Hawaii Spring Travel Slump Points To Tough Uphill Battle

Move Over Costco Travel? Comparing Walmart+ Hawaii Vacations

We keep saying that Hawaii vacations are about to be sold to visitors by what would seemingly be the most unusual of companies. Now Walmart+ is joining the party as an unlikely guest that thinks they can play a unique role. We’ll compare their new offering to Costco Travel to see how successful they might be and whether good deals can be found there.

Walmart+ joins other new competitors that include banks like Chase, first and foremost. Not only them, but Amazon Travel is trying to find a big role for itself by selling lucrative travel. And no matter who tries to enter the travel scene, the words Hawaii travel come next.

Retail behemoth Walmart is joining forces with online travel agency Expedia.

Walmart will now offer subscribers access to over 900,000 properties, plus airlines, car rentals, and activities. Their mutual offering will be a member subscription travel service. The attempt, whether it becomes fruitful or not, makes sense in an economic environment that favors experiences, including travel, compared with things.

Hawaii + travel – a standout marketing opportunity for spending-adverse consumers.

We’re bringing together the ultimate savings membership and vacation booking site to deliver a first-ever travel-focused benefit for Walmart+ members.

Walmart+ Subscription Service

Walmart+ meets Expedia

Walmart+ members are already offered a travel marketplace courtesy of Expedia. They may not only get visitors discounted prices but also provide them with Walmart cash rewards for travel purchases that can be used for shopping or cash.

Expedia is looking to further develop the successful and long-familiar to them segment of B2B commerce, while Walmart wants into travel in an economic environment of less traditional shopping. It isn’t clear whether this will be a match made in heaven yet. You’ll recall that Expedia brought us brands, including Vrbo.

Together, we’re connecting Walmart’s massive customer base with Expedia Group’s extensive array of travel supply partners from all around the world.

Expedia For Business

Do you use Walmart+?

To be honest, this Walmart offering was entirely new to us until yesterday. Perhaps we’re the only ones, given that the service proclaims some twenty million subscribers as of June. Wow.

Amazon.com + Booking.com.

This pairing was just announced earlier this month. It started with an additional discount offered to Prime members on Prime Day. That represented a first for this well-rated dynamic duo. It isn’t clear where that is heading or whether Amazon will find other ways to enter the travel foray.

Travel companies report overall good financials while retail spending has slowed.

Expedia had been seen as somewhat of an underdog compared with Booking. But that may be shifting once again. And perhaps partnerships like this business-to-business one with Walmart could yield unexpectedly good results. But back to the Hawaii deals and whether or not they exist.

What about buying Hawaii vacations on Walmart+?

On looking in-depth today, we first signed up for their free trial in order to explore. Walmart+ immediately noted that we were in Hawaii and started to suggested Honolulu hotels.

Note that if you continue after the trial, the cost is $98/annually or $12.95/month. There are obviously many other benefits associated with both Walmart+ and Costco memberships, which we are intentionally leaving out of the equation.

As Walmart+ Travel members, we were exposed to the full Expedia lineup of Hawaii offerings. Drilling down on Walmart+ alongside Costco Travel, we compared the same accommodation, for which we chose the Royal Lahaina Resort pictured above. We picked a week-long stay in September (low season) in an ocean-view tower room. Here’s how it worked.

Hawaii resort price comparison between Costco Travel and Walmart+ Travel.

Location: Royal Lahaina Resort, Maui.

Costco Travel: Price of $3,076 for seven nights (full-size Budget rental car included). Resort fee included. Terms: free cancellation up to September 8, then a 15% cancellation until the date of arrival. We noted that Costco Travel revealed the resort was undergoing repairs at the time, which we had to acknowledge. A full-size car was either included in the price or we could deduct $223. In addition, a $72 Digital Costco Shop Card is included.

Walmart+ Travel: Price of $3,440 for seven nights (no rental car included). That included a required resort fee of $47 per night (“The resort fee includes: Fitness center access”). That fee was not shown as part of the initial pricing but only showed when going through their booking process. Terms: free cancellation up to September 9. By “paying now,” an offer to get $139.13 Walmart Cash was offered. The Pay Later option removed that Walmart Cash offer.

Expedia Group is the company behind the new WalmartPlusTravel.com, which remains accessible only to members of Walmart+, the retailer’s subscription program. Walmart says members also receive 5% cash back on hotels, vacation rentals, car rentals, and activities, plus 2% back on flights.

Is there any potential for Walmart+ Travel to work for Hawaii travelers?

The verdict is out, but based on what we found today, perhaps not. Please share your thoughts on Walmart+ Travel.

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5 thoughts on “Move Over Costco Travel? Comparing Walmart+ Hawaii Vacations”

  1. I live on the Big Island but traveled here many times prior to moving. I always did ala carte and saved thousands. This is just more corporate money and money being spent that goes to large non-Hawaii Corporations. The big hotel chains are the same. Look into Air BNB’s and support the local economy where the funds stay on the island.

  2. Our last travel to Hawaii towards the end of Covid was done thru Air BNB, AA for the flight, and Costco for the car rental. Costco was too high for their travel packages.

  3. We just get back 8 days from Honolulu booked through Costco all included; shuttle to hotel and back to airport, resort tax, fee, restaurant vouchers and cash card reward once you finished your trip. Overall I would say it’s great price as for the vouchers we felt like 2nd class diners although tax and tip included. BTW we add additional 20% to the tip.

  4. We have compared Costco travel to purchasing ala carte and have never found it to be of any benefit. For that matter booking ala carte has literally saved us more than a Costco or Walmart+ membership on every trip. Follow BOA and other sites for fare & accommodation sales and book direct. Who do you contact when you flight is cancelled? Expedia? Costco? Ha! Cars are a different case.

  5. Our last few trips both to Maui and the Big Island were thru Costco. Great deals on great properties with everything covered including Costco $ card after you get home!
    Costco Rocks!

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