AAA. It’s a name synonymous with travel. Most people associate them with the roadside assistance they provide. But they also provide 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 keep my AAA card. For the times when I’m paying for a hotel room instead of using points, I’ll usually book the AAA rate. Almost 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 to 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, often many months in advance.
Here’s how the prices often breakdown. This example is for a weekend trip at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, but this situation tends to be the case everywhere:
The AAA rate is $161 a night. That’s $10 cheaper than the Honors member rate and $18 less than rack rate.
RENTAL CAR DISCOUNTS
While I almost always use AAA discount rates for hotels, my membership is also one of the many ways to get a discounted rental car. I use Autoslash to find the best rates and AAA is one of the many discounts they’ll search for you.
We use off-site parking at Orlando Airport. Our current favorite, FastPark&Relax, provides a 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 offer veterans and active military receive special discounts as well. Please present your identification to our Fast Park Guest Ambassador upon exit and they will discount your ticket. Multiple discounts cannot be applied to a single ticket.
ATTRACTION TICKET DISCOUNTS
I’ve written previously about using my employee perks with Tickets At Work to get discounted tickets to amusement parks. Here are the prices when I previously looked for discounted tickets to Dollywood.
- Regular Price – $84.15
- Tickets At Work Price – $81.75
- AAA Price – $68.99
That’s a $30 savings on two tickets with AAA over the retail price and $25 less than the next lowest price I found.
AAA members get several benefits with Hertz. Getting the young renter 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.
If you currently have a SiriusXM subscription, there’s no reason to pay for it in a rental car anymore. One downside of the “No charge for additional drivers” is that both the renter and the additional driver need to be AAA members.
HARD ROCK CAFE DISCOUNTS
When traveling, we tend to visit Hard Rock Cafes more than we probably should. It’s a place where we know what we’re going to get and sometimes that’s exactly what you want.
AAA Members save 10% off the purchase of food, non-alcoholic beverages and merchandise at all company-owned Hard Rock® Cafes and Rock Shops® in the United States & Europe, and at participating franchise locations across the globe. Offer excludes tax, gratuity, limited-edition and charity merchandise, separately ticketed and group events, and cannot be combined with any other discounts or promotions. Valid AAA Membership card must be presented at time of purchase, maximum of up to six (6) people per membership card. No cash value, void where prohibited by law.
The offers I mentioned above are ones I use on a semi-regular basis. When writing this article, I was shocked at how many things AAA membership provides that I didn’t know about. Besides travel-related discounts, they offer insurance, banking, home loans, car purchase programs and other services. AAA also has a shopping portal where you can earn AAA Dollars that can be applied to your AAA membership renewal (I’d rather just get cashback, thank you).
Classic AAA membership costs $70 per year (that may vary with geographic location; AAA runs different programs by region) and an additional member costs $24. 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, although several people pointed out that roadside assistance is also a perk of the Sapphire Reserve card.
If you’re not a AAA member, they have a referral link (CLICK HERE) where you get $20 off your first renewal (so you’re not saving now but you will save when you renew next year). If you use our link, they’ll also give me a credit on my renewal (We always appreciate it 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 of having the card? Let us know.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary