Best credit cards that offer roadside assistance

Jan 20, 2021

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Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new card details and information. 

Need a jump or help with a flat tire? When things go wrong, especially on the road, it can be easy to panic and forget about all the options you have. However, one or more of your credit cards may provide a roadside assistance benefit that can help.

The level of assistance and terms vary widely, though. Some cards cover assistance up to a certain amount per event. But, many only arrange help and leave you to pay the bill. As such, today I’ll discuss the different types of roadside assistance provided by select credit cards.

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In This Post

The best credit cards with roadside assistance in 2021

Comparing the best cards offering roadside assistance

Card Sign-up bonus Rewards rate Roadside assistance type Annual fee
Chase Sapphire Reserve 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening 3x points on travel and dining

1x points on everything else

Covers up to $50 for each service event, up to four events each year $550
United Explorer Card 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 25,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months. 2x miles on purchases with United, at restaurants and on hotel accommodations when booked directly with the hotel

1x miles on everything else

Covers up to $50 for each service event, up to four events each year $95 (waived first year)
Chase Freedom Unlimited $200 bonus after spending $500 in their first 3 months of account opening 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards

3% cash back on drug store purchases and dining at restaurants

1.5% cash back on other purchases

Provides select services at a flat fee per service call $0
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. 2x miles on everything else Provides select services at a set price per service call $95
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card 50,000 points after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening 2x points on travel and dining purchases

2 points for every $1 spent on grocery store purchases- now through 12/31/21.

1.5x points on all other purchases

Provides select services for a set rate $95

 

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of the best credit cards for roadside assistance.

Chase Sapphire Reserve

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening.

Rewards rate:

  • 3x Chase Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining
  • 1x points on everything else

Roadside benefit: Roadside assistance benefit covers up to a maximum of $50 per service event, up to four events each year

Annual fee: $550

Even after Amex added some travel protections to select cards, the Chase Sapphire Reserve has remained my pick for the best overall travel rewards card. After all, the travel and shopping protections offered by the card are solid. And earning 3x points on travel and dining results in an effective 6% return based on TPG’s valuations.

You likely won’t sign up for the Sapphire Reserve solely due to its roadside assistance benefit. But, it’s one more reason to consider getting the card if you travel at least semi-frequently.

Related reading:

Apply here for the Chase Sapphire Reserve

United Explorer Card

United Explorer Card
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 25,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months.

Rewards rate:

  • 2x United miles on purchases with United, at restaurants and on hotel accommodations when booked directly with the hotel
  • 1x miles on everything else

Roadside benefit: Roadside assistance benefit covers up to a maximum of $50 for each service event, up to four events each year

Annual fee: $95 (waived first year)

The United Explorer Card is the lowest annual-fee card to provide complimentary roadside assistance of up to $50 per service event, up to four times each year.

Plus, the United Explorer Card can also help you defeat basic economy. After all, you’ll get priority boarding and the first checked bag free on United-operated flights for you and one companion on the same reservation when you use your card for the flight purchase. So, the United Explorer Card can make financial sense even if you usually only pay to check a bag a few times each year on United flights.

Related reading:

Apply here for the United Explorer Card

Chase Freedom Unlimited

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: Earn a $200 bonus after spending $500 in their first three months of account opening.

Rewards rate:

  • 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants
  • 1.5% cash back on everything else

Roadside benefit: Roadside dispatch benefit provides access to select roadside services at a flat fee per service call

Annual fee: None

The Chase Freedom Unlimited is an excellent starter card and one of the top choices for everyday spending. And, it can become one of the most rewarding cards in your wallet if you plan to get a Chase Ultimate Rewards card such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card in the future.

After all, even though the Freedom Unlimited earns cash back, you can save your cash back until you get a card that earns Ultimate Rewards points. Then, you could turn your cash back into Ultimate Rewards points. Based on TPG’s valuation of Ultimate Rewards points at two cents each, you can get about double the return when you redeem Ultimate Rewards points for travel instead of cash back.

Related reading:

Apply here for the Chase Freedom Unlimited

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Card
(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus Capital One Venture Rewards miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months of account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

Rewards rate:

  • 2x miles on everything else

Roadside benefit: Roadside dispatch benefit provides access to select roadside services at a set price per service call

Annual fee: $95

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a popular credit card that earns miles that can be redeemed at a fixed rate of one cent or transferred to travel partners. Based on the value you can get from transferring your miles to travel partners, TPG values Capital One miles at 1.4 cents each. All purchases earn at least 2x miles, so you don’t have to worry about determining whether a purchase will earn bonus rewards.

