Roadside assistance is something you never think about—until you need it. Having one of these credit cards in your wallet will ensure you're never caught off guard. Use this guide to choose the option that's right for your spending habits and needs.
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Add “roadside assistance” to the list that includes a plunger, first-aid kit and a screwdriver small enough to fix your sunglasses: “Things you don’t realize you need, until you need them.” But it can feel like you won the lottery when you’re stranded on the highway during a good ol’ Canadian snowstorm, and you discover your credit card has this perk. That’s why we rounded up the best credit cards with free roadside assistance.
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You know credit cards can help you earn travel points or cash back, but roadside assistance is a less-celebrated perk. Still, it’s worth considering when choosing which credit card you want in your wallet. Roadside assistance could cost $70 or more a year if you pay directly for a membership from CAA or another provider. Depending on where you live, the price of a tow can vary, but without a membership plan, some Canadians have been gouged $4,000 in fees for a single tow. When you have roadside assistance as a built-in service on your credit card, you can get emergency towing, flat tires fixed, gasoline delivery when you’ve stuck, your dead battery revived, access to your car when you’ve locked the keys inside, and much more. The value of those emergency services makes the annual fee on the credit card worth paying, plus some cards waive that cost the first year, so it’s a win-win for this kind of perk.
You might not expect a bank to offer roadside assistance, but TD does: Its Deluxe Auto Club membership comes along with the TD Cash Back Visa Infinite credit card. Roadside assistance coverage is 24/7, and the service calls are unlimited. The max towing distance is 200 kilometres to the nearest appropriate service centre. Also included are emergency tire changes, winching, battery boost, lost key lockout assistance, emergency fuel delivery, and even stolen vehicle emergency services and claims (accommodations, transportation, personal necessities, etc.). Get up to $200 in meals and/or accommodation reimbursement when you’re stranded due to an auto incident. And if you’re in need of legal advice for an automotive incident, in certain circumstances, you can receive up to $300 towards fees you paid. Travel planning and emergency car rental reimbursement are also part of the package.
Annual fee: $120 (waived for the first year)
Welcome bonus: Earn 10% cash back on all purchases for the first 3 months (up to total spend of $2,000) when you apply for the card online. After that continue to earn 6% cash back on gas and grocery purchases, and pre-authorized payments for the first three months (up to a total spend of $3,500). Must apply before September 5, 2022. Quebec residents, please click here.
Earn rate: 3% cash back on gas, grocery and recurring bill payments; 1% on all other purchases
Annual income requirement: $60,000, or $100,000 as a household
Additional benefits: Deluxe TD Auto Club membership; some medical insurance
The Triangle World Elite Mastercard includes a Roadside Assistance Gold Plan that is worth $99 annually. The program includes towing for distances up to 200 kilometres per service call, with a flatbed or specialty equipment, and unlimited tows to Canadian Tire locations. Plus you get battery boosts, flat-tire changes, lockout service, fuel delivery and, should you get stuck in a ditch, extrication and winching. You’ll also have 24/7 service across Canada and the U.S. This package is perfect for frequent road-trippers and people with long commutes. And the rewards are tailored to people who shop regularly at Canadian Tire (along with Sport Chek, Mark’s and Party City). Purchases at these retailers will earn you 4% back in Canadian Tire (CT) Money. Shop at grocers, excluding Costco and Walmart, to get 3% back in CT Money. Fuel spends at Gas+ and participating Husky locations have a return of $0.05 to $0.07 on the litre. Your accumulated CT Money can be redeemed at Canadian Tire and participating retailers. Plus, cardholders receive exclusive discounts and offers on oil changes, car washes, entertainment, shopping, travel, hotels, attractions and more. You can apply online for instant credit and find out if you’re approved right away.
Annual fee: $0
Welcome bonus: None
Earn rate: 3% in CT Money on the first $12,000 annually at grocery stores excluding Walmart and Costco; 4% in CT Money on qualifying purchases at Canadian Tire, Sport Chek, Mark’s/L’Équipeur, Atmosphere, Party City, Sports Rousseau, Hockey Experts, L’Entrepôt du Hockey and participating Sports Experts stores; and 7¢ per litre in CT Money on premium fuel, and 5¢ per litre on all other fuel types at Gas+/Essence+ locations and participating Husky stations
With the BMO CashBack World Elite credit card, you get basic coverage access to the roadside assistance program with Dominion Automobile Association (DAA) for free—it costs $69 annually on its own. Coverage is 24/7, and you get up to four service calls per year. The maximum distance for towing is 10 kilometres. The service includes emergency tire changes, winching, battery boost, lost key lockout assistance and emergency fuel delivery. Coverage is free for additional cardholders.
Annual fee: $120 (waived for your first year)
Welcome bonus: 10% cash back on every $100 charged for the first 3 months (maximum $2,000)
Earn rate: 1.5% cash back on purchases
Additional benefits: Travel insurance, including on interruptions, cancellations and delays of trips; car rental accident insurance; Mastercard Airport Experiences membership; purchase protection and extended warranty
Annual income requirement: $80,000 or $150,000 as a household
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