AARP® Credit Card from Chase review: Is it right for retirement?

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In a Nutshell

The AARP® Credit Card from Chase offers robust cash back rates for restaurant and gas station purchases. It also offers a solid bonus for new cardholders. But despite the card’s name, it doesn’t offer any special benefits to AARP members — although it might be a decent option if you want a straightforward cash back card with no annual fee.

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This offer is no longer available on our site: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Pros Cons
3% cash back for every $1 spent on gas station and restaurant purchases Low rewards rate in all other categories
Purchases will fund donations to Drive to End Hunger campaign You can redeem points for travel only through the bank’s portal
$0 annual fee No special benefits for AARP members
Low spending requirement for cash back sign-up bonus

What you need to know about the AARP® Credit Card from Chase

No specific benefits for seniors

The AARP® Credit Card from Chase is marketed to AARP members, but it doesn’t offer any major benefits to the organization’s members. In fact, you don’t even need to be a senior or an AARP member to qualify for the card.

With the AARP® Credit Card from Chase, you can redeem points to pay for your annual AARP membership. And using your card at restaurants can support the AARP Foundation, but that’s the extent of the card’s AARP-specific features.

Read more: The best credit cards for seniors

3 rewards points for every $1 spent on restaurant and gas station purchases

The AARP® Credit Card from Chase offers a rewards rate of 1% cash back for each $1 you spend on purchases, which equates to one point for each $1 spent. At this rate, you’ll earn $1 in cash back rewards for every $100 you spend, which is equal to 100 points. But that rate triples to 3% cash back for each $1 spent on purchases at restaurants or gas stations, which equates to three points for every $1 spent.

You can use your points to redeem for any available rewards options, including a statement credit or cash.

A 3% cash back rate for purchases at restaurants and gas stations is competitive, especially for a card that doesn’t have an annual fee. But if your main expenses don’t come from restaurants or gas stations, you can probably find more bonus categories that suit you better with other cash back cards.

For example, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card offers three points for every $1 spent on purchases made at restaurants and gas stations and for purchases on rideshares, transit, other travel and select streaming apps.

A sign-up bonus worth $100

If you like to get a sign-up bonus when you enroll for a credit card, then you might like the offer from the AARP® Credit Card from Chase. The card offers 10,000 bonus points (redeemable for $100 in cash back) when you spend $500 or more in qualifying purchases within the first three months from account opening.

While that’s not the largest bonus that you’ll see offered from a card with no annual fee, the low $500 spending requirement can make this bonus attainable for many cardholders.

Multiple redemption options available

You can redeem your rewards points for more than just cash back, which many may find to be a nice feature of this card. Along with cash, other redemption options include …

  • AARP membership
  • Gift cards
  • Travel

Redeeming for cash back with the AARP® Credit Card from Chase is straightforward: It can either be deposited electronically to your eligible bank account or be issued as a statement credit.

Also, redeeming points for your AARP® membership and for gift cards can be completed online or over the phone.

But redeeming your points for travel isn’t quite as easy.

Bonus redemption for travel 

While this card is advertised as best for cash back, there are travel redemption options too.

In fact, your points are worth about 10% more when you redeem for travel through Chase.

But we don’t recommend this redemption option for someone who wants a straightforward experience. Any travel redemptions must be redeemed through the Chase Travel Center, which can be limiting for some users. If you want more flexibility, you might be better off with another travel card.

Other things you should consider

There are some other things you’ll want to know when considering this card.

  • It’s probably best to leave this card at home when you travel abroad, because it comes with a foreign transaction fee of 3%.
  • As long as your account remains open, the rewards points that you earn won’t expire.
  • For every purchase that you make at restaurants, a portion of what you spend will be donated to the AARP® Foundation in support of Drive to End Hunger. The foundation supports low-income adults, and Chase has committed to donating a maximum of $1 million each for 2019.

Who this card is good for

If you spend a lot at restaurants and gas stations and want to earn cash back for doing so — without paying an annual fee — this card could be a decent pick. It’s not the best cash back card you’ll find, but it has a relatively straightforward cash redemption program and AARP affiliation.

But remember, you don’t need to be a senior or an AARP member to get this card. In fact, there aren’t any clear benefits to holding the card as an AARP member.

Otherwise, you might be better off with a card that offers an elevated rewards rate in more, or different, categories that better suit your habits.

Not sure this is the card for you? Consider these alternatives.

If you don’t eat out much or you would prefer more flexibility with travel options, consider these alternatives.