Costco Travel – Worth It for Your Next Vacation?

I’ve been a Costco member for as long as I can remember. However, one service I haven’t used yet as a Costco member was the travel service. I recently sat down with a manager at our local store and asked in depth questions about the additional benefits offered when you book a vacation through their travel service.

Disclosure: I did this in exchange for this public post that details the features of being a Costco member and to answer any questions about the additional benefits and possible significant savings you can garner by using their travel service. I am not advocating anyone using it, but as you will find out in this full feature, there are many ways you can save money versus using a travel agent. Enjoy my report and please feel free to share your own opinions in the comment section or on the All World Forum.

Key Takeaways

  • Costco Travel offers exclusive vacation packages, rentals, and cruises to Costco members, providing significant discounts and added perks, especially for Executive members.
  • Booking with Costco Travel is simple and convenient, allowing members to choose from bundled packages that include accommodations, flights, and rentals for competitive rates, but note that stand-alone flights are not available.
  • While Costco Travel provides considerable savings and benefits, it has limitations such as limited availability of travel packages and destinations, which might not meet the needs of all travelers.

Introduction To Costco’s Travel Service

Imagine accessing a realm of savings and deals poised to transport you to tranquil escapes, vibrant urban centers, or sun-kissed shores with the bonus of being gentle on your finances. This is the pledge Costco Travel offers its members—a gateway to copious travel discounts that serve as an exclusive ticket to substantial savings. For those seeking maximum advantage from these opportunities, keeping abreast with recent Costco travel deals is advantageous. Consider subscribing to their email notifications for an early lead on top-notch offers—transforming this into smart strategy for service-savvy travelers aiming for unparalleled value through Costco’s offering.

Understanding Costco Travel

Let’s delve into the essence of Costco Travel, a dedicated portal for vacation packages, car rentals, and an array of travel opportunities crafted solely for those holding a Costco membership. What distinguishes this service from the vast ocean of travel choices available? Who are the fortunate ones entitled to access these exclusive vacation benefits?

We’re about to unpack the core components of Costco Travel and uncover precisely how one can tap into its extensive offerings to their maximum advantage.

What is Costco Travel?

Costco Travel provides a variety of services, including:

  • Booking vacations
  • Renting cars
  • Organizing cruises
  • Securing hotel reservations

Costco Travel offers a few options for each service, ensuring travelers can find the best fit for their needs.

Imagine it as your go-to destination for all travel requirements. Here you can combine lodging, airport transportation, and even that dreamy convertible rental for cruising along the Pacific Coast Highway—all in one plan that encompasses a trip to Universal Orlando Resort.

To elevate your vacation experience, consider incorporating airfare options, exciting side trips, and sumptuous dining packages to add a dash of indulgence. Remember also to contemplate adding travel insurance for peace of mind during your journey.

Who can use Costco Travel?

costco travel service

The catch is that Costco Travel services are not available to just anyone. They’re a select offering reserved for Costco members, with non-members kept on the outside looking in. Access to travel deals through Costco requires one to be either a Gold Star or an Executive member. Those who have reached the elevated status of Executive membership will experience premium benefits.

Imagine enjoying your favorite beverage from an enhanced balcony view of your hotel room, complimentary dining experiences and accumulating a 2% Reward on hotel stays – these luxuries are all included as part of the package exclusively for Executive members at Costco.

Booking Vacation Packages with Costco Travel

How do you transform your vacation aspirations into an actual flight itinerary using Costco Travel? It’s a simple process to include airfare in your vacation package, whether it’s for a sunny tropical getaway or an exciting European journey.

Let’s delve into the steps of the booking procedure so that you can eagerly anticipate the moment when you lift off.

How to Book

Easily navigate to Costco Travel’s website, choose the kind of vacation you’re looking for, and start enjoying the savings. They excel in combining various elements such as accommodations, flights, and rental cars into one affordable package deal. The convenience of their 24/7 online service means you can secure your upcoming trip at any time—even if that happens to be midnight in your pajamas. They certainly won’t be judging.

Costco Travel Booking Engine
When you visit their website, you’ll see this booking engine. This is where your trip starts.

When it comes to booking flights, they provide an effortless method for choosing your seat—though if the exact spot you want isn’t appearing on their site, make sure to verify directly with the airline’s own platform.

Payment Options

When planning to bring your vacation dreams to life, understanding payment options is crucial. Costco Travel welcomes Visa and Mastercard credit or debit cards for online bookings of travel packages. If you’ve accumulated digital Costco shop card rewards, they can be used towards paying for your package. When it comes to cruise bookings, these usually require a phone call where payments are made using gift cards from the cruise line itself. Unfortunately, if you’re looking to spend cryptocurrency or earn miles with American Express on this venture, those methods won’t apply at Costco Travel—these assets will have to be reserved for use on different adventures.

Benefits of Using Costco Travel

When contemplating your upcoming vacation and considering Costco Travel for booking services, you’re likely to encounter an array of attractive benefits. These advantages include:

  • Special discounts that are exclusive to Costco
  • Additional perks and amenities not widely available
  • Dependable quality in their travel offerings
  • Customer service regarded for its excellence
  • A wide range of options catering to various travel preferences
  • An efficient process simplifying the booking experience

As you plan your next excursion, take into account how these features could potentially elevate the overall enjoyment of your trip with Costco Travel’s assistance.

