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Roadside assistance, your credit card’s little-known benefit

In a pinch, this credit card perk can provide the assistance you need

Summary

Roadside assistance can be a valuable credit card perk, but it might not be enough for everyone. Consider how often you’ll use services when deciding if you should invest in extra protections.

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Whether it’s for a flat tire, empty tank or dead battery, no one wants to end up stuck on the side of the road. If you don’t have AAA or a similar roadside assistance service, finding someone to help you out of a tough situation can be incredibly stressful – not to mention expensive.

Luckily, you might have access to roadside dispatch from one of the cards in your wallet. Plenty of credit cards offer the perk just for being a cardholder. Most of these benefits offer 24/7 service and will dispatch the right service to you. You’ll then cover the costs (sometimes a flat fee, sometimes varying by service).

For premium cardholders, you might even have access to roadside assistance services for free a few times per year. Read on to learn which cards offer roadside assistance and what each one covers.

What is roadside assistance?

Roadside assistance – sometimes called roadside dispatch – can refer to a wide variety of services to help drivers out in a pinch. From lockout service to towing, the term serves as an umbrella for any roadside help you might need.

In the case of credit card benefits, roadside dispatch typically refers to a 24/7 customer service line that can serve as a go-between from the customer to the service provider. Rather than leave cardholders to search for a tow company or locksmith themselves, roadside assistance services send out a third party on behalf of the customer – to save you a step.

Which credit cards offer roadside assistance?

There are a wide range of cards that offer some form of roadside assistance. All Visa credit cards are covered by Visa Roadside Dispatch, and select Mastercard holders have access to Master RoadAssist Roadside Service. Some credit card issuers also have their own policies, especially for premium or luxury credit cards – so read on to learn more about which cards are covered and what the benefit includes.

Visa cards

Anyone with a Visa credit card has access to roadside assistance – no matter the issuer. This is a big plus for those with a card from issuers that don’t have a policy of their own. Whether you’re looking for the impressive cash-back rewards offered by the Chase Freedom Unlimited card or the flexible travel rewards offered by the Capital One Venture Rewards card, you’ll also get the peace of mind that comes with access to Visa’s Roadside Dispatch benefit.

To take advantage of Visa roadside assistance, you can call 1-800-847-2869 at any time. For a flat $69.95 fee per service, you can request the following assistance:

  • Towing (up to 5 miles)
  • Tire change (must have your own spare)
  • Jump start
  • Lockout service
  • Fuel delivery (max of 5 gallons, you pay fuel price)
  • Winch

Note that if you need a tow longer than five miles, you’ll need to cover that cost in addition to the flat fee. Towing rates do not apply to vehicles that weigh over 1 ton (2,000 lbs.), and vehicles with a gross weight over 10,000 pounds do not qualify for any of the roadside dispatch benefits.

Mastercards

Select Mastercard credit cards offer Master RoadAssist Roadside Service as part of Mastercard’s larger Travel Assistance benefit. Whether you’re earning 5% cash back on rotating bonus categories with the Chase Freedom Flex or 1.5% cash back on every purchase with the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, you’ll be able to use Mastercard’s roadside assistance to help you resolve common roadside issues.

Like Visa Roadside Dispatch, the Master RoadAssist program is not free. Instead, Mastercard will pre-negotiate fees on common roadside assistance services and automatically bill your Mastercard account.

Services covered by Master RoadAssist include assistance on common roadside emergencies, such as:

  • Jump-starts
  • Towing
  • Gas delivery
  • Tire changes

Call 1-800-Mastercard (1-800-627-8372) to access your Master RoadAssist benefits, and Mastercard will work with you to get the help you need. If you are unclear whether your Mastercard offers the Travel Assistance benefit that includes Master RoadAssist, please reach out to your credit card issuer.

Premium credit cards

Some credit card issuers reward their premium cardholders with additional roadside assistance benefits. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, for example, you qualify for additional roadside assistance through Chase. This more premium perk sets cardholders up with the same services as Visa’s Roadside Dispatch, but instead of charging a flat fee per service, Chase roadside assistance will cover up to $50 on the service up to four times per year. To request roadside assistance through Chase, call 1-866-860-7978.

Premium credit cards often come with high annual fees, but the perks and discounts associated with the card can balance out the cost of the annual fee – if you are able to take advantage of them!

Final thoughts

If you have a car that breaks down often, you might consider investing in a roadside assistance program with an annual fee – like triple AAA – instead of relying on programs that charge per use. In all other cases, however, the benefit provided by your credit card can be great to use in a pinch – setting you up with the service you need at any time of day.

Plus, some premium cardholders can even get the cost for common roadside services covered as part of their card’s benefits. Be sure to carefully scan your card’s benefits guide when you sign up, so you don’t miss out on great coverage like this.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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