Ultimate Costco Travel Guide

When you want to save money on groceries and goods, buying in bulk at a warehouse club makes a lot of sense.

When you are planning a vacation or weekend getaway, why wouldn’t you save money by using the spending leverage that a company like Costco can provide?

It’s true that the number of travel agencies that you’ll find online these days will leave your head spinning. Everyone promotes their own special deals, relationships, and opportunities to help you plan a great time, but not everyone has the same leverage that a brand like Costco can wield.

Through Costco Travel, it is possible to enjoy the same savings you receive as a member when purchasing a travel or vacation package. You’ll find plenty of deals with a Costco travel package, so exploring all the potential benefits makes a lot of sense.

To begin, you’ll need to become a Costco member. Gold Star and Business memberships begin at $60 and includes one free household card. On Business accounts, additional affiliates can be added for an additional $60. The Executive membership is $120 and includes an annual 2% reward on qualified purchases that include Costco Travel, up to $1,000.

Executive members receive added benefits for certain Costco travel deals as well.

If you’re ready to take your traveling to the next level and you’ve got your membership active, then here is what you’re going to want to know.

How to Find Costco Travel Deals

You can purchase a travel deal through Costco Travel without having an account through their travel agency. All you need to do is go to the login page, select “Continue without an Account,” and then use your membership number.

If you are an Executive member, then departures that occur after 9/1/17 will be eligible to earn the 2% cash back after the travel has been completed. Third-party travel costs, taxes, fees, and other surcharges are not included as part of this Executive reward opportunity.

best travel deals

Once that is sorted, you can begin to look for specific deals that will help you get “more vacation for less money.” Costco Travel offers a specific search that will let you see all vacation packages and cruises under $499 or less per person.

You’ll find deals for Orlando theme parks, Mexico resort adventures, and Puerto Rico excursions included frequently in the $499 or less category. Pricing is usually based on a per-person rate and is with double occupancy.

Costco Travel also makes it easy to find a specific destination that you may have in mind. Just have your Costco membership number ready and follow these steps:

  1. Choose your destination – Costco Travel provides a drop-down menu tab that allows you to choose from several holiday destinations. Costa Rica, Europe, and Fiji are just three of more than a dozen total destinations. State-based options, such as Florida or Theme Parks, are also available.
  2. Include a Flight – if you need airfare to your destination, just check the box that is indicated on the search menu. If you do not need a flight, skip to step #5.
  3. Choose your departure city – let Costco Travel know where you intend to leave for your destination. If you are flying, this will be the airport location and not your home location.
  4. Choose your class of service – you can choose to fly economy, business, or first-class. You have the option to book the best available service for your preferred flight as well.
  5. Pick your departure and return days – Costco Travel provides you with a calendar feature to choose when you plan to leave on your holiday or vacation and when you plan to return. You have the option of choosing the number of nights for your departure date as well.
  6. Choose the number of rooms that you will need – for families or groups with more than 5 individuals, even if they are children, then more than 1 room may be required for a hotel stay. Local regulations often prohibit more than 5 people of any age staying in a standard room. Couples with 4+ children will wish to speak with Costco Travel regarding suite availability at their intended destination. You will be asked about the number of adults and children in your party.

Then click the red “Search” button at the bottom of the menu box.

Certain destinations may not require you to follow all the steps listed above. Choosing “Theme Parks,” for example, will take you to an automatic page where you can choose from Disney resorts, Universal resorts, Trafalgar vacations, or Lion World Travel adventures. You can then “build your trip” by choosing a cruise, rental car, or vacation package that best serves your needs.

What are the Best Costco Travel Packages?

Costco Travel packages are widely available for virtually any destination that is available. Many of the featured deals that are promoted on Costco Travel included Disney resort packages that offer the following as part of the package:

  • Shuttle service to the theme park
  • Discounted stay opportunities, such as stay 7 nights for the price of 5
  • Daily self-parking
  • Free breakfasts and dinners for children at specific locations
  • Full-size rental car with an additional driver included
  • Theme park tickets that include “pass” or “hopper” options
  • Daily resort fees and all applicable taxes included

Some of the Costco travel packages offer a Costco cash card that provides bonus cash instead of theme park credits for the vacation or holiday. Each vacation package offers a different cash back rate which is calculated during the checkout process.

