If we go to Costco to buy our daily essentials, maybe our electronics and possibly our furniture, would it make sense for us to make travel plans with our favorite warehouse store, too?
Costco would like us to think so. Costco Travel, which has been around since 2000, offers vacation packages, as well as basic hotel and flight arrangements to its members living in the U.S. The company promises transparent pricing, which include taxes and incidentals on hotels, vacation packages, and rental cars — meaning there are no surprises when you’ve finished making your travel plans. “Following the same philosophy as in the warehouses, we offer a limited number of products in an effort to focus on partners who consistently produce high-quality, exceptional value and superb service,” Costco representative Nikki Chellew says (via Business Insider).
The type of membership card you have will determine the benefits available to you. A Gold Star membership, for instance, doesn’t offer any extra discounts on the warehouse store’s travel service, while the higher-tier Executive Membership gives a reward of two percent for the first $1,000 spent on travel services, as well as other added benefits and discounts (via Forbes).
The upside of booking with Costco Travel
Costco’s vacation packages are definitely worth a try, because the store’s website makes it easy to make all your travel arrangements from start to finish, per Market Watch . Not unlike the rest of the store, Costco offers good value for money on packages, which can include airport transfers, deluxe accommodations, and perks, such as luxury meals and tour credits. All packages start off with a basic travel plan, and once you plug in your dates and your destinations, you’re able to tweak your arrangements. A seven-day package for two from San Francisco to London and Paris, for instance, might cost $4,900, but would also include a champagne afternoon-tea service, and an appointment with the hotel concierge, as well as premium room offers.
What’s more, Costco Travel has user-friendly deals on car rentals, according to Clark. The company works with popular brands, like Avis and Enterprise, and the travel service is able to waive the additional driver fee. Similar partnership agreements with large cruise companies including Disney Cruise Line, Cunard, and Royal Caribbean International allow the travel site to offer good deals on last-minute cruises.
Things to watch out for with Costco Travel
But there are downsides to booking a vacation through Costco Travel. While their vacation packages are often inexpensive, they aren’t the cheapest either. Nerdwallet says a multi-day trip could end up costing well over $1,000 per person. One user said she wished Costco had been more upfront about how much an actual stay at a resort might cost, particularly if you’re not able to leave the property to explore. And in some cases, the bigger travel companies, like Expedia, might have better deals, because they’re able to negotiate better prices, according to CNBC. “I have not seen any evidence that the packages are better at Costco,” Pauline Frommer, of travel-guide company Frommer’s, told the news organization.
Costco also tends to send its travelers to big hotels and resorts, so if you’re looking for a smaller, more intimate hotel, it might not be the best booking place for you. So, if you’re looking for convenience and ease, Costco Travel is it. But if you want a more off-the-beaten-path experience, and maybe an even better deal, it’s possible you’re better off going somewhere else for help with your next vacation.
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