According to the card buried deep in my wallet, I’ve been a “loyal member” of the American Automobile Association (AAA) since 2005. In fact, my AAA Membership is one of the longest relationships of my life, even exceeding the length of my marriage!
Early on, AAA’s roadside assistance services helped me and my succession of comically beaten-up cars get out of more jams than I can count. However, these days I use roadside assistance infrequently enough to call the wisdom of shelling out $80-plus each year for my little gold AAA card into question.
Good thing that $80-plus buys a lot more than basic roadside assistance.
Now that I can count on my car to get me from point A to point B without breaking down, AAA’s considerable fringe benefits offer enough incentives to make the investment worthwhile.
AAA’s best discounts and deals are outlined below, with preference given to savings opportunities with high potential values, wide availability, and broad appeal.
Bear in mind that AAA is a federation of affiliated automobile clubs and not a single entity, so deals can and do vary by region. And, as is the case with most consumer promotions, AAA deals are subject to change or cancellation without advance notice.
AAA Membership Tiers
AAA has three principal membership tiers. Pricing starts around $50 per year and rises to over $100 per year, depending on membership tier and region. Check your local club’s website for up-to-date pricing and benefit details. Here are some notable benefits from each tier:
- 24/7 roadside assistance with up to four calls per year at no out-of-pocket cost
- Local towing, no more than five miles from the site of the disablement
- Complimentary bicycle repair and towing within five miles
- Vehicle extrication for vehicles stranded due to obstacles such as standing water, snowdrifts, and mud
- Extended-range towing to a wider choice of repair shops
- Heavy-duty extrication
- Long-range bicycle towing and repair
- Additional roadside assistance calls at no out-of-pocket charge (five or more per year)
- Extended-range towing to an even wider choice of repair shops
For an extra fee, AAA offers optional RV coverage on Plus and Premier memberships. RV coverage extends each plan’s roadside assistance benefits to RVs, which require heavy-duty tow trucks and winches.
Discounts and Benefits
Each AAA membership tier comes with its own set of benefits and discounts. Certain perks are mentioned solely in the membership discounts section below and where relevant, which discounts apply to a particular tier.
WOWPoints are AAA’s online reward currency. If you’ve ever belonged to a travel loyalty program or owned a cash back credit card, you’re likely to be familiar with the WOWPoints program’s basic structure. Here’s how it works:
Start by linking a credit or debit card backed by a major payment processing network to your AAA account. This makes it easier for AAA to track your WOWPoint earnings and allows you to easily redeem your rewards.
Next, navigate to AAA’s online shopping portal through your local club’s website. In addition to any advertised savings, you’ll earn 2x or 3x WOWPoints on most purchases. AAA works with select major retailers and travel merchants, some of which are listed below.
You can only redeem WOWPoints for purchases made with participating merchant partners. WOWPoints are always worth $0.01 apiece at redemption, no matter what they’re redeemed for or which merchants they’re redeemed through.
First, visit AAA’s online shopping portal and select the “Pay With Points” option. Find the merchant you’d like to patronize, then specify the number of WOWPoints (or dollar value) you want to redeem. Click “Shop With Points” to be taken to the merchant’s website. Complete the transaction using your linked credit or debit card. On your next statement, you should see a credit for your redemption amount.
If you’re in the process of rebuilding credit or don’t yet qualify for a premium cash back or travel rewards credit card, accruing and paying with WOWPoints is a great way to realize the de facto benefits of a credit card rewards program without surviving the often arduous application process.
Pro tip: Another way to help rebuild or boost your credit score is to sign up for Experian Boost. This is a free program from Experian that gives you credit for on-time utility payments which typically don’t count toward your credit score.
Best AAA Membership Discounts and Savings Opportunities
This is an overview of the best discounts and savings opportunities available to AAA members. Remember, specific opportunities may vary by geography and are subject to change or discontinuation at any time.
1. Locksmith Services
Besides roadside assistance and towing, AAA’s locksmith discount is arguably its most valuable and consistent benefit.
For Classic/Basic members, AAA’s locksmith benefit is worth at least $75. For higher-tier members, it’s worth well over $100. The benefit is available to members who’ve been locked out of their vehicles due to stolen or misplaced keys, with no questions asked.
Premier members also enjoy up to $100 in complimentary home lockout services on a single visit each year. That includes drilling, re-keying, key duplication, lock changes, and other associated services.
Keep in mind that the home lockout service only covers the member’s primary residence, not any outbuildings. This could come into play if you’re locked out of a detached garage, but it’s still pretty generous.
2. General Retail
AAA clubs partner with dozens of specialty and general-purpose retailers to cut members’ shopping costs. For in-store purchases, you’ll need to have your AAA membership card handy.
Here is a sampling of what you can expect from general retail deals that fall outside of the following categories:
- Up to 45% off purchases at Under Armour outlets and website
- Up to 40% off select Nike sneakers
- Up to 50% off children’s clothing at Hanna Andersson
- Up to 40% off home appliances at Lowe’s
- Up to 40% off home decor at Home Depot
- Up to $200 off select items at Walmart.com
Some featured retailers offer accelerated WOWPoint earnings on top of instant discounts. For example, I found a great deal from Puma: up to 50% off select sneaker purchases plus 4x WOWPoints on all eligible purchases.
