AAA Membership: What Is It and Do You Need It?

Written By
Julija A.
Updated
February 07,2022

When you break down or need help on the road, your first port of call should be roadside assistance. This service can help you recover your car and/or get to a safe place. 

AAA has become a household name and is often the first company people turn to when they experience a breakdown or similar issue on the road. The company receives more than 33 million calls each year and assists as many customers, which just goes to show that this is a business worth putting your trust into. It doesn’t offer the same services as auto insurance companies, although there are some similarities.

Not only does AAA offer roadside assistance, but it’s also possible for you to attain discounts on car rentals, vacation packages, and more. 

To learn more about the cost, extra perks, and benefits of AAA membership, keep reading. 

What Is AAA Membership?

AAA stands for the American Automobile Association, which was founded in 1902. Its mission was to offer a range of automotive benefits to customers across the United States. Now with 120 years of experience, it’s one of the most popular companies to turn to for roadside benefits and help. 

An AAA membership is a perfect companion for those who travel regularly on the road. With it, customers can attain roadside assistance should they experience an issue with their car. The team will come out to help you recover the car, get to a safe place, and arrange a rental car should yours need to be repaired. 

Likewise, AAA membership can help you attain great discounts on car rentals, vacation packages, and so much more. You’ll find the list of discounts and extras later in this article. 

Key Features of AAA Membership

Some of the key features of AAA membership include access to roadside assistance, which is the company’s most commonly used service. 

Other features of AAA membership include:

  • Travel discounts on hotels, car rentals, cruises, and vacation packages
  • Towing vehicles (the amount per year depends on which package you have)
  • Battery jumpstarts and free replacements (depending on your package)
  • Fuel delivery
  • Vehicle locksmith service

Depending on which package a customer has, they’ll experience different features and benefits of AAA membership.

For example, from the list above, customers can call AAA and make use of a service that tows their vehicle if something goes wrong. The classic membership gives you four tows per year up to five miles each, while the Plus membership offers four tows per year up to 100 miles each and the Premier membership offers three tows per year up to 100 miles each plus an extra tow of 200 miles.

Likewise, you can only attain a free battery replacement with a Premier membership. Classic and Plus memberships will help you attain free battery jumpstarts, as will a Premier membership.

Therefore, different memberships offer different features and benefits. 

AAA Membership Cost

AAA membership cost all depends on your address and the membership package you want to choose. There are currently three tiers: Classic, Plus, and Premier. Membership starts at $37.50 per year and can go up to an annual cost of $170.

The price varies depending on where you live in the United States. Some examples of Premier membership costs include:

  • Atlanta - $120
  • Chicago - $126 
  • Detroit - $120
  • Tampa - $131
  • San Jose - $119

The cheapest option is the Classic package, which if you live in Philadelphia or Richmond will cost you $37.50 for the year.

On average, membership costs are:

Classic ($52 to $74 per year)

  • Four tows up to five miles each
  • Fuel, flat tire, dead battery
  • Car lockout up to $50

Plus ($85 to $124 per year)

  • Four tows up to 100 miles each
  • Free fuel delivery
  • Car lockout up to $100
  • Free passport photos

Premier ($118 to $170 per year)

  • One 200-mile tow and three 100-mile tows
  • Lockout reimbursements of up to $150
  • Trip disruption up to $1,500
  • One day free car rental
  • Identity theft insurance up to $10,000

These benefits and costs are averages; the exact prices and features you’re entitled to will depend on where you live.

AAA Discounts and Extras

AAA is known for its great discounts and extras, especially for travel. 

  • Cellular service discounts (carriers vary)
  • Vision and eye care
  • Electronic discounts from select companies (up to 35%)
  • Car and moving truck rentals
  • Entertainment (amusement parks, museums, etc.)
  • Merchant discounts (up to 50%)
  • Travel 

The most common discount that people attain a AAA membership for is travel. The other discounts and extras speak for themselves. However, there’s more to the story regarding travel discounts. 

  • 20% off car rentals on holiday
  • Up to 15% off Best Western hotels
  • Up to 5% off Hilton resorts and hotels
  • Up to 5% off Marriott hotels
  • Up to 10% off MGM Resorts
  • Tourbook guides and access to TripTik

You can get some amazing discounts and offers with AAA membership, which can help you save money on various things from travel to entertainment.

The Best AAA Membership

The best AAA membership will depend on your preferences and what you seek from such roadside and discount memberships. 

Of course, the top-tier Premier membership offers you more roadside assistance services and greater discounts on travel. Naturally, it will cost you more money per month. As such, what you opt for should really depend on your budget and what you think is worth the money.

If you simply want someone to call when you experience a roadside issue, then a Classic membership package will offer you plenty. You can attain help for breakdowns, be covered for being locked out of your car, get free fuel delivery, and more, even with a Classic membership. 

However, the Plus and Premier memberships are worth considering for those who want extra coverage and perks.

Is it Worth Doing AAA Premier or Plus?

Should you want extra options and coverage from your AAA membership package, then you’ll get a lot more with Plus or Premier memberships. 

