Every car (should) comes with two keys – incase you lose one or something happens, you always have a backup. But what if you’re an idiot like me who got locked out of his car with the primary key in ignition and secondary key in the trunk with no way in?
Do you call your insurance to send over roadside assistance and risk an increase in your premiums? Do you break into your own vehicle or just sit and stare into the unknown saying to yourself “you’re an idiot”?
The answer ? You are an idiot but also a genius and here’s why!
American Express Premium Roadside Assistance
NOTE: AMEX is stripping this “free” perk from all of its cards starting 1 January 2020.
When I got my AMEX Gold card, I had to pay a $250 annual fee but I knew I would get positive expected value from the card thanks to the earning categories, transfer partners and airline/dining credits. However, I also knew I’d potentially save money if I was ever in a dicey situation – say involving my vehicle.
The AMEX Gold card offers a “Premium Roadside Assistance” benefit that card members can call 1-855-431-1156 up to four times per year to arrange for assistance. American Express will arrange assistance and pay for eligible third-party charges related to towing less than 10 miles, winching, jump starts, flat tire change when you have a workable spare, lockout service or delivery of up to two gallons of fuel. If towing exceeds 10 miles, the card-member will be charged $3 per mile.
Sometime mid July, I was riding with a friend in her Toyota Corolla when we hit debris on the freeway and unfortunately pulled over to two front flat tires. While she panicked, I calmly called American Express and they arranged for a tow truck to take us to the nearest tire shop which happened to be 7.5 miles away (Discount Tire).
The process was simple, they asked me for my car Make, Model, Year and mileage and that was all. I didn’t mention to them the vehicle wasn’t mine and they didn’t ask. I shortly received a text with a tracking link and in about 20 minutes, the car was being towed onto the truck.
The process was seamless with the tow truck driver calling me and asking my location and arrived well before the ETA.
My friend was pretty relieved once she found out the towing service was free (would’ve costed ~$250 otherwise) as her insurance did not offer free assistance.
Unfortunately, I did not take screenshots or pictures of the process because I was busy trying to calm her down and focus on our safety while stuck at the side of the freeway. This incident took place in the afternoon.
Now coming to my recent incident of stupidity locking myself out with both keys in the car. With many cars that do not have a way to get to the trunk from the back seat, having a key stuck in the trunk is really a bad situation to be in. In most cases it requires breaking the trunk latch to get in. Luckily for me, I had one key in the ignition of my car so the process was much simpler.
When I realized I locked myself out, I immediately called AMEX benefits and they arranged for a local serviceman to swing by. ETA was 45mins but he was there in 10mins. Same as before, I received a link which served as a tracker and brief bio of the person coming.
The serviceman took less than a minute using the shadiest method I’ve ever seen and was into my car without causing any damage whatsoever. The service would’ve costed me ~$75-100. This incident took place in the evening.
I still have two more “passes” if you may to use before this great perk is dissolved come 2020 on all AMEX cards. I got my AMEX Gold card back in March 2019 and I’ve already made use of the $100 Airline Credit, about $90 of the dining credits and ~$350 in roadside assistance – not to mention all the MR points I’ve accumulated so far.
This is one of my favorite cards right after the Chase Sapphire Reserve which also offers roadside assistance but only upto $50/incident.
Should you get this card? Absolutely! But to learn more and calculate the value you’d receive, check out the my article on the AMEX Gold card.