Roadside assistance memberships could save you money

HOUSTON The discounts with AAA are great if you use them, but we found out many members don't know about them. Other people we spoke to say they found a better deal going through their auto insurance to get road side assistance.

Jim Stevenson has been a AAA member for more than 20 years. The agency has long been known for providing motorists with a service -- helping them in the event they run of out gas, a breakdown or flat tire.

"I feel like it's worthwhile," Stevenson said. "I am on the road a lot, my wife and kids are."

John Tillis is also a longtime member.

He said, "Oh my goodness, I can't live without it."

But both men had no idea their AAA memberships also came with dozens of discounts from retailers, service providers and entertainment venues.

Sarah Schimmer with AAA Texas said, "Nationwide last year, our members saved $2.1 billion."

Take for example, Cinemark Theaters. With your membership, you'll get up to 25 percent off movie tickets.

"I go to Cinemark," Tillis said. "I didn't know that."

Other discounts include up to 50% off certain Rockets games, and two dollars off an adult ticket at the Houston Zoo. You'll also pay less at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the downtown Aquarium and Space Center Houston just for being a AAA member.

But the deals are not just limited to entertainment. We found you'll get 20 percent off with Best Buy's Geek Squad service and big savings on rental cars and hotels, like at the Four Points Sheraton. AAA members get 15 percent off there.

"There are just a lot of perks and benefits to being a AAA member," Schimmer said.

Depending on what type of service you purchase, the cost for an annual membership for one driver ranges from $72 up to $125. For two drivers the price ranges from $99 to $180.

Stevenson said, "You don't use them that often, but when you need them they are there."

But David Roundtree, a former AAA member we spoke with said he left AAA a couple of years ago when he discovered his insurance company offered a better price for roadside assistance included in his insurance quote.

"I have All State," he said.

While he doesn't get as many perks as AAA, he also says he searches the web for hotel and rental car discounts.

There are several other roadside assistance clubs like the Better World Club, the BP Roadside Assistance Club and the GM Motor Club. We shopped around and found prices really competitive. For a single driver, expect to pay about $70 a year.

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