Best credit cards with roadside assistance in 2020

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It’s never fun having car trouble, especially when you’re out of town and don’t have anyone you can trust to help nearby. Thankfully, there are travel credit cards with roadside assistance to help when you have car issues. This perk can save you money if you’re in an emergency and need a tow or flat tire replacement.

Unfortunately, this benefit is becoming less common as banks cut perks that aren’t used as often. Amex is getting of its roadside assistance benefits in 2020 and that leaves a few Chase credit cards as the last ones with useful roadside assistance.

Best credit cards with roadside assistance in 2020

CardBonusReviewAnnual fee
Chase Sapphire Reserve®50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account.Read our Sapphire Reserve review to learn about all of this card's other valuable travel insurance benefits.$550
United℠ Explorer Card40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.The United Explorer is the perfect companion for the United Airlines traveler.$95, waived the first year.
Few cards offer complimentary roadside assistance, but it’s nice when they do. (Photo by Ivanko80/Shutterstock)

What is credit card roadside assistance?

Roadside assistance via a credit card offers similar perks as a AAA membership. Many of us have AAA memberships anyway, as they give discounts for various things like airport parking, paid hotel stays and even amusement parks.

For all the standard emergency roadside needs, a credit card can do just fine. If your car breaks down and needs towed, you’re covered (up to a certain distance). If your battery dies, you’re covered. If you blow a tire and need a changing, you’re covered. If you lock your keys in your car, you’re covered.

Best credit cards for roadside assistance

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Best premium card

Bonus

The Sapphire Reserve has an intro bonus of 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account.

Roadside assistance benefits

The Sapphire Reserve’s roadside assistance benefit is the best you can get with a rewards credit card. That’s not surprising given how the Sapphire Reserve is loaded with benefits.

The roadside assistance applies vehicles the cardholder owns or is leasing. It can also apply to cars an owner is letting you borrow. You’ll be covered for up to $50 per incident four times per year. This only applies if you’re not at home, but still in the U.S. or Canada. And services that are covered include a dead battery, flat tire, running out of gas, towing and lockout assistance.

To get help you’ll need to call 866-860-7978 and give them your contact info, location of the car and the car’s VIN or make, model and year.

Annual fee

$550

Our take

The Sapphire Reserve is stocked with top-notch travel coverages, like trip delay and lost/delayed baggage insurance. And this perk is minor in comparison, but if having it gets you to skip renewing your AAA membership that could save you $59 or more right there. It’s also something that separates the Reserve from other premium cards, like the Citi Prestige® Card, which currently doesn’t offer any travel insurance perks.

Information for the Citi Prestige card was collected independently by Million Mile Secrets and has not been reviewed by the card issuer.

United℠ Explorer Card

Best for low annual fee

Bonus

The United℠ Explorer Card is currently offering 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Roadside assistance benefits

The Chase United Explorer cards benefits include almost the exact same roadside assistance coverage as the Sapphire Reserve. You’re covered for up to $50 per incident up to four times per year for flat tires, towing, lockout assistance, dead battery and fuel delivery. The coverage applies as long as you’re at least 50 miles from home and in the U.S. or Canada.

Annual fee

$95, waived the first year.

Our take

The United Explorer has its annual fee waived the first year and after that it’s only $95 a year to keep the card. So this is the cheapest option for getting excellent roadside assistance coverage with your card. And as an airline credit card it has other useful perks for United travelers as well. You’ll get access to an increased number of award seats, your first checked bag free and priority boarding.

Roadside assistance with Visa credit cards

Many other credit cards also provide some type of roadside assistance, but you’ll have to pay for it, so it isn’t worth it very often. For example, many Visa cards have a similar roadside benefit, but you’ll often pay a flat fee (the fee varies but is usually around $70) for basic services like:  

  • Towing (up to 5 miles included)
  • Tire changing
  • Battery jump start
  • Lockout service
  • Fuel delivery (up to 5 gallons and the cost of fuel not included)

To use this service call 800-847-2869.

Roadside assistance with non-Visa credit cards

Prominent banks like Amex and Citi don’t offer roadside assistance on most of their cards. Cards that do come with the perk often do little more than putting you in contact with companies that can help you — you’ll still have to pony up for the fees incurred to tow your vehicle, deliver gas, etc.

While it’s still a handy benefit, and may ease your apprehension to rent a car while you’re traveling, you could end up paying quite a bit for your trouble. And you may very well be able to better find your own help via a quick google search.

How we chose the best credit cards for roadside assistance

This comparison zeroes-in on the cards that are most helpful to you when you’re in a bind on the side of the road. Welcome offers and valuable ongoing travel perks take a back seat with this list. But when the featured cards offer nearly identical coverage, we also highlight the difference in annual fees and other tangential benefits.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is the best premium travel credit card that offers roadside assistance. If you won’t use its plethora of travel perks, go for the far less expensive United℠ Explorer Card, which also offers a large variety of travel benefits and coverages. Let us know your favorite roadside assistance credit card!

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Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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