AAA’s dining discounts help members save money on vacation and business trips. AAA’s dining discounts come in two different flavors: branded gift certificates issued by Restaurant.com for use at any chain restaurant location or specific independent restaurants, and instant discounts with participating restaurants.
Restaurant.com gift certificate availability varies by location, but the deal is always the same: $10 for a $25 certificate, or up to 60% savings. At sit-down restaurants, certificate holders are still expected to tip on the full bill, before the discount is applied. To find eligible restaurants in your area, select “Restaurant Certificates” from the Dining drop-down menu and enter your ZIP code. Don’t forget your AAA membership card.
Here’s a representative sample of AAA’s instant restaurant discounts:
- 10% off food and non-alcoholic beverages at Hard Rock Cafe
- 10% off food and non-alcoholic beverages at Rainforest Cafe
- 10% off food and non-alcoholic beverages at Oceanaire Seafood Room
- 10% off food and non-alcoholic beverages at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company
- 10% off your total bill at Dave & Buster’s
- Up to 30% off select pizzas and appetizers at Papa John’s
4. Food and Drink
Instant discounts help, but the best way to save money at restaurants is to skip meals out entirely. Good thing AAA offers a slew of instant savings opportunities for grocery and beverage purchases made online and in-store. Some gifts are more practical than others: edible holiday gifts (great for your Cyber Monday shopping list) coexist alongside off-the-shelf supermarket staples.
Most of these discounts are available online only. For in-store discounts, you’ll need to present your AAA card at the point of sale.
Here is a sampling of AAA discounts on edible gifts, groceries, and beverages:
- Up to 25% off select Stonewall Kitchen specialty food products
- Up to 20% off subscriptions to Try the World, a gift basket service for gourmet snacks
- Up to 15% off orders at 800wine.com, a discount wine delivery service
- Buy 4, get 1 free on select orders with Lindt, the gourmet chocolatier
- $15 off your first order with Peapod, the grocery delivery service
- 10% off in-store purchases at Kelly’s Coffee & Fudge Factory
5. Pet Products
My wife and I have cats (yes, plural), which means we’re constantly looking for ways to reduce the cost of cat ownership. AAA’s pet discounts are a good place to start, and virtually all are available online. For partners with physical stores, just present your AAA membership card at the point of sale. Here’s a sampling:
- 10% off select pet insurance policies with Pets Best
- 10% off select yard cleaning services for pet-owning homeowners (may vary by location)
- Up to 20% off dog and cat food at Petco
- Up to 20% off select dog travel and outdoor products at Kurgo
- Free shipping on all pet medication purchases from VetShop and PetCareRX
Electronics is one of AAA’s most-discounted categories, with deals worth 35% or more off face value on household-name brands. Before you hit the stores on Black Friday, check AAA’s website for the latest deals. And if you do visit the stores in person, don’t forget your AAA membership card.
Here’s what to expect from AAA’s electronics partners:
- Up to 35% off list price on select HP products and services
- Up to 30% off list price on select Dell products and services
- Up to $400 off Microsoft PCs and laptops
- Up to $100 off Symantec security products
- Free membership renewal on select Sprint plans
- Free 30-day trial to GameFly
As you might expect, AAA has a slew of automotive discounts. These come in two flavors: discounts and freebies included in AAA’s membership plan tiers and instant discounts with automotive partners like auto repair shops and parts retailers.
Automotive perks included in AAA’s plans (and not listed above) include:
- Roadside fuel delivery, subject to distance restrictions and payment of the actual cost of fuel used
- 20% off CARFAX reports ordered online, a savings of about $8 off full price
- Up to 25% off a Hertz rental car while the member’s vehicle is undergoing covered repairs
- Complimentary roadside fuel delivery, with no payment required on the fuel itself
- 20% discounts on CARFAX reports ordered online
- Up to 25% a Hertz rental car for the duration of qualifying repairs to the member’s primary vehicle
- One free battery replacement per year, a value of $100 or more
- Complimentary roadside fuel delivery with no restrictions and no out of pocket payments
- One complimentary CARFAX report per year and 40% off subsequent reports
- One free day on a Hertz car rental, then up to 25% off while the member’s vehicle is in the repair shop
Automotive partner discounts and deals include:
- 10% off qualifying purchases at Napa Auto Parts stores and online
- Exclusive member pricing on Battery Tender chargers, which keep batteries charged during long periods of inactivity
- Up to 15% off Velofix bike repair services not covered by the member’s plan
- Exclusive member pricing on AAA Mobile Battery Service battery testing
8. Health and Wellness
AAA’s commitment to health and wellness shines through in its relatively new bike repair and parts replacement vertical. But it’s not just bike commuters who stand to benefit. AAA’s online and in-store health and wellness discounts include:
- Up to 30% off select products and services at LensCrafters
- Up to 25% off select products and services at Glasses.com
- Up to 45% off select apparel and outdoor products at Backcountry.com
- Up to 10% off classes and memberships at YogaFit Studios
- Up to 50% off select products at GNC
- $60 off initiation fees plus 2,000 bonus WOWPoints with a new LA Fitness membership
9. Rental Cars
You don’t have to wait until your primary vehicle needs repair to take advantage of AAA’s rental car discounts. All AAA members qualify for discounts with major rental car companies, including:
- Dollar Rent A Car: Save 10% off the price of advance reservations made in the U.S. and Canada, plus 10% off the price of a navigation unit (not included with rental)
- Thrifty: Save 8% off the price of advance reservations made in the U.S. and Canada, plus 10% off the price of a navigation unit
- Hertz: Save up to 20% off the price of all reservations made in the U.S. and Canada, free car booster seats, discounted GPS units (discounts vary), no premium for renters under age 25, and 10% discount on advance fuel purchases
- Hertz Rent2Buy: Get a free three-day rental and save $300 off the purchase price when you participate in the Hertz Rent2Buy program
AAA partners with more than three dozen hotel brands to bring members special nightly rates, accelerated travel loyalty point earnings, accelerated WOWPoint earnings, and other perks. You’ll need your AAA member number handy when you book and may be asked to present your card at check-in.
