The Best Credit Cards for Premium Roadside Assistance Coverage

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Whether you’re a working road warrior or a parent who needs to ensure everyone in the family gets where they need to be, you depend on your vehicle to reach your destination.

The same is true when you’re on a vacation road trip or rushing to make that special business meeting. Getting to your destination is always important, and it’s always frustrating if you become stranded due to a breakdown.

Roadside assistance, an often-forgotten credit card benefit, is a handy perk that can help in times of need. And this benefit comes complimentary on a lot of travel rewards credit cards.

Not all roadside assistance benefits are created equal, however — some are simply referral services that can help you reach a service provider.

Other roadside assistance benefits (referred to as premium roadside assistance) can actually provide the services for free or provide a specified dollar amount of coverage to the cardholder to offset the cost of a roadside service call.

Today we’re focusing on premium roadside assistance and the travel rewards cards that offer this benefit. It’s possible you may have the coverage on one of the cards in your wallet right now!

Let’s find out all about how premium roadside assistance can save you time and money, and which cards carry this useful benefit.

What Is Roadside Assistance?

Basic Roadside Assistance or Roadside Dispatch

Roadside assistance (or roadside dispatch, as it can commonly be referred to) usually means you’ll have a dedicated phone line to call for referral services when you have a vehicle roadside emergency.

Services can include towing, tire changes, emergency fuel, and other related vehicle breakdown-related services. Basic roadside assistance coverage comes complimentary on a lot of credit cards.

Although the referral service itself is complimentary, the cardholder is responsible for the cost of any actual services provided. For example, if you were to have a flat tire and call the roadside assistance line, a service provider could be summoned to come change your tire — but you would be responsible for paying the service provider.

Hot Tip: Some basic roadside assistance coverage can also include a preferred pre-negotiated flat rate that is charged the cardholder, such as $59 per service call.

Premium Roadside Assistance

Premium roadside assistance is a step up from roadside dispatch, as the services are provided either at no cost or include a specific maximum benefit amount (such as $50 per service call).

For example, services like towing, lockout service, fixing a flat tire, or providing a small amount of fuel might be provided at no charge, or the cardholder might pay any amount exceeding the maximum benefit limit.

Premium roadside assistance is also a complimentary benefit that is included on several credit cards. Knowing which type of roadside assistance coverage you have can save you plenty if you’re stranded and need help.

Amex Roadside Assistance
Help is just a phone call away if you should break down on the side of the road. Image Credit: American Express

Best Personal Credit Cards for Premium Roadside Assistance

Let’s take a look at some of the best credit cards that currently come with this premium roadside assistance benefit.

American Express

Have peace of mind knowing you’re covered when driving in the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. American Express premium roadside assistance services are available at no cost up to 4 times each calendar year.

The following services are provided:

  • Towing up to 10 miles (cardholder responsible for additional towing beyond 10 miles)
  • Flat tire change to a workable spare
  • Winching
  • Delivery of up to 2 gallons of fuel
  • Lockout service when key is in vehicle

The cardholder must be present with the vehicle to use the service.

The following personal American Express cards have complimentary Premium Roadside Assistance coverage:

Platinum Card® from American Express

American Express® Gold Card

Marriott Bonvoy™ Brilliant American Express® Card

Hilton Honors Aspire Card from American Express

Delta Reserve® Credit Card

How to Use the Service

To use premium roadside assistance any time of the day or night, you can call the number on the back of your card, or 1-855-431-1156.

Exclusions

  • Certain types of vehicles are excluded, such as rental vehicles, motorcycles, taxicabs, unlicensed vehicles, tractors, and trucks over 10,000 lbs gross vehicle weight.
  • Vehicles that have transponder keys may not be eligible for lockout service.
  • Service is not available on restricted roadways.

Hot Tip: American Express premium roadside assistance provides service even if you break down at or near your primary residence. There is no requirement that you be a specific number of miles from home. 

Rental Car View
Roadside assistance coverage can save you plenty if you should break down along the road. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Chase

When you’re stranded with a dead battery, flat tire, or even a mechanical breakdown, Chase’s roadside assistance can help you get back on the road quickly.

Chase provides complimentary roadside assistance when traveling in the U.S. and Canada, up to a limit of $50 per service call, for up to 4 events each calendar year. Cardholders are covered when driving a vehicle they own, a leased vehicle, or a vehicle furnished by the owner.

The following services are provided under Chase’s premium roadside assistance coverage:

  • Towing to nearest facility or location of your choice (cost for towing over 10 miles is charged to the cardholder)
  • Tire changing (installation of your inflated spare tire)
  • Fuel delivery up to 2 gallons
  • Battery boost
  • Lockout service

Any service charges in excess of $50 will be charged to the cardholder’s Chase credit card.

The following Chase credit cards offer premium Roadside Assistance:

How to Use the Service

Only cardholders and authorized users are covered for roadside assistance, regardless of which Chase credit card you have.

The service is available 24/7 by calling 1-888-860-7978. When you call, you’ll need to provide your name, address, vehicle identification number (or make/model/year of the car), the location of the vehicle, and a phone number where you can be reached.

Services are provided on a “sign and drive” basis, which means you do not need to pay the service provider when you receive service. Any excess over the $50 benefit limit, if applicable, will be charged to your Chase credit card.

