Is AAA membership worth the cost?
The American Automobile Association or AAA, as it is commonly known, is a federation of different motor clubs throughout the United States.
The association also has federations in other countries, like the UK and Canada.
Currently, AAA is the largest motor club and travel organization in the world, with an amazing 55.6 million members throughout North America and Canada.
AAA members get access to all sorts of benefits, from dining discounts to lockout services.
You might be considering whether not to join the club yourself and whether the perks that come along with membership would be beneficial to you.
If you’re struggling to decide whether AAA is worth it, then our AAA review below should help you make a choice about membership.
How AAA works
As we mentioned above, AAA is actually a federation of different motor clubs. So you join the one in your region.
If you want to join, then you’ll need to choose what type of membership you want and pay a yearly membership fee.
Generally speaking, most clubs offer three different membership tiers:
But, others might offer variations.
For example, AAA Southern New England offers an Associate membership.
Once you’re a member of AAA, you get access to 24-hour roadside assistance, even if you’re riding in someone else’s vehicle, and a plethora of other benefits, which extend far beyond vehicle assistance and travel.
How much does AAA membership cost?
As the cost and the benefits of membership vary depending on membership level and region, we can’t give you an exact number for the cost, so you’ll have to check with your local AAA federation.
We can, however, give you a couple of examples of the cost for a basic AAA membership in different areas:
- Southern New England: $52
- California, Nevada, and Utah: $56
- Texas: $52
In most regions, there’s a fairly big jump in price between the Basic membership and the Plus membership.
For example, in California, Nevada, and Utah, it costs $91 per year for a Plus membership and $119 a year for a Premier membership.
What are the benefits?
As the AAA is actually a collective of federations, not all branches will offer the exact same services and benefits.
So, please take the benefits below as a general guide, and be sure to check with your particular club to be certain.
Generally, all AAA members, regardless of membership level get access to the following benefits:
- 24 hour road assistance, no matter whose vehicle you’re traveling in
- Towing for a certain number of miles
- Emergency fuel delivery
- Discount on vehicle repairs
- Battery delivery service
- Lockout service
- Discount prescriptions
- Free travel planning tools
- Cheaper car rentals
The AAA towing rates, for example, differ quite drastically between membership tiers.
Generally, for a Basic membership, you get towing benefits for 5 miles, whereas, for a Plus membership, you get towing benefits for up to 100 miles.
Other benefits that might be on offer, depending on your membership level include dining discounts, amusement park discounts, retail discounts and global travel emergency assistance.
We have a full, in-depth post on AAA benefits, so make sure you check it out for more information.
Is an AAA Membership worth it?
Here are a few reasons that might make an AAA membership worth it for you:
- Sensible coverage: An AAA membership covers the person, rather than the vehicle. This means that you get roadside assistance, regardless of what car you’re riding in or driving, including vehicles you don’t own.
- Travel benefits: You get access to a lot of travel benefits, which depending on your membership level, can include discount rail travel and global travel emergency assistance. So, if you travel a lot, then an AAA membership could really be worth it for you.
- Enjoy exclusive discounts: Members get access to a ton of different discounts on everything from hotels to restaurants. According to AAA, members save an average of $101 per year just from discounts. Being a member entitles you to a surprisingly wide range of discounts, for places like amusement parks, clothing stores, department stores, hotels and much more.
- Save on roadside assistance: With some providers, adding roadside assistance to a policy can end up costing you more in the long run than simply paying for an AAA membership.
- Keep your old car: If your vehicle is older and not as reliable as it once was, but you can’t afford to buy a new one yet, then having an AAA membership is a great idea. You know that if anything happens to a vehicle, you won’t be left stuck. Also, you can get a 10% discount on any repairs or maintenance that you do need.
- Peace of mind: Finally, arguably the biggest benefit is the peace of mind being in AAA offers. You know that if anything happens, you can get assistance no matter what time of day it is.
Deciding whether to become a member of AAA
When it comes to deciding whether or not to become a member of AAA, you have to remember that it really comes down to personal preference and requirements.
While one person might benefit from the dining and entertainment discounts that come with being in AAA, a person who doesn’t really eat out much might not benefit as much by becoming a member.
Similarly, a person that drives long distances and travels a lot could potentially get more out of a membership than a person that doesn’t travel much and only drives locally.
Also, if you only want the AAA membership for roadside assistance, then you should definitely research what services you might already have access to first.
For example, your car insurance provider, vehicle manufacturer or even your credit card might provide some type of roadside assistance.
When it comes down to it, you have to review the amount you’d save from discounts and the other benefits you get access to, and then weigh that against that cost of the membership.
If the roadside assistance that the AAA provides is more reliable or offers better value for money than other providers, then it’s definitely worth joining.
Where being a member of AAA really pays for itself, however, is in the discounts.
From hotels to clothing, you really can get a discount on almost anything as a member.
And, while you might only get 10% off here or 30% off there, those savings add up.
How to join AAA
If you decide you want to become a member of AAA, then you need to search for your local branch online and follow the instructions on how to join.
You can also visit the website and enter your ZIP code to find a federation in your area.
Is AAA worth it for you?
Hopefully, this AAA review assists you in making a decision about whether or not to become a member.
Being a member of AAA does give you a lot of benefits that make the yearly fee worth it.
Just consider your own requirements and the cost when making a decision.