Is Costco Travel Worth It?August 11, 2023
If you shop at Costco, you probably know you can get some amazing deals there. When they say you can get pretty much anything at Costco, they aren’t kidding.
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From groceries to pet supplies, from new floors to electronics, they have everything, including travel packages.
With Costco Travel, you can book vacations just like you would with travel agencies or other travel sites, but at Costco value. As a member, you can get exclusive deals and prices that you can’t get anywhere else. How is this possible? Well, Costco Travel has buying teams that have buying authority to make deals with different travel vendors. They work to negotiate lower prices on certain vacations and then offer these cheap vacation packages to you. Depending on your membership level, there are extra incentives as well. Let’s take a look.
Costco Travel and Costco
While Costco Travel is part of Costco, they’re technically a subdivision of its parent company. That said, true to their nature, Costco Travel is only available to Costco members. They were established in 2000 and offer the best value vacations to their members at deals you can’t get anywhere else.
What Do They Offer?
Costco Travel offers a wide variety of different vacation options with different travel vendors. The different travel services they offer are:
- Hotel Rooms
- Car Rentals
- Vacation Packages
- All-Inclusive Trips
- Cruise Vacations
- Specialty Vacations
- Packages for Theme Parks
- Guided Vacations / Tour Packages
They have feature deals, or you can select a vacation based on your preferences. Either way, you can expect some great deals.
Membership and Discounts
As you know, only Costco members are eligible to use Costco Travel. That said, what type of membership you have will determine what discounted rates you qualify for. If you have the standard membership ($60 annual fee), then you only qualify for the listed prices (which are still pretty amazing).
With the Costco Executive Membership (120 annual fees), you earn 2% back on qualified purchases. However, the maximum amount you can earn back is $1,000. You will receive this after the completion of your trip. This amount is distributed upon renewal of your membership. It will be sent to you as a cheque. With this 2% back, though, certain amounts are excluded, such as:
- Trip Protection
Also, certain portions of other costs like:
- Baggage Fees
- Car Rentals
- Resort Charges
- Port Fees
There are a few other similar fees included as well. Really any extra fees that are purchased through a third party.
If you also have the Costco Mastercard from CIBC and use it to pay for your trip, you can earn 1% cashback. This counts for all your Costco Travel purchases and can be combined with your Costco Executive Membership.
Last Minute Deals
When you’re looking for a vacation on Costco Travel, you can customize your vacation, or you select premade vacation deals. You can base these selections on a specific timeline. If you don’t have a specific timeline in mind, you can choose one of their Limited Time Deals or Weekly Hot Deals.
Limited Time Deals
If you select Limited Time Deals, it will show you all of their featured vacation deals and what each deal includes. You’ll also notice that all of these deals have a date they need to be purchased by in order to qualify for the price. You’ll notice when you open up the Vacation package it shows you what you would qualify for in rewards as an Executive member and what dates the package is valid for. Most of them just include a must-be-used-by date. You should also pay close attention as to whether or not these deals include airfare and what that additional cost would be.
Weekly Hot Deals
Under the Weekly Hot Deals, you’ll notice they have some deals that are Buy Now and Travel Later, like in the Limited Time Deals Section. Other deals have limited days and prices available; this is especially true when it comes to cruise lines. Just like all of the other deals on their site, the Weekly Hot Deals are specific in what they include, the dates that the vacation can be used or purchased, and what the cost and rewards are per person.
In terms of Travel Insurance, Costco has partnered with Manulife Insurance. They offer some great rates for all Costco members, but if you have an Executive Membership, then you could save up to a total of 5% on almost all of their trip insurance premiums with exclusive member rates. Plus, with Manulife Insurance, you can have access to their Medical Concierge Service as long as you purchase a plan that includes emergency medical. Manulife has a few different plans to offer, but the ones most relevant to Costco Travellers are the ones meant for travelling Canadians.
Travel Insurance for Travelling Canadians
This coverage includes:
- Emergency Medical Benefits (up to $5 million for non-COVID-19 related expenses, up to $1 million for COVID-19 related)
- Trip Interruption Benefits
- Flight and Travel Accidental Death and Dismemberment
However, with these benefits come a few stipulations. First, in order to be covered for most travel plans, you must have the full course of COVID-19 vaccines as determined by Health Canada. With cruises, if you’re not vaccinated for COVID-19, then you won’t be covered for any COVID-related expenses.
With Flight and Travel Accidental Death and Dismemberment coverage, the amount you’re covered for depends on your membership level. Gold and Business members are covered for up to $10,000, whereas Executive Members are covered for up to $25,000. If you have a bodily injury or accidental death during the trip, the payout will range between $25 and $200% of the coverage amount, depending on the individual circumstances of the incident.
