*Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.
This article was last updated Dec 20, 2018. Terms and conditions may have changed. For the most accurate information, please consult the issuer website.
When you need roadside assistance, AAA can be a lifesaver for its members. The company has become the leading source for emergency car repairs in America and has been around since 1902.
If you are one of the more than 55 million AAA members in the country, you may want to consider getting the AAA Member Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card, issued by Bank of America. It offers good points per $1 spent in categories such as travel, gas and groceries.
We take a look at the pros and cons of the AAA Member Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card and compare it with the Citi Premier® Card, which offers similar travel and gas benefits.
Where the AAA Member Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card stands out
Receive a $150 statement credit after you make at least $500 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening as a sign-up bonus. You earn 3X points on on eligible travel and AAA purchases, 2X points on gas, grocery store and drugstore purchases, and 1 point per $1 on purchases everywhere else. The card has a $0 annual fee.
The top point categories cover purchases made with the card for AAA Club services, airlines, car rentals, hotels and resorts, cruise lines, travel agencies, commuter transport/ferries and passenger railways. A lesser number of points are awarded for purchases covering gas, grocery stores, drugstores and pharmacies.
You can redeem your points for AAA rewards vouchers, travel, gift cards and cash back. Points can be redeemed at 1%; for example, 5,000 points equals $50. Point redemption begins at 2,500 points for air travel, 3,500 points for gift cards and 5,000 points for cash and AAA rewards vouchers. To book your travel, go to the AAA Travel Center. Your points will be deducted from your account based on the point value of your travel on the date requested.
Cash rewards are issued as a statement credit, a check or an electronic deposit into a Bank of America checking or savings account, or to an eligible Cash Management Account with Merrill Lynch Wealth Management or Merrill Edge. The current redemption value for a cash rewards check or deposit into a checking or savings account is 1% of the amount of points redeemed. So, 10,000 points would equal $100.
Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards clients can increase their cash back rate, based on the amount of money they have deposited into their accounts. Gold membership gives a 25% bonus, platinum gives 50% and platinum honors gives 75%.
You have the choice of automatically renewing your AAA membership on the card. Card members also get a free FICO® score on their monthly statements.
Where the AAA Member Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card falls short
There are restrictions on where you can earn points with this card. In the gas category, you don’t get higher points at superstores and wholesale clubs that sell gasoline. You also won’t earn higher grocery points at superstores, discount stores and wholesale clubs.
If you’re earning bonus points as a Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards client, they are only applied to earning 1 point per $1, not the total number of bonus points you earn in each category. AAA clubs located in Northern California, Nevada and Utah are not participating AAA Clubs, so purchases made at those clubs will not earn the top points per $1 spent.
While there are no limits on the points you can earn, they expire five years after the month they were earned. And if you close the account, you will forfeit any points you have accumulated.
And if you’re looking for travel and purchase perks, you won’t get them with this card.
Compare it with the Citi Premier® Card
Earn 3X points per $1 spent on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels and 1X per $1 spent on all other purchases
Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
No Foreign Transaction Fees
- Earn 60,000 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
- 60,000 Points are redeemable for $600 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
See additional details for Citi Premier® Card
This card is a good option for those who want more points for spending in the travel, gas and dining categories. It starts with a robust sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. That converts into $600 in gift cards redeemed in the ThankYou® Rewards collection.
But those points can convert into $750 if you choose to spend them in the ThankYou® Travel Center on any airline, with no blackout dates. Points can also be redeemed for hotel rooms, car rentals, cruises, vacation packages and destination excursions. You can use your points to pay for flights on any airline via the ThankYou.com website with no blackout dates, minimum stay or Saturday night stay requirements. After paying for a ticket with the card, you can have the points deducted and get a rebate on your statement.
You Earn 3X points per $1 spent on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels and 1X per $1 spent on all other purchases . The card has a generous definition of travel, covering airfare, hotels, car rental agencies, ridesharing services, gas stations, public transportation, tolls and parking. Dining and entertainment includes restaurants, music downloads, movie theaters and concerts.
If you belong to these airline loyalty programs — Asia Miles, Avianca LifeMiles, Etihad Guest Miles, EVA Air’s Infinity MileageLands, Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue, Garuda Indonesia, JetBlue’s TrueBlue, Jet Airways’ JetPrivilege, Malaysia Airlines Enrich, Qantas Points, Qatar Privilege Club, Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Thai Airways’ Royal Orchid Plus, Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club — you can transfer your points to them starting at only 1,000 points.
There’s no expiration or limit on the number of points you can earn with this card. You can use a mix of points and your credit card if you don’t have enough to cover airfare, and the card carries a 0% foreign transaction fee.
The card has an annual fee of $95. While it’s nice to get a generous sign-up bonus, be aware of the spending you must do to get it.
There are other cards besides the Citi Premier® Card that have more airline loyalty program partners for points transfers. For example, you can’t transfer your points to hotel loyalty programs with this card. Like the AAA Member Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card, this card doesn’t come with travel and purchase protection perks.
|AAA Member Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card||Citi Premier® Card|
|Regular purchase APR||15.49% to 25.49% variable||15.99% - 23.99% (Variable)|
|Rewards||3X points on on eligible travel and AAA purchases, 2X points on gas, grocery store and drugstore purchases, and 1 point per $1 on purchases everywhere else||Earn 3X points per $1 spent on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels and 1X per $1 spent on all other purchases|
|Sign-up bonus||Receive a $150 statement credit after you make at least $500 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening||Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening|
|Foreign transaction fee||None||0%|
The bottom line
The AAA Member Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card can be a good option if you’re an AAA member and spend regularly on travel, gas and grocery stores, along with AAA-related spending. But the card doesn’t come with a lot of perks, and there’s an expiration date on the points you earn.
The Citi Premier® Card offers higher points for travel (including gas), along with dining and entertainment, but the lowest points for groceries. You have to like a card that gives you bonus points when you book travel through its rewards portal and allows you to transfer points to global airline loyalty programs.
So it comes down to what you want more — a card tied to the travel benefits of AAA or one that offers more generous points in the top spending categories and expansive definitions in the travel and dining categories.
The information related to the AAA Member Rewards Visa Signature® Credit Card has been independently collected by CompareCards and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.