I was eating breakfast at Denny's and overheard a conversation at the cash register. A man was checking out and presented his AAA card and the cashier took 10% off his bill. Well, I am a AAA member and I never got a discount like this at Denny's (but then again, I had never asked for one). The Paris family has had the AAA card for as long as I can remember, and it has saved us numerous times as we have needed roadside assistance for our cars (and my motorcycle), and for our kids that are away at a college. On occasion, while traveling, we have used the card for hotel discounts but that has been the extent of our use of the 'discount feature.' The video below illustrates some unlikely AAA discounts on products and services outside the scope of what you might expect.
This experience I had at Denny's made me wonder what other discounts I might be missing out on, and I was very surprised at what I found on my visit to the AAA website. The discounts are numerous and substantial, and many have nothing to do with travel. As a result, I would guess that many AAA members (like me) would simply not expect or be aware of a lot of these savings opportunities. I guess it goes without saying, but I did march up to the register after finishing my eggs and got my own 10% AAA discount (and I won't miss out on that ever again).
What Is AAA?
Formerly known as the American Automobile Association, AAA has more than 50 million members, and operates as a non-profit. It is chiefly known for its roadside assistance programs. AAA is actually not just one organization, but a group of 69 motor clubs that all fall under the banner of the association. Based on where you live, the cost and benefits will vary. A basic membership for one year starts at about $70 (although there are quite a few options and upgrades, including multi family member arrangements that will cost more).
Discounts at hotels, motels, rental cars, Amtrak, vacation packages, and even Walt Disney World are probably common knowledge. I would say, however, that if you have not done so, visiting the AAA website yourself and looking around is very much worthwhile. I am a member and until writing this article had never registered at the site or availed myself of the abundance of benefits it offers. Just check out their discount vacation page and you will be hooked. I love the cruise and vacation packages prices, which are close to unbelievable. There are a ton of discount travel sites online, but booking through AAA certainly does offer the comfort that a big name is going to stand behind your purchase (don't even get me started on all the travel scams out there today).
AAA Discounts That You Probably Did Not Know About
One commenter on my Facebook page made note of the fact that he saves enough every year at Lenscrafters with his AAA card that it more than pays for his membership. Who knew? Lenscrafters? How does that tie in with travel? Who cares, a discount is a discount.
Discounts that are not likely on most AAA members' radar screen
FTD Flowers, prescription drugs (59,000 participating pharmacies), clothing and shoe stores (too numerous too list), Dell Computers, jewelry and watches, RonJon Surf Shop, McDonald's (participating locations), Denny's, The Chart House, and tons of other eating establishments. Discounts on auto parts, auto glass tinting, Direct TV, hearing aids, computer tech support from Geek Squad, The UPS Store, LifeLock identity theft protection, SeaTow (boat towing), cellular phone dealers, and many more.
The AAA Mobile App
Well, I think I made my case here for the wide array of discounts available to AAA cardholders, but who has time to keep track of all of this? Well, one simple option is just ask if there is a AAA discount every time you buy something. Another choice is the free AAA app (available for iPhone or Android). The app makes finding deals very easy and also offers a number of other great tools, such as trip planning and even the ability to request roadside assistance right from your device. I love this app! It is GPS equipped, knows your location, and gives you the ability to see all locations (map view or simple list) offering discounts in your vicinity.
There is a lot more about AAA that space simply does not allow me to get into here. If you are already a member, check out their website and you will see all of this firsthand. They can even help you with things like health insurance, home warranties, pet insurance, and extended warranties. There is a lot here to tap into. Let's start a conversation - please use the comments section below to share how you have used AAA to save money.
Helping you make the most of God's money!