Broken Down Car

Is AAA Worth the Cost?

A few months back, I got a letter in the mail from AAA reminding me that it is time to renew my membership. I have been a AAA member since 2007. My car broke down and I needed a tow. I signed up and got a tow in the same call. When it was time to renew, I had to think hard about whether or not it was worth the annual $57 cost.

Hotel Discounts

While I got AAA so I could tow my car, it turns out I use the hotel discounts much more often than anything else I get from AAA. I find that I save, on average, $10 per night when using a AAA discount. I spend about a even nights every year in hotels I pay for (including weekends), so that is a savings of about $70. Right there, I already covered the cost.

When looking for hotels, remember that AAA is not always the cheapest, but it usually is. I was at a wedding last year and found that the AAA rate was lower than the wedding rate by about $20 per night. I have also seen deals where AAA is more than other offers. Just do your homework and make sure you make the right choice.

Is AAA Worth the Cost?
Image by thekirbster / flickr

Emergency Services

Getting your car towed is expensive. My AAA plan gets me towing services, tire changes (I can do that myself), jump starts (I can do that if I can get to another car), lockout service (never used), and gas if you run out (never happened to me).

I have actually only used AAA roadside assistance once, for the tow the day I signed up. I guess here, I am really just paying for peace of mind. You never expect your car to break down, but it can happen.

Travel Services

I enjoy getting my free maps, travel guides, and travel info from AAA. I have planned weekend getaways, road trips, and other short vacations using information products provided to AAA members for no extra fee.

I once planned a weekend getaway to Disney World and used AAA for a discounted travel package. It doesn’t come up all that often, but it is useful enough when I need it that I do get some value from the travel services.

Total Value?

I get a total value of at least $70 per year that I can pin down. The value of other services is just a bonus on top of my AAA travel discounts. I find that I get more value than the cost, so for now I am going to keep renewing my membership.

What about you? Do you have AAA? Is it worth the money? Share your thoughts in the comments.

17 thoughts on “Is AAA Worth the Cost?”

  1. For someone like me who knows nothing about cars it is a great card to have around. I have used it at least once a year for a flat tire (including last Friday). Even if someone knows the basic about cars the small fee each year is worth the peace of mind in case something big happens. I had a friend lose her keys at a camping site one year and they drove up and unlocked the car (there was a spare in the car). If she had not had AAA we could have been stuck up there a long time.

  2. Emily @ evolvingPF

    We let ours lapse after several years. We never had to use it directly for car-related stuff and our buying habits don’t realize much savings from the discounts.

  3. I like having AAA for the security if something were to happen. Let’s face it since you and I live near the mountains I would hate to have something happen on the drive back down on a Sunday and be stuck when it cold. Calling for a tow without AAA would be expensive.

  4. I’ve never had AAA but I wouldn’t use too many of the discounts I don’t think. I’ve also heard if you have American Express you get roadside assistance but don’t know if that is true or not.

  5. I belong to AAA, and I find it to be a good service. I know that some folks will find alternatives and reasons to save the money, but it has worked out for me in terms of emergency services.

  6. For emergencies only, I think it is worth the cost. We almost all have at least 1 emergency a year with a flat tire or locked out of your car (at least I do). The cost of AAA then covers itself, IMO.

    1. Lockout service is great, though I have only needed it once. I would rather just change a tire myself than call and wait, but for people who can’t handle it that is a great benefit too.

  7. AAA is worth every penny we pay and then some. We have three kids ranging from 19-24. We live in Chicago and have received phone calls like “…Dad the car just died and won’t start and I’m in a section of LA where nobody seems to speak English…” or from the same daughter at midnight “… Dad something from the road just hit the car and it died and I’m 20 miles outside of Las Vegas…” My oldest has been in LA since 2006 when she started college. The nice thing as well is that with the coverage level we have it covers the kids even if they are a passenger in somebody else’s car. We’ve used that feature as well. As a parent AAA provides great piece of mind for us.

    1. I never thought about it from a parent’s perspective. I can see how that would be very comforting to have available when your kids need it. Sounds like you have certainly gotten your money’s worth.

  8. I use AAA for the peace of mind, but also for the travel discounts, not just for me, but also for my customers when I can. I find that most of my customers know what hotels cost in their towns, and they notice you’re trying to be competitive when they see lower rates in your invoices. I know it’s just a little thing, but it can make you more marketable in business if they notice the effort and consider hiring you again in the future!

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