Did you know that some credit cards come with roadside assistance?
This is one of the most underutilized cardholder benefits, probably because most people aren’t aware they have it.
When your car is stranded, some cards have a free hotline you can call for assistance. They might not pay for the actual service, but they can hook you up with it at a pre-negotiated low flat rate.
Then there are cards which pay for the actual service, too. Those usually come with an annual fee.
Here’s a look at some of each type…
#1 – AmEx Premier Rewards Gold
With the Premier Rewards Gold card from American Express, a CreditCardForum.com advertising partner, they actually pay for the service, so you won’t owe anything extra. Here’s how it works:
- Up to 4 service calls per calendar year at no additional cost.
- Cardmember must be present with the vehicle.
- A service call can provide you with a jump start, towing of up to 10 miles, delivery of up to 2 gallons of fuel, flat tire change (if you have a spare), lockout service if your key is inside the vehicle, or winching.
- Available in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.
Since the estimated value of each service call is about $50 and you can use it 4x per calendar year, that means cardmembers are getting up to $200 worth of free roadside assistance annually.
However technically it might not be considered “free” since the card does have an annual fee. But guess what? Use this link to get a $0 intro annual fee for the 1st year. After that if you choose to keep the account open, it will be $195 per year.
#2 – Discover it
As of 2013 Discover cards now offer a hotline, but you will have to pay for the service. Here’s how it works, but of course check with them for the fine print…
This is actually a good deal considering how much the truck driver might try and milk you.
Last year my car’s battery was dead and I called a local AAA truck. Guess how much they tried charging me for a jump start? $150!!!
That’s pretty ridiculous. I live in California (Los Angeles to be exact) and my apartment couldn’t be more centrally located. Yet despite that, the scammers tried raising the price to $150 once they arrived just for a simple jumpstart.
This bait ‘n switch is a common tactic in the roadside assistance industry. They’ll come to you and then try jacking up the price. Because they know you are distressed and in need, they figure you will suck it up and pay.
The nice thing about Discover’s program is you won’t have to deal with bait ‘n switch pricing because they lock in the low rate of $69.95.
But there are many other reasons to like the Discover it card:
- No annual fee.
- 5% cash back on categories. Each quarter you can signup to receive 5% cash back in different categories like gas stations, theme parks, restaurants, department stores and more.
- Full 1% cash back on all other purchases
- 5% to 20% cash back at nearly 200 online retailers thru the ShopDiscover program.
- Other benefits on eligible purchases include a free extended warranty, purchase protection, price protection, and return protection.
#3 – Marriott Rewards Premier
Since this credit card is a Visa Signature, that means you get free access to Visa’s Roadside Dispatch program.
Like Discover, the Visa program won’t give you free service for roadside assistance, but you do get it at a pre-negotiated low rate. It’s a slightly lower rate at $59.95 per service call, which is $10 less than Discover’s. However I know the Marriott card won’t be appropriate for everyone which is why I have it at the bottom of my list.
Here’s how Visa’s program in a nutshell, but contact Visa for full terms and conditions…
That aside, this is a pretty cool card even if you don’t travel much. Here’s why…
- The card is made out of metal! Yep that’s right, it feels like the American Express Black Card only this one costs almost $7,500 less.
- The rewards are generous: 5 points per dollar at Marriott, 2 points per dollar at restaurants, car rental agencies, and airline tickets purchased directly with the airline. All other purchases are 1 point per dollar.
- Get this insanely lucrative signup offer if you apply right now.
This article was written or last updated April 2013