Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My frustration with AAA Club South

I used to tout the benefits of a AAA membership all the time through my blog and word of mouth to friends and family. Ever since 2006, my husband and driving members of my household have proudly carried the AAA card.

Going into the local office to purchase movie tickets, discounted attraction tickets and get help with trips are some of the best things that they had going. They helped us get set up with a TravelMoney card in 2008. Our favorite AAA representative helped us with an Alaska trip in 2009. She suggested upgrading to a AAA Premier membership. We were satified enough with it to keep the Premier and added RV coverage last year.

Things slid downhill when our local AAA of East Tennessee merged with other clubs. It is now AAA South and a lot of the services moved online. I think that the move stinks.

The wide array of discounted traffic tickets has almost been wiped off the map. You can't go into the local office for a TravelMoney card anymore. The AAA South forces you to use a website that is poorly designed and isn't user friendly. (Check it out for and let me know what you think. The url is http://ww1.aaa.com/services/discounts/main/discountsSearch.html)

My first and second disheartening experiences came when I tried to find discounted attraction tickets on the website for Sevierville, Tennessee. Aquatica, SeaWorld and Universal aren't anywhere near East Tennessee. Why was I offered those choices? Why were they featured prominently on the front page of the Sevierville attractions? It made no sense to me.

Inability to purchase the TravelMoney card shot a hole in my plans to surprise my daughter. We are going with a competitor instead. Who has time to wait for days to get a card? Not me.

Fortunately a few tickets are still offered locally. There isn't any such thing as a printed list anymore. I really miss that list. It was easier and faster to look at a sheet of paper than to play 20 questions with the receptionist on what tickets they offer and what they don't.

My family will probably keep our $243 Premier Membership with RV (for three drivers). Roadside assistance and travel insurance make it worthwhile. We may even turn to them again for the next Disney vacation.

However; I am also going to hope that they develop a printed list of tickets and move more services back to the local AAA offices.