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Are Costco’s Vacation Packages Really Worth It?

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Image source: Upsplash/The Motley Fool

When you think of Costco, your mind probably conjures images of bulk groceries. However, there’s a lesser-known side to Costco that savvy travelers have been quietly taking advantage of: Costco Travel.

Costco is famous for its $1.50 hot-dog-and-soda combo deal, for its roasted chicken that feeds a family for less than $5, and for its oversized jars of everything from olives to peanut butter. Bottom line: If you want something inexpensive, Costco probably has it in bulk. But what about its travel packages? They seem comprehensive. The prices appear to be low. But how does Costco stand up against all the other low-cost competitors? Here’s what you should know.

Packages make itinerary building easy

Navigating the complexities of travel planning can be daunting, but with Costco Travel, it’s as easy as pie. Costco offers a variety of packages that simplify itinerary building. Costco’s packages provide comprehensive solutions tailored to your preferences, from flights to accommodations to activities. And they cost less than if you booked them separately. Consider a five-night package at Le Bora Bora by Pearl Resorts via Costco Travel: $5,099/person. Booking separately costs over $5,000 for just the hotel, plus extra time.

Whether you’re seeking a relaxing beach getaway or an adventurous expedition, Costco’s packages make crafting your dream itinerary a breeze.

Some vacation packages come with bonus perks

Certain Costco travel packages come with complimentary perks. Costco Travel offers a seamless booking experience for hotels, rental cars, and cruises. Beyond these, you can opt for vacation packages that include flights, ensuring a hassle-free arrangement. When evaluating your options, scrutinize the details thoroughly.

Numerous Costco Travel packages feature bonuses such as dining credits, resort credits, or room upgrades. These supplementary perks enhance the value of your Costco membership and may allocate additional funds in your vacation budget for indulging in culinary delights and exciting activities. Some even come with a Costco Shop Card, too.

Executive members earn more

For Costco’s Executive members, the rewards extend beyond the store aisles to the world of travel. With an Executive membership costing $120 per year — double that of a Gold Star membership — members enjoy exclusive benefits, including 2% back on purchases annually. This perk also translates to travel rewards. Additionally, Executive members receive many other perks, such as shipboard credits, spa credits, and various discounts, making the upgrade worthwhile, especially for avid travelers.

Costco works with major brands

Costco Travel limits its offerings to four rental car brands: Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise. It offers exclusive member rates on rental cars, often including an additional driver. However, if you don’t need the additional driver, you may find a lower-cost option with other brands.

Costco offers 11 cruise lines with itineraries that span the globe. The lines include Azamara, Carnival, Celebrity, Cunard, Disney, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, and Uniworld. Cruises are big business for Costco, and one major plus is that the Costco phone reps don’t sell by commission.

Downsides to consider

Despite its numerous advantages, Costco Travel does have its limitations. As a bulk retailer, Costco may not always offer the best prices compared to other travel agencies or booking platforms. While Costco strives to provide competitive rates, there may be instances where better deals can be found elsewhere.

Is Costco Travel a better deal?

Costco Travel offers exceptional value for your money. While prices may not always be significantly lower than competitors, Costco consistently provides added perks such as Costco Shop Cards, upgraded accommodations, and exclusive tours, making it the preferred choice for many travelers.

However, exploring alternative options, including budget airlines, may offer more cost-effective solutions for those strictly adhering to a budget. Ultimately, whether Costco Travel is the better deal depends on individual preferences and priorities regarding travel planning.

Top credit card to use at Costco (and everywhere else!)

If you’re shopping with a debit card, you could be missing out on hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year. These versatile credit cards offer huge rewards everywhere, including Costco, and are rated the best cards of 2024 by our experts because they offer hefty sign-up bonuses and outstanding cash rewards. Plus, you’ll save on credit card interest because all of these recommendations include a competitive 0% interest period.

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We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers.
The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.The Motley Fool has positions in and recommends Costco Wholesale. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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