It always amazes me when I speak with people who travel and they don’t have a membership with AAA. For $54.00 a year, you get this:
Most say “I’ve got towing with my auto insurance” or “Really, why do I need that? I have it for two main reasons; Hotel and Car rental discounts.
If you rent cars and stay at Hotels, you could save a lot of money over the span of a year. Here is just one example from Hilton Hotels.
Kansas City, Missouri Downtown, AAA rate $179.00 and the best rate with the Hilton Honors Discount, $195.00. That’s a $16.00 savings for just one night.
Below is an example of a Hertz Rental. Same date and time from San Francisco International. The left two examples are through the AAA site, the right example, through the Hertz site. They were both “pay later” and no additional discount codes were used beyond what you would receive as a member of either. AAA came in at $79.08 and Hertz at $117.69. With AAA, you saved $38.61.
Remember the cost of AAA? $54.00 a year. We just saved $54.61 in one hotel stay and one car rental.
It’s Wednesday and we’re siting on the couch. Bored. Lilly says “the Santa Fe (New Mexico) Indian Market is this weekend”. Now, this is our only open weekend for the next month and maybe we should stay home and do housy stuff, right?…No way! Roadtrip!
The issues: 1. The Santa Fe Indian Market is a big deal and getting a Hotel room two days before it starts could be an expensive problem. 2. Santa Fe is a 12 hour drive. 3. We need a Hotel on the way there, one when we actually get there and one on the way back, (my ass isn’t driving 12 hours in a row if I don’t have too). I know, a three night trip like this is a bit impulsive but it’s SANTA FE! Live a little…
The Solution: The first place to reserve a Hotel is Santa Fe. I mean, this is all just academic if we can’t find a room there. I check the usual suspects and Hilton is the only one and they want $783.00 for the night. Yeah, No, not paying that; let’s check points, 50,000, sounds like a lot right, not really. Hilton points are worth the least (.006) of any Hotel chain that I watch. In addition, they are easy to get. The American Express Hilton Surpass card usually comes with around 80,000 points if you sign up and follow the rules. 50,000 points is worth around $300.00 (50,000 x .006). I like this, but what about taxes? Look below, I printed it as if I was going to pay for the room with cash. $901.96 or 50,000 points ($~300 in value and taxes are included). I used points (Duh) and booked the room. Also, because I keep an eye out for Hilton promo’s etc, there is no way that I spent $300.00 to acquire those points, most likely a third of that.
For one of the other nights, Marriott was the clear choice. Marriott points are worth ~ .009 each, making 10,000 Marriott points worth about $90.00. So, I booked the room using points instead of paying the $149.15. Again, watch for Marriott Promo’s. The Chase Marriott credit card also is usually available with 80,000 points if you follow their terms. I don’t have $90.00 invested in that 10,000, most likely about $25-30.
The third night, I’m paying for the room ($130.00) to complete an IHG (Holiday Inn) promo.
This will be a 1700 mile, 4 day roadtrip. How about a rental car? Silvercar isn’t available (ugh) so I’m forced to wade into rental car hell. After the usual headaches, Hertz emerged from the abyss with a full-size vehicle at $69.00 for 4 days. I had some old Hertz points lying around and got the price down to $36.00. Booked with Chase Sapphire Reserve for the Primary Collision Insurance. So that’s that and we’re on the road again!