There are amazing cruise packages offered if heading out on the water is a better option for you than a land-based vacation. Numerous cruise opportunities are available, including Alaska, Caribbean, and Mediterranean cruises. Shore excursions, on-board activities, and special events may be included in the cruise travel packages offered by Costco.

vacation packages

You can also choose from an all-inclusive set of traditional vacation packages to a specific destination. Some of the top vacation destinations served by Costco Travel right now are Cancun, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Las Vegas, Hawaii, and Orlando. Some European destinations are also available within some of the Costco Travel packages that are available, though often for a limited time only.

Costco Travel has several partnerships with hotel and resort providers that allow travelers to create a specific vacation to meet their needs. You’ll find hotel and theme park packages that include Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Hard Rock Hotels, and Starwood Hotels.

Can I Purchase Costco Travel Insurance?

Costco offers Travel Guard as a protection plan when traveling. It is an insurance product that is provided by a third-party, but can be assigned to your specific trip or vacation package. You can contact Travel Guard directly for more information about a trip you are planning by calling 1-888-691-2173.

You can also visit the Travel Guard website for rates, quotes, and more that are exclusive to Costco members.

There are certain restrictions to the Costco travel insurance plans that are offered by Travel Guard. Residents of Puerto Rico are not eligible to purchase protection plan coverage. Vacation packages purchased for Lion World Travel, Trafalgar, and certain Disney resorts are also excluded.

Coverage may not be available in all states in the US as well.

travel insurance

Why should I purchase travel insurance through Costco Travel and Travel Guard?

Unexpected events can happen at any point during your vacation or holiday. Maybe you’ve arrived at a connecting airport, but your flight was cancelled and you need help to find a new flight so your trip can continue. Or your bags were lost with your necessary medications inside.

There are times when your identification or cash might be stolen. You or someone in our group may become seriously ill and the trip may need to be canceled. Your luggage can get lost. You may need to visit a local hospital that your health insurance may not cover.

Travel Guard provides a travel insurance plan that can help with these unexpected events. Enrollment can occur up until 24 hours before departure. All you need to do is pay the plan cost and you’ll receive the many benefits of travel insurance. It may include the following benefits.

  • 150% Trip Cost for Trip Interruptions
  • $1,000 in Trip Delay reimbursements, up to $200 per day
  • $1,000 for a missed connection of 3+ hours
  • $1,000 in reimbursements for lost, damaged, or stolen luggage
  • $50,000 in accident sickness medical expenses
  • $1 million for evacuation expenses directed by a physician

Some coverage policies offered by Travel Guard through Costco Travel may require purchase or arrangements of more than 24 hours. Individuals with a pre-existing medical condition may be required to submit an exclusion waiver within 21 days of the initial trip payment. Depending on the plan purchased, up to 180 days may be required for certain medical conditions.

Certain cancellation benefits may need to be purchased 21+ days in advance to receive 75% reimbursement of any non-refundable expenses.

World events, politics, and changes to governmental policies can affect international travel plans with little advanced notice. Inclement weather, disease outbreaks, travel warnings, new passport restrictions or entry requirements, and changes to security procedures can have an immediate and significant impact on how you travel.

Travel insurance can help lessen the monetary cost of these events, but it is also helpful to stay updated on the current situation at your intended destination. You can do that by visiting these three sites frequently if you are a US-based traveler:

The US State Department: https://www.state.gov
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA): https://www.tsa.gov
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/

Our Favorite – Costco Travel Cruises

Choosing a cruise as part of your holiday or vacation plans can be a tricky business. You’ve got more to consider than just the primary fare cost that gets you boarded and into your room on the ship. There are plenty of extras that have their own value and must be part of the cost equations to determine if you’re truly getting a great deal.

Think about it like this: if the fare is $2,000 for the cruise you wish to take, but one company provides you with $100 of onboard credit while the other company provides you with $150 of onboard credit, the latter offer is the better deal.

The type of room you wish to have will also factor in greatly with the cost of the cruise you take. The difference between an economy balcony room and an economy interior room can be several hundred dollars per person, even on a simple 5-night cruise.

picture of a cruise ship

One change that comes with booking a cruise through Costco Travel is that instead of an onboard credit, you receive a cash card that can be used at any warehouse or for an online order after you return home. You’ll receive the cash card in the mail about 2-4 weeks after your cruise and receive up to 50% more than an onboard credit offer.

You no longer need to fill out rebate forms or track shipboard expenses, but the disadvantage is that you may need to wait for up to a month to receive your cash back.

When looking for a great deal on travel cruises, be sure to look for the Buyer’s Choice cruises that are periodically available. These cruises are provided at a discounted price because Costco Travel has booked a block of cabins that they are trying to fill. There are usually add-ons available for these cruises as well, with costs that are still lower than a comparable cruise from a competitive travel agency.

Look for additional benefits that are included with the Costco cruise price, especially when browsing through the Buyer’s Choice options, such as these:

  • Welcome receptions
  • Private luncheons or dinners
  • Ship tours
  • Tasting events
  • Specialty classes

To take advantage of the best deals offered on their travel cruises, you’ll need to settle for the type of cabin that was already booked. You are typically not allowed to request a specific cabin type.

Kirkland Signature cruise packages may include an online check-in process that includes the immigration forms you may be required to fill out. The current list of cruise providers that is served by Costco Travel can be found here: https://www.costcotravel.com/Info/cruiseCheckIn

You will then need to select the cruise provider that is serving your holiday or vacation. You will be taken to the cruise providers website and asked to login to manage your booking. Once you’ve completed your online check-in, be sure to print your boarding passes and then plan or book shore excursions, onboard activities, and schedule your dining times so the risk of having something unexpected happen can be reduced.

You may also wish to review the cruise industry passenger bill of rights.

One-off cruises that may be available through Costco can save you a lot of cash as well. If you’re not committed to a specific itinerary, then be patient and shop around. That is the key to unlocking a great deal on a fantastic cruise.

Saving Money with Costco Airline Tickets

When looking at the various travel packages offered through the service, the pricing on getaway destinations, hotel packages, and other amenities is often lower than what the competition can offer. What is not included with many of those packages, however, is the airfare to get there unless it has been specifically noted.

cheap airline tickets

Pricing for Costco travel vacations includes the rental car, the hotel accommodations, and any airport transfers that may be required. You can add airfare with most vacation packages to create one check-out experience.

However, they do not offer airfare for all carriers in all markets. If you’re trying to book a holiday or vacation and your preferred airline is not listed, then it means one of two things.

  • The service provided by that airline carrier in your preferred destination does not meet your current criteria.
  • There isn’t an established relationship with that carrier for that specific market.

Purchasing airfare through Costco Travel is a similar process to other travel agencies. Once you’ve finalized your booking and have entered the names of your passengers, the website will send you to a page to make your flight seat selection.

You may or may not receive an airline seat map. If you do receive the map, then you may select a seat assignment from what is available. As with all airline travel, the seat assignments are a request and not finalized until the airline confirms assigned seating. A seat assignment is subject to change by the airline for a variety of reasons and no specific seat assignment is guaranteed.

Not every airline offers a complimentary seat assignment map. You may need to contact the airline after booking your trip to see if your desired seats are available.

Costco Travel Hotels and Big Deals

If you’re a member and shop for travel deals from Costco Wholesale, then in the past, you could receive a 10% discount off daily rates at Hyatt and Best Western hotels in North America. To receive the hotel discount, you must go through the special travel links to the hotel of your choice so that the 10% discount applies.

If you booked through a Hyatt hotel, your membership discount codes should have auto-populated in the checkout fields so you receive the appropriate discount.

For those who booked a stay at a Best Western through Costco Travel, the hotel website will usually require you to input your membership number during the checkout process.

When booking well in advance, the best rates become available. This usually means booking at least 60 days in advance. Always ask if additional membership discounts can be applied during the transaction to see if you can save even more.

hotel deals

This program ended on 6/21/17. If you made one of the above reservations and need to make a change to it, then Costco Travel wants you to call 1-877-849-2730 to make changes or process a cancellation. This applies to all “room only” reservations. Vacation packages that included a hotel stay are not affected by this change.

At the time of writing, they are not accepting any new room-only reservations for members through any hotel. You can check to see if this policy has changed since by visiting the Hotel Partners at Costco Travel to see what offers are currently available.

Is There a Costco Travel Promo Code?

Promo codes are not generally required to achieve a great savings on your upcoming holiday or vacation adventure. When you check websites like Groupon for Costco travel promo codes, there have not been any active codes available to consumers since 2015.

