The Reality of Hawaii Costco Travel & Warehouse Savings

While Costco gas may or may not always be the best deal in terms of both your time and money, we’re finding Costco Travel can sometimes have great savings on Hawaii hotels and Hawaii car rentals. The savings are enough to make it another great search option for these Hawaii deals.

Costco Travel scored big for us: 21% Hawaii vacation savings.

Using Prince Waikiki as a Hawaii resort example, the cost when booking directly with the hotel for five nights from May 12-17 was $2349 (oceanfront, two queen beds). That included tax and resort fees, but no car. Including the best car deal we could find without advance purchase, the grand total was $2782 for the entire stay.

Costco did far better and included the same hotel, room category, taxes, and resort fee, and a car for $2196. That’s a savings of $586 or 21%, which is a great deal. Keep in mind that prices keep changing, and we see the closer you get to travel dates, a car may or may not be included in the Costco Travel deal. The savings was actually even more than 21% because Costco included a $125 gift card as part of the deal.

We’ll just add by way of comparison, that the Kamaaina rate (local resident discount), plus a separate car rental, came to $2089 for the same 5-night travel dates and room category. The Kamaaina rate also included resort fees like Costco Travel but provided us an extra perk of 50% off parking.

Costco Travel and Hawaii Car Rentals

We are big fans of both Discount Hawaii Car Rental and AutoSlash. We’ve known both of them for years. On the other hand, for several recent rentals, we (and some of you) have reported better pricing and terms from Costco Travel.

We suggest you add Costco Travel to your checklist for Hawaii car rentals if it’s not included in your hotel deal. Remember, the same deal is rarely replicated, and the best deal today may not be the best deal tomorrow. That’s why we always keep shopping different sources. If you see a great car deal without advance purchase, book it and keep checking back later for any price reduction right up to when you travel.

For example, the best car rental only deal on Costco Travel for those dates was an intermediate car through Budget for $417 with an additional driver included. AutoSlash matched that with a Costco membership, but their car was a compact size through Budget. Discount Hawaii Car Rental was priced more for a rental on those dates with Budget. When comparing the three searches, check if an additional driver is included and the size of the car. AutoSlash had lower-priced options available for pre-paid.

One-third of Costco Hawaii warehouse sales come from visitors like you.

You’ll undoubtedly find a Hawaii Costco location near you no matter which island you choose, including Honolulu (Oahu), the Big Island, Kauai, and Maui.

Costco has had issues with a number of products purchased largely by visitors. Those include ukuleles that they no longer sell and surfboards and other beach equipment that too many people have tried to return after using them. The “board loan program” has been reigned in by Costco.

Made in Hawaii

Once you have your travel plans set, and you arrive in the islands, a stop at Costco provides popular food and beverage choices made here in Hawaii. As an aside, a Hawaii product name does not guarantee it’s made here. Check labels and boxes to be sure.

Costco food court offers some of the lowest-priced eats in the islands but lacks any atmosphere or beach location. As we were just talking about the high cost of fast food in Hawaii, a number of you mentioned this alternative.

Flower lei starts at about $5 each for something basic. However, for more unique or elaborate options, you might want to explore other places.

Surfboards and bodyboards are still at Costco but don’t expect an easy return. You buy it, and it’s yours.

Candies, nuts, and chocolate-covered Mac Nuts are available in bulk quantities at great prices. We also like Anahola Granola made on Kauai.

Fresh local sushi and Hawaiian poke are prepared fresh in-store, offering a convenient and tasty meal option. These are well-priced and very popular. Also, look for Kauai Shrimp and Hawaii-caught Ahi to grill.

Hawaiian Pineapple

Local Hawaii pineapples from Maui and Hawaii bananas are fresh and affordable.

Hawaii beach towels, sunscreen, snorkeling gear, shirts, and other essentials for a day of fun in the sun or as a possible gift.

Pharmacy needs. For anything from sunscreen to prescriptions and everything else. Keep in mind that the pharmacist often closes the department for lunch.

Check for beer, spirits, and coffee produced in the islands.

However, there are some items that might not be worth purchasing at Costco.

These can include milk products in too large quantities, plus soft drinks, bottled water (not recommended), and anything sold sold only in excessively large quantities.

What are the best Hawaii deals you’ve found shopping at Costco and through Costco Travel?

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30 thoughts on “The Reality of Hawaii Costco Travel & Warehouse Savings”

  1. Hello, Looking for a very nice Restaurant in Waikiki or Honolulu to celebrate an anniversary in late May. Prefer one or two choices that won’t break the bank. A view would be an extra benefit! Kauai used to be our old favorite, visited often. Prices have kept us away. Instead, after many years, we are going back to Oahu and to big Island.

