I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve been a member of Costco for several years and have never used the Costco travel services until today. I just booked a premium SUV rental car and saved 10% over the cheapest rate available anywhere else. Su-weet!
If you’re a regular here at Money Wise Pastor, you know I travel. A lot. In fact, last year I was on the road about 100 nights, speaking in churches, attending conferences, coaching and encouraging other pastors, etc.
Wait, did you say you’re not a regular reader here at Money Wise Pastor?
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Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
I drive my own vehicle probably 60% of the time, and fly the rest. And when I fly, I always need a rental car.
I like to use Alamo as much as I can for car rental. I don’t know why. Oh yeah, I remember. It’s because I can usually do all the check-out stuff online before I get there, so when I get off the plane, I can bypass the rental counter and just walk out and get the car I want.
Within reason of course.
They don’t let me pay for an Economy car and drive off with a Luxury SUV. But (eyes looking up to the sky) that right there would be awesome if it ever happened, Lord!
Most of the time, I check Travelocity or Orbitz to find their best price among several different car companies. And then I go to Alamo’s site to see if my Alamo Insider’s membership gets me any better rates.
Today, I was looking to rent a Chevy Suburban or other similar-size vehicle (they’re considered “Premium SUVs” in the industry) for a trip our family of seven is taking to Arizona, to visit a Native American pastor and his family.
This will be the first time we’ve had all seven of us on a plane together, and we’re super-excited! I purchased the tickets for me and my wife, and got five free tickets for the kids thanks to my Delta Sky Miles.
My jaw dropped when I saw the prices. I mean, I was just in Phoenix last month (July) and they were practically giving rental cars away, the rates were so cheap.
But then again, no one else but me goes to Phoenix in July when it’s 114 degrees.
At least it’s a dry heat.
Yeah, they say that. And most of the time it is. But not this time, because it was the Monsoon season, and we had Thunderstorms and huge downpours nearly every night I was there.
But for this trip to Phoenix at the end of September, the weekly rental rates for a Chevy Suburban were over $1,000, including the taxes and fees (which are obscene in Phoenix, I’m just saying).
Something (or someone) told me to check Costco’s travel program. And as I said, I hadn’t used it before, so I thought I’d give it a try.
For future reference – they don’t offer flights unless they are part of a cruise or vacation package.
The Costco Travel site offers coupon codes for special deals with certain rental companies, and it also offers a main reservation search area where you shop for the best regular price offered through Costco.
It works just like any other travel site: type in the city, dates, and type of vehicle you want to search for, and press search.
It brought up several different options. Sorry Alamo, I “remembered” you, but Avis had the best price for a Chevy Suburban with unlimited miles – at a savings of 10% off what Travelocity offered ($1079.26 instead of $1194.63).
An interesting side note. Budget offered a rate that was slightly cheaper, but it was not unlimited miles. Are they living in the 1990’s? I had no idea that anyone still did that.
Once I made my selection, I had to create a Costco Travel account (which is free, and you only have to do it once), which stores my Costco store membership number, name, address, etc., so I can easily make reservations from here on out.
I booked my car – didn’t need to provide any credit card info – and got my confirmation in an email. Easy peasy lemon you-know-what.
I’m definitely going to use Costco Travel again! I love Costco. It saves our family a ton of money on groceries and other household stuff. And now it saves me money on travel.
In a future post, I’ll share how I saved some cashola by signing up for Direct TV through Costc0…and got cash back from Costco too!
Have you ever used Costco Travel to book a car rental, hotel, cruise, or vacation package? How’d it work for you?