A couple weeks ago one of our cars broke down. My husband called me at home and asked if we had roadside assistance. He implied that one of the zillion credit cards we have should have it as a benefit. He was right, but it’s in that long section of credit card benefits I usually ignore!
I quickly searched through all our current card benefits and found various cards that offer the benefit including many of our American Express Cards, Visa and Mastercards. I only had a few minutes to make a decision, so I went with American Express because it didn’t have the $59.95 per call charge that many of the Visa cards stated.
American Express Roadside Assistance
The roadside assistance for the card covers the following services for free 4 times per calendar year:
- Towing up to 10 miles
- Jump starts
- Flat tire change when Card Member has a workable spare
- Lockout service when key is in vehicle
- Delivery of up to 2 gallons of fuel
For towing, there’s an additional charge for towing in excess of 10 miles and any other additional services.
Our Experience Using Roadside Assistance
After deciding which card to use, he called the 1-800 number for roadside assistance. They asked for the card number, location of the vehicle, make and model of the car and where the car needed to be towed to. They explained how the fees would work and he was put on hold while they located a local tow company. Payment for the excess mileage was arranged directly with the credit card company. He was given a time estimate and a follow up with a text with the tow company name and ETA. The tow truck company called to confirm, his car was towed and it was all prepaid.
In addition, because it was a specialty car that needed a flatbed, they accommodated that request with no additional charge. He also provided the driver with a cash tip.
Overall, the process and the experience were pretty painless.
Roadside Assistance Costs
The total charge for the towing was $42.66. He was approximately 22 miles from home. There was no trip charge and the first 10 miles were free. The only cost was the additional 12 miles. Had he been within 10 miles from home, the towing would have been free!
Compare this to some other data points I had in Quicken on 2 other tow-truck incidents where roadside assistance was not used: $120 and $100. Both of these did not involve any towing mileage. If they did, I’m sure the totals would be much higher!
Based on our previous experiences it looks like we would have likely paid at least $100 for the call and probably another $80+ for the mileage. The savings from the credit card benefit was likely around $140!
More on American Express Roadside Assistance
Business Gold Rewards Card. The American Express Business Gold Rewards card we used is currently listed under the Business category in our credit card directory.
Roadside Assistance for American Express Cards. You can find the roadside assistance for all American Express cards at American Express RA terms.
Card in Wallet? While my husband did need to provide the card number when he called, it didn’t appear that he needed to have the card on him. Assuming he could have gotten the number from me at home he likely would have been able to get the roadside assistance without the card in his wallet.
Research Your Roadside Assistance Options Now. It’s easy to ignore roadside assistance benefits on credit cards until you need it! I did. Do yourself a favor and research which of your credit cards offers the best benefits right now and put the 1-800 number in your phone… you’ll thank me later!