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Amazon Echo Auto Solves the 'Are We There Yet?' Road Trip Problem

Sept. 21, 2018
3 min read
Amazon Echo Auto Solves the 'Are We There Yet?' Road Trip Problem
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As Amazon forges ahead in its march to put a microphone in everything and connect it with Alexa, the company has unveiled a new gizmo designed to add a connected element to practically any vehicle. While Echo Auto is set to retail for $50, it's being offered at 50% off for a limited time. The natural question, of course, is what value does it bring to your vehicle's cabin?

If you're familiar with Alexa, you're aware that it can do some pretty spiffy things when synced with a connected home. By merely uttering phrases such as "Alexa, please open my garage door," or, "Alexa, adjust the thermostat to 75 degrees," the service can talk to other connected devices to make magic happen. Echo Auto, however, opens up an entirely new set of possibilities for road-tripping families.

If you have a smartphone and a vehicle with a cigarette adapter, you're golden. Just plug the device in, pair with your smartphone and start yapping. The most obvious use here is to let your children play DJ. By asking Alexa to queue up playlists, songs or artists, many miles of open road can zoom by as your little ones take turns asking for the next track.

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But it also adds a layer of practicality. Prior to passengers becoming hangry, you can ask Alexa for the best restaurant nearby, specifying whatever type of cuisine you like. Considering that you're likely passing through unfamiliar territory, Alexa's ability to tap into reviews and recommendations is a real boon. And, once you hear a name you like, it can trigger navigation as well.

Amazon's Echo Auto could make your family road trips more educational. (Photo courtesy of Amazon)

The real fun, however, is in the education and reference department. While kids of yesteryear relied on "I, Spy" and counting cars, colors and license plates, the Echo Auto can turn an otherwise-tedious multi-hour trip to grandma's house into a makeshift discovery session. Translated, one of the many educational skills available through Alexa allows a passenger to ask for a phrase to be spoken back in a new language. The Curiosity skill allows passengers to learn about a random topic — sort of like spinning the Wikipedia wheel. Alexa will ask you which of two topics interests you more, and after you respond, you'll get a summary of that topic. Rinse, repeat and the ride is basically over. There's also a host of games, including Jeopardy, Deal or No Deal and Categories.

It's unlikely that Amazon built the Echo Auto to create an engaging way for families to connect, interact, laugh and learn while road tripping, but that's exactly how it turned out. Plus, because it's portable, you can bring it along for road trips that you fly to. Just make sure to remove it from the rental car before flying back home.

H/T: TechCrunch

Featured image by Amazon Echo Auto (Photo courtesy of Amazon)

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Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases