Join the Automobile Association and save ££££’s on hotels!

I have an Automobile Association (AA, not to be confused with American Airlines!) membership card in a drawer at home. This may not seem surprising, except that I don’t own a car.

My AA subscription is still a good investment, however.

If you book hotels with the major international chains, you will usually see ‘AAA’ offered as an optional tick box on the booking page.

‘AAA’ stands for American Automobile Association. Whilst you are unlikely to be member of the AAA, many roadside assistance groups with similar names are affiliated to it. This includes the AA in the UK.

If you need proof of this, when you select the ‘AAA’ or ‘AA’ rate at a Starwood hotel you see the following message:

“Automobile Association (including AUTO CLUB, CAA and ARC Europe) members receive a discounted rate. Proof of membership must be shown at check in.”

Turn over your UK AA membership card and you will see the logo for ARC Europe.

The AA website even has a page dedicated to the benefits of its ARC Europe tie-up.

(Not every chain mentions ARC Europe in its descriptions of who qualifies for the AAA rate but I would not expect you to have any trouble elsewhere as long as you have your yellow AA card.)

AA Breakdown

Let’s take the Sheraton Grand London Park Lane as a random Starwood example.

For 7th February, the ‘SPG Member Exclusive’ cancellable rate is £323 per night.  The AAA rate, fully cancellable, is £314 per night. You save £9 per night.

If you book a lot of rooms with international chains, you might want to look into joining the AA.  Here are a few tips:

AA membership cards do NOT have an expiry date on them

The cheapest AA breakdown policy is £29 which you could recoup in one booking

You will need to give a car registration number when applying – use a friend or family member who has no AA coverage if you don’t have your own car

You don’t need to give an AA membership number when booking a hotel. This means there is no need to rush out and join the AA today. It is easier to wait until you are booking a hotel where AA seems to offer a decent saving and then joining at that point, as long as you have enough time to receive your membership card before the stay.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

£50 off £100 Radisson / Park Inn / Park Plaza spend for BA Amex cardholders
My review of the Gran Hotel Montesol Ibiza - Curio Collection by Hilton (Part 1)
About Head for Points

We help business and leisure travellers maximise their Avios, frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty points. Visit every day for three new articles or sign up for our FREE emails via this page or the box to your right.


  1. Does anyone know if this works with a lloyds packaged bank account? As my membership is included with the packaged account?

    • Genghis says:

      I think all you need is an AA card to flash. Do you get one?

      • You didn’t a while back when I had the account, your Lloyds account number was used as your AA account number.

    • Catherine O'Donnell says:

      I’d also be curious to know if you can use the AA membership that comes with the Lloyds accounts? You don’t have an AA card and you don’t have to have a car, the person is covered rather than the car (as far as I understand it)

  2. The card also gets you a 20% discount @ Costa in motorway services

    • It does? Didn’t know that.

      Where else is a discount given?

      • It’s given at Moto service stations, I believe – not sure if only at Costa. The Moto app also gives 20% off a variety of retailers, but not the same ones each day.

      • 10% at service station M&S

  3. I assume one still earns the relevant points for the hotel scheme and receive status benefits?

  4. Great tip! My German ADAC card has the ARC Europe logo, as well.

    • Lady London says:

      Has anyone with uk residence successfully joined the ADAC?

      My process to join foundered when they kept trying to direct debit my uk bank account. The bank said we can send Germany money but they can’t direct debit us. I offered IBAN but this apparently didn’t work either

      I thought they could charge a credit card but they said not. Can anyone advise? I would like to resuscitate this.

  5. I just did a random check on a Hilton hotel where I have stayed before. It was in the sale period so EUR 111. With AAA rate, sale does not apply, so EUR 151.
    So (stating the obvious) try both ways before booking.

  6. Sign up for the cheapest membership and pay per month, then cancel after the 2 week cool off by which time you’ve got your card.

  7. As the card has no expiry date there is no need to keep the account active once you have the card.

  8. Roger I says:

    Oh, he did. Most recently on the 28th.

    For most of us, it would only be of use in Year 1. After that, the £42 annual fee makes it much less interesting. The ‘free’ membership is only in Year 1. Whether the card can be used to get hotel discounts I don’t know.

  9. RAC cards give discount on the RACV hotels in Australia. Not many RACV hotels there but it knocked a third off our room rate while we were there (saving about £80 per night) so would have been worth taking out RAC membership just for that. We did need to give the RAC number on booking for that one.

  10. This is great, I can finally get some justification out of paying for breakdown cover when I’ve never broken down!

  11. the real harry1 says:

    O/T in case you were a Celine Dion fan & didn’t get the email
    you can buy presale tickets right now courtesy of Amex (will sell out fast)

    1 Click ‘Book now’ and select your chosen event date
    2 Select the number of American Express Invites presale tickets required
    3 Enter your 11 digit UK Customer Service telephone number from the back of your Card
    3 Proceed to purchase tickets with your American Express® Card

  12. Also worth bearing in mind that you receive 20% discount at Moto service stations, so 20% off at Costa, W H Smith and Burger King. 10% discount at M&S stores at Moto services.

    • Just flash your AA card when paying

      • RussellH says:

        Last time I did not even have to do that. I was not sure if the discount still existed, so I asked if it did and he gave me the discount. Never asked to see the card. Still cost over £5 for two small coffees, though.

    • You could also load the Moto app which is free for 20% off at the above outlets

  13. How did I not know this!

  14. Also, there is the AARP members discount on hotels, although I don’t yet qualify for full membership there is an Associate Membership for us young uns. Not joined, need to phone to apply as Associate Member.

  15. ThinkSquare says:
  16. Simon Schus says:

    OT, but car-related. I read the AMEX Platinum Charge card insurance benefits as I’ve got a domestic car rental coming up. I assume that the insurance still covers UK car rental, and I can decline all additional insurances when picking up the car (it is a free car rental, using the 900 Hertz points from Accor last year).

    • the real harry1 says:

      only if you decide it covers your risks

      generally: yes

      but certain rental cos would make you pay the whole value of a written off rental car & your insurance from Amex may not cover that

      • Simon Schus says:

        Interesting. I had assumed that the rental company would take advice from their insurance company as to the cost of major damage, and that AMEX would pay if within the maximum values.

        • Simon Schus says:

          (including a car write-off if the rental company’s insurers deemed appropriate).

      • Why do you think full value of a write off would be excluded harry? (accepted there is a £50k limit)