Costco Travel Canada: Your Guide to Affordable Vacation Planning

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Costco Travel Canada is easily one of the most underrated travel providers in the country. While they may not always have the lowest prices, Costco does have exclusive deals and special promotions that can save you hundreds of dollars. Even something as simple as hotels and car rentals can be cheaper at Costco Travel instead of other major players such as Expedia.

Although you do need a Costco membership to make travel arrangements, it can be worth it since Costco uses their bulk purchasing power to get the lowest prices. Here’s everything you need to know about Costco Travel Canada.

What is Costco Travel?

Costco Travel is a dedicated platform for booking various travel needs exclusively for Costco members. This site is separate from the regular Costco website, so you must create a different account to access it.

Services Overview

With Costco Travel Canada, you have access to the following services:

  • Vacation packages: Bundled deals for resorts worldwide.
  • Hotels: From budget-friendly to luxury accommodations, you have endless options.
  • Cruises: Various cruise lines and itineraries are available.
  • Rental cars: Choose any type of vehicle from various rental car agencies.
  • Specialty travel: Book a safari adventure, Disney World tickets, and more.

Even though you book a flight with your vacation package, hotels, cruise, etc., you can’t book flights alone on Costco Travel.

Who Can Use Costco Travel

Costco Travel is designed exclusively for Costco members. To utilize these services, you must hold a valid Costco membership and reside in Canada. It doesn’t matter which Costco membership tier you have, both give you the same prices on Costco travel. Since this service is exclusive to Costco members, you get special pricing explicitly negotiated for the Costco membership community.

Membership Benefits

When booking with Costco Travel, your membership entitles you to the following:

  • Value: Competitive pricing on travel options.
  • Member-Only Deals: Special offers on hotels, cruises, and more.
  • Quality: Access to brand-name and trusted travel providers.
  • Assistance: Costco staff with travel expertise are available to help plan your trips.

Vacation Planning With Costco Travel

Vacation planning with Costco Travel is no different from any other travel provider. You put in your information, such as dates and desired location, and the site will show you your options. In general, you want to do some basic research before you start searching. That said, sometimes, a quick search on Costco Travel will inspire you.

Destinations

Costco Travel has almost every destination available, but when you search, you’ll choose a country or region first. For example, the Caribbean, Costa Rica, Europe, and Canada. After you choose that initial area, you’ll be asked to choose a region to narrow down your choices. This is a very natural way of searching for travel so that users won’t have any issues.

Vacation Packages

Vacation packages are arguably the most popular option for those using Costco Travel. The options available include:

  • All-Inclusive (with or without a flight)
  • Hotel + flight
  • Hotel + flight + car
  • Hotel + car

For the purpose of this review, I decided to search for an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana to see what pricing I’d get.

Costco Travel Canada will put its recommended property at the top of the results when searching for a resort. The price defaults at the total price, which includes both passengers and any relevant taxes. I also noticed that you get a Costco Shop Card, which is essentially a gift card, when booking a vacation package through them. In this case, you get a $283 card when the trip costs $4,615.47. That’s almost 6% back in gift cards.

Once you select the property, you’re brought to the flight page. This was the default flight that’s included in your package. While other flights that landed earlier were available, they required a stopover and cost more. The other options are displayed all together so it’s easy to decide what’s best for you.

Once you’re good with your flight, you can upgrade your room. This property had a few different options. Just like the initial price, the additional price shows the total extra cost. Another $940 for a swim-up suite is pretty reasonable, considering the stay is for a week. You may have also noticed that your Digital Costco Shop Card value also increases when selecting this upgrade. That’s an additional $81, so the room upgrade only costs you an extra $859.16 or $122.73 daily.

Costco Travel also includes transportation to and from your resort. This is relevant because not ever travel operator offers this at no additional cost. If you had to pay for it, you’re looking at about CAD$50 – $75 each way.

To see if Costco Travel Canada is actually worth it, I decided to check the exact same hotel via Air Transat since they’re providing the flights. The price listed is $4,718. That’s a difference of $102.53. However, you don’t get the Costco gift card or free transportation. If you added all those extras, you’d save about $535 for booking directly with Costco. These savings won’t apply to every property, but clearly, it’s worth looking at Costco Travel to see what prices they’re offering.

