Is an AARP Membership Still Worth It? You Decide
What Is AARP?
AARP is a nonprofit organization for Americans nearing the age of retirement. Members receive discounts on everything from healthcare and travel to financial services, shopping and entertainment. The group also provides advice on careers, caregiving and other topics important to people 50 and over.
AARP publishes “AARP The Magazine,” a print publication with celebrity interviews, health and tech feature articles, recipes and entertainment reviews. It’s the most-circulated magazine in the U.S. and is available in print and on Apple News+.
How Old Do You Have To Be To Join AARP?
Full membership is available to anyone age 50 and up, even if you’re not retired or nearing retirement. Associate memberships are available to younger individuals, although some benefits might be limited.
How Much Does AARP Membership Cost?
AARP membership is $16 a year. AARP is currently running a promotion offering 25% your first year when you sign up for automatic renewal, making your initial annual fee $12. Otherwise, can still get your membership for $14 — a 12% discount — every year when you choose an annual auto-renewing subscription.
Other AARP membership options include:
- $43 for 3 years: One-time payment earns you 10% off the annual rate for three years
- $63 for 5 years: One-time payment saves you 21% on the annual rate for five years
AARP Membership Benefits and Discounts at a Glance
When you join, you are eligible to receive discounts on a wide range of products and services. The following are just some of the discounts you can receive and resources you can expect to gain access to:
|Retail||Tanger Outlets, 1-800-Flowers.com, Harry & David, Schwan’s Home Delivery, Walgreens, The UPS Store|
|Travel||Avis, Budget car rentals, Payless Car Rental, Zipcar Car sharing, cruise packages, flights, hotels, roadside assistance, travel planning|
|Restaurants||Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Denny’s and Rainforest Cafe, Bonefish Grill, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Outback Steakhouse, Landry’s|
|Entertainment||Ticketmaster, Regal Cinemas, Ancestry|
|Advocacy||AARP State Offices, AARP Foundation Litigation|
|Community Events||AARP in Your City, AARP Block Party|
|Healthcare||Dental, vision and short- and long-term care insurance, pet insurance and Medicare-eligible plans, prescription medications|
For a complete list of benefits and terms conditions, you can visit AARP’s Member Benefits page.
What Benefits Does AARP Provide?
AARP has an exhaustive list of member benefits, including discounts that could pay for your membership the first time you use them.
AARP Travel Benefits
AARP’s benefits page shows you travel-related car rentals, packages and deals you can receive. For example, you can get $100 off per person if you sign up for a Grand European Travel package for one of over 30 river cruises in Europe, Asia and Egypt. You can also save 50% on select river cruises in addition to the $100 discount, and get 10% off stays at a long list of hotels and resorts.
Here are some other travel perks members receive:
- 5% off Vacations by Rail cruise tours
- $65 to $200 off British Airways flights
- 12% off reservations at Park Ride Fly USA locations, plus luggage assistance and airport shuttle
AARP Shopping Discounts
You can use your AARP membership for discounts at a variety of retailers. For example, members get a coupon book worth up to $1,000 from Tanger Outlets, 20% off gourmet gifts from Harry & David and 5% to 15% off products and services at The UPS Store.
Other shopping discounts include:
- 20% off baked goods at Wolferman’s
- 20% of your first $50 order from Schwan’s Home Delivery
- Free printable grocery coupons
Additional AARP Member Benefits
Besides travel perks and shopping discounts, an AARP membership provides discounts, services and resources that can help you maximize your retirement benefits:
- Financial planning resources and free tax and financial advice
- Special rates on banking and investment services
- Discounts on prescriptions
- Legal counsel and advocacy
- Life, property and vehicle insurance options
- AARP Resume Advisor and other career and business support
- Technology and wireless perks
- AARP Rewards for taking advantage of the features on its website
- Apps, books, podcasts, TV and video, and AARP The Magazine
- Games, quizzes, sweepstakes and other entertainment
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What Is the AARP Telephone Number?
Call the AARP phone number if you can’t find what you’re looking for on the site: 888-OUR-AARP or 888-687-2277.
The hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.
- For Spanish: 877-342-2277
- International: +1-202-434-3525
For people who are hearing-impaired, dial 711:
- English: 877-434-7598
- Spanish: 866-238-9488
How To Join AARP
Joining AARP using the group’s web portal is easy. Here’s how to do it:
- Visit the signup portal.
- Fill out the form with your name, birthday, address and spouse’s information, if applicable.
- Create an online AARP account using an email address.
- Select a membership duration.
- Accept the terms and conditions by clicking on the box.
- Proceed to billing.
- Enter your billing information and submit.
If you have any questions, you can contact AARP by calling 1-800-566-0242 between 7:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. EST Monday-Friday, or chat online with a rep by clicking on the small red circular chat button on the lower right hand side of the webpage.
Once you submit your online application, you can start enjoying your member benefits right away by downloading the AARP Now app for member access from your smartphone. Your AARP membership card should arrive in the mail in two to three weeks.
Good To Know
Various coupon sites have digital coupons for AARP memberships. The promotions range from a free gift when you join to a free associate membership with a $15 Walgreens purchase.
Drawbacks of Joining AARP
AARP is an advocacy group, and as such, it lobbies national and state governments on issues affecting older Americans. That might be a good thing if you agree with AARP on the issues it tries to influence — but it’s not so good if your membership money supports initiatives you oppose.
Another potential problem to consider is the amount of junk mail your membership is likely to generate, including from AARP itself. Early and incessant renewal solicitations, sometimes leading people to believe incorrectly their membership is about to expire, are a frequent source of complaints from current members.
Should You Enroll in AARP?
Is AARP worth it? For most people age 50 and older, it’s a great deal, as long as you’re comfortable with the group’s lobbying efforts and can stand the junk mail. Just one night in a hotel or a couple of dinners out per year can cover the cost of membership and then some.
Healthcare and financial discounts and resources are also outstanding — and especially helpful during your transition to retirement. If you’re still not convinced, consider a one-year auto-renewing membership to see what kind of discounts you receive and how often you take advantage of the other benefits. Considering how much you get for your money, you stand to gain a lot more than you stand to lose.
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- AARP. "What Guides AARP's Policies, Adovcacy and Services.."
- MagazinLine Blog. 2021. "The 50 Most Popular Magazines in the U.S."
- Ballotpedia. "AARP."