Renting a car through Costco isn't always the cheapest option, but there are 3 reasons I wouldn't rent anywhere else (2023)

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  • i love to buyaffordable groceries and homewares from Costco, but my favorite membership perk is cost-effectiveCar Rentals.
  • Costco's travel system searches deals from a variety of major rental companies, including Avis and Alamo, and then applies a member discount to the best deal.
  • Although I've found cheaper rental cars on Priceline, I prefer Costco because I always know which company I'm renting from (unlike Priceline), Costco has the best customer service, and I get free rental car insurance when I use my Costco Anywhere -Visa.
  • You can use Citito's Costco Anywhere Visa® Card to get 2% off eligible in-store and online purchases.

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MostPeople use Costcobuy toilet paper,Snacks, and meat in bulk. While my husband and I are among those who use Costco to stock up on our favoriteHousehold and grocery items at a lower cost, we also love one of its lesser-known benefits:Car Rentals. My husband gets discounts on rental cars through his employer, but even with this benefit, renting a car through Costco is usually cheaper.

When searching for car rental options, Costco automatically searches multiple companies to find the best deal, then applies its member discount to the lowest rate. We got Alamo and Avis cars through themWebsite von Costco Travel.

While I always recommend checking for deals, we've found that Costco's rates are typically cheaper than booking directly through the rental company due to the added Costco membership benefit.

Book with Costco rental cars

In 2016, we used Costco to book two rental cars. The first was a Chevrolet Suburban which we picked up on February 25th and returned on February 29th. The total rental price was $332.76 including $81.52 in taxes and fees. That works out to $83.19/day.

The second car we rented through Costco was a Ford Fiesta. We picked up the vehicle on March 14th and returned it on March 19th. The total cost was $256.22, including $44.81 in taxes and fees, or $51.44/day.

Both rental cars had automatic transmissions, air conditioning and allowed us to accrue unlimited mileage which essentially meant there was no cap on how many miles we could accrue from the rental car.

We rented these cars a few years ago, but for comparison purposes, I recently did a quick search to see the cost difference between the Costco platform, the options on Kayak, and the cost of renting with my husband's discount. I selected February 20-23 as the date and Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport.

Renting a minivan (we've been expanding our family since 2016!) is $169.89 with Alamo, $163.97 with Avis, $140.44 on Costco's website (from Budget), $135.90 on Priceline, and through my husband's company $149.53.

Why I would still choose Costco, even though it's not always the cheapest option

Although Priceline is the cheapest option, I would still go with Costco. I've had great customer service from Costco in the past, and I like that Costco lets you know in advance which rental company you're booking with (unlike Priceline, which withholds that information until you pay the rental).

Another added bonus of renting a car from Costco, when you book the rental with your Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citito, the card automatically gives you travel accident insurance, rental car insurance, and travel and emergency assistance.

Citi's Costco Anywhere Visa® Card earns 2% cashback on in-store and online purchases and has no annual fee.

Car rental companies usually try to get you to add rental insurance even if you already have insurance.Laut The Simple Dollar, rental car insurance can easily cost over $30/day. There are a few reasons why you should opt for the additional rental car insurance, e.g. B. if you are not insured from the outset, travel abroad or are on a business trip. However, the coverage you get through a credit card like Costco's is usually sufficient for most car rental companies.

While I wouldn't buy a Costco membership just to use the Costco Travel discount site, it's a nice perk on the $60 membership fee. Being a Costco member also offers other travel benefits, such as: B. Discounted hotel rooms and cruise vacations. And when you use your Costco credit card to pay for gas or electric vehicle charging while traveling at a Costco location, you get 4% cashback (up to $7,000 per year and 1% thereafter).

There are many reasons why people should join Costco, and access to their travel rewards website should be considered another major reason for signing up.

Renting a car through Costco isn't always the cheapest option, but there are 3 reasons I wouldn't rent anywhere else (1)

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card from Citi



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Introductory offer

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Earn 4% cashback on eligible gas and electric vehicle purchases for the first $7,000 per year (1% thereafter). Earn 3% cashback on dining and eligible travel purchases. Earn 2% cashback on all other Costco and purchases. Earn 1% cashback on all other purchases.


