AAA membership - worth it for just discounts?

Old Oct 20th, 1998, 10:12 AM
Patrick McGrath
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AAA membership - worth it for just discounts?

In California for one week, 1 adult and 2 teenagers. How much is AAA membership and would the possible savings from discounted hotel rates make purchasing it worthwhile?
While on the subject of discounts,are there any "mantras" which if chanted at hotel booking clerks will result in a discount?
Old Oct 20th, 1998, 10:47 AM
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Well, my membership costs about $40 a year and besides peace of mind in case my car breaks down, this is how I've used my card: discounts galore such as tickets to Disney World, my local car wash and dry cleaners; free "Triptiks" and maps (Triptiks are routing maps done by AAA; you tell them where you want to start and finish, and they give you either the scenic route or direct route or both), accessibility to 800 (toll-free) numbers just about anywhere to ask advice before and during travel. I'm sure there are more uses...Have a wonderful trip.
Old Oct 20th, 1998, 12:17 PM
Paul Rabe
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If you go to

You find they charge a $20 application fee, $42 per year membership fee, and a mandatory $2 per year subscription fee to a magazine that's nothing but a bunch of ads. They also note you can get a pro-rated refund of the membership fee "if you're not delighted". Thus, in theory, you could buy an AAA membership for a month and pay only $26.

Check the discounts you'll get at

You may very well decide you'll make back the $26. I should mention the AAA guidebooks are probably the best you can find for giving accurate descriptions, prices, and open hours of attractions; and thus they alone would (IMHO) be worth the membership fee.

A good mantra to try is "What discounts would be available to me if I decide to stay here?" If the manager decides s/he will have an empty room unless you get a discount, s/he may "remember" one that would be just right for you! ("Well, we can give you a 10% discount if you pay with cash or credit card")

Note, however, there is no guarantee of getting any kind of a discount at any place at any time; any more than there's a pick-up line in a bar guaranteed to work!
Old Oct 20th, 1998, 07:20 PM
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Hi Patrick
You are asking about AAA discounts. I do have a membership, but find it most useful for auto emergencies, and for the trip tics, maps, etc as per the above. There are some discounts, but usually not much more than 10% for hotels.
What I would recommend would be to get a hold of an Entertainment Book. The cost is around $30 US if you order it from their toll free number. 1-800-374-4464. I have purchased books before for the area I know I will be vacationing and saved a bundle. You get 50% off the 'rack' rate of hotels, and there are many restaurant 2 for 1 coupons as well as for area attractions. Last time we went to Palm Springs we saved $235 in one week - not including the hotel. That was just for food and attractions, so it was well worth the price of the book.
Need any more info - e me direct.
Old Oct 21st, 1998, 04:17 AM
Mike Miller
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I have a friend who works for AAA and this friend tells me that it is not worth it to join just for the lodging discounts. If you ask for the AAA discount at a hotel, you will most likely be informed that they give everyone a discount. I would join it for the travel books, tripticks and the towing.
Old Oct 21st, 1998, 08:14 AM
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I have to agree with the advice of purchasing a Entertainment book. The AA discount is only about 20% at best and Entertainment book is 50%, plus it is filled with 2 for 1 meals from fine dining to Macdonalds. It is well worth it's price. I'm not sure about the $30. The LA edition is closer to $40 unless you already have another book, you can order a second for $30.
Old Oct 22nd, 1998, 05:22 AM
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I am a member of AAA. Having said that, my answer to your question is NO. I belong to AAA for the road services and tour books etc. The discounts at hotels can easily be obtained without any discount cards. It is very rare that I haven't been able to negotiate a lower price on accomodations than the standard AAA, AARP discounts etc. It would be highly unlikely that you would use the other AAA discounts in a one week trip.

An "Entertainment" book may be of value if you eat out a lot.
Old Oct 23rd, 1998, 04:33 AM
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I think AAA is one of the best bargains in town whether you travel a lot or not. [and it becomes a BETTER bargain if you DO travel with free tour books, maps, triptiks and Amex travelers checks at no cost.]Your card is also useful as a bail bond if you get pulled over for speeding.If you are travelling as a couple and have a family membership you would still have the spouse's card to use for discounts. [Unless THEY... oh well... drive safely ]
Membership in one state is effectively national so I'm not sure why you would buy a California membership if that was what was being implied. And our $62 a year brings a LOT of peace of mind.
Old Oct 23rd, 1998, 05:15 AM
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I find that AAA is not good for lodging because they usually give you (Hotels) only ONE discount and if they give you the most inexpensive room available, they'll say that THAT does not qualify for a discount. If you have another type discount, they don't allow two. You only get 10% off lodging, car rental, etc; I HAVE used it a lot though, and I guess if you add up your savings in general - car trouble, emergencies, and the total of 10% off you get everywhere you go, yes, you are in for a small amount of savings. I pay $52 a year for each car. I think I have gotten my money's worth..especially if you travel.
Old Oct 23rd, 1998, 07:51 AM
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My apologies. I just noticed your UK address. That is a different issue. I *think* the membership is tied to ownership of a specific car [at least they ask me which car and plate # when I have called for a tow.] I'm not sure you can get the memebership from the UK, or get it without giving info about a specific auto. You might explore what protections your credit cards have. You also might explore whether the UK version of the AAA has a reciprocal relationship with ours.
Old Oct 23rd, 1998, 08:18 AM
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Far and away, the BEST discounts are available via Traveler's Advantage membership. Check out this site; click "new members": When I last joined...I do it when I am planing a nice trip, a 3 month trial membership was $1 with an additional $48 due if you decided to continue. Benefits include one free night at AVAILABLE hotels, plus up to 50% on other lodging accommodations. The catch is that although most major chains participate...all hotels in that chain may not...they send a list. Also, they might not have rooms available at the 50% rate on the night you need them. However, for $ can't beat it. Check it out.

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