Holiday season is approaching! As cold winds sweep us and snow piles up at our doors, we’re too busy dreaming of sunny islands and warm sand under our feet.
The more complicated process of booking a vacation is usually the actual “booking” part, but fortunately technology has given way to a near-instant process. With so many sites, companies, and deals to sort through, one stands out above the rest: Costco Travel.
Since so many people already have a Costco membership, it makes sense to take advantage of the deals they’re already offering their members.
The only question we have is this: Is it really worth it? When compared to travel companies from long ago, Costco seems to have a better offer every now and then. Alternately, there are also a few things that make us a little hesitant about hitting that “book” button.
20 Worth it: their travel agents are really helpful
Not every travel agent is friendly when it comes to playing 21 questions about booking, especially when it comes to cruise lines. Additionally, travelers may find it nearly impossible to get a human on the phone. Costco Travel has friendly and helpful agents, as well as real people rather than android devices.
19 Not worth it: Travel costs plus the cost of a Costco membership
While a Costco membership costs sixty dollars a year (that’s just five dollars a month), instead of going with an outside agency, customers pay for a Costco membership, too. Executive members receive well-deserved additional travel perks, which means that $120 per year is added to the cost of the travel package.
18 Worth it: The site options are pretty decent
Costco has made it a goal to offer competitive positions when it comes to cruise travel, and they offer some unique packages that may interest those looking for something different. However, they also offer traditional cruise options for families and groups.
17 Not Worth It: Travel Insurance Is Expensive
Compared to travel insurance outside of Costco, the company’s rates are quite exorbitant. It also wouldn’t necessarily cover travelers outside a certain mile range, which further complicates matters. Of course, you can skip travel insurance, but most companies don’t recommend it.
16 Worth it: Only one traveler needs a Costco membership to enjoy the travel perks
The pleasant surprise is that when traveling with a group, only one person is required to have an active Costco membership in order to reap the rewards. This may make Costco worth it despite the drawbacks – it’s an easy, simple and convenient way to book a flight without going through a third party.
Executive members pay an additional $60 annually, and as such, have access to additional perks not available to Gold and Business members. This can be a high price to pay just to reap the rewards of one trip; It might be worth it if you travel a lot but if not, that’s definitely a downside.
14 Worth it: Costco offers cash cards as part of its commission refunded to customers
Costco has a neat program where they return “cash cards” to customers as a booking feature with them. These cash cards vary, but they are often just over $100 or more. It is purchased with the commission that Costco gets from your reservation, which is a great feature available to all members.
13 Not worth it: their flight options are very limited
When booking with an outside party or sometimes, directly through the cruise line, travelers usually have a decent number of cruises to choose from. They can be redeemed at every stop along the trip and are generally diverse, but Costco doesn’t offer many options in this category.
12 Worth it: Activities can be selected with the credits included in the package
Just like with other travel packages, Costco offers cruise travel credits as well. These onboard credits can be applied to many activities and entertainment, and are really useful as an added benefit. It’s also something you’re not likely to see from another travel agency.
11 Not worth it: it is not always possible to cash out credits on the plane after the flight
Oftentimes, travelers will have the option to cash out any unused credits. However, this is not always the case. The credits depend on each individual package and depend on how the customer chooses to build it, therefore, the problem may arise that you are stuck with cruise credits after boarding departure.
10 Worth It: ‘Hot Purchases’ are often great deals
‘Hot Buys’ is Costco’s version of special, budget-friendly deal packages. These are definitely worth it as they come at competitive prices. Since Costco also offers last-minute vacation options, these are great things to check out regardless of your vacation time frame.
When booking a cruise, travelers are required to choose the type of room they wish to stay in. For solo or budget travelers, this can be an issue when it comes to extra perks. Some are associated only with certain rooms, and it all depends on the cruise lines and availability.
8 Worth it: The package options are diverse and unique
One thing Costco is proud of as much as cruises are the options it offers for those looking to book something exciting. They offer so much for everyone and there is really no limit to where you can go and the size of the ship you choose. Working with many different cruise lines helps them achieve an impressive list of options.
One thing to note is that Costco may not offer competitive pricing options like some others depending on the time of year and availability. Their options may be limited in terms of promotions, so this is one reason to do some extensive research and shop around before spending an extra $300 for no reason.
6 Worth it: Costco packages offer options for 11 cruise lines
Everyone loves options, right? With Costco Travel, those looking for a cruise will be very happy to find that they can choose from 11 different cruise lines. Among these 11 were included: Azamara, Carnival, Celebrity, Crystal, Cunard, Disney, Holland, Norwegian, Princess, Regent and Royal Caribbean. All you have to do is select and click!
5 Not worth it: Gold Star members have fewer benefits than executive members
Those with an Executive Costco membership pay an additional $60 per year for these perks, but it’s unfortunate that Costco Gold members don’t enjoy the same perks. While Costco Travel offers competitive rates and respectable options, all of these options depend on your actual Costco membership.
4 Worth it: Costco is usually worth it for its all-inclusive travel options
A great advantage of Costco Travel is the comprehensive travel options. Not all of us live near a cruise ship port, so plane travel is required, right? We have good news. Costco offers options for air travel for those who don’t want the hassle of booking everything separately — and they also offer limited rental cars.
3 Not worth it: Flight tickets can be included but not always worth it
The downside to booking airlines through Costco is that their airfares may not save us a lot of money. It’s a more convenient decision than saving money, and it’s a more personal choice. If you don’t mind paying a little extra, it may be worth booking it all together without looking elsewhere.
2 Worth it: Costco honors reservations made directly through cruise lines
If customers book a cruise directly through one of the affiliated cruise lines, Costco will usually honor the reservation and offer the same price. This is a great perk for booking with Costco, as they can make the transition as seamless as possible.
1 Not worth it: Costco doesn’t honor overseas flight bookings
However, this is limited to cruise lines only – the cost of flying is not included in the list of things that Costco will honor as a travel package. There are many options when booking with them, but it all depends on how and what you want to spend – and the ease of planning your travel.