Unlocking Costco Travel: Your Ultimate Guide to Tips and Benefits

Are you looking to save money on your next vacation? Look no further than Costco Travel, the online travel booking service offered exclusively to Costco members. While Costco is known for its bulk grocery items and wholesale goods, its travel platform is an often overlooked gem that can help you save big on trips. 

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about Costco Travel, including how it works, what you can book, and why it’s worth considering for your next getaway.

What is Costco Travel?

Costco Travel is an online travel booking service that allows Costco members to book a wide range of travel options, including vacation packages, hotels, cruises, rental cars, and even theme park tickets. Once you log in to the Costco Travel website, you can search for specific destinations or browse through available deals and featured destinations.

One of the biggest advantages of using Costco Travel is that the trips are often discounted, and they frequently include perks and benefits that you may not get by booking directly or through other booking portals. 

Additionally, most trips booked through Costco Travel come with a Digital Costco Shop Card (essentially a Costco gift card) of varying value, which can be used for future purchases at Costco warehouses or even towards your next Costco Travel booking.

What travel can you book through Costco Travel?

What travel can you book through Costco Travel?

With Costco Travel, you can book a wide variety of travel options, including:

  • Hotels
  • Cruises
  • Rental cars
  • Vacation packages (hotel-only, hotel+flight, hotel+flight+car, etc.)
  • Theme park vacation packages (Disney, Universal, etc.)
  • Specialty vacations (African safaris, guided tours, etc.)

However, it’s important to note that you cannot book standalone flights through Costco Travel. While flights can be included as part of vacation packages, if you’re solely looking for airfare, you’ll need to book through other channels like airline websites or third-party flight search engines.

Find your CardMatch™

Costco Travel offers a user-friendly interface where you can easily compare travel options and find the best deals. To make the most of your Costco membership, consider using a travel rewards credit card that offers bonus points or cash back on travel purchases. By using a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, you can earn valuable rewards while booking your Costco Travel getaway.

Do you have to be a Costco member to use Costco Travel?

Yes, Costco Travel is an exclusive service available only to Costco members. There are two personal membership levels: Gold Star and Executive. The Gold Star membership costs $60 per year, while the Executive membership costs $120 per year and includes additional benefits like a 2% reward on all Costco purchases (including Costco Travel bookings).

If you’re not currently a Costco member, it’s worth considering signing up, as the savings you can achieve through Costco Travel may quickly offset the membership fee.

Is Costco Travel worth it?

Costco Travel has its pros and cons, but there are definitely times when it’s worth considering for your travel needs. Here are a few scenarios where Costco Travel can be a great option:

  • When booking non-points hotel stays or all-inclusive resorts: For hotels that aren’t part of major loyalty programs, Costco Travel often offers excellent deals and packages that can save you money compared to booking directly.
  • For simplifying group vacations: If you’re planning a trip with friends or family where everyone is splitting costs, Costco Travel can make it easy to find and book packages that work for the entire group.
  • When the deals include significant added value: Many Costco Travel packages come with perks like resort credits, free nights, daily breakfast credits, and more, which can add up to significant savings.

When is Costco Travel not worth it?

While Costco Travel can be a great option in many cases, there are also times when it may not be the best choice. Here are a few scenarios where you might want to consider other booking options:

  • When booking hotels for points redemptions or elite status benefits: If you’re looking to earn hotel loyalty points or take advantage of elite status perks, you’ll likely want to book directly with the hotel chain.
  • For short stays or specific travel dates: Some Costco Travel deals have minimum stay requirements or limited date availability, which may not work if you’re looking for a short weekend getaway or have specific travel dates in mind.
  • When better deals are available elsewhere: While Costco Travel often has great deals, it’s always a good idea to price-check against other booking sites or the hotel/airline’s direct rates to ensure you’re getting the best deal.

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Why I love Costco Travel

Despite the potential drawbacks mentioned above, I’ve become a big fan of Costco Travel for several reasons:

Digital Costco Shop Cards

One of my favorite things about booking through Costco Travel is the Digital Costco Shop Card you receive after booking. The value of the card varies from trip to trip, but it can often be worth hundreds of dollars. These cards can be used for purchases at Costco warehouses or even towards future Costco Travel bookings, making them a great way to offset the cost of your trip or save on future travel expenses.

