What is Costco Car Rental?
For American members of the warehouse wholesale retailer, Costco provides a variety of travel services, including Costco Car Rental
, a 'low price finder' that aggregates rental car rates from multiple suppliers - with an additional members-only Costco discount factored in - allowing customers to compare auto rentals by brand, car-class, and price.But is Costco's 'low price finder' really the best method for finding the lowest car rental rates? Below we offer Costco customers a side-by-side comparison, allowing you to make an educated choice about where you can get the best deal:
Costco Car Rental vs Auto Europe: Discount Rental Comparison
To determine if Costco rental car discounts are really the best deal, we looked into the prices of Costco rental cars, and compared those rates with web rates available on AutoEurope.com. For this test, we have chose Rome FCO airport as the pickup and drop-off location (CDW car rental insurance is mandatory in Italy, and both Costco Travel and Auto Europe include it in the listed rate, which is great for travelers who value transparency in pricing).
Costco Car Rental Search
Auto Europe Car Rental Search
As you can see above, the searches on both Costco Travel and Auto Europe were identical, looking for a rental car to be picked up on April 4, 2016 at 10am at Rome FCO, with a drop-off date of April 11, 2016 at 10am at Rome FCO. For this comparison we looked at rates for a compact class vehicle. First up are the car rental search results from Costco Travel:
The first thing to notice here is that despite working with multiple suppliers around the world, Costco only offers car rentals out of Rome FCO with a single supplier, Avis (more on that later). At $232.87 for a week-long, compact car rental out of Rome FCO, Avis had the cheapest, and only rate in the Costco rental car search.Next up, the search results from Auto Europe for the same rental duration, location, and car-class:
The most affordable week-long compact car rental, picking up and dropping off at Rome FCO, from Auto Europe was $197.93 with Dollar Rent-a-Car. But as you will notice below, Auto Europe lists 5 suppliers out of Rome FCO, 3 of which offer lower rates than Costco Car Rental's only rate (Avis).
Costco Rental Cars vs Auto Europe: Supplier/Fleet Comparison
After establishing that Auto Europe offered better rates for an identical rental car class, duration, and inclusions than Costco Travel, we looked into the range of offerings, comparing number of affiliated suppliers, and fleet diversity of offered vehicles.
After a cursory glance at the above table, it quickly becomes clear that Auto Europe's offers discounted rentals with significantly more suppliers than Costco Car Rental, affording customers a much more robust and diverse selection of rental cars for their trip.Below is the results page from Costco Travel car rental search for a week-long, compact car rental out of Rome FCO ... it's a clear, easy-to-use screen but offers travelers searching for a discount Costco rental car rate limited choices.
As you can see, Costco only works with Avis in this location. As a result users only see a single price and vehicle type for each car-class.Auto Europe's search results for the same car rental, are much more comprehensive, offering multiple vehicles, prices, and star reviews for each of the available suppliers, allowing travelers to choose the best rate for the size they want, or to work with a brand name they have had a great experience with in the past, if that's what's more important to them.
In this instance, 3 of the 5 suppliers shown offer better rates than Costco Travel's Avis rate for a week-long, compact car rental at Rome FCO - Dollar at $198, Budget at $208, and Hertz at $218 - it's easy to see in this side-by-side matrix view.
So Are Costco Rental Car Discounts the Best Deal?
The truth is that any time you rent a car it's in your best interest to comparison shop to find the best deal, and as you can see in the example above, booking with a discount car rental site like Auto Europe makes your job easy as we compare prices between local rental car companies for you. Not only are Auto Europe's car rental rates, and fleets more favorable in the sample search above, but Auto Europe also offers a best rate guarantee
, so no matter what price you may find for a car rental from Costco or any other site, Auto Europe will offer you a better deal if you bring us that rate and we're able to verify it.Beyond the comparison shown above, it's important to note that Costco car rental discounts require a membership
that costs $50 a year (minimum), an additional factor that many forget to consider before determining where to find the best rates. You may want to be sure you're taking advantage of your membership and book your rental car with Costco Travel, but it's in your best interest to compare prices on AutoEurope.com before you book.