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Dealing with an emergency like a flat tire or a dead battery when you’re on the road can be distressing and expensive to resolve. Even if you don’t have a AAA membership, you may have access to a roadside assistance program if you have a credit card that offers this perk. Here’s what you need to know about the credit cards that offer various roadside assistance benefits.
What is roadside assistance?
Roadside assistance (also known as roadside dispatch) is a service that helps individuals with a roadside emergency such as a dead battery, flat tire, running out of gas, mechanical failure and more. This service is available through motor clubs, like AAA, certain credit cards (i.e. Chase Sapphire Reserve®) or travel insurance policies, such as from Allianz, and can be used for your own vehicle or on a car rental.
Generally, roadside assistance services available through membership clubs like AAA, are comprehensive than those provided for free on your credit card.
» Learn more: Roadside assistance: Where to get it, what to ask
Best credit cards that provide roadside assistance
Credit cards offer differing forms of roadside assistance, ranging from a complimentary benefit to a pay-per-use service. Some travel credit cards with high annual fees include roadside assistance as a complimentary benefit that can be used several times a year. Low-fee or no-fee credit cards may offer roadside dispatch as a service that you pay for each time you need to use it.
Chase credit cards with complimentary roadside assistance
Here are the roadside assistance benefits are included on the Chase Sapphire Reserve®) and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card:
Jump-starting the car with a battery boost when the car won’t start.
Tire changing in case you get a flat tire (must have an inflated spare).
Fuel delivery up to two gallons.
24-hour towing assistance from Chase’s network of over 25,000 service providers across the U.S. and Canada.
24-hour lockout assistance, so if you get locked out of a car, a qualified locksmith will be dispatched to unlock the vehicle. The key replacement cost is not included.
Each incident is covered up to $50 and the benefit can be used four times per year while traveling in the U.S. and Canada. The perk applies to cardholders driving a car or truck (subject to weight limit) but commercial vehicles are excluded. Assistance is available 24/7/365 by calling the Cross Country Motor Club hotline at 866-860-797.
Although The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card isn't accepting applications, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, which has an annual fee of $550 has the following welcome offer: Earn 50K bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards® . In addition to free roadside assistance, these premium Visa cards have a number of other benefits, making them excellent companions for those who use their services.
Chase credit cards that offer roadside dispatch for a fee
Cardholders of Chase’s low-fee and no-fee Visa credit cards receive these services for an additional fee while traveling in the U.S. and Canada:
Towing up to five miles.
Flat tire changes as long as the cardholder has a good, inflated spare tire.
Jump-start to boost the car battery.
Lockout service but a key replacement isn't included.
Fuel delivery of up to five gallons (cost of fuel not included).
Winching within 100 feet of paved or county-maintained roads.
Although these benefits aren’t as exhaustive as those provided on the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, they can still come in handy if you’re stranded on the side of the road. You will receive coverage on any vehicle as long as its 10,000 pounds or less. Assistance is available 24/7/365 and can be reached by calling 800-847-2869.
Cards providing roadside dispatch:
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (annual fee: $95): Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Chase Slate® (annual fee: $0): Save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee and get 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠.
Chase Freedom Unlimited® (annual fee: $0): Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
Chase Freedom® (annual fee: $0): Earn a $200 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
Chase Freedom® Student (annual fee: $0): Earn 5,000 points after making your first purchase within the first three months. That's redeemable for $50 cash back.
Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Card (annual fee: $49): Earn 6,500 Bonus Stars after you spend $500 anywhere in the first 3 months from account opening.
Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card (annual fee: $0): Get a $70 Amazon Gift Card instantly upon credit card approval.
Nerd tip: Credit card offers change periodically, so if you’ve got your eye on a certain credit card, keep track of its welcome offer in case a stronger bonus becomes available.
Other credit cards that offer roadside dispatch for a fee
Bank of America, Capital One and Wells Fargo are some of the other credit card issuers that offer roadside assistance benefits for a fee. In addition, all Visa Signature cards include roadside dispatch service. Refer to each card’s benefits guide or call customer service for a full list of the exact benefits offered.
Capital One offers roadside assistance on all of its Visa and Mastercard products. Our favorite Capital One travel card is the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. For a full list, refer to NerdWallet’s guide to all personal and business Capital One cards.
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card (annual fee: $95): Receive 50,000 bonus points – a $500 value – after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card (annual fee: $0): Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value
Credit card roadside assistance vs. AAA and travel insurance
If you don’t have a credit card that provides roadside assistance/dispatch or your vehicle type is excluded from coverage, you can still receive this service by purchasing a membership with an automobile club, like AAA or a travel insurance policy for when you’re on vacation.
AAA offers several roadside assistance programs with varying levels of coverage for different kinds of cars. AAA’s higher membership levels include increased limits and more coverage options. AAA memberships offer a wide range of perks including discounts on hotels, restaurants and attractions and can be a great option for those who don't have roadside coverage through their card.
Travel insurance plans can also include roadside assistance benefits, sometimes as part of the policy and at other times as an optional upgrade.
» Learn more: How to find the best travel insurance
Other benefits for your road trip
If you’re undecided about getting a membership with AAA or a credit card that offers roadside assistance, it's important to consider the other benefits you may want.
The cards above offer a slew of other perks that can be useful on your road trip. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers 3x on points at restaurants, DoorDash dining credits and a DashPass subscription, which you can use to save money when ordering food online while you’re traveling within the U.S. Cardholders also have access to the Visa Infinite Concierge Service, which assists with ticket requests to music and sporting events and dinner reservations.
Another example, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card offers 3x points per dollar at gas stations and restaurants (order in or take out).
The bottom line
Roadside assistance is an important credit card benefit that can help you if you’re stuck on the side of the road. Many credit card issuers offer this perk so you don’t necessarily need a AAA membership to have access to these benefits.
The information related to the Chase Slate®, Chase Freedom®, Chase Freedom® Student, Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card and Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card