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I hate long drives. It probably dates back to when I graduated college and drove cross country from California to Washington, DC. I did it in 4 days. I had shipped a few boxes ahead, and this was before satellite radio. I had only one CD in my dash and for much of the drive in the middle of the country there wasn’t much in the way of radio. It never occurred to me to stop at one of the 1750 Walmarts along the way to buy somethng else to listen to.
So I had the Soundtrack to Reservoir Dogs. I haven’t listened to it in 22 years, but I can still recite all of the movie clips.
I fly whenever I can, and my wife and I share a car. I can Uber to the airport for the price of parking even on most short trips. And it’s only a handful of times each month when I need a car, where I’m going somewhere on my own without my wife, and she’s already going somewhere on her own.
Over the weekend the car started acting up. It seems like a computer problem, reporting every single possible error on the dash. And the car didn’t want to shift automatically, either. Assuming it’s not a drivetrain issue the car is a whopping 200 miles out of warranty though I’ll certainly be arguing about that.
I shared the dilemna on twitter, thanks to credit cards I have an abundance of riches of roadside assistance options. What do I use?
I have a AAA membership but really only so I can be legimate when I use AAA hotel rates. Those are often equal to prepaid member rates (or better) while still cancellable. But AAA only gives you 7 miles of towing.
For an oil change or brakes an independent repair shop makes sense but I decided for a possible computer issue, and one where I’d at least be arguing it should be covered by warranty, I wanted to get the car to the dealership. But that’s 12.11 miles away.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve Card will give you $50 credit four times a year. That wasn’t going to cut it. There are reports by the way that the benefit from Chase is more generous than stated.
Yikes. Sorry to hear. In my personal experience needing to be towed ~20 miles to my preferred shop, Chase was better deal, entire distance covered. Obvi depends on tow rates, but hard-pressed to believe AUS > $$$ than SFO.
— Michael (@real_jetsetr) September 2, 2018
While there was a debate on Twitter over whether to use auto insurance towing coverage (whether doing so could mitigate future claims-free discounts), I didn’t see the point of going down that route given the credit card benefits I had. And by the way it’s a roadside assistance benefit and that can also cover things like changing a tire, jump starting a battery, delivering gas or helping you get into a locked vehicle.
I rang up American Express and told the voice prompt I wanted ‘roadside assistance’ which was recognized as an option. That transferred me to someone with their provider who took my card information, my car information, and my location.
They calculated that my towing distance would be 2.11 miles over what’s covered. They bill excess miles at $3 per mile. So they charged my card $6.33 (and didn’t require me to pay with the Platinum card either). I was told it would take 70 minutes for the tow driver to arrive.
After I hung up I received a text with tracking information. The driver called me 7 minutes prior to scheduled arrival. He said he was 15 minutes away. He had flagged in his system that he already arrived. It took another 35 minutes, he blamed traffic and an accident. In the meantime Amex called me to check up on the progress.
The wait was longer than I’d like, but American Express is outsourcing to a service which is then contracting with local tow companies. They picked the first one on their list that answered and accepted the job.
Regardless my point in sharing this is just to remind that many credit cards come with a roadside assistance benefit. You’ve probably forgotten about it (if you ever knew). So in case you need something like this, it’s worth flagging.