7 Important Reasons I Did NOT Renew My AAA Membership

It may surprise you that I canceled my AAA membership since I mention using AAA for travel discounts in other McCool Travel articles.

Why did I not renew my AAA membership?

Some reasons I did NOT renew my AAA membership include no longer using AAA discounts (I find the same or better discounts elsewhere) and not needing AAA membership services.

But there was a real disrespectful tipping point that ultimately made me cancel my AAA membership. Below I list other travel discount programs I now use after cancelling my AAA membership.

AAA Membership Card image
renew AAA Membership: AAA Membership Card

AAA Membership Advantages

It is only fair to mention the good points of AAA membership. After all, I was a AAA member for 30 years and millions of people are AAA members.

1. Service emergencies

AAA members can arrange for an AAA-approved technician to diagnose minor vehicle issues and provide basic solutions—like jump start a dead battery, provide a small amount of gas, fix a flat tire, or tow vehicle to nearby repair station.

Perhaps the best reason for buying a AAA membership is this access to AAA emergency services.

2. AAA Travel Discounts

In most years, the most valuable AAA benefit for me was travel AAA discounts—particularly for hotel rooms and Hertz car rentals.

But I now use other programs for the same or bigger discounts on travel. See below!

See our article on Basic Car Rental Tips and Tricks for how to find the best car rental rates.

Charles McCool in Everglades with Ford Mustang
AAA members receive good Hertz car rental discounts

3. AAA Publications

At AAA offices, I have picked up hundreds of maps, Tourbooks, and TripTiks. Publications can now be ordered online so my visits to AAA offices were reduced to almost zero.

4. Trip Planning

Although they are a travel agency, I have never booked a travel component (air, hotel, car, cruise, package, tour) through a AAA Travel Agency. I inquired a few times but always found better deals elsewhere.

On the other hand, I do know people who use AAA to book travel. See our articles Reasons to Use a Travel Advisor and Reasons NOT to Use a Travel Agent.

5. Insurance

Similarly, I have inquired a few times about AAA insurance (auto, home, etc.) but did not find it a decent solution for me.

6. Other AAA Discounts

My local auto repair shop offers 10% for AAA members. There are many AAA discounts for merchandise and services from national and local merchants. To see all of the AAA membership benefits, view the AAA Member Benefits Chart.

Here is a link for AAA membership renewal.

Here is a link for AAA membership plans and AAA membership cost.

Reasons To Cancel AAA Membership

1. AAA Emergency Service Not Needed

My AAA membership provided peace of mind for breakdowns but it was a benefit I had not used in many years. When I was younger and drove junkers, AAA provided battery jumps or short distance tows. My most recent service calls (several years ago) were canceled (by me) due to extended waits and when I found someone else to jump my car’s dead battery.

McCool Travel Tip: buy an auto emergency kit ($20 at Costco) or jumper cables. Store the jumper cables in the trunk and learn how to properly use them. When you have a dead battery, flag down a passing car or call a neighbor.

2. AAA Publications

Paper maps are cool but do we really need them anymore? I can go online and find detailed maps for practically any area of the world. If I truly want a map, I can stop at a visitor center and pick up a free one. I will miss, sort of, the monthly AAA magazine, although I rarely found anything useful in it. On second thought, maybe I will save a tree.

3. AAA Discounts

I am now an AARP member. Most AARP travel discounts compare favorably to AAA discounts, especially for hotels. Although using a AAA discount for Hertz rentals was my favorite, I can still use it. Also, my go-to car rental rate program is now Costco Travel and sometimes Priceline (through Autoslash).

McCool Travel Tip: request AAA discounts even if you are not a member. I have never been asked to show my AAA card when renting a car. A few hotels asked  to see my AAA card. Booking Hilton rooms online require you to enter your AAA membership number.

4. AAA Trip Planning

Never used it.

5. AAA Insurance

Also never used it.

6. Other AAA Discounts

Other than 10% off auto repairs, I cannot recall using AAA for any other non-travel merchant. I will not miss this benefit.

When to Cancel AAA Membership aka Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back

The past few Septembers (AAA membership renewal occurs 1 October), I debated renewing my AAA card, for reasons I outlined above.

The following situation sealed my decision NOT to renew my AAA membership.

I bought a new car and dropped by a AAA office to get new local maps (when using maps was cool). It was a Sunday and I used the outside lobby map vending machine (cool feature). The machine denied my card (said my membership was not active). WTH.

Trying again, the machine spewed the same message. When I got home I checked online and my membership was active. Note, I could have (and should have) ordered maps online.

I sent AAA a message and they responded by sending replacement cards. No apology. Not asking what maps I wanted to order. Not thanking me for years of AAA membership. I was rankled (first time I have used that word).

Then the AAA renewal notices arrived. Are you kidding me? After the expiration date (Oct 1), I received a call. A customer rep pleasantly reminded me to renew my AAA membership. I said I will not because of this issue and negative customer experience. I suggested that she to relay the information to her supervisor. All she said was, “Oh.”