Annual fee

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Renting a car through Costco isn't always the cheapest option, but there are 3 reasons I wouldn't rent anywhere else (2)

Costco Anywhere Visa® Card from Citi


4.2 out of 5 stars

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Introductory offer

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Earn 4% cashback on eligible gas and electric vehicle purchases for the first $7,000 per year (1% thereafter). Earn 3% cashback on dining and eligible travel purchases. Earn 2% cashback on all other Costco and purchases. Earn 1% cashback on all other purchases.


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Renting a car through Costco isn't always the cheapest option, but there are 3 reasons I wouldn't rent anywhere else (3)

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Earn 4% cashback on eligible gas and electric vehicle purchases for the first $7,000 per year (1% thereafter). Earn 3% cashback on dining and eligible travel purchases. Earn 2% cashback on all other Costco and purchases. Earn 1% cashback on all other purchases.

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Our publisher's reviews analyze fees, bonuses, rewards, and benefits to highlight the easiest and most valuable credit cards available.

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Generous cashback categories, especially when buying petrol

No foreign transaction fee


You can only receive rewards once a year

You must visit a Costco location to redeem rewards for cashback instead of merchandise


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  • Discover one of Citi's best cashback rewards cards, designed exclusively for Costco members
  • 4% cashback on eligible gas and electric vehicle purchases for the first $7,000 per year and 1% thereafter
  • 3% cashback on restaurants and eligible travel purchases
  • 2% cashback on all other Costco and purchases
  • 1% cashback on all other purchases
  • No annual fee with your Costco paid membership and no overseas transaction fees on purchases
  • Receive an annual credit card award certificate redeemable for cash or merchandise at Costco US locations, including Puerto Rico

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Katie Oelker

Katie Oelker is a financial coach, personal finance writer and podcaster. When she's not working, she enjoys spending time with her family, practicing yoga and planning her family's next adventure. You can find them under KatieOelker.comand on Instagram at@katieölker.

(Video) How Costco Became A Massive "Members Only" Retailer


Is Costco the cheapest way to rent a car? ›

Low rental prices

Costco is probably the most competitive outlet for renting cars that I've found. They're almost always the cheapest, though it's never a guarantee. When you book through Costco Travel, you also can add your reservation information to AutoSlash (read our review here).

Why is Costco car rental cheaper? ›

Costco doesn't maintain a fleet of rental cars waiting for its customers. Instead, it partners with several well-known companies to offer cars for rent at a discounted rate. Its large membership base affords Costco group-negotiating power, which means you often get the best deal on a rental car.

Do Costco rental car prices change? ›

The "Car Rental" price (base rate) will not change, but taxes and fees are subject to change. Since there is no payment taken at the time of booking, taxes can fluctuate until the car is picked up. Any tax fluctuations are outside the control of Costco Travel.

Why Renting a car is so expensive now? ›

Demand for rental cars is outpacing the supply of available vehicles, so rental car prices have gone sky high. If you have been surprised by unusually high rental car rates, or by rental cars being generally unavailable, read on.

How can I lower the cost of renting a car? ›

Here's how to go about renting a car so you can drive off the lot without totaling your bank account.
  1. Book early — especially during peak travel season. ...
  2. Avoid booking at airports if possible — they can pile on fees. ...
  3. Use a credit card that will cover primary insurance. ...
  4. Plug in your Costco, AAA and other memberships.
Mar 31, 2019

How to get cheap car rentals? ›

Cheap car rental basics
  1. Start with a car rental aggregator site. ...
  2. Always compare rates booking direct. ...
  3. Check car rental rates on Costco Travel. ...
  4. Check out car sharing services like Turo and ZipCar. ...
  5. Always book the cheapest economy car. ...
  6. Compare weekly vs. ...
  7. Look at renting a car away from the airport. ...
  8. Skip the upgrades.
Dec 8, 2021

Is Costco Auto worth using? ›

It can indeed be a good deal since the Costco Auto Program offers savings on leases and the purchase of new or used cars, trucks, SUVs, and recreational vehicles. Members can also get exclusive discounts on parts and services at approved dealers and service centers.

