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.

 

Sleeping baby in carseat

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.


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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.


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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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25 replies
  1. sarah240
    sarah240 says:

    I prefer Good Sam. One price covers your whole household, unlike AAA. Also will tow for free to the nearest auto shop, and doesn’t have a limit on miles like AAA. Cheaper, with better benefits!

    Reply
    • Jackie Orr
      Jackie Orr says:

      Sarah240, thank you for your comment. I have Good Sam for my car and RV and have never, in 15 years, been disappointed with them but was wondering if I should check out AAA. You reinforced my belief in them so I will read a good book and not get tangled up with quotes. Thanks

      Reply
    • Mary Hunt
      Mary Hunt says:

      Of course AAA is not the only organization offering roadside service and towing! But for those who have it, it’s nice to know about all of the somewhat hidden benefits members can benefit from using!

      Reply
  2. Patti Karr
    Patti Karr says:

    I locked my son in the car when he was a toddler and we had all gone out to dinner. He was old enough to be able to unlock the car himself but being strapped in, he couldn’t reach. I sent my husband inside to have a glass of wine to calm down and entertained my son through the window while waiting for AAA. Their trucks were all out on service calls so a nearby local employee came over immediately in his private vehicle and got the door open for us when he heard the call. He said it happens all the time. We are not bad parents we are not bad parents we are not bad parents….

    Reply
  3. Bjorn Olson
    Bjorn Olson says:

    I agree. AAA has gotten me out of many pinches through the years. I say the membership pays for itself each year with towing/jumping services and the discounts. I just have to remind myself to ask for a AAA discount!

    Reply
  4. labbie1
    labbie1 says:

    AAA has been wonderful for me! We travel extensively and take advantage of the RV membership as well. Tow truck drives have always been very helpful and nice. The office keeps me informed via text or phone on the time table of the driver and to ensure my safety while waiting. It often takes a while for the tow trucks to arrive but that is true on occasions when I have had to call a tow truck directly as well. Yes, they do have a limit on the number of tows they will do in a year and the distance is different depending on the membership that you purchase. We regularly found the threshold on those services when our son was in high school. BUT, the tows that we took advantage of more than paid for the membership as tows are expensive!!!!! At the time that our son was in high school, once you had used you free tows, you had the option to pay more to AAA or get a tow at a reduced rate (in our area it was 50% off). I have also used their referral service to find a AAA qualified car repair shop in several states from needing a transmission to front end service and everything in between. I have found the shops that are AAA shops have done a fine job and gotten me on the road quickly and efficiently. A few times when I forgot and used a shop recommended by local friends, I ended up regretting it with shoddy, incomplete service that had to be done again…AAA has certainly paid for itself for me and my family!

    Reply
  5. BSBishop
    BSBishop says:

    It should probably be mentioned that a lot of the discounts are hardly worth it.

    If you’re buying attraction tickets then you may get $3 off a $300 purchase – that’s if you go to the local AAA store and pick it up. If you do it online and have the tickets mailed to you then you pay something silly like a $1.95 S&H fee. So you do all of that to save a buck or two.

    If I remember correctly, movie tickets are about the same. You have to do them online or at your local office and, for all of the trouble, you maybe save $1 and I think the tickets have limitations for when you can use them.

    A lot of the discounts are so small that they’re simply not worth bothering with. That doesn’t mean AAA is bad. I think it’s good for roadside assistance and discounts on hotels and rental cars.

    Reply
  6. Toast Points
    Toast Points says:

    “Living frugally isn’t always fun but it is soul satisfying. And
    I enjoy the results—especially the freedom, joy and peace of mind” — Mary

    This definitely is the essence of the reward in frugality. I don’t know how people sleep at night when they’re living it up to match the Joneses with no way to pay.

    Reply
  7. Carrie
    Carrie says:

    I hated AAA. The tow truck drivers were always rude. Once, they would not stop because my sister was standing under a tree near her car instead of right next to the car. It was easier to call a tow company than to use their service.

    Reply
  8. ElectricNana
    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
  9. Kristi
    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
      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
      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
  10. Deb
    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
      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
  11. dholcomb1
    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
  12. Maura
    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
  13. Sandra
    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
      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
  14. MaryM
    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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