Many people are familiar with the benefits AAA can provide motorists when a breakdown, wreck, or other roadside emergency arises. If you don’t have a AAA membership yourself, chances are someone you know can tell you just how handy it is to pick up the phone and place a single call for help when you run out of gas, lock yourself out of your vehicle, or get a flat tire.
Although it may seem that only drivers can take advantage of a AAA membership, it actually makes sense for most travelers to join. A basic membership, which costs from $39 to $75 per year, depending on your location, can save you hundreds of dollars via a multitude of discounts. And with either a Plus or Premier Membership – which can cost as little as $76 to upwards of $180 per year, depending on your state and type of membership – you may be able to save even more.
AAA Membership Benefits
All memberships include a free Hertz Gold membership, discounted rental car rates, identity theft monitoring, and referral to AAA-approved auto repair facilities. Other offerings vary according to Membership level.
The basic breakdown is as follows (may vary depending on region):
- Towing benefits for up to 5 miles
- Emergency fuel delivery, but you pay for fuel
- Vehicle locksmith service up to $60
- Towing benefits for up to 100 miles
- Emergency fuel delivery with free fuel
- Vehicle locksmith service up to $100
- Towing benefits for up to 200 miles on the first tow, 100 miles thereafter
- Emergency fuel delivery with free fuel
- Vehicle locksmith service up to $150
Great AAA Membership Discounts
In addition to the services provided by your membership, a range of travel-related benefits, depending on your membership level, are also available.
1. Rental Cars
Whether you’re renting a car for business or pleasure, your AAA membership can give you access to discounts on rentals from Hertz. Per the AAA website, members save up to 20% on domestic or up to 25% on international Hertz car rentals for leisure or business travel. Additional drivers can be added at no charge, as long as they are also AAA members who meet rental qualifications. To take advantage of the discount, reservations can be made via AAA.com, at a AAA office, or at Hertz.com or a Hertz rental office.
All AAA members are eligible for the “Hertz Gold Plus Membership” for free, which enables you to receive immediate service at more than 40 airports worldwide via a special AAA “members only” line. Also, at more than 1,000 locations, the Hertz Gold Plus Membership allows you to simply show your driver license in order to pick up the keys to your car, rather than waiting in line and filling out paperwork.
As part of the Gold member benefits, Basic/Classic or Plus AAA members also have the ability to claim 675 Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Bonus Points after their first Gold rental, which is enough for one free rental day. Premier members receive 1,100 points, which is enough for two free weekend rental days.
2. Concierge Service and Global Travel Emergency Assistance
AAA Premier members have access to concierge services when traveling on a domestic or international trip 100 miles or more from their primary residence. Via the concierge, members receive assistance with ticketing to events, booking a limo or car service, golf tee times and reservations, gift basket and floral delivery arrangements, and shopping and health club referrals, among other perks.
Premier members also have access to 24-hour global travel emergency assistance. If you have an accident or other emergency situation while traveling 100 miles or more away from home (within the U.S. or internationally), you can call to receive information on the closest medical providers or pharmacies, or to be put in touch with emergency medical transportation providers. The service can also help you make arrangements for lost tickets or emergency cash transfers.
3. Travel Accident Insurance and Trip Interruption Benefits
If you’re a AAA Premier member and your trip is delayed due to an accident, mechanical breakdown, car theft, unexpected illness or injury, or severe weather, you can be reimbursed up to $1,500 for covered out-of-pocket expenses, including meals and accommodations and a rental car to continue your trip. The benefit also provides up to $500 to help get your car back home if you are unable to complete your trip.
Travel accident insurance is also available to AAA Premier Members when airline, cruise, bus, or train tickets are purchased through AAA Travel. The insurance covers up to $300,000 in the event of the loss of life, limbs, sight, speech, or hearing, and is underwritten by BCS Insurance.
4. Lockout Service
All tiers of AAA membership are entitled to vehicle lockout services. If you get locked out of your car, a AAA service representative comes to attempt to gain access to your vehicle. This service is free of charge to all members.
However, if a locksmith is required to gain entry to your vehicle, there are limitations to how much is covered by AAA: Services up to $60 are covered for AAA Classic membership, services of up to $100 are covered for Plus members, and services up to $150 are covered for Premier members.
Premier members also have access to home lockout service, with up to $100 toward locksmith services if the locksmith picks or drills the lock to gain access to your home from the outside. This service is limited to the member’s primary residence, and excludes all other buildings or locked areas – so while you can use the service to get into your home, you wouldn’t be able to use it to get into a garage or tool shed on your property.