Is Costco Auto Program price negotiable? ›

One caveat is the Costco Auto Program's prices are fixed, so don't expect to be able to haggle for a better price. That adds to the ease of the entire process, which is ideal for customers who aren't interested in those back-and-forth negotiations you might usually experience at a dealership.

Can I use someone elses Costco card to rent a car? ›

No. Only the primary driver listed on the reservation can pick up the rental car. At the rental counter, the primary driver must show a valid driver's license and Costco membership card in their name.

Can you cancel a rental car through Costco? ›

We have great news for you! Rental car reservations made through Costco Travel's Low Price Finder may be canceled without a penalty fee any time prior to pick up by logging on to your Costco Travel account. You may also cancel by calling us at 1-866-921-7925 or the rental car agency directly.

Do I need my Costco card to pick up a rental car? ›

Do I have to show my Costco membership card when I pick up my rental car? Yes. The primary driver must present a valid Costco membership card in their own name to the rental car agent at pick up. Otherwise, the Costco Travel discount will not apply.

Does Costco car rental include taxes? ›

The quoted price includes all rental car taxes and fees, which are subject to change. If optional equipment is added, your price will include the applicable taxes and fees, which are also subject to change. Insurance and additional coverages are not included in the price and can be added at the rental counter.

Why are car rentals so expensive 2022? ›

Car rentals are so expensive in 2022 due to shortages. Car rental companies sold off most of their inventory during the pandemic. A surge in demand has not been adequately met, leading to high rates. Additionally, a global shortage of microchips has slowed the production of new cars.

Do you need insurance to rent a car? ›

Do you need insurance to rent a car? No, you don't need to have insurance because rental cars are already insured. That said, some form of rental insurance is strongly advised because if you rent a car without insurance, you are responsible for any damages to the vehicle.

Is renting a car worth it? ›

The monthly cost is often lower than a traditional auto loan payment. You are (usually) not responsible for repairs needed on your car for the length of the lease or rental. Renting or leasing a new-model car is cheaper than buying one. You don't need to try to sell the car when you want to upgrade.

What is the cheapest website to book a rental car? ›

The 12 Best Websites for Finding Cheap Car Rentals [2023]
  • Expedia.
  • Momondo.
  • Kayak.
  • Orbitz.
  • Priceline.
  • Skyscanner.
  • Travelocity.
  • Hotwire.
Jan 17, 2023

How do you beat high car rental rates? ›

But high demand means that supply for rental cars might be lower.
  1. Skip the airport. Renting at the airport is convenient when you're flying into a new city. ...
  2. Shop around online. ...
  3. Turn to discount brands. ...
  4. Leverage memberships. ...
  5. Opt for economy cars. ...
  6. Stick to one driver. ...
  7. Use your own insurance. ...
  8. Forgo the extras.
Feb 1, 2022

Can you negotiate renting? ›

Can you negotiate rent? Yes. Each landlord will differ in how receptive they are to negotiating rent, but it happens a lot. Often landlords build risk into their rental rates so they can afford it when a renter is late or breaks their lease.

Is it cheaper to rent a car for a week or by day? ›

(The rule of thumb we like to use is around $10 per day or $100 per week as a great deal. Sometimes it will be double that, and that's also normal. In general, a car rental that might cost $30-80 per day might be a lot cheaper to rent by the week.)

Which is cheaper Hertz or Enterprise? ›

Is Hertz cheaper than Enterprise? We ran multiple quote comparisons and by large, found Enterprise to be more expensive than Hertz. Prices differed from $70 to up $200 for both prepay and pay on pick-up options.

Is it better to rent a car at the airport or online? ›

Outmaneuver Fees and Industry Quirks

For example, cars rented at the airport are almost always more expensive because of added taxes and fees. Rent at an off-airport location and you could save 20 percent or more.

What items are not a good deal at Costco? ›

With that in mind, here are 10 things to think twice about before picking up on your next Costco run.
  • Spices. With the exception of salt, every spice and seasoning has a limited shelf life. ...
  • Condiments. ...
  • Flour. ...
  • Baking powder. ...
  • Oil. ...
  • Coffee. ...
  • Detergent. ...
  • Personal care items.
May 3, 2022

Does Costco change oil in cars? ›

Costco doesn't offer oil changes as part of its automotive services. However, it offers other maintenance services that your car needs through the Costco Auto Program. These services are available at participating centers at 15% off services and parts.

Does Costco save you money on groceries? ›

As he showed, many items are priced lower at Costco than at competing stores and if you can shave even a little bit off your grocery bill each week by buying them there, the savings can add up. However, Ramsey also explained that while you can save money, there's no guarantee you will.

Is Costco Auto Program worth it 2022? ›

The program can also help save you some money with the purchase as well as make it more convenient for you. Members who use the program end up saving an average of $1,000 or more when they buy a new vehicle. These savings can help offset the cost of a Costco membership, which is needed to take advantage of the program.

How much lower than asking price can you offer on a car? ›

Based on your pricing homework, you should have a good idea of how much you're willing to pay. Begin by making an offer that is realistic but 15 to 25 percent lower than this figure. Name your offer and wait until the person you're negotiating with responds.

How do you haggle a car price 2022? ›

7 steps for negotiating your car price
  1. Figure out the essentials. Before negotiation can begin, think about what kind of car you want. ...
  2. Get preapproved for financing. ...
  3. Research the car's value. ...
  4. Research dealerships. ...
  5. Shop around. ...
  6. Read up on negotiation tips. ...
  7. Switch salesperson if necessary.
Sep 20, 2022

Can I use my moms Costco card without her? ›

The Costco membership card is non-transferable, but there are several ways to share the experience with family and friends. Anyone with a card can bring up to two guests to the Warehouse during each visit. Keep in mind that purchasing items is exclusive to Costco members.

Can I use my friends Costco card for travel? ›

Membership Cards and Fees

Your membership card is valid at any Costco warehouse worldwide and is not transferable.

Can I use my dad's Costco card without him? ›

The person with the card must be present, though “payment” can come from anyone else. Essentially, if you want to shop at Costco, you need to be with a member.

Do you get a refund if you cancel a rental car? ›

If you did not prepay for your reservation, there will not be a cancellation fee. If you cancel your booking less than 7 days, but at least 24 hours before your specified pick up time you will be refunded the booking amount minus a small cancellation fee.

Does Costco have rental car insurance? ›

Costco credit card rental car insurance covers you for up to $50,000 toward the cost of repairs or the cash value of the car, whichever is less, when you pay for a rental car with the Costco Citi card and decline the rental company's collision loss/damage insurance.

Does Hertz have a Costco discount? ›

Costco has partnerships with Avis, Alamo, Budget and Enterprise—so it often delivers multiple deals for you to compare. But Costco does not have partnerships with other major brands like Hertz, Dollar, Payless, Thrifty and National. It also does not support reputable discount brands like Sixt or Advantage.

What car rental company does Costco use? ›

Costco has partnerships with four major rental car companies: Avis, Alamo, Budget and Enterprise. Costco does not have partnerships with other major brands like Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty, National, and Payless.

Can I leave my car at Costco for a week? ›

Yes, you can park at Costco overnight. Generally, Costco stores want you to park furthest away from the store so that shoppers can park closer. But not all cities and not all Costco's allow overnight parking.

Does Costco Mastercard have car rental insurance? ›

Rental cars

Most credit cards come with rental car insurance, which can cover a portion of your liability or accident costs. The CIBC Costco Mastercard, however, doesn't have this insurance built into it.

What are the benefits of booking with Costco Travel? ›

5 Reasons to Book Your Travel Through Costco
  • Great customer service. Costco prides itself on great customer service. ...
  • Flexible payment options. ...
  • You can score extra cash back on your travel purchases. ...
  • Extra perks. ...
  • Cash back at Costco.
Mar 22, 2022

How do I get tax free from Costco? ›

A sales tax exemption claim form. You can download a PDF of our sales tax exemption claim form right here or by copying and pasting the following URL into the address bar of your web browser: The completed and signed sales tax exemption claim form MUST be included with your request.