Select hotel discount opportunities include:
- Get up to 15% off and 10% more hotel loyalty points when you book with the BW Premier Collection
- Get up to 15% off and 10% more hotel loyalty points when you book at GLo hotels
- Save 5% or more on bookings with Canopy hotels
- Save 10% or more at select Hilton hotels
- Save 10% or more at select Hyatt hotels
Don’t book your next cruise without checking AAA’s website first. AAA’s Cruise discount offerings may be limited by geography and subject to limitations, so check your local club’s website for details.
My home club in Minneapolis offers up to 15% off select Paradise Charter Cruises excursions, plus 10% off food, beverages, and other add-ons. With that kind of discount, you’ll have more room in your budget for memorable cruise shore excursions, no matter which line you choose. Find your boat and learn more about quality shore excursion options at CruiseCompete, and check out this primer on cruise line loyalty programs from CruiseCompete while you’re at it.
12. Travel Insurance
All AAA members are entitled to some amount of complimentary travel insurance. Here’s what you can expect from your plan:
- Trip interruption protection, up to $100 per individual or $500 per family
- Travel accident coverage up to $100,000 per member (includes the covered individual’s traveling party)
- Trip interruption protection, up to $200 per individual or $1,000 per family
- Travel accident coverage up to $200,000 per traveling party
- Trip interruption protection, up to $300 per individual or $1,500 per family
- Travel accident coverage up to $300,000 per traveling party
13. Other Travel Services
Beyond travel insurance, AAA offers free or discounted travel services. Inclusions vary by plan:
Classic or Basic members are entitled to 10% discounts across the board at the AAA Travel Store, available online and in select physical locations in club territories. Check your club’s website for locations and restrictions.
Plus members are entitled to 15% discounts across the board at the AAA Travel Store and two complementary sets of passport photos each year.
Premier members are entitled to 20% discounts across the board at the AAA Travel Store and two complementary sets of passport photos each year.
14. Sporting Events
AAA has a surprisingly diverse lineup of discounts, deals, and exclusive opportunities for sports fans. These vary widely by club and season, so check your local club’s website regularly. Here are some examples from my home club:
- Up to $200 off season tickets or group pricing for all individual regular season tickets with Minnesota United FC
- Discounted rates for ticket packages with the St. Paul Saints (discount size varies)
- Discounted individual game tickets with the Minnesota Timberwolves (discount size varies)
- Up to 20% off select sporting event tickets purchased through Ticket Monster
- Up to 50% off general admission to select University of Minnesota Gophers games
15. Culture and Entertainment
Not a sports fan? No worries. AAA offers discounted tickets and admission packages to a variety of other events and institutions, including live musical performances, theatrical performances, theme parks, and museums. Like sporting events, these are highly localized and seasonal, so check with your club for details. These are some examples from my home club:
- Up to 10% off general admission to FlyOver America, a premium virtual reality theme park ride
- Up to 35% off general admission to Nickelodeon Universe, a kid-friendly theme park
- Up to 37% off general admission to Valleyfair, an all-ages theme park
- Up to $25 off general admission to Universal Studios Hollywood, a destination theme park
- Up to $5 off general admission to the Minnesota Renaissance Faire, an immersive outdoor cultural experience
I can’t say a bad word about AAA.
Every interaction I’ve had with their customer service agents has been pleasant and fruitful. I’ve never had to wait longer than advertised for roadside assistance. And I’ve saved hundreds of dollars on shopping and service discounts over the course of my decade-plus membership.
If you are debating whether or not the membership is worth the $50 to $100 plus investment, ask yourself how you will use it. As long as you’re snagging breaks on products and services you would purchase anyway, you can easily offset the cost of your annual membership using the discounts outlined above and more.
What’s your favorite AAA membership discount?