AAA is known for its membership-based roadside assistance service. For a flat, annual fee, and depending on membership level, you get access to a set number of free AAA service calls per year and with typical base memberships ranging from about $50 to $80 annually, this service can pay for itself quickly if you need assistance. But what if you don’t end up using this feature? Or get roadside assistance through your auto insurance or credit card?
Along with the peace of mind that comes from knowing you won’t be left stranded, a AAA membership could still be worth considering for its other perks. Whether you’re debating investing in a AAA membership or looking to get the most out of an existing membership, there are many benefits you may not have heard about. AAA is run as regional clubs and availability for certain benefits will depend on your location, but here are nine commonly available perks you might not have realized came with AAA membership:
1. Retail Discounts
With AAA, you’re covered while you’re driving to the mall, but you also get benefits once you start shopping. Popular clothing stores, outlet stores, and even electronics stores have select discounts available. If you stop for lunch, you could find discounts at restaurants with your membership card, and if your mall has a movie theater, you may be able to end the day with some discounted tickets. To find out which discounts are available with a membership to your local club, visit AAA.com and enter your ZIP code if prompted.
2. Travel Discounts
AAA also has relationships with travel companies to help you save. Hertz offers discounts like 20% off base rates and waived additional driver fee for members. Hotel discounts are another common perk so even if you don’t book through your AAA account, it’s worth asking the hotel if it offers a discount. There are also discounts available for activities, including theme parks, like Disney, or zoos, that can help make your vacation (or staycation) more affordable. Just make sure to check whether you’ll need to purchase tickets online to receive your discount.
3. Travel Assistance
You can search to find all of these discounts yourself, but AAA also has travel agents available if you’re looking for help. They may be able to offer personalized recommendations for your trip and even act as an advocate for you if things go wrong while you’re away, like losing your luggage or missing a flight. If you’re not looking for a travel agent, but still could use some guidance, AAA’s offices are full of maps and guidebooks on tons of different destinations. As a member, you could also have access to travel insurance and currency exchange services through AAA partners.
4. DMV Services
Your local DMV is not typically where you dream of spending an afternoon (or an entire day). Depending on your state, AAA is able to offer some of the DMV services in a AAA location where not only are wait times usually low, but customer service is a priority. You may be able to complete a title transfer, register your vehicle, or even get your driver’s license photo updated at your local AAA office.
5. Identity Theft Protection
Many AAA clubs offer members free or discounted identity theft protection. This protection often includes credit monitoring, fraud resolution support, and, depending on what level membership you buy, could include identity theft insurance. AAA partners with third-party companies like Experian to bring you this service, so if identity theft protection is a benefit you’re looking to take advantage of, you may want to look into the specific provider to be sure it will be a good fit for your needs.
6. Notary Services
A membership can also be useful if you need a signature notarized. Some AAA locations have notary services at a discounted rate for members, which can be worthwhile if you have an office nearby. Even if you aren’t very close to a AAA location, the notary service perk can still be valuable if you need to complete a DMV transaction, like a title transfer, that requires notarized signatures. You may be able to take care of the entire process at your local AAA office.
7. Passport Photos
If you’re traveling internationally (hopefully with some AAA discounts) AAA offices can often take your passport photos for you. They will usually offer discounts beyond what stores like CVS or Walmart might offer, but it still can feel like a lot for a 2×2-inch postage stamp of a picture. It is possible to take passport photos yourself, but with the strict rules in place for all details from lighting to facial expression, you might be better off paying to have it done.
8. Insurance Discounts
Your membership can also help you get discounts on home, auto, and life insurance. Depending on your location, Auto Club or CSAA Insurance may be available in your area. If Auto Club Insurance is available, it might be worth requesting a quote because it made our list of the Best Car Insurance Companies. AAA Insurance, like the membership clubs, is run regionally, which means you’ll want to search for reviews of your local club’s insurance before purchasing.
9. Financial Services
AAA even offers benefits that can help you invest and manage your money. As a member, you may be able to access high-yield deposit accounts that are FDIC insured just the same as traditional and online banks are. Other savings vehicles like CDs and IRAs may also be available, but again, it’s important to compare your local club’s reputation for this service with other companies. Check out our reviews of the Best Certificates of Deposit and Best IRA Accounts to help you find the right provider.
Check with your regional AAA club to find out which of these perks (and more!) are offered in your area.