Why does Costco charge a fee? ›

We strive to give our members the best products at the lowest possible prices, and our membership fee allows us to offset many of our operating costs and price our merchandise lower.

What are the risks of renting a car? ›

There are several bad things that can happen to car renters in California:
  • Third Party Liability. Damaging someone else (bodily injury or property damage) and getting sued by the injured person. ...
  • Theft if renter is careless. ...
  • Collision/Loss for whatever reason. ...
  • Personal Accident Medical Costs. ...
  • Personal Effects Loss.

Is it better to lease or rent a car? ›

Leasing can provide you more vehicle options and be cheaper than renting for the typical lease term of two to four years. Rentals can be better for shorter term needs or if you need a car immediately.

What are the disadvantages of car rental? ›

The main disadvantages of renting a car
  • Higher prices. It is a fact that the rental prices are higher than the prices of public transportation. ...
  • Strict terms. ...
  • Extra charges. ...
  • Limitations.
Jul 18, 2019

How much of a discount does Costco give on cars? ›

The Costco Auto Program offers preset membership pricing for new and used automobiles, plus RVs, at a number of dealerships around the country. On average, the retailer claims, customers can save about $1,000 off a vehicle purchase, though that will ultimately depend on the customer's car choice and the dealer.

What are the advantages of buying a car from Costco? ›

Offering an exceptional value with low, prearranged pricing on many makes and models, the Costco Auto Program makes saving on your next vehicle easy. For even greater savings, applicable manufacturer rebates, incentives and special offers will be added to your Costco member price.

Is buying a car thru Costco a good deal? ›

A Costco car is a good deal, but there are caveats.

The company is known for its great stuff and top brands at rock-bottom prices. It's the same with Costco cars. You can buy a car at Costco through the Costco Auto Program and get a pre-arranged, rock-bottom price on pretty much any car.

Does Costco car rental price include insurance? ›

Does Costco Travel offer rental car insurance? We don't offer or include rental car insurance. However, optional insurance is available through the rental car company and you can add it at the rental counter when you are picking up your car.

Does Costco give a AAA discount? ›

AAA & Costco Members Discount | AAA members receive 10% off and COSTCO members 15% off most services with valid member ID.

Is Costco cheaper worth it? ›

Costco is known as a low-price leader, but as the big-box and warehouse store landscape becomes more and more competitive, it's getting harder to find unbeatable deals. Despite this, Costco still has some major purchasing power, which helps it keep costs way low.

How much do you have to spend at Costco for it to be worth it? ›

A basic Gold Star membership at Costco costs $60 annually ($120 for the Executive tier), so you would need to save at least $60 in purchases for your membership to be worth it. Costco is famous for its deep markdowns and overall lower prices on anything from mixed nuts to widescreen TVs.

How much do you have to spend at Costco to justify the executive membership? ›

A Costco executive membership costs twice what a regular membership costs. It also puts cash in your pocket that could make that higher fee worth paying. If you spend at least $3,000 per year at Costco, an executive membership will pay off for you.

Can you lease a car through Costco Auto Program? ›

Can I lease a car through the Costco Auto Program? Absolutely. Our Authorized Dealer Contact will offer you the same price for a lease as for a purchase. In leasing, the “Agreed Upon Value of the Vehicle” is equivalent to the “Member-Only Price” in a purchase.

Do I need extra insurance when renting a car? ›

Yes. If you rent a car, you need coverage to protect the vehicle and yourself. Without it, you would have to pay for any damage out of pocket above the basic protection. If you don't have a vehicle, you can get it from the rental company or your credit card company.

Does every credit card cover rental car insurance? ›

Rental car coverage used to be standard on most credit cards, but some major issuers no longer offer this benefit. The best way to find out if your credit card includes rental car coverage is to call the number on the back of your card, or read the most recent version of its benefits guide.


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