This service also provides up to $100 toward the cost of re-keying, changing locks, or making a new key, but only when the lock is drilled or if the keys are lost or stolen. This service can only be used once per year, per household, and any charges beyond $100 must be paid by the AAA Premier member.
Whether you find yourself on a business trip or a romantic weekend getaway, you may be able to take advantage of AAA discounts at numerous national restaurant chains (though deals may vary from state to state). Samples of restaurant discounts include:
- Medieval Times: Up to 25% off
- Papa John’s: 25% off regular-price menu items
- Omaha Steaks: 15% off purchases of $59 or more
- Hard Rock Cafe: 10% off
- McAlister’s Deli: 10% off
- Rainforest Cafe: 10% off on retail merchandise
- Dave & Buster’s: 10% off
Whenever you’re traveling, ask your server if the restaurant offers any discount for AAA members. You never know which restaurants may decide to participate in the program.
6. Apparel and Retail
Your membership also entitles you to discounts at major retailers where you can save on everything from clothes to flowers and gardening equipment. If you’re shopping at traditional brick-and-mortar stores, just show your AAA member card in order to receive the applicable discount. If you’re shopping online, you may need to call to ensure the discount is valid and to find out what the specific coupon code may be.
Discounts that may be available in your region include the following:
- Eddie Bauer Outlet Stores: Up to 70% off
- 1-800-FLOWERS.com: 20% off
- Reebok Outlet Stores: 20% off
- New York & Company: 20% off
- Plow & Hearth: 15% off
- Brooks Brothers: 15% off
- Naturalizer: 15% off
- Harry & David: 15% off
- adidas Outlet Stores: 10% off
- Payless ShoeSource: 10% off
If sailing away to a tropical location sounds up your alley, AAA Travel can help you get discounts on select cruises. There is no charge for personalized trip planning, but a processing fee may apply to airline or train reservations.
Cruise lines offering discounts include the following:
- Princess Cruises: Onboard value booklet (valued up to $325) and a reduced cruise deposit per person during specific booking windows
- Cunard: Up to a maximum of $300 per stateroom onboard spending credit on select departures during specific booking windows
- Carnival Cruise Line: Up to $200 per stateroom onboard spending credit on select sailings
- Oceania Cruises: $100 per stateroom onboard spending credit on select sailings
- Celebrity Cruises: Up to $75 per stateroom onboard spending credit on select sailings
- Holland America Line: Up to $50 per person onboard spending credit on select sailings (maximum 2 per stateroom)
- Royal Caribbean International: Choice of complimentary spa treatment per stateroom in balcony and above categories on select sailings
Using your AAA membership can save you as much as 15% off your hotel reservation. Many websites either have an option where you can reserve with your AAA member number, or you can choose to reserve via phone or directly from the AAA website.
Potential discounts include the following:
- Starwood Hotels & Resorts: Up to 15% off, plus complimentary parking at participating airport hotels
- MGM Resorts International: 10% off
- Best Western: 10% off or more
- Hilton Hotels: 5% off or more
- Marriott: 5% off or more, plus special “weekend savings” that vary from property to property; call to inquire
AAA offers discounts for various entertainment venues nationwide. Regional discounts include:
- Regal Cinemas: Up to 35% off
- Regal Entertainment Group: Up to 30% off
- Busch Gardens: Up to 30% off
- Water Country USA: Up to 30% off
- Cinemark Theatres: Up to 25% off
- Medieval Times: Up to 25% off
- Universal Orlando: $20 off admission, plus various discounts on food and merchandise
- Universal Studios Hollywood: $15 off general admission
- Bodies: The Exhibition: $5 off adult admission
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not: Save $4 on adult and child tickets
10. Health and Wellness
Your health and well-being are essential parts of life. AAA offers discounts on everything from glasses to workout attire. Samples of the discounts that may be available to you include the following:
- Connect Hearing: 40% off hearing aids
- LensCrafters: Up to 30% off
- Pearle Vision: Up to 30% off
- Sears Optical: Up to 30% off
- Target Optical: Up to 30% off
- Glasses.com: 25% off orders of $200 or more, plus free lenses
- P90X: 25% off fitness DVD
- FitReserve: 20% off monthly memberships
- Vitamix: 15% or more off
- Weight Watchers: Join for free
There’s nothing like the peace of mind that comes with membership in a service provider that has your back when you’re on the road. The extra perks and discounts are great, but it’s even better to know that help is just a phone call away when you’ve been in an accident or otherwise have trouble while traveling.
How do you use your AAA membership? What are your favorite perks?