Decoding Membership Perks: Is AARP Worth It for You?

When pondering the question, ‘is AARP worth it,’ potential members are seeking a straightforward answer: do the benefits outweigh the costs? This article objectively examines AARP’s membership fee against the plethora of discounts and services it offers, addresses the potential drawbacks, and helps you determine if AARP aligns with your needs and values.

Key Takeaways

Understanding AARP Membership

AARP membership card and a happy senior couple enjoying the benefits

AARP, founded by Ethel Percy Andrus, advocates for productive aging and health insurance for retirees. It empowers citizens aged 50 and above to make informed choices as they grow older, including retirement planning. This is achieved by providing them with discounts on:

However, anybody aged 18 years or older can join AARP, making it a resourceful hub of benefits for a wide age group.

The organization’s mission focuses on the needs of those 50 and older, assisting in all aspects of life leading up to and into retirement. But AARP’s marketing and services have sometimes been criticized for perpetuating stereotypes about older adults, which might not resonate with everyone in the target demographic.

AARP’s Member Benefits page features over 300 perks for its members, ranging from product and service discounts to educational resources. With almost 38 million members, the organization demonstrates broad appeal and impact. Its most popular membership benefits include:

The Cost of AARP Membership

The AARP membership cost for an annual membership is $16. However, if you’re looking for a bargain, options to sign up for multiple years are available at a less expensive per-year rate. For instance, new AARP members can get a discounted rate of $12 for the first year when they sign up for automatic renewal. AARP also offers a lifetime membership option with a one-time fee of $200. If you decide to stick around longer, you can save 10% off the annual rate with a three-year membership or 21% with a five-year membership. So, is an AARP membership worth it? Considering the various options and discounts, it’s up to you to decide.

Additionally, each AARP membership includes a free secondary membership for an additional adult in the household. This means that for the price of one membership, you can share the AARP benefits with another adult, whether it’s your spouse, partner, or a friend living with you.

AARP members enjoy a host of AARP member benefits and discounts that cater to diverse needs and interests. Whether it’s travel-related savings, insurance options, or health and wellness benefits, there’s something for every AARP member to take advantage of.

Travel Perks

AARP member enjoying a discounted hotel stay

Travel enthusiasts will find that the travel discounts available to AARP members can significantly offset the yearly membership fee. These discounts include savings on:

For instance, when renting a car, AARP members can benefit from up to 30% off the base rates, complimentary upgrades, and the inclusion of an additional driver at no extra charge. That’s a triple win for those with a wanderlust spirit looking to explore new places while saving money.

Insurance Options

Senior couple discussing insurance options with an AARP representative

One of the pillars of AARP’s benefits is its range of insurance options. These include:

For members needing vehicle and property insurance, AARP provides tailored options, including unique coverage like RecoverCare for seniors. These insurance options are underwritten by highly rated insurers such as The Hartford. AARP ensures that members have access to personalized insurance products for the whole family from top companies, as well as guidance in exploring these benefits and obtaining quotes.

Health And Wellness Benefits

AARP is not only about savings; it also promotes a healthy lifestyle among its members. For instance, AARP provides a BMI Calculator tool for members to assess health status and risks. Members also have access to a free annual scientifically validated phone-administered hearing test.

Moreover, discounts on wellness products and services are available to support a healthy lifestyle for members. If you’re considering signing up for a UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement plan, you’ll receive a free gym membership and fitness-assistance programs. And for those with vision needs, AARP offers four personalized vision plans tailored for individuals and families. The AARP Hearing Center provides resources for maintaining hearing health and advice for living with hearing loss.

Additional AARP Member Resources

In addition to the AARP membership benefits and discounts, AARP provides its members with a range of resources to help manage their financial lives and careers. These include:

AARP also supports members in their career transitions and job search. Its comprehensive job search assistance program includes the Employer Pledge Program and the Job Board, featuring career options, resume advice, and support against age discrimination with commitments from over 1,000 employers.

Advocacy Efforts By AARP

AARP is not just a benefits provider; it also plays an active role in advocating for the interests of older Americans. The organization fights for Social Security benefits, retirement savings, and against age discrimination. It works tirelessly in Congress and across the country, focusing on healthcare, Social Security, and the needs of older workers.

