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If you’re past the age of 50 and wondering if there is any benefit to joining the AARP, this guide will help you understand what it costs and what you get in return. You may have heard that there are certain criteria you need to adhere to before you can become a member, or that there are only certain benefits of value.
AARP membership is inexpensive and gives you discounts on products and services for groceries, entertainment, travel, and health care. You get free financial planning guidance and discounted banking rates. Membership includes the best rates for insurance and advocacy for relevant policies in Senate.
With a long list of affiliates that offer discounts, free services, and advice, AARP membership sounds almost too good to be true. If you’re wondering whether it’s worth signing up or whether there is a catch, let’s unpack what AARP membership entails.
- What Is AARP Membership And Is It A Good Idea?
- Benefits Of AARP Membership
- Cost Of AARP Membership
- What Is The Minimum Age To Join AARP?
- How Do You Sign Up To Become A Member Of AARP?
- Can I Get A Free Membership With AARP?
- So, Is It A Good Idea To Become An AARP Member?
What Is AARP Membership And Is It A Good Idea?
The American Association of Retired Persons, also known as the AARP, is a non-profit organization that strives to provide benefits and services to people over fifty. The organization promoted paid membership in exchange for various benefits, discounts, and helpful services.
Founded in the late 50s, AARP is also known for advocacy and lobbying for the rights of older persons, and it issues magazines and bulletins to more than 38 million members in the United States. However, with such a broad scope, is it worth your while to sign up for membership?
Benefits Of AARP Membership
The organization offers a list of benefits covering all aspects of life, focusing on life after retirement. The benefits are not only limited to health care services for elderly persons, however, and some benefits promote staying active in the community, experiencing new things, and taking care of your loved ones.
A breakdown of the benefits includes various categories, starting with advocacy in Senate, free legal services, and ways in which members receive free courses, training, and educational materials:
AARP Membership And Advocacy, Education, And Legal Services
AARP is not just about offering coupons, discounts, and complimentary services. The organization is also known for advocating in Senate for the continuation of Social Security benefits and policies that strive to prevent discrimination in various forms.
And while you may not be directly benefiting in-hand from membership in this regard, you are contributing to the nationwide betterment of policies on health care, insurance, and age discrimination. AARP also offers the following benefits to members:
- Legal counsel and free tax advice.
- Education services include driver safety programs and programs that strive to help members grow their retirement savings. There are numerous free resources on the AARP website that teach members about health, exercise, finances, planning, and how to stay mentally sharp.
- Members also receive support for career and business options, including an AARP Resume Advisor service to help you when you’re making decisions about your working future. The website offers small business guidance and articles to boost your business.
- The AARP website has a dedication section for politics and society that assists members in staying up to date with legislation and significant events in politics and government and educating members through informative articles about such matters.
Discounts And Services With AARP Membership
The most talked-about benefit of AARP membership is whether you receive value for money in terms of discounts. AARP is generous in its offering in this regard, with money off on a wide variety of goods, services, and experiences. Members have often said that using one of these benefits pays for the cost of your first year of membership. These benefits include:
- Entertainment: Members benefit from discounts at Regal cinemas (for tickets and refreshments), Ancestry, Ticketmaster, AARP games, movies and TV-related content, and having access to podcasts and special entertainment content from the organization.
These benefits include 20% off on Regal movie tickets purchased online, savings on popcorn and refreshment combos, and 30% off subscriptions to Ancestry.
- Restaurants and dining: AARP affiliates include popular restaurants like Schlotzky’s, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Landry’s, Denny’s, Rainforest Café, Joe’s Crab Shack, Bonefish Grill, Carraba’s Italian Grill, and Outback Steakhouse. Advantages range from 10% to 15% off your check.
- Travel: One of the most extensively covered benefits of AARP membership is travel. It includes discounted rates, upgrades, and shuttle services from providers such as Budget, Avid, Payless, and Zipcar. Travel planning services are an excellent way to help ensure your vacation goes off without a hitch.
The options are plentiful, with discounts such as 5% off Vacations by Rail cruise tours, up to $200 on British Airways flights, and money off reservations at Park Ride Fly USA. Big-name hotels like Hilton, Radisson, Days Inn, and Best Western also offer up to 25% discounts on rates and additional perks like late checkouts for AARP members.
- Retail and shopping: There are loads of ways you can benefit from AARP membership when it comes to shopping. For example, members get a coupon book with up to $1,000 worth of discount for Tanger Outlets, up to 20% off gifts from Harry & David, Schwan’s Home Delivery, exclusive cash rewards from Walgreens, 20% off baked goods from Wolferman’s, and 15% off purchases from Personalization Mall.
- Members also get massive discounts on books ordered directly from the publisher and free downloads of certain e-books. Up to 40% discounts are up for grabs.
- Gas and auto services: AARP Auto is a portal that acts as a compendium for research, car-buying guidance, maintenance and repair help and access to discounts. Members also get roadside assistance savings of up to 20% and additional benefits when linking Exxon Mobil rewards cards to your AARP membership.
- Technology and wireless perks: AARP members don’t pay activation or upgrade fees and can get cheaper wireless plants and accessors from specific suppliers.