Deals on non-points hotel stays and all-inclusive resorts

While I generally prefer to book directly with hotel chains to earn loyalty points and elite night credits, Costco Travel is my go-to option for booking non-points hotel stays or all-inclusive resorts. I’ve found some incredible deals on luxury resorts and all-inclusive packages through Costco Travel, often with significant savings compared to booking directly.

Simplifying group vacations

As someone who frequently plans group trips with friends, I love using Costco Travel to simplify the process. Instead of everyone having to research and compare prices individually, I can easily share Costco Travel deals with the group and make booking a breeze. The package deals with combined hotel, flight, and rental car options make splitting costs and sharing itineraries a breeze.

Bottom line

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or just starting to explore the world, Costco Travel is definitely worth considering for your next trip. With its exclusive deals, added perks, and Digital Costco Shop Card rewards, it can be a great way to save money while still enjoying a fantastic vacation experience.

That said, it’s always important to do your research and compare prices across multiple booking platforms to ensure you’re getting the best deal. But if you’re a Costco member (or considering becoming one), Costco Travel should definitely be on your radar for future travel planning.

5 Things You Need To Know

Geoff Whitmore, a contributor for Forbes, recently highlighted five key things to know about Costco Travel:

1. You Can Book Hotels, Rental Cars, Flights, Cruises, Vacation Packages, And Even Theme Parks Through Costco Travel.

One of the major advantages of using Costco Travel is the convenience it offers. Through the platform, travelers can book a variety of travel services, including:

  • Vacation packages (domestic and international destinations)
  • Hotel + flight
  • Flight + hotel + car rental
  • Car rental + hotel
  • Hotel only
  • Cruises (domestic and international tours)

While flights are not always included in the package price, Costco Travel allows you to add flights from most major U.S. cities to your vacation or cruise packages.

Best Travel Insurance Companies

When booking through Costco Travel, it’s important to consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment. According to Forbes Advisor’s analysis, some of the best travel insurance companies to consider include Travelex, Allianz Travel Insurance, and World Nomads. These companies offer comprehensive coverage options for trip cancellation, baggage loss or delay, and emergency medical expenses.

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Best Covid Travel Insurance Plans

If you’re concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on your travels, it’s worth considering a travel insurance plan that specifically covers COVID-related issues. Forbes Advisor recommends plans like the Travelex Travel Select plan and the Allianz OneTrip Prime plan, which offer coverage for COVID-19 illnesses, quarantine expenses, and trip cancellations or interruptions due to the pandemic.

2. Costco Travel Offers Specialty Vacation Options.

In addition to traditional travel booking options, Costco Travel also offers specialty vacation options, including:

  • African safaris
  • Guided vacations (catering to different lifestyles, budgets, and age groups)

These curated experiences provide unique perspectives and opportunities to immerse yourself in different destinations while taking the stress out of planning and coordination.

3. Kirkland Signature Labeled Vacations Are Available With Exclusives For Costco Members.

Just like Costco’s Kirkland Signature products offer quality and value, the Kirkland Signature Travel brand provides exclusive benefits and added value for Costco members booking vacations and cruises. These benefits can include special rates, dining or spa experiences, and shipboard credits ranging from $25 to $100 or more per person.

4. Use Costco Travel To Upgrade Your Rental Vehicle And Save Money On Gas.

Renting a car through Costco Travel can come with additional perks, such as:

  • Free additional driver (at select locations)
  • Automatic vehicle upgrades
  • No cancellation fees
  • Lower gas prices at Costco gas stations

These benefits can help you save money and enjoy a more comfortable rental experience.

5. Benefits Include Travel Insurance, Availability Of Travel Specialists, And Limited Time Deals.

When booking through Costco Travel, you’ll also enjoy:

  • Travel insurance benefits (baggage coverage, trip cancellation, emergency assistance)
  • Access to travel specialists for planning assistance and emergency support
  • Limited-time deals offering resort credits, waived fees, and complimentary daily meals

Additionally, Costco Executive Members can earn up to 5% back on their Costco Travel purchases (2% back as an Executive Member, plus an additional 3% back when using the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi for eligible travel purchases).

