AMA's Ashley Pharand flashes her membership whenever she can to earn discounts and rewards (photo: Cooper & O'Hara Photography)

Q&A: AMA membership guru Ashley Pharand

By Paul Gallant

People sometimes tease Ashley Pharand about her passion for AMA. At dinner parties, her boyfriend has been known to nudge her to try another subject. At a wedding, friends caught her smoothing out the bubbles in the AMA decal on her car. In spite of the friendly ribbing, the manager of membership marketing is determined to make sure Albertans know how to get maximum value out of their AMA membership.

I’ve heard you’re quite the bargain hunter.
Around here they lovingly call me the coupon lady (though I’m not really). But for the past few years, I have created this master spreadsheet for holiday shopping. I put in the names of the people I’m buying for, what I want to get for them and where I can buy those things. Then I watch for deals! If retailers are part of AMA’s eStore, I keep my eyes open for a two- or three-times reward dollars event—so I get more money back in my AMA account. A lot of people don’t realize one reward dollar is equal to one dollar.

How has AMA membership evolved?
We’re definitely more than roadside assistance. We still protect drivers when their cars break down, but we help beyond the road too. We’ve always had a good range of automotive and services partners in our AMARewards portfolio, but we’re always adding more dining and shopping partners, as well as eStore and entertainment offers. If you’re a shopaholic or renovating your home—or even getting married—your AMA card can save you a lot of money.

What is the most underappreciated benefit of AMA membership?
Trip Collision Reimbursement. Every member gets some level of coverage if they’re on a road trip more than 125 kilometres away from home. At the basic level, we’ll reimburse you up to $300 for things like food and lodging; for Plus it’s $600. With Premier membership, there’s also Trip Interruption Protection, which nets you up to $2,000, including a portion allotted to vehicle return in the event you’re too sick to continue on your road trip.

You recently upgraded your own AMA membership to the Premier level. Why?
Premier used to be by invitation only, but we recently added functionality in your online account, so you can now upgrade anytime throughout your membership year. That—combined with the fact that I get more of the coverage I already love—made it a no-brainer for me to upgrade.


It can take an entire village just to shuffle kids from school to hockey games and other after-school activities and back home again. In September 2015, AMA introduced Kids Go Free, allowing Plus or Premier members to add children (15 and under) to their membership—for free. Kids get their own membership card, allowing them to call for roadside assistance, regardless of whose vehicle they’re in. Plus, the primary member gets a phone call letting them know what’s going on.