Costco vacation packages can save you a lot on your next trip, especially since they come loaded with credits and perks that add to their value.
The Costco Travel portal is a members-only booking platform that you might have never heard of. But just like the store’s great deals on bulk purchases, it allows members to save money on their next vacation. When you combine the deals on this site with the savings potential of a travel package, value abounds.
Read on to learn more about Costco vacation packages and if they are the best way to book your next trip.
What are Costco vacation packages?
Built into the members-only Costco Travel portal, Costco vacation packages allow members to book their next trip for less. These highly-discounted vacations lump together purchases to save you money on flights, hotels, meals and more – as well as time spent booking individual reservations.
While the Costco Travel portal also allows members to book individual flights, hotels, cruises and rental car reservations, vacation packages combine your entire itinerary into one purchase to save you time and money.
What’s included in a Costco vacation packages?
The exact details of what’s included in your Costco vacation package will vary from trip to trip. Almost all vacation packages include round trip flights to and from the destination, ground transportation and accommodation. But in many cases, vacation packages come loaded with extras to cover all of your trip costs, including, but not limited to the following:
- Complimentary meals, or a credit to cover the cost
- Rental car
- Resort fees and taxes
- Tour credits
- Credits for incidental purchases
- Internet access
- A Costco shop card to use after the trip
Check out the full details of whichever vacation package you are interested in for specific credits.
Mining vacation packages for a good deal
Now to the real question – are Costco vacation packages actually worth it? The store is well known for giving members quite a bargain, but is the same true for its travel portal? In short, yes – most vacation packages will save you money compared to booking individual reservations.
However, the true value of Costco vacation packages depends on your individual travel habits. If your trip already would have included the flight, hotel, tours and other extras in a Costco vacation package, bundling can save you money. But more budget-conscious travelers who frequently skip extras like shore excursions, fancy meals or private cars could get a better value by booking themselves.
No matter what kind of traveler you are, consider the following before deciding if a Costco vacation package is right for you.
Compare combined price to individual ticket purchases
No matter where you book a travel package, it is always a good idea to compare the cost of individual reservations to the package cost listed to ensure you are really saving by bundling your charges.
For example, consider this vacation package for a four-night visit to the Kauai Shores Hotel.
This travel bundle includes the following:
- $200 credit for meals
- $100 credit for Aloha VIP Tours
- Full-size rental car with one additional driver
- Four nights in a standard-view room
- Resort fees and car taxes
- Round-trip flights (optional)
We plugged in a sample trip in January – bundling in round-trip flights from Houston, TX – bringing the total cost of the vacation package to $2,650.09 for two guests.
If you booked the same vacation by directly purchasing each element from the airline, hotel, car rental and tour company, the prices for the same dates were as follows:
|American Airlines round-trip flight||$1,649.60|
|Kauai Shores Hotel standard-view room||$899.11|
|Alamo full size car with additional driver||$276.81|
|Aloha VIP tours||$100|
As you can see, booking the Costco vacation package saves you close to $300 over booking individually – before you factor in the meal credits.
Because Costco vacation packages often come with more than the standard flight, hotel and car rental, it is important to consider the value of these extras when deciding if the trip is right for you. If the package comes with a $100 Costco Shop card – and you already have plans to spend that much at Costco in the coming months – that’s $100 you can essentially deduct from the price of your trip.
Additionally, perks like room upgrades, meals and credits for tips or tours can often save you more than you realize. Saving the cost of dining out or tipping your tour guide frees up your budget for fun purchases on your trip.
Whatever is included in the vacation package you want to book, add up the potential savings and deduct that from the cost of your trip. If you are spending less after these deductions than your typical vacation budget, booking the package is probably a good move.
Drawbacks to Costco vacation packages
Unfortunately, Costco vacation packages do come with a few drawbacks.
No hotel elite status
Because Costco Travel is a third-party booking portal, you probably won’t be able to earn hotel points at your favorite brand. Additionally, most hotels don’t extend elite status benefits if you don’t book directly. So if you have unlocked loyalty perks like free breakfast or room upgrades, you probably won’t be able to take advantage of them during a vacation package stay.
Vacation packages bundle all your expenses, but this can be as much of a drawback as it is a benefit. Because the package offers particular accommodations and extras, you can’t opt out of anything included you wouldn’t typically use.
Additionally, while some packages let you customize the property you stay at and room type – you’ll always be limited to certain selections. If you want the freedom to book whichever hotel or tour you like, a travel package isn’t for you.
Must be a Costco member to book
The Costco Travel portal is not available to general public; you must have a Costco membership to access vacation packages. So if you don’t prefer to shop at the store, it likely doesn’t make sense to purchase a membership just to access the portal.
Destinations are limited
Costco vacation packages are available at a wide selection of major tourist destinations – including major theme parks. Nevertheless, travel packages won’t be available for every place you’d like to travel. If you want to take advantage of a package for your next trip, you’ll need to choose from the select destinations available.
Costco vacation packages can save you a lot on your next trip, especially since they come loaded with credits and perks that add to their value. If you prefer bundling your trip charges to save money over the flexibility to choose your own accommodation, booking with Costco can be a great move.