By taking advantage of these benefits and keeping an eye out for special deals, Costco Travel can be a valuable resource for savvy travelers looking to save money without sacrificing quality or convenience.

Whether you’re planning a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a solo adventure, be sure to explore the Costco Travel platform and see how it can help you save on your next trip. With its exclusive deals, added perks, and potential for significant savings, it’s a travel resource that’s definitely worth considering for your future travel plans.

How to Get the Best Deals on Costco Travel?

How to Get the Best Deals on Costco Travel?

While Costco Travel offers some great deals and packages, it’s still important to do your research and price comparisons to ensure you’re getting the best value. Here are some tips for finding the best deals on Costco Travel:

Compare Prices with Other Online Travel Agencies

Don’t just take Costco Travel’s prices at face value. Cross-check their rates with other popular online travel agencies like Expedia, Priceline, and Travelocity to see if you can find a better deal elsewhere.

Check Hotel and Airline Websites for Promotions

Sometimes, hotels and airlines offer special promotions or discounts on their own websites that may not be reflected on third-party booking sites like Costco Travel. It’s always a good idea to check the provider’s website directly before booking.

Look for Package Deals and Bundled Savings

One of the biggest advantages of Costco Travel is their package deals that bundle together flights, hotels, rental cars, and even activities or theme park tickets. These packages can often save you a significant amount compared to booking each component separately.

Sign Up for Costco Travel Emails and Watch for Limited-Time Offers

Costco Travel frequently runs limited-time deals and promotions, which can be an excellent way to save even more on your travel. Sign up for their email list and regularly check their website for these special offers.

Tips for Using Costco Travel Effectively

To make the most of your Costco Travel experience and ensure a smooth booking process, keep these tips in mind:

Book Early for Best Availability and Prices

As with any travel booking, it’s generally better to book your Costco Travel plans as early as possible. This will give you access to the widest range of availability and potentially better prices.

Consider Travel Insurance for Added Protection

Costco Travel offers travel insurance options that can provide coverage for trip cancellations, delays, lost baggage, and more. While it’s an additional cost, travel insurance can give you peace of mind and protect your investment.

Utilize Travel Specialists for Assistance

Costco Travel has a team of travel specialists available to help with everything from planning your trip to addressing any issues or emergencies that may arise during your travels. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them if you need assistance.

Understand the Cancellation and Refund Policies

Before booking, make sure you understand Costco Travel’s cancellation and refund policies. These can vary depending on the specific package or travel component you’re booking, so it’s important to be aware of any potential fees or restrictions.

Combining Costco Travel with Travel Rewards and Loyalty Programs

While Costco Travel can often provide great deals and savings on its own, savvy travelers can further maximize their savings by combining Costco Travel bookings with travel rewards and loyalty programs. Here are some strategies to consider:

Use Travel Rewards Credit Cards

Many travel rewards credit cards offer bonus points or cash back for travel purchases, including those made through third-party booking sites like Costco Travel. By using a card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, you can earn valuable rewards while booking your Costco Travel getaway.

Leverage Hotel Loyalty Programs

While you may not earn points or elite night credits when booking directly through Costco Travel, you can still potentially take advantage of hotel loyalty programs by adding your membership number to your reservation. This can ensure you receive any applicable elite benefits during your stay.

Combine Costco Travel Deals with Airline or Hotel Promotions

Keep an eye out for promotions or special offers from airlines, hotels, or other travel providers that can be combined with Costco Travel deals. For example, you may be able to stack a hotel’s promotional rate with a Costco Travel package that includes additional perks or savings.

By combining the savings and benefits of Costco Travel with travel rewards, loyalty programs, and other promotions, you can maximize your overall value and get the most out of your travel budget.


In conclusion, Costco Travel is a fantastic resource for Costco members looking to save money on their travel plans. With exclusive deals, added perks like resort credits and Digital Costco Shop Cards, and the ability to book a wide range of travel services, it offers incredible value. 

However, it’s still important to compare prices, understand cancellation policies, and consider combining Costco Travel with travel rewards and loyalty programs to maximize savings. 

While not every Costco Travel deal will be the best option, taking the time to explore their offerings can lead to significant savings and an enhanced travel experience overall. For savvy travelers, Costco Travel is definitely worth considering as a key tool in their travel planning arsenal.

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