Can Visa Signature's Roadside Assistance Replace AAA?
Recently, I had the privilege's of my car breaking down which required me to solicit the services of a tow truck. Now, being a
cheapskate frugal person I don't pay for AAA or have roadside assistance included my insurance. In fact, since owning my 2014 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, I have never needed a tow until now. Let's take look how the service faired and if it is actually a decent alternative to a AAA subscription
Visa Signature's Roadside Assistance Coverage/Cost
As soon as the vehicle wouldn't start, my mind went to my Visa Signature card, specifically my Capital One Venture X. Looking at Visa's benefits page, we can see this PDF detailing the benefit. The important parts are the following:
For a set price per service call, the program provides: – Standard Towing – Up to 5 miles included1 – Tire Changing – must have good, inflated spare – Jump Starting – Lockout Service (no key replacement) – Fuel Delivery – up to 5 gallons (plus the cost of fuel) – Standard Winching
The set price is described as: Current fee for a standard service call is $79.95. Additional fees may apply for winching services under certain circumstances.
So for $80 I get any of the above, seems decent enough to me
Using the Service
On the PDF, Visa gives you a number to call. When you dial in, the only question they ask you if this is a new or existing request. Once you select your choice (I chose new), I was on hold for a minute or two and was patched directly to a real person. They asked me if myself and my vehicle were in a safe space; I was in a BestBuy parking lot so the answer was yes. They then ask me what service I need and for details about my vehicle.
When I said I needed a tow they asked me where I was and where I would like the vehicle towed to. They explained the included 5 mile tow for the $80 service charge and gave me a list of mechanics close to my location which was useful. I at this point decided to look up some mechanics on my own since I was in a new area and call them back.
Once I decided what mechanic I wanted to bring my vehicle to, I called back, chose the existing service option and using my number they picked up right where I left off with the last operator, nice.
Once I gave them the mechanic I wanted to go to, they texted me a link to put a hold on my card for the service fee. It was a simple web page for my card information.
Waiting for the Tow
After giving them the card information, they send me a link to track my service and text me the name and number of the towing company. The tracking site was clean and simple. Once the tow company accepts they give an estimated ETA and once they are enroute they have a little icon for the tow truck so you can track their location (which didn't update vary accurately unfortunately).
The Roadside Assistance service will also reach out to you once the ETA has expired asking you if the tow company has arrive yet. If they have not, they will reach out to the tow company on your behalf and get an updated ETA. I unfortunately know this because my initial ETA was 90-120 minutes but I had to request an update twice and the truck did not come until 4 hours after I made the request.
The second time I asked the service to contact the tow truck company, the service actually called me to inform me the tow truck company would not answer their phone. Based on this, I can tell an actual human is calling the tow company to get an updated ETA which is nice to hear.
When they finally arrived, the service went as expected and the driver even felt bad for being so late and gave me a ride home. Not part of the service or a reflection of Visa but it was nice of Alan
Even though the tow took twice as long as expected, I still think the service was good. The job was taken by an unreliable towing company but Visa's service did a good job of following up with the company so I don't blame them. As someone who never needs a tow knock on wood this is a nice option to have for a flat rate for some services. Because of this, I will continue my
cheap frugal habit of not having AAA and have this service as a fall back
Now this is where it got a bit interesting. It is possible that they did some checks behind the scenes, but I don't think they actually check to see if the card you are paying with is a Visa Signature card. I did use a Visa Signature card to pay for the service, but I'm not confident they actually verify this. On my statement, the charge comes up as AGERO ROADSIDE ASSIST.
Also, while on the phone, they never once asked if I was a Visa Signature cardholder, for my card number, or anything like that, further adding to me theory. Next time I use this service I will be interested in seeing. If anyone else gets to try it let me know if you try a non Visa Signature card!