Over the past few years I decided I will cease supporting businesses that disrespect me as a customer. AAA is just one recent casualty and I suspect my decision will not adversely affect their bottom line. Emotional detachment from comfortable yet unhealthy relationships is an ongoing but worthwhile process. Easier to do with travel companies, too.

I went to a travel conference and heard countless disgruntled stories. Many former and previously very loyal United Airlines elite flyers switched to American Airlines. I respected them for doing that; their tales helped justify my decision to not renew my AAA membership and inspired me to publish this article.

Do you have an AAA membership? Are you considering cancelling your AAA membership? Let me know what you decide.

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56 thoughts on “7 Important Reasons I Did NOT Renew My AAA Membership”

  1. I canceled for most of the same reasons. Then I found I could get a year of basic AAA with my T-mobile plan so went to rejoin/renew but it would not let me drop back down to the basic from Plus without calling and jumping through hoops. Also wanted to force leaving a credit card to auto renew. Nope.

  2. I have been a AAA customer for 37 years. Their services have always been prompt and courteous. They’ve helped me out of many problematic situations. I’ve been towed out of a ditch. They came to my house and jumped or replaced my battery. They sent a locksmith who created a new key for my car. They’ve come and put gas in my tank. They’ve mounted a spare. And I’ve received numerous tows. They always came within minutes of their ETA, their technicians have been very helpful and knowledgable, and customer service has always been great.

  3. I will cancel my AAA membership. AAA has been nefarious with billing. One day I happened to notice my membership went from Classic to Premium and they charged my card. I didn’t request this change and when I called they offered no explanation 2. My membership renews in February so why did they renew and charge me January 1 . 3. I just happened to note on my new card the expiration is 2023. The card says valid thru 2026. Why? I believe AAA. Relies on the customer not being aware and they slip in extra charges
    Sally Smith

  4. I was a AAA member, until I needed a tow one day. I waited for three hours, and after multiple phone calls and then assuring me someone was on their way, and me explaining that it was urgent because the car was in the middle of a busy road and was unable to be pushed to a place out of traffic, the police made the unilateral decision that my car had to be towed and they couldn’t wait any longer. So the car was impounded. It cost me almost $500 to get it out that I had to borrow from a friend. Humiliating. Then, AAA refused to reimburse me. I will NEVER USE AAA AGAIN AND I TELL THIS STORY TO EVERYONE I MEET.

  5. After seven years of AAA, i got a notice that they werr no going to renew me and my family. My decision to go elsewhere was made easy by the dumping me. Any recommendations on who to go to next?

    • My Name is Comer C Huggins I was a AAA SENT. 2005. Need service call then. I was canceled and They would not renew my service. No excuse could not be given .Even when I Ask to speak to a representative supervisor . I would like to know of another company to use that will value me as a customer.

  6. AAA.com has the WORST online customer service as well. you cannot reach a person, can’t chat, can’t send an email, can’t find simple answers AND we renewed our AAA membership online several months ago with a discount offer but the account is nowhere to be found. I do have the receipt but nowhere to send it as proof to show. they sure kept our money!!!!

    I HATE AAA.COM, hate the way they treated my parents who were faithful customers for 50 years — and I wish this place & whoever is in charge now would just go eff itself.

    Note: I had a very different and excellent experience when I was a AAA-So Cal member years back — they had a separate leadership that at the time was responsive and helpful. the main AAA.com is USELESS, CORRUPT, HATEFUL, USER-UNFRIENDLY, HATES THEIR CUSTOMERS & LAZY BEYOND BELIEF. 5Os white dominant male authoritarian mindset throughout.

  7. I was member for 15 years, tried to renew online and they eliminated my membership number. Went to Albuquerque office and the rudest CSR had a chip on his shoulder. Even after speaking with the office manager they seem not to care. They informed me they would not reinstate my old memnership number and I would have to begin a new membership #. Paid for the premium membership with additonal towing miles and used 3x in15 years. I am going to use what my auto insurance offers with my yearly rate and they are just as good. Sad we no longer have good CSR and with bad manners to boot.

  8. Like Hilton, Marriott’s website now requires you to enter your AAA number when reserving a room with an AAA discount. The AAA Marriott discounts, which I typically find to be far better than their senior rates (at least at the properties I stay at), are the only reason I have decided to renew. Otherwise I would add State Farm emergency roadside assistance — just as good, if not better, than AAA Classic — for just $10/year.

  9. I’m not renewing because AAA have dropped the ability to pay premiums monthly. It’s more that they didn’t have the courtesy to tell me that they were ending the option before my membership expired Oct 1. On calling them tonight they told me that because I had been a member since 2002 I had been grandfathered in to the monthly option that they claim they dropped in 2017. But because my membership had expired I was now being treated as a new member and that 17 years’ continuous membership counts for nothing. So no hesitation in telling them where to shove it. Tbh the only real benefit was hotel discounts, which I now get with AARP anyway. No great loss to me.

