The development of iPhone applications, especially promotional free iPhone applications, are a marketing step in the branding strategy for most large companies. Free iPhone applications like Best Buy Mobile and UPS Mobile are not intended to make money for the corporations on their own. Instead they are intended to spread the brand image, add a certain amount of usability, and effectively draw you in as a committed customer. This is intended to give the illusion of permanence to that corporate entity as it appears to continue to reach your needs. Even though this is an easily seen advertising mechanism they can still be incredibly useful for those that already absolve themselves to the service provided by that company.
AAA is a near necessity for most drivers in the United States and are known mostly for their roadside assistant. What is also true about AAA is that membership wrangles you discounts all around the world at specific locations. AAA has now released mobile applications for the iPhone, yet there are more than one and each have specific features. AAA Roadside for the iPhone is the most commonly used AAA free iPhone application for members, but AAA Discounts is a partner application that focuses in specifically on what you can get for cheap with your AAA card.
AAA Discounts will load itself up as a full service dedicated toward finding you what you can get with the flash of your membership card. The reason that these two different functions are separated into two different AAA iPhone applications is that each needs a full set of resources to be practical and useful. AAA Discounts opens up with the standard iPhone application design of the bottom task bar and the top window for viewing. It will immediately ask you if it can use your current location to find AAA discount locations, and once you allow it you will begin to have all these places catalogued for you.
The bottom task bar gives you different ways to organize the AAA discount locations. Lists will simply give you the different businesses by business type and then name. It will list the address, the distance, and what you save on exactly. You can then select the business to get more information and a directions there using the iPhone Maps function. You can go directly to the Map option in AAA Discounts to see where the locations are on a map, but it is easier to look at Lists and find the type of service you want before you go navigating around a map with pin drops. The Directions tab is similar in that you can select your current location or one of your choosing and then a final one of a AAA discount rated business. Again, it is going to be easier to start on the Lists function to get directions.
Other than finding the specific business you want the only other legitimate function is the Route feature that allows you to set start and stop points for travel. You can already do this in the iPhone Maps function, but AAA has a good reputation in providing accurate directions and this occasionally can be a little more on point.
The More tab is actually a very detailed settings area that allows you to specify all your searches. This will let you install your membership number for appropriate searches and what types of discounts you want to search for. On top of all this there is contact links for roadside assistance if you do not have the other AAA iPhone application.
There is no doubt that having both the AAA iPhone applications is going to be standard for iPhone users that are AAA members. AAA Discounts could include a little more than it does, but that does not take away from the fact that it is going to remain useful for those that want to find discounts while traveling. When you are at home it may be easier to just check the AAA website for discounts, but there is nothing like having a GPS directed map link to your destination.
Four out of five stars.