- Many websites and online shopping portals offer digital coupons for AARP members, including such niceties as free gifts and special prices. This makes shopping as an AARP even more convenient.
Insurance And Banking Benefits Of AARP Membership
AARP members benefit from the organization’s interest in bettering the financial state of their members. Not only is financial advice freely available, but advantages of signing up include:
- Banking benefits: Special rates are given to members for personal loans and interest on savings at certain financial institutions. A credit card is also available that accumulates points when used, which can be cashed in.
- Financial planning and free tax advice: Members can access expert advice on taxes as well as get professional input with regards to financial planning for retirement.
- Insurance: AARP has partnered with certain insurers to offer the best rates on auto, property, and life insurance, as well as covering health and pet insurance, too. Auto insurance deals can also be made for boats and watercraft, ATVs and snowmobiles, and motorcycles.
Healthcare Benefits Of AARP Membership
Getting to retirement age is often a time when you become more aware of your health and well-being. The AARP strives to not only help keep you fit and healthy through awarded points for exercise tracked and healthy living, but it also promotes affordable health care through discounts with affiliates and health insurance.
- Access to AARP-endorsed medical and life insurance covers dental, hearing, vision, and long-term care. These offer reasonable rates and are generally focused on life after retirement. Catered plans for your lifestyle and budget are available.
- Optometry benefits: Members get 50% off prescription lenses and discounted eye exams at certain outlets, which is hugely beneficial considering eye exams are recommended annually for those over 50.
- Hearing benefits: If you’ve signed up, you receive special rates on all things pertaining to hearing aid products and services, starting with hearing tests.
- Prescription medications: Big-name pharmacies like CVS, Kroger Co. and Walgreens provide lower rates and substantial discounts on prescription medications, which is beneficial to older persons who generally have chronic health issues.
- Health and wellness products are discounted, too, such as 25% off healthy meals via Silver Cuisine, up to $120 off Weight Watchers membership, and a free book on Yoga After 50. This also promotes a healthier lifestyle in the future.
- Family caregiving solutions: AARP members receive a discount on in-home caregiving services via CareLinx and have access to the Medicare Resource Center.
AARP Member Community
The AARP also strives to provide a platform where members can interact and build a sense of unity and community. The organization promotes this by offering community events such as the AARP Block Party, awards ceremonies, and get-togethers.
There is an extended network of chapters across the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, with more than 800 independently incorporated groups. These meet regularly for such activities as cultural outings, meals, and community service.
Other community-oriented benefits include:
- Magazines, bulletins, podcasts, and video sharing: The AARP website is a treasure trove of helpful information and a hub for connecting with others.
- Volunteer opportunities within your local community. As a non-profit organization, AARP also strives to give back to the community and helps through charitable donations, too.
- Online tools that promote health, well-being, and socialization.
- Online portal to help members search for a job, highlight career opportunities, and provide support for small businesses.
Cost Of AARP Membership
The cost of membership to the AARP is only $12 if you select automatic renewal as an option – and you also get a free gift when you sign up. The standard price is $16 for the year, but you receive a 25% discount if you opt to auto-renew your membership.
However, there are other sign-up options, including a three-year deal that costs only $43, or you can go all-in for five years at only $63. Benefits of signing up for membership include a free membership for your household, meaning you get two memberships for the price of one – and both members get access to the benefits.
While you don’t need to be 50 or retired to sign up, Full Membership for those who are over 50 offers the most benefits. The cost is reasonable, and many who have signed up note that they instantly make their money back in benefits.
Note: Prices were accurate at time of writing 6/3/2022.
What Is The Minimum Age To Join AARP?
While the organization is aimed at older persons, you don’t have to be 50 years old to become a member. You also don’t have to be in the process of retiring – you may apply for Associate Membership at a younger age. However, this means you won’t be eligible for all the benefits offered to people over 50 who have Full Membership.
How Do You Sign Up To Become A Member Of AARP?
The AARP offers a user-friendly sign-up process, whether you are au fait with technology or not. You can join in various ways, from online via the website, mail, or phone. Signing up online is quick and easy and will allow you to receive a digital membership certificate that can be used right away, while a valid card will be posted to you within a few weeks.
Can I Get A Free Membership With AARP?
Although you cannot apply or cheat the system somehow to get a free membership, you receive a second membership free of charge when someone in your household signs up. There are also often promotions for signing up, including free gifts, initial discount coupons, or free services. Some stores, such as Walgreens, offer free renewal or sign up from time to time.
So, Is It A Good Idea To Become An AARP Member?
AARP membership has many benefits covering health aspects, discounts on dining, travel, entertainment, and money off products and services with a long list of stores. Additionally, you get access to lower insurance and banking rates, free financial and tax advice, and peace of mind knowing the organization advocates for you.
While some may be hesitant to spend money on a membership, the beauty of an AARP membership is not just in the small sign-up fee but also in that you get another membership free. And, paying that fee doesn’t lock you into a fixed-term contract of any sort, so you can also cancel at any time. There’s nothing to lose – except at most $12 – when signing up for a trial.