Many people recognize AAA as a top tier insurance company. These days, I find that people forget that AAA started as simply an automobile club and that it still has strong roots as one. Like any club or association, you can also purchase membership exclusively for the club. Yes, you can have AAA membership but not actually be insured by AAA.
Why am I blogging about AAA? Because besides the great roadside assistance that AAA membership gets you (they’ll come and deliver you gas if you run out, or provide a free tow, or jumpstart your car, etc.), they also have negotiated some of the best discounts for hotels and car rentals. Lately, I have been car rental shopping and have noticed that more of the AAA discount messages catch my eye.
Here are just a few of the hotel and car rental discounts you get with AAA membership:
- Hertz Car Rental: AAA members get either their first day’s rental free on a 3-day weekend rental, or they get 10-20% off the list price (and you can still stack a promo code on top of that discount!)
- Starwood Hotels: AAA members get their choice of either 20% off their hotel stay, daily breakfast for up to 2, or up to $100 credit towards to their next Starwood stay.
- DoubleTree Hotels (part of Hilton brand): AAA members save a minimum 5% on their stays
- Best Western Hotels: AAA members save 20% off the best published rates
- Marriott Hotels and Resorts: AAA members save a minimum 5% on their stays
- Hilton Garden Inn: AAA members save a minimum 5% on their stays
Looking through all of the discounts has been pretty eye opening to me, and makes me value AAA membership even higher than I already did. With AAA Membership starting at $57/year for their Classic level (most basic level, but you get all the discounts), whether or not it is worthwhile for you to have AAA membership comes down to crunching the numbers, how often you travel, where you’re planning on traveling to, or whether or not you simply want some roadside assistance peace-of-mind when driving or car renting.
For example, I think the best deal that I have seen with the AAA membership is the $100 credit or 20% off for Starwood Hotels. That promotion along could easily recoup the cost of classic membership ($57) in a single stay. So if you are planning on staying a few paid nights (I believe the promotion requires you to stay at least 2 or 3 nights) at a SPG hotel anyway, then this would be a great way to get in on getting in on a free $100 promotion!
I have been on the fence for a while about AAA membership just for backup roadside assistance, but finding out about these deals has basically sold me on it. Now it’s just a matter of when to purchase the membership, in order to get the most out of it. (I assume the yearly membership is based off of 365 days from when you join; i.e. if I joined in November 2012, it would be valid till November 2013.)
If you have travel plans coming up and they include hotel stays or car rentals, maybe look into seeing if AAA membership is right for you. (Or bring a friend who has AAA insurance or membership! Solves everything!)
To compare AAA memberships, click here. You can also hop on their FAQ and join membership page from there too.
- Some airlines have negotiated rates with car rental companies where you can save even more off the base rate so keep your eyes peeled at other options (i.e. you can save up to 35% on Hertz with United, while earning triple miles)
- Be sure to read through the fine print for all of these discounts/promotions as there are certain restrictions or limitations!
- Remember you can avoid snatching AAA membership if someone you are traveling with has AAA membership already (i.e. if they have insurance with AAA)
- Existing AAA Members can add other members in their same household at a discounted rate of $35/yr for Classic membership
- Bottom line: AAA Membership isn’t the only way to save. Many other insurance companies also have negotiated rates with car rental companies. Ask your insurance agent if there are any discount codes that you can use. You can also check to see if your work has corporate discounts for employees, etc.