Yes, you did read that right.
When searching for a hotel on most major hotel chain websites you’ll notice a section that allows you select or search for a specific rate in addition to the standard rates. One of those is typically the AAA rate.
AAA stands for the American Automobile Association which in theory has little relevance to most UK-based readers. Except it does. It’s also affiliated with other roadside assistance groups globally. One of those is ARC Europe of which the Automobile Association (AA) is a member.
If you turn over an AA membership card you’ll see this logo:
This entitles you to discounts at hotel chains such as Starwood, Hilton, IHG, Hyatt and Marriott, by showing your AA card.
Starwood, for example, offers up to 15% off for AAA members and as this page on the Starwood website shows, UK AA members are clearly eligible for these discounts.
How good are these discounts in practice?
Sometimes there isn’t a huge amount in it.
Here’s a one-night stay at the Hilton Amsterdam in August:
Using the AAA rate in this instance would save you about €4.
InterContinental Times Square, New York
But there are other times when it clearly pays to use the AAA rate.
Here’s an example of a one-night stay in October.
And here is the same room using the AAA rate:
You would save roughly $59 per night by using the AAA rate.
It’s worth bearing in mind that the AAA rate is a fully flexible and cancellable rate. If you are comfortable booking non-refundable, advanced purchase rates, you’ll have to look more closely at which offers the best price.
How to book
There is no requirement to go via a dedicated booking link. Simply visit the hotel website and use the regular search engine, selecting the AAA rate.
Using the Hilton website as an example, click ‘Advanced Search’ and then click on the box that says ‘Add a Special Rate Code’.
You can then compare this alongside the regular rates and evaluate the savings.
Using the AAA rate can result in some really good discounts and is always worth checking when booking a hotel.
Equally, I’ve seen the AAA rate work out more expensive than the regular rate so don’t assume it will always be the cheapest option.
If your breakdown cover is up for renewal, this may be something else to think about. This may turn out to be a good investment in the long run as AA membership cards don’t actually have an expiry date on them…