As always, with any medical insurance plan, make sure you check out their exclusions in regard to coverage and make sure you meet all of the eligibility requirements.
Vacation and Travel Packages
If you’re looking to book vacation packages and save money, Costco Travel vacation packages have plenty to offer. They have plenty of featured packages you can look through, or you can select by destination or the kind of vacation you’re looking for. The categories that they have to choose from are:
- Limited Time Deals
- All Inclusive Resorts & Cruises
- Family-Friendly Fun
- Local Travel
- Hidden Gems
- Adult Escapes
- Weekly Hot Deals
- Guided Vacations (pre-planned vacations with a tour company)
- Kirkland Signature Deals
If you’re an Executive Member and you aren’t super particular about your vacation, they have exclusive packages that include special extras. Plus, you still get the annual 2% reward.
Costco Travel is partnered with many different travel vendors and contains deals for some major hotels. They have great deals on packages to different destinations around the world, including the Royal Caribbean. While many of their vacations don’t include flight packages like other online travel agencies, they do have much lower prices on things like hotel rooms and cruise packages. That said, with other travel agencies, you can book the flights separately but still use the travel agency.
While most of the options above do seem pretty obvious, most people actually don’t know that Costco offers car rentals. They’re actually partnered with a few different car rental companies, and all you need is your Costco card number to unlock some great deals. Plus, all of the information you need to book your rental is right on the site. They have a low-price finder option to help you find the best deal across all the rental companies, or you can book with the company of your choice. The companies they partner with are:
The first thing that you should remember when dealing with Costco Travel is that they aren’t Costco. Costco Travel is a subsidiary of Costco, therefore they have their own contact information and their own complaints department.
On the Costco Travel website, they have a help center that can help you with any inquiries that you need. Other than that, they have a help center number listed (1-855-863-0357) that can help you with any issues or complaints.
In regards to airline tickets, not all vacation packages include them. In the notes on each package, it will inform you if there is airfare included or not. If there isn’t, it will be specified that it’ll be an extra cost. If it is, then it’ll show you the specifics of your flights. You can then choose to stay with the same flights that are offered or choose an alternative from the options given. Some prices vary, though.
When you’re booking your airfare through Costco Travel, you may notice that there are only certain airlines available to book from. That’s because Costco Travel only offers certain airline tickets. If the airline you wish to fly with isn’t an option, then you’ll have to book flights separately.
Best Time to Book
The best time to book your trip with Costco Travel really just depends on when you plan to take the trip. In order to get the best price, it’s ideal to book 3-6 months before you intend to take the trip. The great thing is, too, if you don’t find a trip you’re interested in, their deals are updated all the time. Really though, no matter what time of the year you book, you can be sure you’re getting a great deal at wholesale prices.
Other Perks Included in Costco Travel Deals
When you’re booking your vacation with Costco Travel, you may notice that there are some added perks and exclusive benefits with some of the packages. On top of the significant savings you are already getting with these travel deals, some also include:
- Spa credits
- Costco gift cards (Costco Shop Cards)
- Resort credits
- Free breakfast.
There are also many other extra perks. Plus, when you choose a package, you always have the option to choose room upgrades.
Paying for Your Vacations
Paying for your Costco Travel vacations is simple. When booking a trip, you can do so online or over the phone with the booking service. You can do everything that you would do for the package you see online, including booking flights if they’re included. They offer flexible payment options and allow you to pay with Visa, Mastercard or Costco Shop Cards.
If you choose to pay online, it’s relatively simple. First, make you’re on the Costco Travel website, not the Costco site. Current travel members can sign in. If you aren’t already a Costco Travel member, then you can go ahead and create a Costco Travel account. From here, you can then book Costco Travel packages.
If you are wanting to book a vacation but need a little help paying for it, well, that’s where we can help. At Spring Financial, we offer personal loans ranging from $500 to $35,000, with rates as low as 9.99%. Apply now, and start planning your trip.
Ultimately, if you’re a Costco member, you can get some really great deals on travel. They offer a wide variety of Vacation ideas, all at wholesale prices. Costco Travel is easy to contact, their Vacation packages are transparent, and you can choose the travel dates that work best for you.
If you aren’t already a Costco member, that’s okay. It’s really easy to become one. All you have to do is register online or go into your local store and sign up. Even if you don’t travel a lot, the deals on the items in the store could be worth the savings for you. Either way, whether you’re a Costco Wholesale user, Costco Travel user, or both, there are plenty of savings to be had and who knows, your next vacation could be right around the corner.