  10. I have been a AAA member for 13 years and just received a letter from them today indicating that after “extensive review” they have “elected” not to renew my membership a result of it being used excessively…. I pay for AAA plus for 3 members. Oh well….. glad I never signed up for their life insurance or I guess I would lose that also. The only thing I ever used it for was towing and the tow drivers say they receive very little pay from AAA. Has this happened to anyone else?

    • Yes! I have been with Triple A since 1983. The card says loyal customer for 36 years. I also have premium plus. I also received a letter of non renewal. I’ve called the number on the letter. No explanation, no referral to go speak with anyone else. Instead she read off reasons in a handbook that could cause it not to be renewed. None of which I’ve done! So I called another number no explanation! Just sorry. So then I called another number and once again no explanation. I have purchased memberships for my daughter and son. Plus I have their Visa card. I hav encouraged over the years at least 10 people to buy a Triple A card. I have only required service twice this year. I am incredibly disappointed in the non careing, lack of explanation, lack of customer service, I am seeing in he triple A I loved

    • I know this is two years too late, but I too just received a letter like yours. I have an old vehicle, and rely on AAA for their tow service, battery jumps, etc. Also, for discounts to hotels from time to time. Entirely frustrating that they REFUSE to escalate the call to allow me to renew. They also said it was “forever”! I’ve spent a ton of money over the last 5 years. To just say well, that’s it for you is SUCH bs!

    • I broke down today 250 miles from home..I called aaa they gave me a courtesy tow to a shop.the driver said call them and upgrade my policy to premium because it covers upto 250 miles..when I did the lady said she cannot do anything and that I’m under investigation. when I questioned her all she said was ill get a letter with a decision..I said what the hell are you talking about..she said it’s security reasons and will be getting a letter ..no explanation or warning of anything.ive used my tow 4x in a year but I pay my premium for this service..what the hell is this and has it happened to anyone else..they will not explain anything to me or enlighten me as to what’s going on..

  11. Yes, my insurance has roadside assistance as part of my plan. No need for AAA.

      • I have the premiere AAA and we have an RV that ran out of diesel on a trip and called and requested some fuel brought to us on the side of the interstate we just couldn’t make it to the exit. And they told me they would not being us diesel. I could not find anything saying they won’t bring diesel fuel to our bus made into an RV. I finally got a friend to bring us some from their friends at a truck stop. My membership is due to renew Dec 1 and I am not going to renew.

  12. Please provide generic AAA number so everyone can use for hotel bookings. It is just a validator. AAA services expensie and stink so no interest in signing up. I juts want discounted hotel.

  13. I wish I could drop Comcast for cable for precisely the same reason and their shameless upselling. I feel the same way about American, but my home city is Philadelphia, their hub for direct flights to many European cities, so hope springs eternal. I just blindly renew my AAA membership every year. They actually did bail us out of a bad dead battery situation last year.

    • AAA DOES have some pretty decent travel discounts, though. I have just reached that breaking point. I may go back to the dark side when/if anyone in my family starts driving older cars.

  14. Totally understand your reasons for dropping AAA… and bad customer service is, well, bad! But… AAA will not only give you a jump, but replace your battery on the spot, for maybe $30 more than you’d spend on a costco battery… and their warranty is as good (maybe slightly better). I won’t detail all the other reasons you might need assistance (locking keys in the car and fixing flat tires come to mind), but do think it’s important to mention one of the best parts of AAA car service… your membership is attached to you, not your car. So no matter whose car you’re in, if you need help, AAA is there for you.

  15. I was on United Airlines and arrived late at our layover destination. I asked an attendant on the plane (prior to landing) for the terminal we would be at for our connection and she said she couldn’t get that information and to ask when we got off the plane. We rushed off the plane, looked at the board and found we had just enough time to get to our connecting flight if we ran. We ran… Upon arrival at the gate we were told there would be an hour delay. I would have thought they would update their departure times on the boards in the airport, but apparently not.

    On the connecting flight, with my 3 young boys (7,9 and 12), they put on a PG-13 movie, I complained to the flight attendant: “My younger children should not be watching a movie like this”. She said “they can close their eyes”.

    Not planning to use United Airlines again anytime soon.

    • It really stinks (for the consumer and the company) when trust is broken. Too bad, for consumers, that carriers are currently reaping record profits. Expect customer service to get worse, before better.

  16. I can totally understand your feelings, and I am all for dropping a company that provides bad customer service. I’m a very loyal AAA customer, the main reason being that I have their auto and home insurance and their customer service in those departments has been very good to me, especially when we had a distressing break-in at our house. Little known fact: you can get a 10% discount off your purchase at Banana Republic and Gap outlets with a AAA card. 🙂

  17. In July I vowed that, whenever possible, I will not fly US Air (American now due to merger). This us tough to do when you live in Phonex but, after years of rude service (with a few exceptions) a trip to Ireland wit 3 mechanical issues, rude flight crews, losing out on a day in Europe, dishonesty and rude telephone “assistance” and supervisors, I felt as if their employes had disdain for their customers.

    • Tough to regain respect for a company after such negative experiences. McCool Ninja Premonition: look for PHX operations to scale back, with existing hubs at DFW and LAX.

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