A baby sitting in a car

Look at All the Hidden Benefits in Your AAA Membership

When I pulled out my AAA membership card to get a discount for Universal Hollywood tickets, I locked eyeballs with “Years as Member: 43” printed on the card. I nearly passed out.

That seemed absolutely impossible until I did a little mental calculation. It’s true. AAA has been an important part of my life for more than four decades.

If you are a member of AAA, it’s likely that you depend on it to get you out of an automotive bind with a roadside jumpstart, a gallon of gas or a tow.

And so you know, they also come to the rescue should you ever lock your keys in the car. Or a sleeping baby. Let’s just say that AAA has saved my bacon on more than one occasion.

 

A baby sitting in a car

AAA membership has so many other benefits that just roadside assistance—some I’ve taken advantage of in the past, but many others I didn’t even know about.

If you’re a member, perhaps you’ll be surprised too by all of the hidden benefits in your membership.

AAA is a non-profit organization with branches in all states. Not all branches offer the same benefits, so be sure to check with yours. Many AAA branches offer the following benefits with membership:

Prescription drug discounts

If you don’t have prescription drug coverage that meets your needs, check your AAA membership. You can save up to 75% on the cost of meds and diabetic supplies not covered by insurance, with your AAA membership.

Discounts on travel

We’re talking hotels, restaurants, auto repair shops, cruises, airfare, and train travel, too. AAA has its own travel agency, offering all kinds of travel discounts for AAA members.


RELATED: A Feel Good Vacation Does You and Others a Lot of Good


International travel

You can get your passport picture taken at almost all AAA branches, and the first two sets of photos are typically free. You can get your international driver’s permit at your local AAA office, as well.

Discounts on entertainment

AAA has partnerships with nearly ever amusement park like Sea World, Universal, Disney Parks, Six Flags, to name only a few. I’ve gotten in the habit of inquiring whenever I purchase admission to any kind of entertainment to simply ask if they offer a AAA discount. Most often, the answer is yes.

You can also expect your AAA to get you a discount at sporting events, performance and movie theaters, museums and zoos.

Discounts on services

Make sure you have set up your account online, then simply log in and click on “Discounts” to see all of the current discounts available to you in your local area.

At this writing, I can get 35% off at my local florist, 30% off AMC movie tickets, 10% discount at Hampton Inn & Suites; The UPS Store, Sprint,  The Parking Spot, discounted car washes, driver training, parking and bike services.

Rental cars

I frequently depend on my AAA membership to get significant discounts when I rent cars from Hertz as well as other agencies. If you’re 25 or younger, you know that most car rentals either refuse to rent to you or add a big surcharge due to your youthfulness, but with your AAA membership, most car rental agencies waive that requirement.

Discounts on services

Many services you may be using right now offer AAA discounts—ADT Home Security, The UPS Store, Sprint,  DIRECTV Satellite TV,  The Parking Spot, and more.

Department of Motor Vehicles

Some states let you do some DMV tasks right at the AAA office, such as auto registration and driver’s license renewal.

TSA Precheck

AAA has recently partnered with TSA. Now, all AAA members (and non-members) can apply for TSA PreCheck at select AAA locations, saving you time and stress on your next adventure.

Car buying

There are many AAA authorized car dealers who will give you a AAA discount through their fleet pricing. Many AAA offices will give you a free or discounted CARFAX report on a used vehicle you are interested in purchasing.


MORE:  This is the Best Car Trash Can Ever


As for the baby, it was a very hot day when I arrived to pick her up to care for her over the weekend. I wanted the car to be at a proper temperature, so I left the engine running with the air conditioning set to 72 F. and went into the house to get the child. So far so good.

I loaded up all of her necessary equipment then carefully strapped the baby seat with sleeping baby into the backseat. Ever so gently, I hit the lock button out of sheer habit and shut the door. My blood ran cold as I realized my keys were in the ignition and the car was now locked up as tight as a drum.

A few very long minutes later, AAA showed up and all was well. Thankfully, I didn’t get arrested for child endangerment.