It’s worth mentioning that upgrading the room via Ait Transat costs only $860, which is $80 cheaper than Costco. However, when choosing this room upgrade via Costco Travel, you get an additional $81 in gift cards, so Costco is still cheaper.

Costco Hotels

When you first log into Costco Travel, you might assume that they have access to a full range of hotels. However, that’s not the case. Costco is partnered with select hotels at specific destinations. In addition, some destinations require you to book the hotel as a package. For example, hotel + airport transfers or hotel + theme park tickets.

Sometimes these packages offer good value, but not always.

Using the Martinique New York as an example, you’ll see that the mandatory daily amenity fee is waived, and the occupancy tax is included. While this may seem good, it’s worth noting that the occupancy tax is always included regardless of where you book. The price also includes the price of a private transfer from/to JFK Airport.

When going to the Hilton website directly, I found the price to be $449.80 cheaper. Yes, Costco offers the free transfer, which is probably worth about $240, but they’re still more expensive. What’s funny is that the Hilton direct rate clearly includes the mandatory $40, whereas Costco says they don’t.

While this scenario shows that Costco is still more expensive, there are still deals to be had. For example, when I searched hotels in Orlando, they included three theme park tickets. In this case, Costco Travel was a bit cheaper than booking on your own.

If you need just a hotel, it’s likely better to book directly with the property. It’s also worth mentioning that when you book hotels through Costco, you won’t earn any loyalty points, and any perks you get with status, such as Marriott Bonvoy, won’t apply.

Costco Cruises

Although Costco only works with 11 cruise lines, some of the most popular ones, including Norwegian, Disney, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, are partners. Oddly enough, on the cruise landing page, they also have a dedicated search for Alaska Cruise Tours, which covers cruise and land tours. You can also only search for one month at a time, which is a bit annoying.

The search results are pretty straightforward and you can use some of the included filters to narrow down your choices. You can also immediately see how much a room upgrade is. You’ll also notice that you get a digital Costco shop card – although how much you get isn’t shown.

Here’s what the exact same cruise costs when booking directly with Celebrity. While going direct may seem cheaper, it’s priced in USD and does not factor in taxes, fees, and port expenses. When you add that all up and factor in the exchange, Costco is a touch cheaper due to the included gift card.

A quick look at some other cruises shows similar results. That said, when booking directly, they often offer additional benefits such as free drink packages, discounts on an additional passenger, no gratuities, and more. In other words, it’s always worth looking at Costco Travel for a cruise, but waiting for a sale and booking directly may be better.

Costco Car Rentals

Searching for a rental car via Costco Travel is easy. Just like other car rental sites, you’d enter your pickup location and dates. You also have the option to choose a different drop-off location.

The good thing about Costco Rental Cars is that it automatically checks four different agencies for you: Alamo, AVIS, Budget, and Enterprise. It also immediately highlights the lowers price for each car class. One downside is that it shows the price in US dollars. This is annoying since Costco Travel mostly shows Canadian prices. Here you need to factor in the currency exchange and any foreign transaction fees you may need to pay.

On a positive note, if you click “Terms & Conditions,” you’ll see that one additional driver fee is waived for rentals in Canada. While this is good, it’s a bit silly to include it in this search since Orlando is in the U.S.

You can add your loyalty number to your rental car booking, but there’s no place to enter a discount code. No payment is due when you make a reservation.

When you compare prices to Budget directly, Costco is about US$10 cheaper. That said, Costco doesn’t require you to pay in advance. You pay at the counter when you pick up your car. Going with that option with Budget directly costs $40.40 more, so you’re actually saving about US$50 in this example.

I also checked Alamo for the same dates and noticed that Costco Travel waives the additional driver fee, whereas going direct only covers a single driver. Overall, Costco seems to be the cheapest way to go for car rentals.

Travel Deals and Offers

Anyone who’s flexible with their dates and location should check the Costco deals tab regularly. From weekly deals to what’s trending, some offers include things such as resort credits, free breakfast, waived fees, ground transportation, free nights, room upgrades, late checkout and more.

Limited Time Promotions

As the name implies, Costco Travel often has limited-time offers which include substantial savings on select travel packages. For example:

Admittedly, some of the included extras listed are standard amenities for all guests. What you’re really getting here as a bonus is the resort credit and ground transportation which are worth a few hundred dollars.