In addition to this, AARP advocates for family caregivers by supporting measures that provide them with paid leave, tax credits, and additional support. This advocacy work is part of AARP’s mission to influence government policy and elections in ways that strategically benefit older Americans.

Potential Drawbacks of AARP Membership

However, like any organization, AARP has its drawbacks. One of these is its political lobbying efforts, which sometimes conflict with the personal beliefs of individual members, leading to potential discontent. It’s important for potential members to understand that while AARP fights for the interests of older Americans, its political stance may not necessarily represent their personal views or interests.

Another potential drawback is the frequent marketing materials and junk mail members receive from AARP. Many members find these marketing tactics intrusive and annoying. The transparency and relevancy of AARP’s practices, including early and repeated renewal notices, have also been criticized.

Lastly, some members have complained about the customer service at AARP, particularly the difficulty in canceling memberships or addressing concerns. Other criticisms include not receiving promised free gifts and excessive advertising, contributing to some members feeling dissatisfied with AARP. It’s also worth noting that some AARP discounts are available elsewhere without membership, and there is a risk of overspending due to an overreliance on discounts.

How to Join AARP And Access Benefits

Online registration for AARP membership with a diverse group of members

Interested in joining AARP despite the potential drawbacks? The process is simple. You can join AARP by visiting the organization’s website, clicking the Join button, and completing the application form with personal details such as your name, date of birth, and address. After membership registration, new members can create an AARP online account by registering on with a username and password, and updating their profile and address preferences.

Once you’ve joined, you gain immediate access to a digital copy of the AARP membership card and can start enjoying member benefits right away by downloading the AARP Now app. You can browse and utilize all discounts and programs on the AARP website, which are organized into categories for easier navigation.

Comparing AARP to Other Affinity Groups

Considering other affinity groups? It’s always a good idea to compare options. For example, both AARP and AMAC have a membership fee of $16.00, and while both offer similar benefits and discounts, AMAC positions itself as a conservative alternative with traditional American values.

When it comes to car insurance, AARP provides cheaper average auto insurance rates compared to AAA, particularly for drivers with poor credit and young drivers on parent policies. AARP also offers unique discounts for hybrid and electric vehicles, with additional discounts through The Hartford. However, AAA may be more suited for high-risk drivers with DUIs, and it has higher customer ratings for its digital tools compared to AARP.

There are also other affinity groups with different focuses, such as:

Assessing the Value of AARP Membership

Is AARP membership right for you? The answer to this question depends on your personal preferences and needs. AARP membership is considered a great deal for most people aged 50 and over, with no specific age requirement. However, it’s important to review the benefits and use them enough to cover membership costs.

Potential AARP members should weigh whether the available discounts and benefits, such as savings on one hotel booking, outweigh the annual fee before deciding to join. Travel and shopping discounts provided to AARP members can easily offset the cost of joining, especially if the member actively uses these discounts. However, members should be aware that some AARP discounts are available elsewhere without membership, and there is a risk of overspending due to an overreliance on discounts.


To wrap up, AARP membership offers a vast array of benefits and discounts, from travel and insurance to health and wellness. The organization also provides additional resources and actively advocates for the interests of older Americans. However, potential members should weigh the benefits against the drawbacks, like potential conflicts with personal beliefs due to political lobbying, excessive marketing materials, and customer service issues. Ultimately, assessing the value of AARP membership involves considering your personal preferences and needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Any Real Benefits to Joining AARP?

Yes, joining AARP can provide access to exclusive insurance plans, savings on shopping, entertainment, health, travel, and more, along with advocacy for important issues like Medicare and Social Security. These benefits can help you save money and gain access to valuable services.

Does AARP Really Save You Money?

Yes, AARP provides a variety of money-saving benefits, including discounts on travel, dining, shopping, and financial planning services, making it a valuable investment for members.

Is AARP Worth It for Travel?

Yes, an AARP membership is worth it for travel as it offers discounts at thousands of hotels worldwide, including major chains. The low cost of joining AARP makes it a good option for all ages, especially for those who take advantage of the travel discounts.

Do You Get Gas Discounts With AARP?

Yes, AARP members receive gas discounts when they link their membership to the Exxon Mobil Rewards+ program, including a welcome bonus and additional points for fuel and in-store purchases.

What Is the Cost of AARP Membership?

The cost of AARP membership is $16 per year, with options for discounted multi-year memberships and a lifetime membership for $200.