Related reading:

Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 points after you make at least $3,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

Rewards rate:

  • 2x points on travel and dining
  • 2x points for every $1 spent on grocery store purchases- now through 12/31/21.
  • 1.5x points on all other purchases

Roadside benefit: Roadside dispatch benefit provides access to select roadside services at a set price

Annual fee: $95

The Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card is one of the highest-earning cash back credit cards — but only if you belong to the highest tier — Platinum Pro — of the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program. At this tier, which requires you to maintain a three-month average balance of $100,000 or more in qualifying Bank of America and Merrill investment accounts, you’ll get a 75% rewards bonus on the points earned by the Premium Rewards card. So, you’d earn 3.5 points per dollar spent on travel and dining, as well as 2.625 points per dollar spent on everything else.

Related reading:

Roadside assistance provided by select Chase cards

Stressed man sitting after a car breakdown with Red triangle of a car on the road
(Photo by TuiPhotoengineer/Getty Images)

The Chase Sapphire Reserve and United Explorer Card provide roadside assistance when you’re stranded away from home in the U.S. or Canada with a roadside emergency. Call the number on the back of your card and they’ll arrange assistance. When using this assistance, you’ll be covered up to a maximum of $50 for each service event, up to four events each year.

These Chase cards offer coverage when you are traveling away from home and driving a vehicle you own, lease or that is furnished to you by the owner. Although the guide to benefits for both cards note that you must be “away from home,” no minimum distance away from home is defined in the most recent guides to benefits, found here:

Coverage includes battery boost, flat tire service (if you have an inflated spare), fuel delivery (up to two gallons), towing (up to $50) and locksmith services (up to $50). Self-propelled, four-wheel vehicles designed, licensed and used for private on-road transportation — as well as trucks with a carrying capacity of up to 2,000 pounds — are covered, although commercial vehicles are not.

Three additional Chase cards — the Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card, the United Club Card and the United Presidential Plus Card — also offer this type of roadside assistance but are no longer available to new cardholders.

Related: Here are all the ways you can earn bonus points with Chase cards right now

Roadside dispatch provided by all Visa credit cards

Vehicle broken down with stressed man
(Photo by Goluba Photo/Shutterstock)

All Visa cardholders have access to roadside dispatch by calling 800-847-2869. This assistance gets you the following services for a set rate (currently $69.95) per service call:

  • Standard towing (up to five miles included for vehicles that weigh 10,000 pounds or less)
  • Tire changing (must have good, inflated spare)
  • Jump starting
  • Lockout service (no key replacement)
  • Fuel delivery (up to five gallons; you pay the cost of fuel)
  • Standard winching (within 100 feet of paved or county maintained road only)

Even Visa credit cards with no annual fee include this type of protection.

Related: How to choose the best Visa card for you

Roadside benefits provided by other credit cards

Older vehicle on country road
(Photo by Stefan Widua/Unsplash)

Although roadside assistance is no longer a benefit on most Citi and American Express cards, some other cards still offer roadside assistance as a benefit. However, many only help with arranging services that you then need to pay for yourself. This benefit can still be valuable since it saves you from needing to find a provider on your own — especially when you’re traveling. But, you might end up with a large bill.

Related: The best credit cards with travel insurance

How does credit card roadside assistance compare to AAA?

I keep a AAA membership for the discounts and benefits it provides, especially at hotels and amusement parks. So, I’ll usually call AAA if I need roadside assistance. But if you only maintain your AAA membership for roadside assistance, it may not be as necessary as you’d previously assumed if you have a credit card such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or the United Explorer Card. After all, these cards offer complimentary roadside assistance up to $50 four times each year.

Some other credit cards — including all Visa cards — provide paid access to roadside assistance. This access may be adequate if you don’t utilize the benefit too frequently. Just remember that the roadside assistance benefit supplied by some credit cards technically requires you to be traveling away from home. So, the benefit might not apply if your car battery goes dead in your driveway.

Related: 7 mistakes every road tripper makes at least once

Bottom line

Roadside assistance, like travel insurance, is a benefit that’s easy to forget about because it’s one you hope never to need. You likely won’t be applying for any new cards solely based on their roadside benefits. But, it’s worth figuring out if any of your current cards offer roadside assistance benefits. After all, it’s always good to know who to call for the cheapest and fastest fix if you need roadside assistance.

Featured photo by Maradon 333/Shutterstock.

Updated on 5/3/21.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 100,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $2,000

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Our best offer ever! Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,250 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 100,000 points are worth $1,250 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
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Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.