How buying gift cards could help save on travel for your next vacation


(NEW YORK) — Travel can get expensive and add up fast — whether it’s an Uber to the airport or paying more for checked baggage — so finding a resource or tip to help save on getting to and from your destination can be worth it.

One such strategy includes buying and using Costco gift cards for airlines to save some money on purchasing flights.

ABC News technology and consumer correspondent Becky Worley recently tested out the travel savings idea for flights to take her daughter to a concert.

“I purchased a discounted airline gift card at Costco. I paid $425 for $500 worth of Southwest Airlines credit and used it on our flights to San Diego,” Worley said.

Eric Rosen, director of travel content for The Points Guy, told ABC’s Good Morning America that the gift card offerings at some big box stores “can be a tremendous deal.”

The gift cards can be found in store or online for everything from airlines and lodging to travel experiences.

Currently, Costco offers a $500 Southwest gift card on sale for $450. Sam’s Club members can also snag the same gift card for the same deal, $50 off. The warehouse retailer also offers golf and spa gift cards for roughly 20% off of face value.

Sam’s Club even has gift cards for Airbnb for $25 off.

At BJ’s, customers can find $500 Delta gift cards for $490.

“Big box stores can vary their inventory, and sometimes they offer discounts while supplies last,” Rosen explained. “With a current Southwest discount through Costco, that’s while supplies last. That’s not gonna last forever.”

Because travel gift card deals can fluctuate often, customers may see some of the best prices around tentpole shopping events like Black Friday and Travel Tuesday, but they come and go all year long.

There are also limits to the number you can purchase: For example, at Costco, members can only purchase five Southwest cards per customer.

One caveat that Worley found was that not every travel offer on these big box sites constitutes a discount.

“When we used some of the sites to book travel, hotels, cruises, flights, we found prices that were the same and in some cases a little higher than if we booked directly with the travel retailer,” she said.

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