On long work trips, I prefer to leave my old truck at the airport vs my car, just for peace of mind, but one morning as I hopped in to head to the airport, she decided not to start. I had my car right there, so I took that to the airport, but I knew I would have to deal with the dead truck when I got back home.
It turns out the starter was bad, and so I would need to somehow get it to the shop a couple miles away. For years I kept a AAA membership for hotel discounts, but never actually used it for roadside assistance. Before Hyatt gutted their loyalty program, I was a Diamond for several years, and the AAA rate consistently beat the best available rates, but since I’ve left Hyatt for Hilton, the AAA rate doesn’t even seem to be competitive, so I haven’t renewed my AAA membership.
Just to give you an example of that, I was looking at the Doubletree Times Square for a 2 night stay next week, and there is a “1 Qn Bed Std Suite” available with the “Honors Semi-Flex” rate for $168, but if you search with the AAA rate box checked, that room type isn’t even available with that rate. The cheapest AAA rate is $229 for a “1 King Bed Premium Suite”, and even then the “Honors” rate beats it by $5!
So…back to the old dead Ram in my garage. I had to figure out a way to get it to the shop without it costing me an arm and a leg, so I started doing a little research. I was leaning towards renewing the AAA membership when I stumbled on this little tidbit on the Benefits page for my fairly new American Express Platinum –
When I read a little further and saw this, I knew I was on to something –
So, I called the number listed and I was immediately connected to a very friendly representative. Since I was calling for roadside assistance, she first asked if I was ok. I thanked her for her concern, and assured her that I wasn’t calling about an emergency, and I didn’t need urgent help.
I explained to her that my vehicle was in the garage at my home, and that I just needed to get it a few miles to the repair shop. She explained the benefits that I was entitled to, gathered my information, and said she would contact a tow truck service while I waited on the line.
She came back within about a minute, and gave me the name of the local tow service, and said they would be at my house within 30 minutes, and that I would receive a courtesy call back from Amex, to make sure everything was ok. So far I was very impressed!
Immediately after hanging up with the Amex rep. I received a text message with the tow company’s name and the estimated arrival time.
10:33am would have been exactly 30 minutes from my original call to Amex, but I looked up the tow company online, and based on their location, I was pretty sure the truck wouldn’t arrive in 30 minutes.
The truck hadn’t arrived yet, but at exactly 10:33 my phone rang, and when I answered, it was Amex. This was my courtesy call to make sure I was ok! They asked if the tow truck had arrived as scheduled. I explained that it hadn’t arrived yet, but that it was perfectly fine because it wasn’t an emergency. The rep. put me on hold and called the tow company, then came back on the line and said that the driver had gotten stuck in traffic, and that he would be here within 15-20 minutes.
About 15 minutes later the tow truck arrived. The driver took a few pictures of my truck for safety purposes, and then he loaded it up on his flatbed. He was courteous and professional, and all I had to provide to him was the location of the repair shop, and a signature. Within a few minutes he was on his way.
When I got the Amex Platinum it was mostly for the signup bonus, the travel benefits, and the 5x points on airfare. The roadside assistance benefit wasn’t even something I considered useful, but I was wrong about that. This is a card benefit that can be utilized up to 4 times per year. Most people won’t need it more than once in a year, but I figure this one instance saved me between $75 and $100, and not only that, but the whole process was really impressive!
If I ever have a need for more urgent roadside assistance, I would feel very comfortable using this service! Hopefully, this can help someone else out there. Feel free to ask any questions. Thanks for reading!
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