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Is an AARP Membership Worth It for Travelers? [Best Benefits]

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Jarrod West
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A membership with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is often overlooked as a great resource for travel discounts and benefits. In fact, an AARP membership can provide members with big savings across a wide variety of travel categories.

If you’re like most people, you’re probably thinking that, since you aren’t retired, you aren’t eligible for an AARP membership and the travel benefits that come with it. Well, that’s where you’re mistaken!

In this post we breakdown how you, too, can be eligible for an AARP membership, and the travel savings that come along with it.

What is AARP?

AARP was founded in 1958 with the mission to “empower people to choose how they live as they age.” It is an influential lobbying group in the U.S. focusing largely on issues affecting the elderly. AARP sells paid memberships and markets insurance products and other services to its members.

Their flagship membership program provides dozens of discounts and perks and has attracted over 38 million members as of 2018.

Who is Eligible for an AARP Membership?

Many people are under the impression that only retired people, or the elderly, are eligible for an AARP membership — but this is simply not true.

AARP used to offer 2 types of memberships: the standard membership for those who were 50 and older, and associate memberships for those who had not yet reached the age of 50.

Now, AARP offers just 1 membership option, and regardless if you’ve reached age 50 or not, you can join, too! Better yet, AARP memberships are just $16 a year ($12 if you opt for the auto-renew plan), and you can add a spouse or partner for free.

Bottom Line: Many people are under the impression that they have to be over the age of 50 to join the AARP program, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone is eligible for an AARP membership, no matter what your age is. 

AARP Travel Benefits

So now that you know you’re eligible for an AARP membership, does that mean you should automatically sign up? Are the travel benefits actually worth it? Here are some ways that an AARP membership can save you money on your travel expenses.

General Travel

AARP has partnered with the online travel platform Expedia to offer the AARP Travel Center by Expedia. The Travel Center functions just like the standard Expedia website, allowing users to search for flights, hotels, rental cars, cruises, and other activities, but also includes all items that are eligible for an AARP discount.

Airfare

British Airways Plane on a Runway
Image Credit: Daniel Klein via Unsplash

One of the most popular AARP travel benefits is the ability to save quite a bit of money on British Airways flights. Those who have an AARP membership and book through the AARP British Airways discount page can score a $65 discount on all round-trip economy tickets and a $200 discount on all round-trip business class tickets.

Better yet, this discount is valid on British Airways-operated flights and BA codeshare flights, including those operated by American Airlines and Iberia Airlines.

Hot Tip: Utilizing 1 British Airways $65 economy flight discount would cover your membership fees for over 4 years! An AARP membership is a no-brainer even if you fly with British Airways once a year. 

Hotels

Your AARP membership won’t just save you money on your flights — members can also receive discounts at thousands of hotels worldwide, including up to 15% off at hotel chains such as Hilton, Best Western, Radisson, and Wyndham.

Rental Cars

AARP memberships can net you up to a 30% discount on car rentals from companies like Avis, Budget, and Payless, as well as select free vehicle upgrades, discounted GPS rates, and an additional driver at no cost.

Dining

Group of people dining at a restaurant
Image Credit: AXP via Shutterstock

When you’re traveling, you’ve got to eat, and AARP can regularly save you money on restaurants too. AARP memberships offer 10% to 15% off at restaurant chains like Bonefish Grill, Carrabba’s, Corner Bakery Cafe, Denny’s, Outback Steakhouse, and many more.

Entertainment

AARP members can save on their entertainment purchases, too, with merchants like Regal Cinemas and Ticketmaster. With Ticketmaster specifically, members can save up to 40% on tickets to select shows and events, and offers also include 2-for-1 tickets, Me + 3 (4-packs), and special events with select tickets under $40.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know anyone can be eligible for an AARP membership, and some of the great travel benefits that come along with it, you may be wondering if the membership is worth it. But given that the annual membership price is just $16 a year ($12 with auto-renewal), it is hard to imagine how it wouldn’t be.

Between savings on British Airways flights, hotels, rental cars, and popular restaurant chains, if you’re someone who can take advantage of some of the discounts offered, you can easily offset the cost of your annual membership. If your worried people might snicker at you when you pull out your AARP card, they won’t be snickering for long when you tell them how much money you’re saving!

Frequently Asked Questions

What travel benefits does AARP offer?

AARP memberships can save you money on dozens of different travel purchases, including airfare, hotels, rental cars, and entertainment tickets.

How much does an AARP membership cost?

AARP memberships are just $16 per year, or $12 if you sign-up for auto-renewal.

How old do you have to be to join AARP?

Many people are under the impression that you have to be at least 50, or retired, to join AARP, but this is not the case. There is no age requirement in order to have an AARP membership.

Is an AARP membership really worth it?

If you have a look at all of the benefits and discounts offered from an AARP membership, and think those discounts will save you more than $16 a year, then it is definitely worth signing up.

What is the AARP discount on British Airways tickets?

If you hold an AARP membership, and book through the AARP British Airways discount page, you’ll receive a $65 discount on all round-trip economy tickets, and a $200 discount on all round-trip business class tickets on British Airways-operated flights, including BA codeshare flights operated by American Airlines and Iberia Airlines.

Jarrod West's image

About Jarrod West

Boasting a portfolio of over 20 cards, Jarrod has been an expert in the points and miles space for over 6 years. He earns and redeems over 1 million points per year and his work has been featured in outlets like The New York Times.

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