Exclusions

Emergency road service is not available in “off-road” areas. The service is meant for ordinary vehicles only — so campers, vehicles in tow, commercial vehicles, and trucks with over 1-ton capacity are excluded.

Service is limited to 1 event for the same cause within a 7-day period.

Bottom Line: Chase offers roadside assistance service and provides a benefit of up to $50 for each service call. Coverage is offered in the U.S. and Canada, with a maximum of 4 service calls per year. On some Chase cards, you must be more than 50 miles from home to use the service. 

Amex Platinum Car Rental Insurance
Complimentary roadside assistance can be a helpful benefit if an unexpected breakdown occurs. Image Credit: American Express

Citi

Citi roadside assistance dispatch service provides service calls at no cost to the cardholder in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The following services are included:

  • Towing up to 10 miles and winching (cardholder responsible for towing beyond 10 miles)
  • Flat tire changes when a spare is available
  • Lock-out service when the key is in the vehicle
  • Delivery of up to 2 gallons of emergency fuel
  • Jumpstarts

There are 2 Citi credit cards that come with roadside assistance dispatch service:

How to Use the Service

The service is only available for the cardholder when they are with the vehicle. When you need service, you can call 1-866-506-5222 and you will be referred to a service provider. Have your Citi card handy.

Exclusions

Service is not available in off-road locations.

Motorcycles, recreational vehicles, campers, vehicles in tow, rental cars, commercial vehicles, or trailers with a capacity over 1 ton are not eligible for roadside assistance dispatch service.

Bottom Line: Citi roadside assistance dispatch service covers the cardholder in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Service calls are provided at no cost, and there is not a specified limit as to how many times per year you can use the service.  

Best Business Credit Cards for Premium Roadside Assistance

Several business cards offer premium roadside assistance. The coverage provided on the business version of the card is the same as for the personal version of the card. For example, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express has the same premium roadside assistance benefit as the personal Platinum Card®.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

American Express® Business Gold Card

Delta Reserve® for Business Credit Card

The Plum Card® from American Express

Chase United℠ Explorer Business Card

Final Thoughts

While premium roadside assistance coverage is not a primary reason alone to select a travel rewards card, if you have a lot of credit cards in your wallet, it’s good to know which ones carry this benefit.

In addition, you may be paying for AAA or other roadside assistance programs, but not need the full array of coverage offered with such a membership. If the premium roadside assistance on your credit card is adequate and matches the scope of your driving activity, you may be paying for excess coverage you don’t need.

Ranking the premium roadside assistance provided by the cards we’ve listed in this article, the Citi-branded credit cards offer the best coverage. There is no set limit on the cost of the service call that is provided free of charge. Citi’s coverage also does not require that you be more than a certain number of miles away from home, nor does it limit the number of times per year you can use the service.

The Platinum Card® also does not put a cap on the cost of the service call, but cardholders are limited to using the service 4 times per year.

Chase cards that offer this coverage require you to be away from home, have a cap of 4 uses per year, and limit the coverage to $50 per service call.

It’s important to note that the credit card with the best roadside assistance may not be the best credit card for you overall. There are far more important benefits to consider when selecting a travel rewards card that is going to be the best fit for your situation.


Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

FAQ

How does premium roadside assistance work?

Premium roadside assistance provides a no-cost service call to the cardholder or provides coverage of a specific dollar amount toward a service call.

The cardholder will have a dedicated phone number to call 24/7 in the event of a breakdown. A service provider will then be dispatched to the scene.

Any service received in excess of the allotted coverage, such as towing over 10 miles,  is billed to the member’s credit card.

Which credit card has the best roadside assistance?

The best credit card for roadside assistance is the one that provides a no-cost service call, does not limit how far from your primary residence you need to be to use the service, does not limit the number of times per year you can use it, and does not limit the cost of the service call it covers.

Coverage on the Citi Prestige® and the Citi®/AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard meets these criteria.

However, if you rarely use roadside assistance, a limit of 4 times a year may not matter to you.

Also, the best card for roadside assistance may not be the best overall credit card for you personally. There are other more important benefits to evaluate when selecting the best rewards earning card.

Is there a difference between roadside assistance and premium roadside assistance?

Many credit cards come with a complimentary roadside assistance hotline that will help you find a service provider if you have a roadside breakdown.

This basic roadside assistance coverage can be useful, but the cardholder must pay for all services received.

Some cards come with a premium level of roadside assistance that provides a service call at no cost to the cardholder. Services provided can include tire changing, delivery of a small amount of fuel, jump starts, lockout service, and limited towing.

Other cards offer premium roadside assistance service but cap the amount at a specified cost limit. The cardholder is responsible for any expense incurred beyond that.

Does the roadside assistance on my credit card cover rental cars?

Some cards, like American Express-issued cards, exclude rental cars. Citi cards do not explicitly exclude rental cars, but they state in their terms and conditions that you should contact the rental car company first.

Chase does not specifically exclude rental cars either. The terms and conditions state that covered vehicles include “any vehicle you own or lease, and when you drive a vehicle that is furnished to you by the owner, while traveling away from home.”

It’s always a good rule to call the rental car company first, however, whenever you have a breakdown with a rental car.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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