The AARP® Credit Card from Chase Review
For the past 27 years, AARP® and Chase have had a co-branded rewards credit card, the AARP® Credit Card from Chase. AARP endorses the credit card, but you don’t have to be an AARP® member (or even a retiree) to apply for the card. Is the card worth the wallet space? This article explains when the card makes sense, and when you should pass.
How the Card Works
The AARP® Credit Card from Chase is a rewards credit card with a sign-up bonus. If you spend $500 within the first three months of opening the card, you’ll earn a 10,000 point bonus (worth $100). The points can be redeemed for cash, gift cards, travel, or even to renew your AARP® membership.
On top of the sign-up bonus, card users will qualify for 3 points for every dollar spent at gas stations and restaurants, and 1 point for all other spending. Every point is worth one cent.
You may think that the AARP® Credit Card from Chase requires you to be a member of AARP®. However, the AARP’s® endorsement of the product is only a marketing tactic. Any U.S. citizen age 18 or older who has a qualifying credit score can apply for the card.
Benefits of the AARP® Credit Card from Chase
Easy sign up bonus. To earn the $100 sign-up bonus, you only need to spend $500 in three months. Most people can meet that spending criteria just by using the card for groceries, gas and restaurant spending.
3% cash back in select categories. The AARP® Credit Card from Chase offers 3% back on restaurant and gas station spending and 1% back on all other spending. The 3% back offer matches some of the best restaurant category cashback rewards such as those offered by the Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card. People that spend a lot at gas stations or restaurants will appreciate the consistent 3% back in those categories.
Drive to End Hunger. The AARP® Credit Card isn’t only about earning rewards for yourself. For every dollar you spend at restaurants, Chase will donate $.10 to the AARP Drive to End Hunger.
Straightforward rewards Unlike some rewards credit cards, redeeming the points you earn is easy. You can easily redeem the rewards as a statement credit, or get a check deposited to your checking account. If you prefer, you could also redeem the rewards to book flights, cruises, or other travel expeditions, or even to buy gift cards. No matter how you use your rewards, every point is worth one cent.
No annual fee. Some of the top rewards credit cards require a hefty annual fee, but this is one card where you won’t pay a fee to earn rewards.
Drawbacks to the AARP® credit card from Chase
Despite the benefits of the card, it comes with several drawbacks.
High interest rate. Like most rewards credit cards, the AARP® Credit Card is not one where you want to carry a balance because of the higher interest rate.
High fees. In addition to high interest payments, using the card wrong could result in some hefty fees. If you pay late, you’ll incur fees of $15-$35 depending on the size of your balance. Additionally, if Chase returns a payment to you, you’ll have to pay a $35 returned payment fee.
You can find better rewards. The AARP® Credit Card from Chase offers a great sign-up bonus. Plus, it offers decent category spend rewards for restaurant and gas station spending. However, it’s not the best credit card for everyday or travel spending. Card holders need to decide if the 3% cash back at restaurants and gas stations is enough to compensate for the otherwise lackluster rewards.
With no annual fee and an easy sign-up bonus, the AARP® Credit Card from Chase is one card that’s worth considering. It’s especially compelling if you frequently use your credit card for gas station or restaurant spending. However, the card has high interest and high fees, and the cash back rewards aren’t overly compelling.
Ultimately, the AARP® Credit Card from Chase only makes sense as “supplemental” credit card to be used to maximize your point earning potential. If you’re not interested in juggling plastic, you may want to look at some of the top cash back rewards cards instead.
Editorial Note: The information related to AARP® Credit Card from Chase has been collected by Credit Cards House and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.
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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.