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Does AAA Still Matter In the Age of Uber?

Does AAA Still Matter In the Age of Uber?

Is something like AAA still worth it in the age of Uber? Some people might view AAA as nothing more than a holdover from a time when “discount clubs” were a thing. However, the fact is that AAA is essentially in a class of its own when it comes to the perks that are offered. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why AAA is as relevant as ever!

The Benefits of AAA Classic Membership:

  • Roadside assistance for up to four tows spanning three to seven miles per year.
  • Service for flat tires, empty fuel tanks, and dead batteries.
  • Car lockout support up to $50.

The Benefits of AAA Plus Membership:

  • Four tows per year up to 100 miles each.
  • Free fuel delivery.
  • Car lockout support up to $100.

The Benefits of AAA Premier Membership:

  • All AAA Plus benefits are included.
  • One 200-mile tow.
  • Three 100-mile tows.
  • Car lockout support up to $150 for your car or home.
  • Free one-day rental car with tow services.

The fact that membership services start at just $38 per year means that using a service that’s included in your membership just once could put you ahead. Keep in mind that actual membership costs can vary based on your region. The bottom line is that you’re going to be very glad you have AAA if your car stops on the road. Keep in mind that AAA will act as a liaison to get a tow truck out to you as soon as possible using its network of tow drivers if you get stuck on the road.

Discounts, Discounts, and More Discounts

It’s easy to dismiss AAA as just a service that’s there to help you out if you’re in a jam. However, AAA is as much a perks club as it is a roadside-service company.

Some major car rental companies including Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty offer AAA discounts for their members. Flyertalk members have had their underage fees at Hertz (20-24 years old) waived when they used their AAA discount. Another way to save money with AAA is discounts at theme parks and zoos. For example, the San Diego Zoo offers 10 percent off a one-day pass for AAA members. Universal Studios and Disneyland, and Disney World also offer discounts.

For frequent travelers, a AAA membership can pay for itself with discounts at hotel chains. Marriott provides a substantial discount to AAA members. Hyatt and Hilton also offer up to 15 percent off to AAA members.

Travel Support

The fact is that AAA can feel a lot like a friendly face out there on the road if you travel frequently. AAA offers an app called AAA Mobile that actually helps you plan your entire trip. The app will even tell you where to find the cheapest gas as you’re driving! AAA will also help you out with a passport photo if you’re leaving the country. Don’t forget that all AAA members are automatically covered for bicycle roadside assistance.

DMV Services

If you hate going to the DMV, AAA may be for you. They can help with registration renewal and a host of other services such as helping you get an International Driving Permit. In some cases, having one is a must!

Why AAA Still Matters

The big thing that gives AAA lasting value is the fact that you’re going to get a response at any time of the day or night if you’re stuck on the road needing a tow. There’s no need to try to hunt down a local tow company on your own. What’s more, membership will probably pay for itself if you use AAA even once a year. The peace of mind you’re getting is really going to be worth it for most people. The other big thing to remember is that your membership could pay for itself strictly based on the benefits you’re going to get with certain companies and retailers. What should you do? Many Flyertalk members find that the discounts alone pay for the cost of a membership.

View Comments (14)

14 Comments

  1. kklems

    January 13, 2020 at 4:56 pm

    Plus and up members also get free passport photos. And if you have multiple drivers in the household you can add all of them for $25 each.

  2. BHammy

    January 13, 2020 at 6:12 pm

    Marriott property discounts is the only reason I have AAA and pays for the annual fee in just a few stays. Getting the occasional roadside assist is a nice perk for my family of 5 drivers. But, don’t always assume the AAA hotel rate is the best, on rare occasions, it’s more expensive than the member rate. Otherwise, I save $15-$20 on average per room night…with up to 100 room nights for my staff on some weekends. Well worth the ‘investment’ of overall perks!

  3. SWCPHX

    January 13, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    What you haven’t specifically mentioned is that AAA follows the member. So if your buddy’s car breaks down or if your buddy locks their keys in the car and you’re a passenger, AAA will still come out to help because you’re their member in need of assistance.