Ever After Guide offers several deals on click-through links that are promoted as promo and coupon codes, but the description of the code specifically states that no information is needed to obtain the savings that is being promoted.

The only thing that is required to experience the savings is to have a current membership. That is what allows you to experience all the benefits of traveling with Costco.

travel promo codes

All packages and pricing is upfront, so included taxes are display in addition to the base rates that each option offers. Revisions to your pricing, based on the travel changes you make, are updated in real-time so you always know what your vacation or holiday will cost.

There are limited-time departures and destinations available for Executive members as well through the Kirkland Signature series and events. If you see the black Executive membership card displayed on an event on the travel website site, then it includes one or more of these potential extras.

  • Room upgrades
  • Shipboard credits
  • Spa credits

Other benefits may be included that are specific to the event or destination as well. That means you can spend more time planning your time away from home and worry less about trying to find a promo or travel code that is valid for your current purchase.

What You Need to Know About Costco Travel Car Rental

When you rent a car using your Visa or MasterCard, there are already certain benefits that you’ll receive with that transaction. Depending on your card, you may receive any combination of the following:

  • Auto coverage for damage that occurs due to theft or collision with an eligible card and declining the rental company’s collision damage waiver if offered.
  • Travel and emergency assistance available with eligible cards.
  • Discounts for specific cards or transactions which occur on a specific date.

Costco Travel works with these benefits and still provides you a competitive rate compared to other travel agencies. Although your car rental options are limited to Enterprise, Budget, Avis, and Alamo, that still covers major cities around the world where you’d like to visit.

renting a car on vacation

Costco rental car pricing does not include insurance costs, so be sure to use a Visa or MasterCard that provides the necessary coverage.

Numerous sites have compared car rental rates with Costco and found them to be one of the most expensive options. How can they be providing a deal?

Car rental pricing goes beyond a simple web search and then putting the figures found into a spreadsheet for everyone to see. The quoted price that you’re given on a website may not include the taxes and surcharges, additional fees, mileage costs, and other charges that may apply.

When you’re quoted an initial price, the first cost offered is often what is called the “base rate.”

The base rate is a theoretical price. It doesn’t include anything beyond the daily cost of renting the vehicle. Rental and travel agencies want you to know what the base price happens to be because that makes the cost seem to be more affordable.

No one ever pays the base rate.

The figure you’ll want to look at when searching for a rental car is the “estimated total”. This is the cost that includes all taxes, fees, and charges. For a multi-day rental, it should be broken down into a per-day cost. That way you’ll be able to see the exact cost so it can be accurately compared to other websites, travel agencies, and offers.

When booking a car rental, you can save more by booking it as part of a complete travel package instead of an individual cost. Discounted rates are usually available through Costco Travel and other providers if you book a hotel and rental car combination or an airline, hotel, and rental car combo.

As an added benefit, Costco rental car transactions automatically search for coupons and discounts that may be available for your trip, preferred vehicle, and rental provider. A credit card is not required to reserve a car online through the site, though a major credit card will be required when picking up the rental.

Always contact the rental company directly to determine what credit cards are accepted and what the hold amount will be.

Costco Travel Reviews You Can Use

Costco Travel is one of the fastest, cheapest, and most effective ways to plan a holiday or vacation if you have a membership. Even for those who are not a member, the cost of joining this program to take advantage of the discounts that are available can make the membership pay for itself on your first trip.

It is open to anyone with a valid membership who resides in the United States. They are staffed by employees of Costco who are trained travel professionals that can help you to plan and book your next trip so that you can have the most fun possible.

“The value you want with the quality you expect.”

Each getaway opportunity is carefully selected and vetted to ensure that you receive the best possible deal. Although not every possible destination in the world today is available, there is a wide selection of the world’s best destinations. Access to world-class hotels, cruises, and other travel products helps to ensure that you receive the best possible holiday experience every time you book a trip.

travel reviews

Since a membership is valid for 12 months, you can save on each additional adventure you take.

Upfront pricing ensures that there is never a surprise during the checkout process. You always see your total price throughout the entire booking process, allowing you to make revisions when necessary so you can stay within your budget.

I spent a lot of time and effort so I hope this Costco travel guide will help you find the best deals that are available right now so you can take full advantage of what your membership offers.

Would you do me a favor and share it with your friends using the social buttons, because it would help more people get the best travel deals possible =)

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