Last Updated on December 1, 2020
For many people, the primary motivation behind having an AAA membership is the exceptional roadside assistance services offered by the federation. If you belong in this school of thought, then you’ve been missing out on tons of other fringe benefits that AAA members are entitled to.
Read on as we unpack 12 perks of being an AAA member, besides roadside assistance services.
1. Hassle-free Travel Planning
The first benefit of being an AAA member is that you have access to hassle-free travel planning tools. Now, it’s important to note that you don’t necessarily need to be an AAA member to enjoy all of the federation’s travel benefits. Non-members can book basic travel reservations, such as flights, hotel nights, and lodge facilities through AAA, the same way they would using third-party booking websites like Priceline.
The difference is that with an AAA membership, you get access to premium travel planning tools and can enjoy tons of discounts and offers. A notable mention is the now digitized TripTik maps, which works in a more or less similar manner as Google Maps and Mapquest. What’s more, AAA allows members to order paper copies of TripTik, detailing their local state, and national roadmaps.
Another excellent travel tool by AAA is the TourBooks, which details all the prime dining and accommodation spots, as well as other notable tourist highlights in and around your travel destination.
2. Flexible Pricing
AAA attracts membership from people of diverse incomes. Therefore, it’s only logical that the pricing plans offered be flexible enough to fit the budget needs of its different members. As we’ve already mentioned, non-members can enjoy a few basic services. However, you can only unlock AAA’s premium features by subscribing to any of the paid plans.
As a premium AAA member, you can choose from any of the following available membership tiers;
• Classic tier, which costs $67/year,
• Plus tier, which costs $103/year, and
• Premier tier, at a cost of $130/year
Remember to invest some time reading through the benefits offered under each tier before subscribing for it. Generally, the costlier the membership plan, the wider the scope of fringe benefits offered.
3. Access to Experienced and Knowledgeable Travel Agents
AAA maintains a staff of experienced, professional, and knowledgeable travel agents. These agents particularly come in handy when you’re unable to book or plan your own trip. You can use their expertise to get a personalized trip or access to additional and exclusive discounts. The best part is that it’s absolutely free to consult with AAA’s travel agents.
Also, AAA liaises with numerous travel corporation brands that facilitate guided tours, such as Brendan, Insight Vacations, and Contiki.
4. Free or Discounted Passport Photos
Depending on your membership tier, you could be entitled to several passport photos per year. Though these passports aren’t completely free for basic members, they’re still reasonably priced below the market rates.
Better yet, AAA members can apply for a passport at their local AAA branch. However, note that AAA doesn’t process passport applications.
5. Unbeatable Accommodation Discounts
Over the years, AAA has forged meaningful partnerships with reputable hotel and lodge facilities to offer its members unbeatable discounts. Some of those include Hilton, Best Western, MGM Resorts, Marriott, and Hyatt.
In addition to saving substantially on your accommodation cost, booking for accommodation facilities using AAA still allows you to earn hotel points during your stay. That’s a special bonus, considering that many hotel brands won’t award you points if you book via a travel agency or third-party website.
However, note that the partner discounts are seasonal. So, for the best bargains, compare the rates between the partner discounts and those offered directly by the travel agent.
6. Impressive Rental Car Discounts
AAA offers its members rental car discounts through a partnership with companies like Thrifty and Hertz. For instance, Hertz Gold Plus members can access the following exclusive rental car discounts;
• Discounts of up to 20 per cent on most car rentals,
• A waiver on additional driver fee for qualified AAA drivers,
• A waiver on young renter fee for drivers aged between 20 and 24, and
• Free use of an infant, one child, or booster seat
And what if your car breaks down?
No need to fret, as this is where you’ll enjoy AAA’s roadside benefits. Some of those benefits include towing, vehicle lockout, flat tire assistance, fuel delivery, to mention but a few.
7. Facilitation of International Driving Permits (IDP)
An international driving permit (IDP) is a necessary driver identification document, especially when seeking to rent a car overseas. With an AAA membership, you can get your IDP at your nearest AAA location or mail in your application and have it processed.
An AAA-facilitated IDP comes printed in ten different languages and is valid in more than 150 countries. To apply for an IDP via AAA, you’ll require a valid U.S license, two passport-sized photos printed on a white background, and the $20 processing fee.
8. Theme Park and Ticket Discounts
Travelers can also leverage AAA’s partnership with theme park brands like Universal Studios, Walt Disney, and LEGOLAND to enjoy even more discounts during their travel.
Movie enthusiasts are not left behind either, as AAA partners with renowned movie theatre chains like AMC and Showcase to provide their members with discounted ticket rates.
9. Emergency Check Cashing and Foreign Currency Management
AAA doesn’t just facilitate your travel, it also helps you to manage your finances during your trips or vacations. One way the federation achieves this is by allowing you to cash personal checks up to $100 for free. To use this service, all you need to do is produce your AAA membership card and other relevant documentation.
Another way AAA helps you to manage your money while traveling is by facilitating foreign currency exchange services. Before traveling overseas, AAA members can pick up foreign currency at their local office. That’s an ingenious way of bypassing the often exorbitant currency exchange rates. It also saves you the trouble of looking for an ATM whenever you want to access your funds in a foreign destination.
Alternatively, you might consider an AAA MemberPay debit card or an AAA Dollars Plus Mastercard travel rewards credit card. The latter allows you to earn as much as 3% cashback on every purchase.
10. Travel Accident Insurance
Another outstanding benefit of being an AAA member is that you can get up to $500,000 worth of complimentary travel accident insurance. This benefit is only available when you book your travel through an AAA agency.
Well, there could be other credit cards that entitle you to a similar amount, so why consider AAA?
In addition to the complimentary travel accident insurance, you also stand to benefit from tons of other travel discounts that we’ve already highlighted above.
11. Identity Theft Protection
In a world where criminals are always a step ahead in terms of technological advancement, it’s difficult to travel without the nagging fears of falling victim to identity theft. But with an AAA membership, you can travel with the peace of mind knowing that your identity is in safe hands.
AAA members are entitled to identity theft protection services like lost wallet protection, credit card monitoring, and fraud resolutions support. The costlier your membership is, the higher the identity theft protection benefits you enjoy from AAA.
12. Bail Bond Services
In some states and countries, traveling AAA members who get involved in minor traffic offenses can use a Guaranteed Arrest Bond Certificate as the cash equivalent. This applies where the fine is a maximum of $1,000.
Additionally, you may enjoy a bail bond of up to $5,000 for covered traffic violations.
It’s important to remember that AAA is not a single entity but a federation of automobile clubs. Therefore, the benefits we’ve highlighted above may not be available everywhere. Also, the deals and perks may vary from club to club. Most importantly, AAA reserves the right to cancel, suspend, or change its deals and offers without prior notice. So, always do your due diligence to understand the benefits that apply to you, as well as the duration that the deals are expected to run.