  4. diver858

    January 13, 2020 at 7:03 pm

    Some of the best homeowners and car insurance rates in California; service used to be great, now meh.

  5. emcampbe

    January 13, 2020 at 8:01 pm

    I think the passport photo benefit you are talking about may vary by region, perhaps?

    I live in CVG, and the passport photo benefit has changed. It used to be one set of photos free per year (I think per person on the account). I was told it was changed last year to be reduced cost, on an unlimited basis (I think maybe $3.00/set of 2?). That said, last time I went in, last year, for a passport photo for my kid, they wouldn’t charge me anyway.

    Multiple drivers are also going to vary by club/region. We have two drivers signed up in our house, and I can assure you number 2 is more than $25 additional,

    And in general, while AAA is great for roadside and gives me peace of mind in knowing they will help me as needed (which has only been 3, maybe 4 times in the last 10 years or so), I know the discounts I’ve got have more than made the AAA fee worth it. Heck, with kids, over the last 5 years, the free car seat from Hertz benefit on each rental alone has probably saved me as much as the annual AAA fee (for those who need to know, take note: Hertz gives 1 free car seat (I think it only applies to the convertible car seats) when booking using the AAA CPD – which is something like $13.99 of value per car rental day).

  6. sdsearch

    January 13, 2020 at 8:37 pm

    kklems, I don’t think that’s true in all AAA state divisions. At AAA SoCal, they still charge me for passport photos as a Plus, while I’ve heard that in Alabama passport photos are free for all members. So this policy of Plus and up (but not all) getting free passport photos is probably just at your division of AAA, whichever one that is, not at AAA nationwide.

  7. JackE

    January 13, 2020 at 11:07 pm

    Totally worth it.

  8. SpartyAir

    January 14, 2020 at 12:02 am

    This is a stupidly named posting. AAA’s business has nothing to do with what Uber does. You don’t use AAA for a taxi service. Uber is not in the business of such things as travel agency, maps, auto servicing, towing services, etc. So yes, AAA does matter in the age of Uber because I can not get any of the services that AAA provides from Uber.

  9. HomerJay

    January 14, 2020 at 12:42 am

    I used their car buying service to get a quote from a dealer 25 miles out of DC the last time I bought a new Honda Accord. Even though it turned out they didn’t have the car they said they had – and tried to upsell me – I took the quote to my old dealer, and they matched it. I saved several thousand dollars.That and the AAA/CAA discounts at hotels make it a great investment for me.

  10. fotographer

    January 14, 2020 at 3:20 am

    growing up.. AAA was a must, every one I know had it….. these days,.. no one I know has it anymore.
    sad.. miss those maps they had

  11. teachertraveler

    January 14, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    My parents discovered the hard way that AAA varies state by sate. We loved our SoCal AAA and got great car insurance and care through them for 30 years. In TN, it was a nightmare. So disorganised and unprofessional. One person they talked to ended up fired and they had to start all over again as the agent had done something wrong. Different benefits. We were surprised. So definitely check state by state to see if it’s worth it.

  12. In2ishn

    January 14, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    My father’s ghost would come haunt me if I dropped my AAA membership. Luckily it’s been decades since I needed the roadside service and there is no need for a triptik these days, but the discounts, passport pictures, and occasional travel advice will keep me a member for life.

  13. jamesteroh

    January 16, 2020 at 10:35 am

    Why are they comparing Uber to AAA? Totally different business models. I would never call uber to change a tire and I would never call AAA for a ride someplace.

    With the internet some of AAA’s services like the tour books and map planning are useless but sometimes the discounts are better than my corporate rate (although now that i’m over 50 AARP rates can be just as good) and they’ve come in handy a couple times when I’ve had a flat and didn’t want to change the tire myself.

  14. Pi7473000

    January 18, 2020 at 6:32 am

    I used all 4 tows last year on my 1998 Mazda. Is a great value and could tow 100 miles. Also have left keys in my car and AAA comes out and solves problem quickly. It is a great value and never paid any extra above annual fee at this point for all the service.

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