Experience with Roadside Assistance

Old Jul 8, 08, 7:35 pm
  #1  
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Experience with Roadside Assistance

One of the benefits of Amex personal charge cards is the roadside assistance anywhere. Has anyone had any experience using them? I have had AAA for years and do not plan to renew when it expires.

Any experiences?
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Old Jul 8, 08, 8:23 pm
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One of my additional cardmembers used them a couple months ago when she locked her keys in her car. They were very courteous and had a local tow company there in about 30 minutes. Whatever the cost was, it was covered and we never saw a bill.

Granted, the limit (at least on the Gold card) is $50 per use; this would likely cover a lockout, but probably not to actually tow a vehicle somewhere. I'm not a big fan of AAA, but I assume they normally cover for a greater amount and offer free maps too.
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Old Jul 8, 08, 9:55 pm
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Originally Posted by Dromomaniac View Post
One of my additional cardmembers used them a couple months ago when she locked her keys in her car. They were very courteous and had a local tow company there in about 30 minutes. Whatever the cost was, it was covered and we never saw a bill.

Granted, the limit (at least on the Gold card) is $50 per use; this would likely cover a lockout, but probably not to actually tow a vehicle somewhere. I'm not a big fan of AAA, but I assume they normally cover for a greater amount and offer free maps too.
MY EXPERIENCE TOO
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Old Jul 8, 08, 10:23 pm
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My car broke down very unexpectedly in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday. I needed to get it back home and get to work the next day. The tow bill was $450 for 130 miles. AMEX agreed they would pay the local tow driver of my choice $50; they even called for me. I had to pay the rest in cash. The tow driver drove me to the ATM.

Wish I had had AAA Plus.
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Old Jul 8, 08, 10:30 pm
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I needed a tow, and made one call to the Amex global assist # on the back of the credit card. They called a local tow company who arrived with a modern wrecker in about an hour. They even called back when the truck had been dispatched. As others have said, they'll only pay $50, (any only for a couple tows a year, I think) but in my case that's all it cost for the short tow.

So, it saved me $50 and several phone calls looking for a towing company.
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Old Jul 9, 08, 7:43 am
  #6  
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Also note that "anywhere" actually means in the USA, not anywhere.
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Old Jul 9, 08, 9:09 am
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Originally Posted by super-mileage-fan View Post
My car broke down very unexpectedly in the middle of nowhere on a Sunday. I needed to get it back home and get to work the next day. The tow bill was $450 for 130 miles. AMEX agreed they would pay the local tow driver of my choice $50; they even called for me. I had to pay the rest in cash. The tow driver drove me to the ATM.

Wish I had had AAA Plus.
I agree. Will keep my AAA. I don't want Uncle Bob's towing service knowing they have me over a barrel holding me hostage for whatever they choose to charge me, and driving me to the ATM for CASH!!!!!!! NO THANKS!!!
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Old Jul 9, 08, 11:56 am
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Thank you all for sharing your experiences. AAA also covers 4 free calls per year (any service provided after the first 4 are at discounted rates) and the basic memeber is towed for only 3 miles or to the responding facility. Most of the services(flat tire, key lock, fuel outage etc) that I may use are under $50 and will be covered by my Gold card except for the towing.

I have only used it twice in 6 years and pretty much got most of the maps and tour books of the places I really want to go.

I have until Jan 2009 to make a decision so.....
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Old Jul 9, 08, 4:46 pm
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AAA Plus is well worth the extra ~$25/year they charge to upgrade from the Basic level.

Whereas a regular AAA member gets only 3 free miles of towing, a AAA Plus member gets 100 free miles of towing each time you call them (up to four service calls per year, as previously mentioned).

I have maintained my AAA Plus account for the above reason, despite the plat card's free (but only so-so) coverage.
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Old Jul 18, 08, 2:55 am
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Don't forget some of AAA's other intangibles, though- when I was staying in hotels for a few weeks in SAN three years ago, the AAA rate at the Mission Valley Sheraton was some $40/night less than the best rate I could find.
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Old Jul 18, 08, 1:39 pm
  #11  
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IMHO AAA should be avoided because they spend a whole lot of money pushing for anti-environmental projects and policies like more and more expressways. And, because, while it claims to have "members" it is really in no way democratically governed.

With that said, in the distant past, I once broke down out in the boonies, would have cost some big bucks for a tow, called AAA's 800 #, joined over the 'phone and got a free tow a few minutes later as part of my membership benefits. This convinced me that there was very little point in being a member until something bad happened. @:-)

Then, I found out that my car insurance (not AAA) covers roadside service and towing. And, so does the local Mercedes dealer as part of a lifetime deal on MBZs (roadside service, not towing).
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Old Jul 18, 08, 1:41 pm
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Originally Posted by biggestbopper View Post
IMHO AAA should be avoided because they spend a whole lot of money pushing for anti-environmental projects and policies like more and more expressways.
Thanks! Now I'm even happier I'm a member!
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Old Jul 18, 08, 2:18 pm
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A lot of this probably also revolves around how old your car is and its condition. We have a 1976 Triumph Spitfire and fortunately have only needed a tow once but we carry the AAA+ coverage just in case we're far from home. Obviously a newer model car is probably not going to break down often (one would hope).

That said, the one time we needed a tow the tow truck took over 2 hours to arrive in Chicago near Division and Ashland. AAA had no apologies and it turns out the tow truck came from some far suburb in talking with the driver. Made no sense. So I'm not sure how valuable the coverage actually is and fortunately haven't needed to use it since. Then again, no one had to drive me to an ATM machine either. YMMV
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Old Jul 19, 08, 7:35 am
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Originally Posted by kennycrudup View Post
Thanks! Now I'm even happier I'm a member!
seriously, almost makes me want to join..
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Old Jul 19, 08, 1:23 pm
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just used it

I just had a flat and was unable to pry the old tire off the car. while my insurance actually covers towing etc, they don't print their phone numberon the insurance card - and my phone was dying. So I called amex, they said they would have some body there shortly. By that i mean:
+ I called and identified myself to the regular Amex line
+ Got passed off to the Help Anywhere program and identified me & car
+ Got passed to dispatch and indentified where I was
Dispatch said they would call me back and confirm, but never did. when I called them back and got a different person, asking where was my help, they could not get ahold of Bob's towing and did not know if I was indeed being helped.

So up until here, not so great service. However, at this point, instead of saying, "let me find out and get back to you," the rep instead told me she would get another service and I could use whomever arrived first. My hpone died right after that and help arrived 30 minutes after.

As a sidenote: Do you tip a tow truck driver? Is it different when you pay for it and when it is "free"?
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