  2. I was happy to read that the Costco surf boards, though not the highest quality but still serviceable, are still available. My granddaughter, a Lahaina resident attended surf camp at Lahaina Surf Shack as a 10 year old, and got a Costco board for her 11th birthday. It has served her well, though she is not such an avid surfer like younger brother. Glad my son did not have to spend multiple hundreds for a “good” board that would only sit for months between uses.

    The issue though is people who may buy them and abandon them since they do not have a lot invested. I would encourage a visitor to rent a board. There is at least one shop in the Kaanapali area that will even deliver a board to your hotel/condo and pick it up when you are done.

    2
  3. POG!! Always buy lots of POG at Costco. Also Island Princess Mele Macs…. Toffee and Chocolate coated Mac Nuts. I’m warning you though…. don’t try them…. you will be addicted!

    1
  4. Hi
    Can a traveler benefit from airline or hotel loyalty programs? For instance, better seats on United or hotel room upgrades?
    Thank you,
    -ST

    2
    1. Hi Stan.

      Yes definitely if you are a premium member. Otherwise not. Are you thinking of anything specific we might address?

      Aloha.

      1
      1. Mahalo for your kind response.

        Yes, I am a united 1k and Bonvoy Titanium … would like make use of the costco deals if benefits are allowed.

        Aloha!
        -ST

        1
        1. Hi Stan.

          Thanks. Is the question whether you could buy United flights and Marriott stays via Costco and receive benefits? We certainly think that is the case. And if we still misunderstood your question, let us know.

          Aloha.

          2
  5. Aloha,
    The prices you quote for an hotel room are outrageous. For the stated $400-$500 per night, or less, I rent a gorgeous ground floor oceanfront/beachfront condo from an owner with all amenities including parking. For car rentals, Discount Hawaii Car Rental (Thanks Gents!) cannot be beat, year in, year out. Our Dec 2023 price was $502 all in for two weeks for a full size from a major. We had an “issue” day one so they knocked a day off the contract price and changed the car for our troubles. These companies count on satisfied clients.
    Mahalo

    5
        1. Understandable and a lot of things are bad. Is it still considered awful if the bottles are recycled? We get the bottled water from Costco and make sure to leave the empty ones in our room. The workers can hopefully benefit from the bottle refund and the bottles get recycled.

          1
          1. I live in Maui and have to drive my plastic bottles to the redemption center on the other side of the island to retrieve 5 cents per bottle, “if” the label says HI. Otherwise, they go in the trash. I have been told by the people working there that “China” doesn’t take the caps, so I guess there is really no recycling nearby. I now try to buy glass bottles as much as I can. Again, check the labels before you buy anything to see if it gets recycled. Mahalo

            2
  6. I have found in my many decades of dealing with the General Public, that chutzpah is without boundaries. Buying beach gear (chairs, umbrellas, etc.) from Costco, then returning them after your vacation is over (Thanks guys! We had a fun time. Here you go! I’d prefer cash rather than credit back!). How innovative! I would never have had the gall to prevail on the return desk to refund my money. Jeez! Just another example of why encounters by locals, especially native Hawaiians, with the tourist crowd leave a bad taste in their mouth.

    15
  7. This is an example of a great Costco Deal:
    Booked December 8th 2023
    The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort
    For October 2024 6 days 5 nights
    USD 240 Digital Costco Shop Card
    USD 250 resort credit
    Complimentary upgrade to Ocean-View Room
    Waived mandatory daily resort fee
    Complimentary daily self-parking
    Includes rental car

    Total cost $3,543.74
    Does not include flights from West Coast.

    Same package with fewer perks is now $6,035.64

    Timing is everything when trying to find a great travel deal with Costco.

    9
        1. Wow! No wonder you got a good rate. Although I live in Maui permanently now, I never reserved that long in advance and found that I got better deals when I waited closer to the date of my trip. Also, October is “low season” in Hawaii and then there is all this talk about the future of tourism in Hawaii, adding fees etc. Anyway, if you are happy with your choice, I hope you will enjoy your trip. The weather and ocean should be nice at that time of the year and it should be quiet.

          1
  8. I am not a Costco member and make my hotel reservations through Expedia, Orbitz, hotwire and sometimes hotel sites directly, since many offer discounts not mentioned here (kama’aina, AARP or others). I have never paid the prices you are mentioning here …plenty of cheaper options, expecially if you are not set on a particular hotel or date.

    4

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