Executive Member Benefits

Costco travel can be especially lucrative for Executive Members. Not only do you earn 2% in Costco Rewards, up to $1,000, on qualified Costco Travel purchases, but you also get extra perks such as resort and cruise credits. Considering an Executive membership only costs CAD $120 a year, it’s likely worth upgrading if you see a Costco Travel package with good perks for Executive members.

Booking Process

Interestingly enough, Costco Travel Canada’s booking process is better than some dedicated travel websites I’ve seen out there. All prices are clear and will state if it’s in USD or CAD. The terms and conditions are also easy to find.

Online Booking

To book your trip online, visit the Costco Travel website and sign in to your Costco account. Remember, this is a separate login from your regular Costco account.

To book your travel, just do the following:

  1. Select your travel service: Choose the type of travel service you want – Vacation packages, hotel + car, theme park tickets, etc.
  2. Input your travel details: This is where you put in your city of departure, destination, travel dates, and the number of travellers.
  3. Choose options: you can add extras to your booking, such as a room upgrade and special requests.
  4. Review and reserve: Once you’ve reviewed the details, you can book your travel. Some bookings will require a deposit. Note that you can only pay with Visa and Mastercard.

Customer Support

If you need assistance with your bookingor have specific questions, Costco Travel Canada’s customer support is easy to reach.

  • Costco Travel Canada phone number: 1.855.863.0357
  • Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Eastern time)

The same phone number and hours should be used if you’re currently travelling. Customer support can help you understand the details of your booking, assist with special requests, and guide you through the booking process if you’re unfamiliar with online reservations. Have your membership information ready as the may ask you for the details.

Is Costco Travel Worth it?

Vacations booked through Costco Travel can be good deals since they may come with additional perks like airport transfers or even Costco cash cards. It’s also worth mentioning that since Costco Travel bundles everything, you save a lot of time. Your time is valuable, so using Costco Travel could be well worth it.

That said, there are a few things to consider. First off, you need a Costco Membership to use Costco Travel. A Gold Star membership is $60, while the Executive Membership will cost you $120. However, the savings from your travel will easily offset those costs. There’s also limited selection when it comes to hotels and cruises. Plus, you can’t book flights alone.

If you have a Costco Membership, and like to travel, it’s definitely worth browsing Costco Travel Canada to see what’s available. Some of the limited-time and weekly deals offer incredible value. You can also earn cash back or travel rewards by using one of the best Costco credit cards in Canada.

Frequently Asked Questions

What benefits will I receive by booking through Costco Travel?

By booking through Costco Travel, you can access member-exclusive prices and benefits. Some vacations come with Costco shop cards, room upgrades, dining credits, and more. In addition, Executive members get 2% in rewards on qualifying travel purchases.

How can I get in touch with Costco Travel Canada for assistance?

For assistance, you can contact Costco Travel Canada’s customer service number at 1.855.863.0357. They’re open Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Eastern time)

Are there exclusive discounts available when booking a vacation package with Costco Travel?

Yes, Costco Travel offers exclusive discounts on various vacation packages available only to Costco members. The limited time and weekly deals offer some of the best pricing.

How can I log in to my Costco Travel Canada account?

To log in to your Costco Travel Canada account, you need a Costco membership. You would then create an account as this site is different from the regular Costco website. Once your account is created, you can login with your credentials.

What car rental services does Costco Travel Canada offer?

Costco Travel Canada partners with Alamo, AVIS, Budget, and Enterprise. When doing a search, you’ll have access to all their vehicles.

Are last-minute travel deals offered by Costco Travel Canada?

Costco Travel Canada does have some last-minute travel deals. These deals apply to cruises, hotel bookings, and more.

Doest Costco Travel Canada accept American Express cards?

No, you can only pay with Visa and Mastercard at Costco Travel.

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

2 Comments

  1. Kevin Goss on April 1, 2024 at 4:05 PM

    Your information is always helpful. One clarification about car rentals: If you are renting in Canada, the results appear in Canadian dollars. If you are booking in the US, the results come up in USD. I do find it helpful to see total prices in Canadian dollars when booking outside the country, but the exchange is not always accurate.

    • Barry Choi on April 2, 2024 at 8:32 AM

      Hey Kevin,

      Thanks for sharing that. I had only looked up U.S. car rentals so that would explain the USD pricing.

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