Is Renting A Car From Costco Cheaper?

12 mins read

Did you know that Costco isn’t just a wholesale grocery supplier? That’s right! Costco offers so many services to its members, including car rentals. In fact, Costco has an entire travel division called Costco Travel where members can book hotel rooms, rent cars at discounted rates, and even plan cruise ship vacations. Keep reading to learn more!

Costco Car Rental

Is Renting A Car From Costco Cheaper?

Many people might not know that Costco actually has an entire travel division dedicated to facilitating things like car rentals, cruise packages, and hotel stays for their shoppers. Through Costco Travel, you can rent a car at a great value.

So, is renting a car through Costco Travel cheaper than renting one from other car rental companies?

It’s hard to give a firm answer to this question, because rental car prices are always going to depend on location, time of year, type of vehicle, driver history, etc. However, generally speaking, we have found that Costco shoppers tend to find somewhat lower rates on rental cars through Costco Travel than through other companies.

According to one Costco Travel customer, they saved as much as $100 on their car rental!

Costco Discounts On Rental Cars

Because Costco Travel is reserved exclusively for Costco members, the service does not offer additional discounts to its customers. Costco prices are known for having deals built in, so you can think of the prices as already being discounted from market standard rates.

The car rental companies Costco Travel contracts with include Alamo, Enterprise, Budget, and Avis.

The table below shows the current starting rates (May 2022) for a 24 hour car rental in three different major US cities, comparing Costco’s prices with prices found directly from Enterprise, Alamo, and Budget.

2022 Starting Rates for 24-Hour Car Rental From 3 Major US Cities

Comparing Costco Travel with Enterprise, Alamo, and Budget

Seattle Los Angeles New York
Costco $99 $94 $144
Enterprise $107 $125 $179
Alamo $107 $120 $163
Budget $80 $78 $118

As you can see from this chart, it’s pretty clear that renting a car through Costco can get you a somewhat better value on your rental car than from most rental services. Sure, Budget does tend to have the cheapest rental car prices on the market, but there are plenty of added benefits to renting through Costco Travel that we’ll go over further down.

Another clever way to get discounts on rental cars is to take advantage of certain credit and debit card promotions. Some card providers, such as Visa, partner with car rental companies to offer their customers instant savings on car rentals. For example, Visa Infinite credit card holders who rent cars from Avis, Hertz, National, or Silvercar can receive up to 30% off the price of their rental. Other banks and financial institutions that offer car rental rewards and discounts include Chase and American Express.

3 Reasons Why Costco Car Rental Is A Good Deal

Even though Costco isn’t always the cheapest car rental service out there, there are still some key reasons why renting a car from Costco can be a great value.

  • Exclusive Member Rates – The best part of renting a car from Costco is that you can get access to premiere rental vehicles from companies like Enterprise and Avis without having to pay top-of-the-line prices. Renting an Enterprise car through Costco is cheaper than renting directly through Enterprise. Talk about a life hack!
  • Additional Driver Fee Waived – We all know how important it is to be able to add an additional driver onto our rental car policy. Especially if you’re going on an extended road trip, being the only one who can drive the car isn’t that much fun. So, Costco offers its customers the benefit of waiving the fee that’s usually associated with adding an additional driver.
  • 2% annual rewards per rental – Like with all member purchases through Costco, car rentals earn Costco members 2% annual rewards which they can collect at the end of the year.

You can learn more about the benefits of renting a car through Costco on Costco Travel’s website.

How Does Costco Car Rental Work?

The easiest way to rent a car from Costco is to schedule your booking online. But first, you’ll have to make sure that you have a valid Costco membership.

Follow these steps to rent a car from Costco Travel.

  1. Check to make sure you have a valid Costco membership and member number. If you are not yet a Costco member, visit Costco’s website to start your membership.
  2. Visit Costco Travel’s website.
  3. Click on “Rental Cars” in the navigation menu and select “Get Started” from the drop-down menu. You can also shop by brand here if you know which company you’d like to rent your car from.
  4. Select your location, pick-up and drop-off dates and times, and fill out the other prompts in the digital form that appears. See the example below.Costo Travel Screen
  5. Select “Find My Car.”
  6. Select a more specific location from the list that appears if prompted.
  7. You will then be presented with a list of different car styles and rates. Choose the option from this list that best suits your needs.
  8. From here, you will be walked through the process of scheduling and paying for your car rental.

If you need to cancel your car rental reservation for any reason, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your Costco Travel account online.
  2. Select the booking you wish to cancel.
  3. Click “Cancel.”
  4. Click “yes” when asked to confirm the cancellation.
  5. You will receive a confirmation of your cancellation via email.

Remember that you must be at least 25 years old to legally rent a car in the United States. For more information about renting a car from Costco, visit the Costco Car Rental FAQs.

Do You Have To Be A Costco Member To Rent A Car?

Like with most goods and services Costco offers, Costco Travel is no exception to the members-only rule. In order to rent a car from Costco, you have to have a valid Costco membership or be traveling with someone who has a membership and can rent the car through their account.

Is a Costco Card Needed To Rent A Car?

You don’t necessarily have to carry your Costco membership card with you to rent a car through Costco Travel, but you will need to provide your membership number when you make your booking or book through your Costco.com account online. You will also need to present your membership card when you pick up your vehicle.

Can A Costco Member Rent A Car For A Non-Costco Member?

It makes sense to wonder whether a Costco member can rent a car for a non-Costco member, but the answer isn’t that simple. The short answer is yes, a Costco member can rent a car for a friend or family member; however, the primary driver of the car will need to be able to present their own membership card when they pick up their car. Remember that household members can have their own Costco membership cards even if they weren’t the person to purchase the membership.

Costco Car Rentals Review

Check out these actual customer reviews raving about the Costco Travel Car Rental program!

Costco Customer Reviews Car Rental

FAQs

Is Costco Car Rental available internationally?

Yes! Costco’s car rentals are available not only in the US, but also in Canada, France, Germany, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, UK, Spain, and Ireland.

Does renting a car in Costco offer free insurance?

No. Insurance is not included when you rent a car from Costco, although they do offer optional insurance which can be added on to your rental. 

Does Costco charge for an additional driver during reservation?

No. Costco’s car rental program waives all applicable additional driver fees.

How far in advance should you rent a car at Costco?

This all depends on where you’re renting your car. Some places are busier than others and car rentals will be in higher demand. Sometimes, 24 hours is enough time to plan ahead, but for other locations, you will want to book ahead at least a week in advance.

Does Costco Car Rental include a free upgrade?

If the car type you reserved on your booking is not available when you arrive to pick up your rental, then Costco will grant you a free upgrade.

Does Costco have travel packages?

Yes! Costco Travel offers travel packages including hotel stays, cruises, car rentals, and more.

Conclusion

Just when we thought Costco couldn’t get any better, we found out about Costco Travel! Through Costco Travel’s car rental program, you can rent a car for less money than from some of the most popular car rental companies, and you can enjoy extra benefits through your membership like 2% rewards at the end of the year. It’s enough to make you want to start planning a vacation!

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