Our grandma is a stickler for safety (and a bit of a worrywart), so she’s been on our case to join the
American Automobile Association (AAA) for a while now. AAA is an automobile club that provides roadside assistance, plus discounts and perks at lots of other places. But, we want to know: Is it really worth it? What if we don’t have a car?
Who You Gonna Call?
AAA (“Triple A”) is pretty much the Ghost Busters of roadside maintenance. For $48 per year—and a $10 initial registration fee—membership provides discounts on towing, battery, lockout, fuel delivery, and flat tire services. This seems a little like an extraneous membership…until we’re stranded by an auto malfunction, mid-road trip, on a deserted highway. Benefits include three free tows per year (which, incidentally, could save you about $270). But, we hope you don’t need to use them.
There Are Benefits Even If You Don’t Have A Car. Enough To Justify The Cost?
A membership also provides lots of helpful discounts at hotels, attractions, and certain stores.
Here are a few:
- Hotel stays at places like the Hyatt, Marriot, and Hilton.
- Stores such as LensCrafters, Payless, and the UPS store.
- Websites such as Sears.com, Target.com, and Kohls.com.
- Theater, including The Lion King, Mary Poppins, and The Blue Man Group.
Doing The Math: Is AAA Worth It?
If you have a car, a membership is absolutely worth it. With one free tow and one free maintenance inspection (together valued at about $111), it’s easy to make back the $48 fee—and it covers you in case of emergency.
But, is the membership worthwhile without a car? We’ve made a chart to figure out how much a person might save over the course of a year with an AAA card, not counting car-related expenses.
Check it out:
The Moral Of The Story: Depends What You Do, How Often
If the above chart sounds like you, then the AAA card is definitely worth your money. The discount at most establishments is about 10%, which is considerable but not overwhelming. Do you go to amusement parks? Take the train? Dine out? See live shows? If so, this card could potentially lead to pretty substantial savings each year.