So, all these years and we’ve actually never used Costco’s travel services until last year.
We were going to Europe for 2 weeks and for trips longer than a week, instead of parking at SFO, we generally do one-way rental cars. This means that we rent a car at San Jose airport, return at SFO. And at the end of our vacation, we rent a car at SFO and return at SJC.
This may not work for everyone but it works for us.
Parking at SFO is expensive and even at off-site parking like Anza Parking, it’s now $13/day (does not include taxes). So for a 2 week vacation, you’re looking at close to $200 just for parking.
We’ve managed to save some money by doing the one-way rentals and our car does not have to sit outside for the entire time.
Anyway, we’ve always made the rental car reservations directly via the rental car company website. We may use sites like kayak.com for the initial research but ultimately make the reservation via the rental car company.
Last year, while researching rates, I found out that Costco was much cheaper for the one-way rental!
Our trip was in November and I made the first reservation in Sept. Then I kept checking rates every week or so.
For the SJC-SFO portion, the initial rate I got for an Compact car was $46.23.
By November, 2 days before our departure date, the rate was $17.83!
Every time there was a better rate, I would cancel the existing reservation and make a new one.
For the SFO-SJC portion, the initial rate was $73.14.
The rate 2 days prior to our departure was $32.64!
While in Europe, I didn’t check to see if the rate was lowered closer to the reservation date. It might or might not have been but nevertheless, we were very happy with what we got.
Both rentals were with Budget Car Rental and for compact cars.
So instead of paying close to $200 for parking, we paid $50.47 for the rental cars, saving close to $150!
By the way, it was very easy to check rates, make and cancel reservations via the Costco site. Do not hesitate to use the website. You do get confirmation emails for the reservation as well as cancellation.
I also like the fact that they show the full rate with taxes up front. You don’t have to go to the next screen and realize that what?! The rate with taxes is double the initial rate (If you’ve made car reservations before, you’ll know what I’m talking about!).
Needless to say, I will be checking rates at Costco.com as well as other rental car sites for all our future travels.
- Check rental car rates at Costco travel
- Start making the reservation as soon as you have your dates
- Keep checking rates, canceling and remaking the reservation if rates are lowered
- For one-way rentals, it may be possible to get a better rate as close as 2 days before the actual date
Let us know if you’ve questions regarding the rental car process. If you’ve rented a car through Costco, please share your tips and experiences via the comment box below!
P.S. We actually made use of Costco rental car services for our Hawaii trip last year as well. I will write about that in another post as it was a slightly different “procedure” from this one.