The spontaneity of a road trip is part of the appeal. Whether you’re driving from point A to point B or slowly making your way across our great country, anything can happen during the journey. Unfortunately, an unexpected event could also include getting stranded on the side of the road due to a breakdown, flat tire, or the potentially embarrassing moment of running out of gas (gorgeous scenery can be so distracting).
Regardless of the reason for your trip, you won’t want to wait until you’re stranded on the side of the road to know which of your credit cards offers the best roadside assistance.
Roadside assistance card benefits can vary significantly. For example, many cards are equipped with a benefit that offers a basic dispatch referral service, that can simply dispatch a vendor to make the service call. Or, you might find card coverage that offers a service call package for which you’ll pay a set fee.
We’ve previously written about roadside assistance and which cards offer the best coverage but today we’re going to expand on the benefit that comes with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card and on the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.
You’ll find that the coverage offered on our 2 featured cards goes above and beyond the basic dispatch service, but benefits do differ by card. Stay tuned while we look closely at the roadside assistance benefit that comes with these cards and how each one works.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Chase Sapphire Reserve card are travel rewards cards that offer so much more than roadside assistance.
Let’s start with a snapshot of what each card has to offer. Be sure to click on the orange arrows to reveal the key benefits and pros and cons of each card.
Bottom Line: The Chase Sapphire Reserve card has far more premium travel benefits than the Chase Sapphire Preferred card. However, the card comes with a much higher annual fee. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card strikes a balance with a lower annual fee without sacrificing rewards earning, great value at redemption time, and plenty of travel insurance benefits.
What Is Roadside Assistance Coverage?
Credit cards come with all sorts of travel benefits of which roadside assistance, in various levels of coverage, is commonly found. Roadside Dispatch, Roadside Protection, Roadside Assistance, and Premium Roadside Assistance are common terms used for these different levels of coverage. However, the name given to the coverage does not indicate the benefit level you’ll receive, as this differs by card issuer.
For example, Roadside Dispatch may mean that you are provided with a toll-free number that can be used 24/7 to call for referral services to help locate and schedule a service provider. The cardholder would be responsible for the costs of all services received.
Or Roadside Dispatch coverage could mean that you have 24/7 access to a dispatch line that will dispatch a vendor to make the service call, however, you may be charged a flat pre-negotiated fee that will cover a select list of provided services. Any services above and beyond the included services would be the responsibility of the cardholder.
Yet another level of roadside assistance coverage (the name can vary) could include a benefit of a set amount, $50 for example, that is applied to the cost of a service call. You’ll call a toll-free number and a service provider will be dispatched to assist you. Any services beyond the maximum dollar amount per service call benefit are the responsibility of the cardholder.
Roadside assistance benefits can include lockout service, tire changing, emergency fuel delivery, jump-starting, towing, winching, and more.
There are variations of these definitions and even combinations, but generally, these are the levels of roadside assistance you’ll find provided on credit cards.
With this information as a foundation, let’s move on to look at the levels of coverage provided on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Chase Sapphire Reserve card.
Bottom Line: Card issuers use different names for roadside assistance coverage and benefit levels will vary. Your card’s specific Guide to Benefits will have the full benefit description, how to use the service, exclusions, and the terms and conditions for coverage.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Chase Sapphire Reserve Card Roadside Assistance — Summary
Before we get into the details of Chase’s roadside assistance coverage offered on each of our featured cards, let’s look at an overview of the coverages provided.
|Benefit Info||Chase Sapphire Preferred Card — Roadside Dispatch||Chase Sapphire Reserve Card — Roadside Assistance|
|Cost per Service Call||Flat pre-negotiated fee per service call||$0 charge, up to $50 per service call|
|Maximum Service Calls per Year||None stated||4 per year, maximum of 1 in a 7-day period for the same cause|
- Towing, up to 5 miles
- Fuel delivery, up to 5 gallons, cost of fuel not included
- Towing to nearest service facility or location of motorist’s choice
- Fuel delivery, up to 2 gallons at no cost
|Additional Services Included|
- Tire changing with inflated spare
- Lockout service, excluding key replacement cost
- Standard winching
|Availability||U.S.||U.S. and Canada|
Bottom Line: Both the Chase Sapphire Preferred card and Chase Sapphire Reserve card come with roadside assistance that includes limited towing, fuel delivery, tire changing, jump start and lockout service, and standard winching. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card, however, charges a flat fee per service call, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve card includes 4 free service calls each year. Limits apply.
How Chase Roadside Assistance Works
Let’s look at how roadside assistance coverage works on both of our featured cards.
Chase Sapphire Preferred Card
The Roadside Dispatch coverage that comes with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card is an automatic pay-per-use benefit requiring no pre-registration:
- Make The Call — When you call 800-847-2869, you will need to provide your name, location, and problem details.
- Service Provider Assignment — While you are on the phone, a service provider will be dispatched. You will be informed of the applicable fee (currently $59.95) for the service call.
- Payment — You will be expected to pay for the service call at the time of dispatch, plus any additional fees. For example, if you need towing for more than 5 miles, you will be charged for the additional cost.
- Services Received — If you receive services on-site that are not included in the standard benefit, your card will be charged for these services.
Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
The Roadside Assistance coverage that comes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card covers 4 service calls each year — 1 service call within a 7-day period for the same cause, up to a maximum of $50 per event. Like Roadside Dispatch service, there is no need to preregister. Here’s how the coverage works:
- Make The Call — When you call 866-860-7978, you will provide your name, location, vehicle identification number, and problem details.
- Service Provider Assignment — A service provider will be dispatched while you are on the phone.
- Payment — In most cases, when there are no additional services provided beyond those included in the service call, you can just sign and drive at the time of service.
- Services Received — If services are provided beyond those included in the service call benefit, the additional cost will be charged to your associated card.
You are covered as a cardholder for a car you own or lease and for a car that is furnished to you by the owner while traveling away from home.
Hot Tip: You’ll find Roadside Dispatch service offered on Chase Visa credit cards, including the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. Master Roadside Assist is available on select Mastercards such as the Chase Freedom Flex℠.
Everything Else You Need To Know
Roadside assistance may not be available in remote or off-road areas. Commercial vehicles are not eligible for coverage. The dedicated roadside assistance service line is open 24/7.
If you’re driving a rental car and break down, you should call the rental car agency, not Chase roadside assistance. The rental car agency will have its own service provider.
Trucks that carry more than 2,000 pounds are excluded on the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
Services are provided by Cross Country Motor Club on both featured cards.
It’s not often we run out of gas, break down on the side of the road, or lock ourselves out of our vehicle, but when it happens it’s good to know that 1 simple phone call could resolve the issue.
My car battery died unexpectedly at midnight in the winter, during a snow storm, at the airport. I neglected to even think of using my card until after the fact. Fortunately, I was able to get a jump-start for my vehicle from a stranger across the parking lot, but using my Chase Sapphire Reserve card’s Roadside Assistance benefit would have certainly been less stressful.
Knowing the coverages available to you on your credit cards can save you money and help avoid further headaches. Roadside assistance is an example where very little effort can accomplish both.
Unlike many travel insurance coverages that come with our credit cards, roadside assistance does not require you to file a claim or submit supporting documents. You simply call, receive the service, and you’re on your way. And, that’s a win-win.