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Review of Costco Travel

Costco Travel is a complimentary important for all Costco benefits that gives travel discounts. While many travelers select to book directly from the travel provider to get the finest deals, Costco Travel can save you money. In this review of Costco Travel, you’ll find out how you can get more from your Costco membership when you travel.

Costco Executive Members Get a 2% Bonus

Costco provides two different membership plans, Gold Star for $60 a year and Gold Star Executive for $120 annually.

Either plan gives you access to Costco Travel, but you’ll enjoy a 2% cash back bonus as an Executive member on your first $50,000 in annual Costco and Costco Travel purchases. If you max out the bonus, you get a $1,000 certificate to spend on any Costco or Costco Travel purchase in the following membership year.

If you’re currently a basic Costco member, upgrading to the Executive plan can be worth it if you spend at least $3,000 in combined purchases to earn a $60 credit. This can easily be done by booking your next vacation package with Costco Travel.

The rewards are even better if you pay for all of your purchases with the Costco credit card. But, you might miss out on some valuable travel protection benefits that other travel rewards credit cards offer.

Two of the Best Reasons to Use Costco Travel

If you’re planning to rent a car or take a cruise, head to Costco Travel first. It’s hard for other booking sites to compete with Costco’s prices and amenities.

You can book a cruise with any of the major liners through Costco Travel. Their prices are competitive as if you were to book directly through the cruise line or from a third-party booking site like Expedia or Priceline.

It’s possible to find some routes to be cheaper by about $300 compared to the other third-party travel agencies. However, the real “secret sauce” for Costco Travel cruises is their offers to earn:

  • Onboard food and drink credits
  • Costco cash cards

In some instances, Costco Travel’s onboard credits are higher than those offered directly through the cruise line. Costco might offer $75 in food credits instead of the standard $50 from the cruise line.

The dollar value of the cash card depends on which stateroom you reserve and other travel agencies rarely offer equivalent credits. These cash cards are “free money” and indirectly reduce the total cost of the cruise once you redeem them on future Costco purchases.

The easiest way to spot Costco cruise credits and cash card opportunities is clicking on the Kirkland Signature category.

Rental Cars

Booking a rental car is rather hum-drum because most sites offer the same daily rate. Usually, you book a car through the site that offers the most purchase rewards or offers the best rental car protection benefits.

The rental car booking process is different with Costco Travel because are their daily rates are some of the lowest you’ll online. And if you’re going to have an additional driver, Costco Travel waives the extra driver fees.

One of the only catches is that you can only book from the following car rental agencies:

  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Enterprise

If you plan on booking from one of these four agencies, Costco Travel almost always offers the best rate. But, it’s possible to find a lower rate when you use a discount rental car agency when one’s available.

Don’t forget to book your rental car with a premium travel rewards credit card to enjoy primary rental car collision damage waiver coverage that pays up to the cash value of the rental car if your car incurs theft or collision damage.

Vacation Packages

Costco Travel Vacation Packages
Costco Travel Vacation Packages

What would an online travel agency be without vacation packages?

As with any travel agency, you need to navigate between the deals and traps by comparing the package to booking each travel purchase separate.

Costco Travel specializes in the following vacation package themes:

Believe it or not, the only way to book a flight with Costco Travel is by purchasing a vacation package. When choosing a package, you have the option to book with or without a flight. This can actually work to your advantage if you can use frequent flyer miles to book an award flight for less than cash value.

Perhaps because these two package types are the most popular, but Costco Travel’s Hawaii and Them Park packages are the most cost-competitive as a whole. If you’re planning a trip to Disney or Hawaii, take a glance at Costco Travel.

You should also look at the vacation packages for the other destinations too, but you won’t find as good of deals.

Hotels

Costco Travel lets you book hotel nights at any Hyatt or Hilton property.

To stay at a non-Hyatt or non-Hilton property, you need to book a vacation package. Hyatt and Hilton are two highly respected brands that provide a clean and luxurious stay, but it’s probably better to book your hotel night directly through the hotel unless you prefer Costco rewards to hotel rewards points with a World of Hyatt or Hilton cobrand hotel cards.

If you’re a Hilton Honors or World of Hyatt member, you will still earn loyalty points if you book through Costco Travel. If you are booking with a cash rewards card or flexible travel rewards card, you’ll earn your appropriate hotel loyalty points plus the applicable credit card purchase rewards, so it’s a win-win.

Pros

Here are several reasons when Costco Travel is worth a glance:

  • Booking a cruise or rental car
  • Vacation packages to Hawaii or a theme park
  • Executive members can earn a year-end 2% bonus

Costco Travel is a competitive travel agency. It probably doesn’t make sense to join Costco exclusively for their travel discounts, but you can easily recoup the cost of a $60 basic membership when you pick the right cruise or vacation package.

Cons

  • Can’t book flights unless you’re buying a vacation package
  • Can only rent cars from four rental car agencies

Costco Travel has a lot going for it, but you still might prefer booking directly from the airline or hotel.

Conclusion on Costco Travel

Costco Travel can be really valuable for cruises and rental cars. Considering you’re probably not going to use your travel rewards points for either of these travel expenses, Costco Travel will save you some cash and the savings justifies the annual fee. There are good deals to be found in every category and you’ll be rewarded even more if you’re an Executive member and you also own the Costco credit card.

Original Source : Forbes

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