Credit Card Roadside Assistance

Living in LA, driving and freeways go hand-in-hand. Cars do breakdown sometimes, so services like AAA can be lifesavers.  For $48 and an initial $20 setup fee, AAA will safeguard you against car breakdowns and provide other additional services.  Since I’m quite frugal, I just could not take on this additional expense.  Over the weekend, while moving, I needed roadside assistance because I had a flat tire.  Thankfully I was in a safe spot, I was still in my garage.  One would normally call their car insurance for service but once again my frugality cut that expense as well.  This is a good reminder not to double up on expenses.  If you have AAA, make sure you’re not also paying for additional roadside services through your car insurance.

American Express

I had no choice but to call my credit card companies to see what they offer their card members.  First up, my American Express card. To change a flat tire with a working spare costs $44.10.  Towing the car for 10 miles or less is $65 and three dollars for each additional mile.


Next up, Discover Card.  For $69.95, they would take care of any roadside assistance issue, but they would charge additional mileage for tow jobs beyond 10 miles, just like American Express.  Since their price was higher, I moved on.


The worst in show, was my Chase Freedom card.  I was on the line for 10 minutes waiting.  I eventually hung up and decided to move on.  To give them a fair shake, I followed up the next day to inquire about pricing.  I again got transferred to several different departments and I still couldn’t find their roadside assistance department.  If I was involved in a more serious car accident and this was my only option, I would have been a sitting duck.

Final Thoughts

Although I had my own equipment in the car, I decided to call American Express to have their expert change my tire.  The estimated wait time was half an hour, but he got there in 20 minutes.  With a fancy service jack and high-powered tools to remove the nuts, he was done in minutes.  Also because my car was on an incline, I needed to move my car a few feet to level ground.  If I had done this myself I would have been there for an hour or two, and I actually might have caused bodily harm to myself if I had attempted to swap my tire on the incline.

Interesting fact, I wanted the tow company’s business card in case I had issues in the future.  He could not give it out because I still need to go through American Express.  To finish up, American Express called me to verify the job was done and asked how long ago was the service performed through their automated system.  I was quite pleased with how things turned out, and I can sleep easier knowing that this service is available to me.  Thank you American Express, job well done. Adding to my Costco rebate, and Small Business Saturdays, American Express is slowly becoming my favorite credit card.  Can’t leave home without it, right?

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8 Responses

  1. Moneycone says:

    Sorry about your car troubles Buck. But the post is super informative and useful. I’ve always wondered about auto-breakdown services offered by credit card companies. Good to know Amex and Chase both live up to their expectations! (Chase part was sarcasm!).

  2. Sorry about the hassle Buck, but it sounds like it worked out ok in the end. That’s helpful to know about Amex. We just both got our first Amex cards a month or so ago, so we’ll have to keep this in mind for the future.

  3. Arlee Bird says:

    I’ve had AAA for over 30 years now and I swear by it. I have the plus version which is something like $150 a year, but every year I’ve used it more than once and it’s paid for itself.

    I probably have something on credit cards and elsewhere, but I’m not paying for any of them. I’ve never tried using the other assistance features since I know I can count on AAA.

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  4. I have AAA service and it is the best. One very important point was that if you have a battery issue they will jump it for you. And if you need a new battery they have really great ones and they install them on the spot. You do not have to go anywhere to have it done.

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