Renting a Car, Costco Travel

On vacation

RENTING A CAR

Will you really save money by renting through Costco Travel?

Many of us have subscriptions to the warehouse store Costco.  But did you know while picking up your bulk toilet paper, you also can book your next vacation? Costco Travel is included in your annual membership.  I decided to try it out to see if I could really save money on renting a car.

Costco deals only with Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise. If you’re a Hertz Gold Plus Rewards member, you’re out of luck.  When booking through Costco Travel, you can add a second driver for free, saving you $11 to $13 per day versus some other rental companies.  Also Costco allows you to reserve your vehicle without a credit card guarantee.  However, if you know that you’re not going to cancel the reservation, you could save yourself more than $100 with another company's advance payment.  Just know that if you cancel, you won’t get a refund.

KidTripster Tip: Check out the featured coupons on the Costco Travel website for additional savings on car rentals.

KidTripster Tip: Check with your auto insurer in advance, but you typically can safely opt-out of the extra insurance.

Rather than solely relying on Costco Travel, I found that it’s best to use the service as a “jumping off” point in your search for the least expensive rental.  I saved about $5 per reservation for my most recent trips.  However, don’t assume that Costco always offers the best deal.  I also found examples where the same rental with the same company was actually cheaper when booking directly on that company’s website, especially if you opt for the pay-now feature.  

Bottom line:  Costco Travel isn’t a short cut.  You’ll still need to do your homework to get the best price.

Holly Thiel is lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and two daughters.

Photo courtesy: Caleb Whiting