This is a real life example of car rental pricing comparison between Costco’s Alamo car rental VS dealing with Alamo directly with insiders discount.
Costco provides rental car services from Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Enterprise. I only had time (and energy) to experiment with Alamo. I like Alamo more than the other three. Alamo suck less.
First, I joined Alamo’s insiders membership 2 months ago. I now receive insiders discount (5%). I’ve been receiving newsletters and special offers.
FYI: Alamo’s insider discount is supposed to be 5%. But, non-members get “Pay Now” discount which is exactly as same as insiders discount. Basically, I pay the same amount as non-members. In return, I receive ton of newsletters.
Below is my real-life final price on my rental car. This is BEFORE adding insurance, XM radio, etc…
Conclusion – Maybe people who travel a lot will have different outcome. But, in my case, Costco is cheaper and better than dealing with Alamo directly. I had to spend many hours to come up with this conclusion. I should have trusted Costco and saved the hassle. Also, in my particular case, their insider membership is useless, a joke. With Costco car rental program, you cut the crap and get the best price.
Also, if you use Costco Citi Visa card, you get 3% cash back on qualifying travel. I am not sure if Alamo is qualified. I will be using a different credit card that I get 5% cash back on rental car.
Below – screenshots
Alamo – via Costco. The actual amount I paid was $121.10. I shall add insurance. I am likely to be driving in snow.
Alamo – member/insider pricing before adding any extra fees such as insurance. With insiders discount, it still costs $4+ more than Costco’s regular price.