Author Topic: Auto clubs & auto club discounts  (Read 3492 times)

Jack

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Auto clubs & auto club discounts
« on: January 30, 2013, 04:22:09 PM »
So I've been shopping for an auto club membership (AAA, etc.) to replace the roadside assistance I will no longer be eligible for through my car insurance once I drop collision and comprehensive. (Note that I do need roadside assistance, as my cars are old enough that I expect to use it!)

In my search, I've ran across several folks (e.g. on the FatWallet forums) who claim that AAA membership (for example) is worth it just for the discounts on hotels, restaurants, car rentals, etc. that it makes you eligible for. Do you folks find that to be the case?

Right now I'm thinking of joining Better World Club, which I like because of their eco-friendliness and because they'll give me a discount since my car uses biodiesel, but if the AAA discounts are really that great (or if y'all have some other good suggestions) it might change my mind.

Skyn_Flynt

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Re: Auto clubs & auto club discounts
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2013, 06:46:14 PM »
AAA will eventually send you "free membership for X months" invitations from searching auto registration databases. They probably earn the bulk of their income from the vendors they partner with, versus the member fees.

I still have not joined. It may be worth it, but I don't like getting more junk mail than I already do.

William

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Re: Auto clubs & auto club discounts
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2013, 10:41:22 PM »
Your car is old enough to "need" AAA but it's new enough to use biodiesel?  I thought biodiesel was fairly new. 

I have AAA RV Plus.  What's cool about that is they will tow you up to 100 miles for free, no questions asked.  I have used it a few times and living in a rural environment, it sure comes in handy.  The response times have all been very slow.  One time in Omaha, NE I had to wait 3 hours for a tow truck on a Wednesday at around 7 pm.

Also, at NAPA you get I believe 10% of all parts with AAA when you pay with cash.

Jack

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Re: Auto clubs & auto club discounts
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2013, 05:30:39 AM »
Your car is old enough to "need" AAA but it's new enough to use biodiesel?  I thought biodiesel was fairly new. 

Nope, it's just newly popular. Rudolph Diesel's original engine was running on veggie oil when it was demonstrated at the 1900 Paris Exposition. The patent for transesterification (the process of converting veggie oil to biodiesel by mixing it with alcohol to cause the glycerin to precipitate out) was granted in 1937, and the first industrial process for making it was patented in 1977.

When it comes to biodiesel, older cars are actually better-- the looser tolerances and lower injection pressures are more forgiving to the more viscous fuel, and they don't have fancy emissions systems to gum up. In fact, trying to use high percentages of biodiesel in anything made after 2007 (when the most recent EPA diesel emissions standards were implemented) will probably break the car. (This is actually a severe problem for owners of newer diesels in places like Minnesota, which mandate that all diesel fuel contain something like 10%+ biodiesel.)

I have AAA RV Plus.  What's cool about that is they will tow you up to 100 miles for free, no questions asked.  I have used it a few times and living in a rural environment, it sure comes in handy.  The response times have all been very slow.  One time in Omaha, NE I had to wait 3 hours for a tow truck on a Wednesday at around 7 pm.

Also, at NAPA you get I believe 10% of all parts with AAA when you pay with cash.

I was definitely planning to get the "Plus"/100-mile-tow level of membership no matter which company I went with.

One thing that I've heard is that most places that offer an AAA discount will give it to you if you ask for it whether you're actually an AAA member or not. Has anyone had experience with this?
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 09:50:40 AM by Jack »

giggles

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Re: Auto clubs & auto club discounts
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2013, 06:49:10 AM »
I have AAA.  When I signed up as a new user, they tossed in a free 1 year membership for my spouse.

My mother recently switched to Better World Club, and she has no complaints.

betterworldclub.com
She also saved 10% on her membership because she mentioned that she heard about them on NPR's Car Talk.

Catbert

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Re: Auto clubs & auto club discounts
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2013, 10:22:27 AM »
I've had AAA forever.  I got it back when I drove a 1976 fiat and really needed it.

However, I don't think the discounts themselves are all that great - certainly not worth the yearly fee.  For example, hotels are generally a 10% discount off rack rate.  But you can't generally get the AAA discount on top of another discount (AARP, Priceline, etc).  I also forget to check what discounts they offer when I'm buying something.

thurston howell iv

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Re: Auto clubs & auto club discounts
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2013, 10:57:00 AM »
I purchased AAA years ago and had it as a safety net (mainly for towing).  After a few years of not using it I let it lapse. Not a week later, my wife her keys in her car. The locksmith cost more than the AAA yearly membership!. SO, needless to say we got it again.

Discounts are so-so. However, while we lived in SoCal the benefits were pretty good. Besides the roadside stuff (we will use towing once in a great while), a little known secret was that the local office also housed a mini DMV.  For those of you who have been to a SoCal DMV with the eternal waiting and myriad lines, the AAA office was a godsend. You'd just pop in, take a number, wait a couple of minutes max, and be on your way in no time. Also, the helped with free maps and trip tic's which helped (before we all had gps)... Additionally, as a member you also got good home/auto insurance discounts.  I paid cheaper premiums on my house and cars in SoCal than I do in the mid-west!!!

Another thing is that I was able to upgrade my membership, on the fly when I ran into a situation where I needed more miles on the towing. I paid over the phone and was good to go.

They even activated a "new" membership for my sister through my fathers membership when she was broken down on the highway in the middle of a storm. Tow truck came out and everything was taken care of.

AAA is one of those things I don't even think about anymore. I always have it and recommend it to everyone I know.

kisserofsinners

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Re: Auto clubs & auto club discounts
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2013, 01:36:07 PM »
Discounts are so-so. However, while we lived in SoCal the benefits were pretty good. Besides the roadside stuff (we will use towing once in a great while), a little known secret was that the local office also housed a mini DMV.  For those of you who have been to a SoCal DMV with the eternal waiting and myriad lines, the AAA office was a godsend. You'd just pop in, take a number, wait a couple of minutes max, and be on your way in no time. Also, the helped with free maps and trip tic's which helped (before we all had gps)... Additionally, as a member you also got good home/auto insurance discounts.  I paid cheaper premiums on my house and cars in SoCal than I do in the mid-west!!!

The miniDMV is key for me, too. Living in SF getting an appointment is impossible. Anything DMV related will be a full day of waiting otherwise. Never spending more than 10min to handle that alone is worth the extra money to me.

Then on top of that there's the discounts, maps, and i found that their insurance rates are much lower than Geico or E-surance. Full win all around!!!

BlueMR2

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Re: Auto clubs & auto club discounts
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2013, 10:43:28 AM »
AAA+ for me.  I don't get much use out of the discounts, but the having a single phone number to call in case of vehicular distress, wherever I am in the USA, is priceless.  Most years I don't use it at all, but one year I hit the limit on the towing (after it took multiple shops to figure out some puzzling random no-start issues with my car).

William

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Re: Auto clubs & auto club discounts
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2013, 07:16:39 PM »
Yes, before I have mentioned I had AAA and they just believed me and gave me the discounts.  It has happened several times.