We've belonged to AAA for years. My wife used to have a Honda Civic that didn't have any warning (a beep or anything) when you left the lights on. It was a regular occurrence (about twice a year) that we'd go somewhere, leave the lights on, and come back to a dead car (for example, on a foggy morning where we'd turn the lights on for safety but it was so light out when we parked that we didn't notice they were on.) So we regularly had AAA come out wherever we were and jump the car.
Then there was the time my car was flooded at our church (long story) and needed to be towed to the dealership. AAA came to the rescue.
But it wasn't until we moved to Michigan that we REALLY started to value our AAA membership. Here's how it specifically saves us money:
- We have AAA car, house, and umbrella insurance. They are the cheapest around (believe me, we know since we shop around regularly for car insurance.) I'm not 100% sure if you need to be a member to get their insurance, but I was under the impression you had to be. Maybe someone can set the record straight for me on this one.
- I save gobs of money on hotels each year. I travel several times each year on business and we usually stay at Hampton Inns. Hampton ALWAYS has a AAA rate that's lower than the "normal" rate. True, this savings is for my employer as I'm reimbursed for travel, but then again, helping the company save money benefits me in that it makes the company more profitable.
- We also save on personal hotel costs. While planning for our recent trip to Chicago (it was ultimately canceled), we checked a wide variety of hotels based on costs and locations. We found a Hampton Inn we liked for $239 a night (for a suite, so it wasn't bad.) We tried getting a price several ways -- calling the hotel directly, going online to check various sites, and so on. The cheapest option was using our AAA discount which saved us $24 a night or $72 total.
- For the same trip, we were planning on taking the train to Chicago (fun for the kids, cheaper than driving and parking, etc.) Amtrak was going to charge us $184 for four tickets, but with a AAA discount it was $157 -- another $27 saved!
- AAA has free travel materials -- maps, books, etc. -- that we always end up using every year. Even if we don't buy travel packages/services from them (which we never do), these materials help us get a lot of information that we ultimately use to get the best prices possible. For example, some information from AAA helped us save a good amount on our trip to Disney last year.
- And of course, there's the roadside assistance that AAA is known for. I guess it's a form of insurance -- and we pray we never need it -- but if we do it will be nice to know it's there for us.
I'm sure there are tons of other ways to save using AAA, and I'm anxious to hear them. Anyone out there have some ways to save with AAA?