AAA. It’s a name synonymous with travel. Most people associate them with the roadside assistance they provide when you have car trouble. But they also provides many other services, some travel related and others that seem to have nothing to do with automobiles.
For me, my first knowledge of AAA was their TripTik® maps. When we were going on a road trip, we’d tell AAA where we were going and they’d give us a road map with a route highlighted. For an obsessive planner, this was heaven. I remember looking at these things way before I could drive.
Times change and as you know, getting a map to your destination is now as easy as looking at your car’s GPS or pulling up an app on your phone.
Even though we no longer need the maps, I still have my membership and have no intention of getting rid of it. I use my AAA card for several other purposes:
This is the primary reason I kept my AAA card. For the times when I’m paying for a hotel room instead of using miles, I’ll usually book the room with the AAA rate. I think every hotel chain offers discounted rates for AAA members. These rates might not be the absolute lowest prices but I’ve found them to be within a few dollars of the best discounts. The reason I’ll pay a little more for the AAA rate is that, in most cases, their prices don’t require you prepay for the room and you can cancel right up to a day or two before your trip with no penalty. I never want to pay for a hotel when I book, which is often many months in advance.
Here’s how the prices often breakdown. This example is for a weekend trip at the Doubletree Times Square but this situation tends to be the case everywhere:
The AAA rate is $391 a night, no prepayment required. That’s the same as the advance purchase rate for everyone else. The only cheaper rate is the Honors member advance purchase rate, which will save you $8 a night. Eight dollars. For that, you have to prepay and have no ability to cancel your reservation. If I can afford $383 a night, I can afford $391 for the flexibility (and I’d never pay $383 a night for this hotel. It’s nice but not that nice).
RENTAL CAR DISCOUNTS
While I almost always use AAA discount rates for hotels, I also look at them as one of the many ways to get a discounted rental car. I’ll use Autoslash to find the best rates and AAA is one of the many discounts they’ll search for you.
We’ve started to use off-site parking at Orlando Airport. Our current favorite, FastPark&Relax provides a 15% discount for AAA members.
The best way to get rewarded for parking with us is to become a Relax for Rewards Member. Sign up today and each time you park with us you’ll earn points that can be redeemed for Free Parking whenever you need it. Points will add up quickly and rewards start accumulating automatically. We also honor many membership discounts including AAA and AARP, and we make certain veterans and active military receive special offers as well. Please present your identification to our Fast Park Cashier upon exit and they will discount your ticket.
ATTRACTION TICKET DISCOUNTS
I’ve written previously about how I use my employee perks with Tickets At Work to get discounted tickets to amusement parks. When I was looking for discounted tickets to Dollywood, the only website that listed discounted tickets for opening day was AAA.
Now that Tickets At Work has their prices published for 2018, it turns out the AAA has a better price.
- Regular Price – $78.55
- Tickets At Work Price – $75.55
- AAA Price – $68.46
That’s a $14 savings on two tickets over the next lowest price I found. In our case we saved $20 because the other tickets weren’t available for our trip.
AAA members get several benefits with Hertz. Getting a young renter fee or additional driver fees waived could save you large amounts of money on a single rental since the young renter fee can be up to $30 per day.
HARD ROCK CAFE DISCOUNTS
We tend to visit Hard Rock Cafe’s more than we probably should when traveling. It’s a place where we know what we’re going to get and sometimes that’s exactly what you want when you’re traveling.
You get 10% off food and merchandise (but not alcohol) with you AAA card. You can now apparently stack this with the new Hard Rock Rewards program (this was not available with the old Hard Rock program).
The offers I mentioned above are just the benefits I use on a semi-regular basis. When going to write this article, I was shocked at how many things I didn’t know about. Besides travel related discounts, they offer insurance, banking, home loans, car purchase programs and other services. I also found they have a shopping portal where you can earn AAA Dollars that can be applied to your AAA membership renewal (I’d rather just get cash back, thank you).
Classic AAA membership costs $66 per year (that may vary with geographic location; AAA runs different programs by region) and an additional member costs $20. Between the hotel discounts, parking discounts and dining discounts, I’m sure I break even. That means I get the security of having roadside assistance for free.
If you’re not a AAA member, they do have a referral link (CLICK HERE) where you can get $20 off your renewal (so you’re not saving now but you will save when you renew for next year). They’ll also give me a $20 credit on my renewal (We always appreciate if you use our links because that helps us keep the lights on here at YMMV headquarters).
If you have an AAA membership, what’s your favorite perk from having the card? Let us know.
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