A few months back when Costco was sprucing up their site, they also did an overhaul on the Costco Travel site. It has gone from being hard to navigate and so-so discounts, to being a well organized site with a nice array of discounts for hotels, rental cars, cruises, theme parks and some vacation packages. Sadly, they still do not have airline discounts. However, it is so much easier to find things now that you can very quickly see what is available to you for the destination you are going to or the type of discount you are seeking; you won’t waste your time searching through things one by one anymore. So, you’re probably wondering what kind of deals they offer, aren’t you? I’ll try to list out some of the deals that are currently available. They have pretty standard discounts for things like rental cars and hotels, however, they do have special deals that come and go too.
I’ll start with rental cars since I have actually used this travel discount through Costco. They have a variety of partners in the rental car area: Avis, Alamo, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, and National.
- You get a 20 – 25% savings with all of these except Enterprise which only has a discount of 5%. In addition, there are coupons for most of the car rental agencies to give you deals on weekend and week long rentals. What is nice, is that you get to combine your regular discount of 20 – 25% with the other coupons. For instance, you could save 20% off of your entire rental at Hertz and then additionally get $20 off of the weekly rental price. I also noticed that all of them offer one class upgrade coupons (yes, even Enterprise) that you can combine with the other coupons and discounts too. The best part is that you can easily book online through the individual rental agencies using the Costco coupon codes.
- I can tell you from making a Hertz rental using the Costco discounts that it worked perfectly too. I made my reservation online and they had everything correctly listed when I got there. I didn’t even need the printouts I had made of the ‘coupon’ on the Costco Travel site (though I’d still bring them along, just in case). I did compare the pricing too, just to make sure that I was really getting a deal and I was.
The next category to explore, hotels. There are only two real partners for discounts in this area: Hyatt and Best Western. You can get some other discounts at different hotel chains, however, they are part of package deals only.
- With Hyatt, Costco members can save a flat 10% at hotels in the US and Canada. Unfortunately, to get the discount you have to go through the Costco Travel reservations system to book your rooms, instead of booking online which could be a bit of a hassle.
- At Best Western, members save 10 – 20% off of their best available rates at hotels around the world (80 countries and more than 4,000 hotels). There is a link directly to a Costco Travel Best Western reservation site where you can book your rooms.
- The biggest drawback is that there are blackout dates and such with both of these deals; pretty standard stuff for hotel discounts in general, I think. However, it does mean that you might not get the discount.
They have a category called ‘Theme Parks‘ on the menu, but when you drill down it is actually a little more than that. This grouping also covers houseboat vacations and escorted vacations (that would be tour groups, to you and me).
- As far as theme parks go, Disneyland is the big partner here, it looks like. Actually, there’s quite a bit of Disney all around the travel deals (cruises, tours, theme parks, and there would probably be cars if they could figure out how to get people to rent a car from Goofy). The Disneyland deal does include airfare deals for kids (they fly free on Alaskan Airlines, for certain departure locations at least); a reduction in the ticket price for adults to the kid price when you buy a 3+ day pass; hotel room in the Disneyland resort, plus if you stay for 3 nights you get the fourth night free; and a breakfast with a Disney character.
- There’s also some Orlando theme park vacation packages that includes: condo rental; multi-day Disney World tickets; Universal Pictures tickets; transportation to and from the airport, as well as transportation to the theme parks; and some other perks like a free night in the condo and a 20% savings at hotel restaurants for Executive members. You can get these deals for 3, 5, or 7 night stays.
- They have one houseboat rental partner, Forever Houseboat Rentals, which offers two different deals. The basic deal takes 10% off of the rental rate. Then there is the lackluster fuel-inclusive package that they are offering, which includes a fuel fill up when you return, without the 10% off. This is kind of like the deals that you can get at rental car agencies; I think I’d rather have the 10% discount. If you plan to use the houseboat between May 20th and June 14th, you can currently save $600 to $1,500 off of the rental price by booking before the end of March.
- There are three tour group partners: Disney (of course), Australian Pacific Touring, and Trafalgar Vacations. Remarkable the Disney tours goes to locations around the world. Who knew? The deals look like you get a $1,000 Costco cash card as a ‘reward’ for your booking but they don’t mention anything about other discounts on the actual price of the tour. The Australian Pacific Touring vacations are where you would expect, Australia and New Zealand, and you get a 10% discount off of the brochure prices for their tours. With the Trafalagar Vacations packages you get a 10% discount as well, and a $35 Costco cash card for Executive members. With each of these tour packages you get the standard tour group things like hotel, transportation around the destination (meaning, they don’t include air far to the country or area), tour guides, and at least some meals. If you’re a tour person, this would probably be a great deal.
Next up, cruises. I’ve never been on a cruise so I don’t really have much personal experience to throw in here. But they do seem to have quite a variety of cruise partners; 13 to be exact. Here’s the list: Azamara, Carnival, Celebrity, Cunard, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America, Princess, Regent, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn, Silversea, Uniworld, Windstar.
- On a separate tab, they list a brief description about each of the cruise lines so that you can have a chance of picking the cruise line that is right for you. They also have some tips on how to choose the right ship for you and things to know before you go on a cruise. If you don’t have a cruise line preference, you can choose by destination, which seems the more likely way to go to me.
- All of the deals seem to center around having a shipboard credit of $100 – $325 per stateroom (depending on the cruise line) and then some price which I assume is a discounted rate. Several of the deals also include all gratuities, which I’ve heard can really add up on a cruise, so that’s probably quite a savings. Some of the cruise lines offer free nights and some offer room upgrades, as well. There are so many destinations and so many cruise lines it is hard to do an exhaustive presentation here. But the bottom line is that you can get some deals here.
There are definitely some deals for your vacation plans using your Costco membership and the Costco Travel website. If you’re looking for some inspiration or just want to get away someplace with a good deal, you might try looking here. There are so many things available that I just touched on the highlights in this post. Not to mention, they have some packages that are available just for a limited time, like the current Vietnam vacation package. So, really, you should just swing by every once in a while if you’re looking for a vacation idea or savings. And if you need some help or advice, or just have a question, they have a toll free number for the Costco Travel department too. Also, any travel purchases are not included in your 2% rebate for Executive members!