Friday, May 10

Real World AAA Membership Benefits

I had written an article at one point that argued why BP Motorclub was so bad, but there's really no point to saying ill of the dead. The real question isn't which auto club is best. The question is whether you have AAA or you don't. There's no real competition for most of us, so what does a real world with AAA look like?

First off, there's no way you are going to save all the money AAA claims you will save in a year, but that doesn't really make it less valuable. After the first year of promotions, we're at $90 a year for two people. As opposed to the promotional literature, which says we can save $326 per member per year, I'd say we're solidly saving $30 a year, combined. Maybe up to $50 if we travel a little more. Still, that's not terrible.

I'm not including towing or AAA roadside assistance as part of the savings. That's what I am paying for, so if I use it, then that's why I paid. If I save $50 a year on other discounts, then I am paying $40 a year for two people to get free roadside help. That's OK in my book.

While I might actually be happier to only pay $20 for both of us and not get any of the other discounts, I understand the power in pooling my money together with old men driving Buicks that never break down. AAA Dollars are not all that easy to earn (I made $16 off renewal in about one year, but that was before Gate was dropped as a place to get AAA cash for fill-ups. Now, I get $.05 off per gallon at Shell, which has better gas, but does not give actual pretend cash rewards.

I guess you could get the AAA credit card if you really want the AAA money. I will be happy if I have basic towing for about $30 a year per person after some other discounts we use. If you're traveling a lot, hotels might get you $10 a night, so make sure you ask. Some museums and other tourist attractions have been a few bucks cheaper, too. The UPS Store was a surprise one for me, and it saved me about $1. Just annoy people and ask. Or watch for little stickers.

If you live in the middle of nowhere or have a really crappy car, then you might need a higher level of coverage. Most of us are good with the Classic (cheap) version of the card. If you know you have all the scenarios covered, AAA might not be your thing. However, if you worry about the unexpected, travel a bit, and generally want to be covered in case something happens on the road, then the only real option is AAA.