Exclusive Discounts for Costco Members

Exclusive discounts are the hallmark of Costco Travel, available only to those who hold a membership with Costco. Costco deals provide substantial savings compared to other booking options. These savings aren’t scattered across the web. They’re handpicked and offered specifically for Costco members. If you’re an Executive member at Costco, your travel deals become even more attractive.

Imagine receiving additional perks and additional cost reductions that elevate your travel experience to regal standards—all as a result of choosing the highest level of membership at Costco.

Additional Perks

Hold on, there’s more! When it comes to enhancing your vacation packages with a touch of enchantment, Costco Travel excels. Imagine having resort credits at your disposal for indulging in exquisite dining experiences or unwinding with spa treatments. And the addition of complimentary breakfasts ensures you start each day satisfied without having to search for morning meals.

Securing your trip through Costco could be even more rewarding when accompanied by a Costco gift card included in the deal—elevating the value of your getaway further. For those holding Executive membership status, expect an array of matterial benefits such as possible room upgrades and additional food credits that let you indulge in luxury during your vacation while effortlessly keeping budget concerns at bay.

Drawbacks of Costco Travel

Just like a rose with its sharp thorn, Costco Travel isn’t perfect despite its many advantages. Some travelers might hesitate due to certain drawbacks, such as restricted options and missing elements of travel packages. We shall delve into the possible shortcomings that may influence whether you choose to arrange your trip through Costco Travel.

Limited Availability

A common complaint about Costco Travel is its relatively narrow range of travel packages and destinations available. Those dreaming of staying at a charming bed and breakfast in an off-the-beaten-path village may be disappointed, given Costco’s preference for larger resorts in well-known tourist areas. When compared with other travel booking services, the selection of hotels and resorts on offer through Costco can seem somewhat restricted, potentially compromising your ideal vacation itinerary.

Those aiming to book trips during high-demand periods or to sought-after locations might discover that securing reservations via Costco is as challenging as finding a deserted beach on a bright sunny day due to limited availability.

Here’s an example I ran just for this article.

I did a test booking for a specific hotel in Fort Lauderdale.  I set the dates and this was the result:

Costco Hotels

As you can see, they don’t have any availability at this hotel, which is one of the best in Fort Lauderdale (learn more here) but when I run the same search at, I see availability.  Perhaps Costco’s hotel allotment doesn’t have much reach, or perhaps they don’t have a strong partnership with Marriott International hotels?  I don’t know, I can only say that from experience, no matter where you stay, booking direct is always better.

Here’s proof that Marriott offered availability for that same search query:

Marriott vs. Costco Hotels

Boom!  There’s a room right there.  And for transparency (I’m a Titanium with Marriott), I didn’t even sign into my Bonvoy rewards program account.

Lack of Standalone Flights and Rental Cars

If you’re seeking a simple flight with no extra frills, it’s necessary to consider other choices beyond Costco Travel. Unfortunately, they do not provide the option to book flights separately – your flying plans are grounded unless you’re willing to bundle up with a hotel stay or additional travel elements.

Costco Rental Cars
One drawback is that they only work with select rental car companies.

Personally, I wouldn’t think of using Costco’s rental car service because they have such limited options!

When you compare this to a company that I use, ( – full review here) you’ll see that it’s not even in the same ballpark as far as options, transparency from recent customers from the exact locations you are visiting, and the ease of getting insurance for your rental vehicle.

This constraint might nudge individuals who relish the autonomy of traveling independently towards various other travel booking platforms that offer the flexibility of arranging flights on their own terms.

Comparing Costco Travel to Traditional Travel Agents

Costco Travel and conventional travel agents offer contrasting experiences when it comes to planning your journey. While Costco excels in delivering a seamless experience with the advantage of packaged savings, traditional travel agents distinguish themselves through customized service tailored to individual preferences for unique travel itineraries.

Examining both services side by side allows us to evaluate their respective strengths.

Convenience vs. Personalization

A travel agent associated with Costco seamlessly combines flights, hotels, and car rentals into a single convenient package. For those travelers who prefer customizing each aspect of their journey—including arranging for private chauffeurs to unusual lodging options—a conventional travel agency could better serve your needs. They deliver customized guidance and plans that have the potential to elevate an excursion from ordinary to extraordinary, especially when venturing into less traveled destinations or navigating intricate travel routes.

Yet this tailored service may occasionally come at a cost, possibly leading to unforeseen expenses in one’s overall trip budget.

Cost Savings

Utilizing Costco Travel for vacation planning can result in substantial financial benefits, much like a beacon of light cutting through the mist. Their packages often come bundled together with exclusive discounts and savings, providing an additional advantage as hotel taxes are typically incorporated into the cost.

Choosing Costco. Travel may present you with not just a favorable deal, but also enhanced value due to various added advantages and amenities that complement your purchase. This could offer more bang for your buck compared to employing a conventional travel agent, which might provide convenience but at an increased price.