For instance, if you need to be towed, a Classic membership only covers you up to five miles, whereas a Plus or Premier package can offer 100 miles or one 200 mile tow with the Premier membership. 

These packages are worth it if you often need assistance and want peace of mind when you’re out on the road. The extra fee you pay annually for the Plus and Premier packages offers more reimbursements and coverage, which could help you make the money back.

Regardless, any AAA membership has its benefits, all of which include:

  • Reduced automotive costs - as you can seek coverage for the cost of your vehicle when it has been damaged or needs to be towed. 
  • Timely services - AAA works 24/7, so you’ll always have someone to rely on when you need roadside help.
  • Travel benefits - all members get access to extras, such as travel discounts. 
  • Multi-vehicle coverage - your membership covers you no matter what vehicle you’re driving. 

Therefore, if you only want AAA’s basic services, then the Classic membership might be enough for you. The Plus and Premier memberships are ideal for those who want extra financial coverage. In the long run, and the more you use the services and membership discounts, you can earn back your annual fee through savings. However, if you don’t use the membership as much (especially for the extra perks), then the Plus and Premier annual fees might not be worth it. 

Should you need roadside assistance, you’ll want to have AAA’s phone number on you at all times. We suggest saving it on your phone and keeping a business card somewhere easy to access in your car, like the glove box. Having the phone number handy means you can call for assistance immediately and get help as soon as possible.

How to Cancel AAA Membership

Should you want to cancel your AAA membership, the company makes it fairly easy. Unfortunately, you can’t cancel your AAA membership online, but you can do so by calling the customer service team on (800) 222-6424.

Alternatively, you can visit your local AAA store in person to cancel your membership. 

Some customers might be entitled to a full or partial refund, which will depend on how much time you have left on your membership. 

Further Reading

Is AAA Membership Worth it?

Overall, AAA membership is worth it if you want someone to rely on when you need roadside assistance. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can neglect car insurance. Every driver needs insurance, and there are plenty of affordable ways to protect your vehicle. Even college students can find plenty of discounts and pay affordable premiums.

Basically, both insurance and AAA are important. Should your vehicle have been broken into or you experience a breakdown, the company can come out and help you 24/7 to get you to safety. 

Likewise, the extra discounts and perks you can get from being an AAA member are great. You can save on travel with hotel discounts, car rentals, and cruises. Therefore, you can get more for your money and enjoy great savings when you go on vacation. 

On top of this, you can also save on merchant companies, entertainment, eye care, and plenty more. The bonuses are seemingly endless and there are so many ways to maximize value from your annual fee. Simply researching the available discounts will help you save in multiple places throughout the year, which will likely help you make your annual fee back.

In summary, an AAA membership is worth it for those who will make use of the discounts and extra perks. Although the benefit of roadside assistance is key, you can really make use of your annual fee if you take advantage of the membership perks. 

Likewise, it is worth it for those who often experience roadside issues. Even being locked out of your car can cost you a lot of money. With an AAA membership, you can attain a reimbursement of up to $150, depending on the membership you choose. 

FAQ

Is AAA Plus worth the money?

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If you’re someone who likes to have peace of mind with extra roadside coverage, then AAA Plus is totally worth the money. You can attain 100-mile tows, as opposed to five-mile tows with a Classic membership. The extra annual fee will also provide you with a higher lockout cover of up to $100, which could mean you don’t have to pay anything if and when you lose your key.

What are the benefits of having AAA?

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The benefits of having AAA don’t just stop at roadside assistance. Members can also enjoy travel discounts, reduced costs of everyday purchases (entertainment, groceries, and more), perks with vision care, and so much more. 

Most importantly, all members can attain 24/7 roadside help. Whether you get locked out of your car, experience a breakdown, or your vehicle gets broken into, you can call the AAA and receive timely services that help you resolve your issue.

How much does AAA really cost?

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The price of an AAA membership can vary depending on your location and the membership package you wish to choose. The annual fee can be as little as $37.50 and increase up to around $170. The fee can be made back through discounts. You could save money on a hotel booking and gain that money back in savings. Therefore, it’s a great way to get roadside aid and make everyday savings, which makes it worth it.

How soon after you get AAA can you use it?

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As soon as your payment is processed for the AAA membership you choose, you can start to use it. Therefore, it’s ideal to make your payment straight away to start attaining the benefits and get roadside help whenever you need it. 

What happens if I don't have my AAA card?

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If you don’t have your AAA card, then you might need to show proof of your membership another way. It’s only possible to use the services with a card or proof of an account. Otherwise, the AAA might not be able to help you. Therefore, always ensure to have your card with you, whether you need roadside help or want to enjoy savings when booking travel. 

About author

Albert Einstein is said to have identified compound interest as mankind’s greatest invention. That story’s probably apocryphal, but it conveys a deep truth about the power of fiscal policy to change the world along with our daily lives. Civilization became possible only when Sumerians of the Bronze Age invented money. Today, economic issues influence every aspect of daily life. My job at Fortunly is an opportunity to analyze government policies and banking practices, sharing the results of my research in articles that can help you make better, smarter decisions for yourself and your family.

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