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Costco Travel - A hidden gem

Discussion in 'Car Rentals' started by What The Heck?, Jul 21, 2014.

  1. What The Heck?

    What The Heck? Master Blaster

    I have been frequently renting cars during the weekends for the past 2-3 months and i always try to do multiple searches using the following options:
    1. Hotwire
    2. Chase UR portal
    3. Costco Travel
    4. Priceline

    For 80% of the time, i have found costco travel rates with Budget (followed by Alamo or Avis) to be the cheapest of the lot. The savings are quite considerable and one can even save close to thousand dollars over a year or so. Once i did the booking through Chase UR portal where i found it chepest and once through priceline bidding when i found costco travel rates to be higher. All these in comparison to the lowest rate offered through hotwire.

    1. The biggest advantage i found with costco travel is you can cancel it any time you want. They dont charge your credit card until you rent the car.
    2. One notable data point is that i always have found the rates drop closer to the day of actual rental.
    3. The biggest rate drop i have seen is on mondays compared to sundays, during the week of rental.
    4. It is better to keep checking the website every day for rate drops until the actual day of rental.

    I personally love costco travel and i think costco members planning to rent a car should give it a try. Even i get a feeling that Budget gives priority to Costco travellers. Ensure that you are registered for fastbreak and you might start wondering at the service levels you start receiving. All the best.
  2. What The Heck?

    What The Heck? Master Blaster

    One more additional tip for newbies - start by booking intermediate or standard car in the website (the rates of which are lowest of all the cars - lower than economy/compact) and then at the counter ask for a free upgrade (mostly you would get - i usually get it at budget) or you might even get luxury car by paying 10$ extra per day. I once got a luxury car for 3 days at a total of 60$ which was quoting at 131$ in priceline bidding (1 day before rental). Just a comparison and may be a tip for someone.
  3. fulthrust7

    fulthrust7 Level 2 Member

    UR also prices out very competitively.
  4. RavenHawk

    RavenHawk Level 2 Member

    I booked an 8 day rental in Kauai, and single day rental in Honolulu back in May (toured the Pacific War Memorial), and Costco was by far the cheapest for both.
  5. f0xx

    f0xx Level 2 Ninja

    Never used to Costco Travel portal due to not having a Costco membership (or one anywhere close to me)

    I happened to stumble upon it on my last DFW rental.
    Too late as I already booked my rental.
  6. MaryE

    MaryE Level 2 Member

    Now that the CSP card offers Primary Insurance on car rentals: "
    Decline the rental company's collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card. Coverage is provided for theft and collision damage for most cars in the U.S. and abroad. In the U.S., coverage is secondary to your personal insurance you already have." HT to GaryL.

    I'll book more through the Chase UR now.
  7. What The Heck?

    What The Heck? Master Blaster

    Just to add one real data point for a "Standard car" that i booked for this weekend (friday to sunday):

    Hotwire quote - 43 (rental agency unknown)
    Chase UR - 134 (with Budget) and lowest 34 (with Thrifty/Dollar)
    Costco - 20 (with Budget)

    I went with Costco.
  8. What The Heck?

    What The Heck? Master Blaster

    Any idea from what date this (primary insurance) stands applicable? I am thinking of using this card for this weekend's rental but am concerned if Chase will honour in case of any issues as it has just been announced and i havent found this in Chase's website listed as a benefit of CSP card.
  9. MaryE

    MaryE Level 2 Member

    I am currently renting a car using my CSP. After reading Gary's post, I called CSP. I have the Mastercard version now, and it applies to both Visa version and Mastercard. Terms will be sent to those getting the Visa version. Just call them up and ask your questions for your own piece of mind. :) And if you have the Mastercad version, look on the mastercard.com site.
  10. f0xx

    f0xx Level 2 Ninja

    Someone needs to apply for the VISA CSP before they exchange it for you. :p
  11. MaryE

    MaryE Level 2 Member

    Thanks, but did have visa before!
  12. f0xx

    f0xx Level 2 Ninja

    I wonder if you'd be eligible for another bonus.
    Seeing as Chase has a 24 month policy. Hmm.
  13. MaryE

    MaryE Level 2 Member

    Hmm, indeed. I'll have to look into that. Thanks.
  14. Ryan U

    Ryan U Level 2 Member

    I usually end up going through Costco for my car rentals. The rates are often cheaper and often have upgrade promotions. I use my Barclay Arrival plus, and then redeem my point credits for my travel charges.
  15. What The Heck?

    What The Heck? Master Blaster

    I always use my chase united explorer card which i think is the best for car rentals just for its primary insurance alone. I personally feel one would end up saving lot of money this way. Just my personal opinion.
  16. Ryan U

    Ryan U Level 2 Member

    Credit cards with primary insurance are good for some people, but if you get in an accident with the united insurance they only cover damages to your rental. If the other party has medical injuries and files a claim, it isn't enough to cover that. I own a car and my regular auto insurance grants me that protection.
  17. What The Heck?

    What The Heck? Master Blaster

    I too own a car and have regular insurance but would like to use it as secondary when i rent a car. If that is used for rental damage as well, will it not cause a dig on the personal insurance as a whole?
  18. Ryan U

    Ryan U Level 2 Member

    That is true. You
    I am not sure of what you mean by dig. If you file a claim with your auto insurance, it could cause your policy to go up. In your case, I can see the advantage of using your United card for the primary coverage. I have just seen too many stories on the forums of people with no auto insurance expecting United to cover them in liability and loss of use claims. Now that CSP will start offering Primary rental coverage, I am probably going to start using that like you use your United card.
  19. What The Heck?

    What The Heck? Master Blaster

    Yes, by dig i meant the policy amount going up only.
  20. KyRoamer

    KyRoamer Level 2 Member

    Secondary coverage means you have two insurers to deal with. Also it means your personal policy pays first so the CC insurer usually only pays your deductible. The claim against your personal insurer can (likely will unless very small) cause your premiums to increase. I never go with secondary coverage. I have a credit card I just use for car rental since its coverage is primary. Because I use it so rarely, about a week before a rental I put some charges on card just to be sure all is in order.
  21. Matt

    Matt Administrator Staff Member

    Insurance is one of those convoluted areas that confuse a lot of people. Thanks for breaking it down a bit more here.
  22. sectate

    sectate New Member

    I have also had great luck with Costco for the last 18 months or so they have had the best prices for me. This is for multiple trips to CA and HI.
  23. LowHassleMS

    LowHassleMS Level 2 Member

    I'm surprised nobody has mentioned capital one rental car. It's a bit convoluted to find it but many a times deals there have been far better than costco. I start with kayak to get a sense, then do a couple of searches on costco and capone. I will usually make a booking on costco adn capone right away as they are refundable. I may periodically check if there are better promos and rebook if necessary.
  24. InstinctX

    InstinctX Level 2 Member

    I didn't think of Costco for rentals until I came across this thread! I booked a compact (got upgraded for free to intermediate) through Budget/Avis (Avis bought Budget but they operate as separate companies) for $200 for 7 days, which included taxes. This was for a recent trip in SFO. I got to choose a Jetta.

    Biggest regret: renting a car. Parking expenses cost more than the rental LOL Next trip, I may do zipcar, or car2go.
  25. elweb

    elweb Level 2 Member

    Besides consistently lower prices, I find Costco great since an additional driver is free.
  26. Sherri Ko

    Sherri Ko New Member

    Sorry if a little off...but an insurance company recently told me that rental car companies can also charge an out of service fee for the time the car could have been rented but it's in the shop. Do either kinds of insurance offer coverage for that. The insurance company told me that fee can be more than the cost of the damage. Luckily for me I've never had to experience that. That would make a difference for me what Kind of insurance coverage I took.

    Of course this was a travel insurance provider who was saying his travel insurance would cover the "out of service" portion.
  27. HefeSD

    HefeSD Level 2 Member

    From my experience (as an insurance agent in CA), the out of service fee can only be charged if the rental agency can prove they were sold out the days the car was in the shop and they legitimately had lost income because of the accident.

    The other obscure charge they try is diminished value saying the car is now worth less when they sell it because of the accident.

    Traditional insurance doesn't cover either of these and I don't believe a credit card will either. Only buying CDW at the counter will avoid these, or a good argument from an attorney.

    Keep in mind insurance varies by state, by insurance company and by individual. I use my personal insurance as primary and my Arrival+ as secondary to cover the deductible.

    One other thing I want to point out. At least in CA, an accident will affect your record exactly the same whether or not you report it to your own insurance. A not-at-fault accident will do nothing to your rate but an at-fault accident will increase your rate even if you use CSP as primary. In CA we have a database of all accidents and your insurance rate is based on your driving history, not necessarily your claim history.
  28. hsinaz

    hsinaz Level 2 Member

    I usually do a Costco + Amex cc option. Costco gives me the best price (so far) and Amex primary insurance (19.99 per rental up to I think 40 days/lesser in Cali I think) gives me the peace of mind. Never had to claim but from what I heard from reviews, you call them and they take care of everything and your own personal car insurance never come into picture/nor you pay anything more out of pocket.

    For this you only need to enrol one of your AX cards into the program and it covers all your AX cards whenever you rent automaticallyas long as you pay with any of your AX cards in your account)
  29. 11fbwd

    11fbwd Level 2 Member

    Yes, Amex primary coverage is a nice option but it's not automatically applied. You need to sign up for it in your account.
  30. ddavidch

    ddavidch Level 42 Member

    I do this exact same thing and also have never had to use the AX insurance but feel like I'm always covered the best way possible...
    Just booked a car in Omaha for a week after Xmas for a great rate on Costco Travel with an automatic coupon and discount.
  31. rhinodh

    rhinodh Level 2 Member

    I think he had it correct, once enrolled in the program the insurance automatically kicks in when you rent from a car rental agency.
  32. ddavidch

    ddavidch Level 42 Member

    This is correct, I enrolled a card a few years back and whenever I rent using an AMEX card it automatically bills the insurance fee after the rental fee posts.
    And depending upon where you are, there are 2 levels of coverage if I remember correctly.
  33. LoriB

    LoriB Level 2 Member

    Does anyone know if using the American Express primary insurance coverage for rentals (as discussed above) works for car rentals in Germany?
  34. rhinodh

    rhinodh Level 2 Member

    Yes, it works for rentals in Germany.

    From their site:

    Link here:
  35. LoriB

    LoriB Level 2 Member

    Thank you so much! I was thinking about keeping Chase Sapphire Preferred solely for the primary rental car coverage but this may do the trick and for less money than paying the upcoming annual fee on CSP.

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