Customer Reviews of Costco Travel

To uncover the truth about Costco Travel, we delved into numerous online customer testimonials. The findings reveal a spectrum of reactions as diverse as the service’s array of destinations. Enthusiastic supporters sit at one end, while on the other are travelers whose experiences fell short of expectations—all contributing to a mixed portrait of what it’s like to book with Costco Travel.

Positive Experiences

Numerous travelers have embarked on trips through Costco Travel and come back with stories filled with substantial savings and vacation experiences that exceeded what they had envisioned. Member testimonials, such as Ana’s enthusiastic account of her all-inclusive stay at the Grand Fiesta Americana Los Cabos, underscore the exceptional service, exquisite food, and stunning scenery included in a Costco Travel package.

These accounts bear witness to the extra advantages and holiday benefits many individuals have relished, positioning Costco Travel as an exemplar of receiving value far beyond one’s investment.

Areas for Improvement

Yet, it’s not always smooth sailing. Travelers have sometimes navigated choppy waters with Costco Travel’s customer service, facing uncooperative agents and drawn-out resolution processes. Challenges such as billing discrepancies in car rentals and insufficient support have created friction between some users and Costco Travel. When unexpected complications arise, for instance with private transfers, the company’s support mechanism doesn’t invariably align with the anticipated stress-free vacation experience.

Is Costco Travel Worth It?

Evaluating whether planning your trip via Costco Travel is a brilliant move or just a fleeting trend hinges on personal experiences. For members who capitalized on the unique discounts and extra benefits, it’s definitely a win. Some may hesitate due to constrained options and the inability to book flights independently.

We should consider when using Costco Travel is an ideal choice versus when exploring other booking avenues might be advantageous.

Best Value Scenarios

By consolidating services like flights, accommodations, and activities into Costco Travel’s vacation packages, the accumulation of savings can often surpass what you’d earn in frequent flyer miles. If your trip includes renting a car, look to Costco Travel for substantial discounts and benefits that might include waived fees or complimentary vehicle upgrades.

If a sea adventure calls your name, delve into the cruise deals provided by Costco’s Travel service as they already have some information about them where exclusive perks such as onboard credits and special dining experiences eclipse those found with typical booking avenues. Families seeking fun getaways should explore the variety of theme park bundles and all-inclusive resorts on offer at Costco Travel for vacations that are both economically savvy and free from logistical headaches.

When to Look Elsewhere

If your travel requirements are quite specific, such as needing just a flight or having rigid travel dates and destinations, you may need to look beyond Costco Travel. The service might face limitations during high-demand periods or for sought-after locations due to restricted availability.

For travelers who desire customized journeys with select hotels and special amenities, Costco Travel might fall short of expectations. In instances where tailored customer support and services are paramount, consulting with a traditional travel agent could better harmonize with the unique composition of your travels.


In conclusion, Costco Travel holds a treasure chest of opportunities for Costco members. With exclusive member discounts, bundled vacation packages, and additional perks, it can be the golden ticket to savings and memorable travel experiences. However, it’s not without its caveats. Limited availability and the lack of standalone flight options may steer some travelers toward alternative booking options. Ultimately, Costco Travel is a fantastic voyage for those who value convenience and bundled deals, but for travelers with specific needs or those seeking a more personalized touch, the traditional travel agent route might be the way to go. With this guide in hand, you’re now equipped to make informed decisions about your travel plans and whether Costco Travel is the right co-pilot for your adventures.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can anyone book a vacation with Costco Travel?

To book a vacation through the Costco Travel service, it is mandatory to be a member of Costco. You must join Costco if you’re not already affiliated to utilize this exclusive travel offering for members.

Does Costco Travel offer any advantages for Executive members?

Certainly, as a Costco Executive member, you are entitled to benefits such as possible upgrades for your room and credits for food. After completing your trip, you’ll receive a 2% Reward on transactions conducted via Costco Travel.

Can I use my airline miles to book flights through Costco Travel?

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to apply your airline miles when booking flights via Costco Travel. To utilize your miles effectively, consider arranging your travel directly with the airline or opting for an alternative travel service.

Do you have to be a costco member to use costco travel?

Yes, you must be a Costco member in order to use the travel service. This is yet another value that you get being a Costco member.

What payment methods does Costco Travel accept?

When booking a vacation package or cruise online through Costco Travel, you can conveniently pay with either Visa or Mastercard. For any existing reservations for a vacation package, you may use digital Costco Shop Cards. For those making cruise bookings over the phone, cruise line gift cards are also accepted.

Have a wonderful vacation!

What should I do if I need travel insurance or a more customized travel experience?

For those seeking a personalized travel experience that caters to specific needs or desires, it may be worthwhile to engage traditional travel agents. They are known for providing detailed arrangements and tailored services which might not be available through Costco Travel.

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Tim Schmidt is a 20+ year Entrepreneur and Digital Marketer. A Fort Lauderdale-based "Digital Nomad," he enjoys traveling as much as possible with family and friends. AllWorld is his escape to document all of his adventures, including being a hardcore "foodie." He has property in Costa Rica and visits several times each year and is happy to offer his expert advice for planning your trip.

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