Several weeks ago I had the occasion to meet up with that baby, after all these years. She’s now a beautiful, fully functional adult woman—without any noticeable effects of childhood trauma. We shared a good laugh, and I enjoyed a huge sigh of relief.

AAA membership does have its benefits.

First published: 2-23-15; Expanded, Revised, and Updated 3-26-19

 

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  1. ElectricNana says:

    I was surprised to learn that my local Rockport store offers AAA members a 30% discount. That really adds up on shoes and boots. I buy all of my sneakers there. There are no signs up to tell you the discount exists, another shopper told me about it and when I asked at the register, they confirmed it and gave me the discount.

    Reply
  2. Kristi says:

    PLEASE do not use your AAA membership to patronize Sea World. Read more about the exploitation of beautiful, sensitive, intelligent marine mammals who belong in the wild and you will never want another cent of your money to go to such organizations.

    Reply
    • Toast Points says:

      Kristi, you are correct. Sea World’s gate is way off because astute people don’t patronize such exploitation . There’s plenty of decent entertainment in Orlando.

      Reply
    • Cerinthe says:

      My research tells me AAA accident insurance is NOT worth it. I read the fine print then called to ask what specifically it covers. Answer: If you are hospitalized or die due to illness or surgery, AAA covers NOTHING. Only if your injury/death is caused by an auto accident does it cover anything, then it’s only 60% of the listed amount! NOT WORTH IT.

      Reply
  3. Deb says:

    We unfortunately found out that AAA does limit each person to 3 road side calls per year. Not as great of a benefit as it sounds when you consider the cost.

    Reply
    • Toast Points says:

      Yes … after membership with AAA for years without any emergency calls, I needed two road calls within a month or so for my aging car. That garnered me a nasty warning letter warning advising that I had only “one” call option left before I’d need to cough up more money.What?

      It gets worse.

      My mother (a premium member) died as a result of an auto accident with her seatbelt onas required by AAA for its death and dismemberment program for members. When I contacted AAA regarding its death and dismemberment insurance payout, the Tampa office acted like it didn’t know what I was talking about. I almost dropped the issue.

      But then, a few weeks later, I reread the brochure my mother had filed away and got mad. About 30 phone calls later to various AAA offices over a period of a month, I finally got someone on the phone who acknowledged such a program exists. Eventujally, I received $3,000 check from AAA. That was after the first check they claimed to have issued never arrived and I had to threaten to call an attorney.

      There are better road services out there. And I wonder how many road death survivors AAA has cheated out of benefits.

      Reply
  4. dholcomb1 says:

    If you have locked a child in the car or have locked a running car, you should call the police. They will not charge you for this service. A locked child in the car is an emergency, and a locked running car is considered dangerous. The police will come right away–AAA may not come for a while.

    For everything else, rely on your AAA membership.

    Reply
  5. Maura says:

    I just took advantage of another hidden benefit. Free Identity Theft Monitoring. As an Anthem Blue Cross member and a former employee of Sony I was glad to find this benefit. http://www.calif.aaa.com/home/financial/financial-services/identity-theft-monitoring.html?area=vanity_identitymonitoring&bcd=004ped101&zip=90064&stateprov=ca&city=los+angeles&devicecd=PC

    Reply
  6. Sandra says:

    AAA is great if you’re in an urban or suburban area but in a rural area…not so much. The “service providers” either don’t come or take their sweet time…5 hours isn’t unheard of. As to the discounts, again for urban/suburban folks. I use my AAA card half dozen times a year, at hotels, and am thinking of going with Good Sam’s Club when AAA is up for renewal.

    Reply
    • andrea_upnorth says:

      Agree with this point. And nearest office for passport photos (which I don’t believe comes free with basic membership) is 1.5 hours away. We have stuck with it largely b/c we have RV coverage and use the motel discounts and it does give me some piece of mind even when traveling with others (which it will cover).

      Reply
  7. MaryM says:

    All that is true, AAA membership has many benefits. There’s also one big negative, and that’s AAA’s lobbying against funding for public transportation. Rather shameful.

    Reply
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