additional Hoops
Unfortunately, car renters under the age of 25 have a few extra hoops to jump through. Costco members younger than 25 can still take advantage of the membership discounts, but they may have to pay an Underage Driver fee.
Additionally, underage drivers cannot book online and must call 1-866-921-7925, and select Option 1 to speak to an associate.
15. Apply Your Loyalty Account to Your Costco Car Rental
Just because you are booking through Costco Travel does not mean that your loyalty account at any of the four rental companies will not be honored.
Indeed, you can apply for your loyalty account and still receive the credit that you would normally get for renting with them.
To find out more, you can also see our posts on whether or not Costco installs tires, if Costco leases cars, and if Costco repairs & fixes flat tires.
Using Costco car rental can net you savings up to 30 percent off regular rates at the four partner companies, Alamo, Enterprise, Avis and Budget.
Booking can be done online, and because you don’t pay until you arrive for your pick-up, you can cancel or change your reservation completely for free.