Exploring the Benefits of an AARP Membership: Is It Worth the Investment?

Most people dread getting an AARP invitation when they're nearing their 50th birthday. Is an AARP membership worth it? Here's what we know.

Danielle Letenyei - Author

Apr. 26 2023, Published 10:43 p.m. ET

Woman holding an AARP membership invitation.
Source: Getty Images

An invitation to join AARP usually shows up in your mailbox when you’re on the cusp of turning 50. It can be a disheartening sign that you’re getting older. But there are many benefits of an AARP membership besides the nifty trunk organizer you get for signing up.

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Before you decide whether or not to get an AARP membership, it's important to look at all of the benefits and weigh the pros and cons. Is an AARP membership worth it for you? Keep reading to find out.

Is AARP membership worth it?

Before you throw that AARP invitation in the trash, consider looking into what you get with a membership. The organization offers many discounts and other benefits for a very low annual membership fee.

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An AARP advertisement with three women smiling
Source: AARP Facebook

What is AARP?

Originally known as the American Association of Retired Persons, AARP started in 1958 as a non-profit organization advocating for health insurance for seniors. Back then, there wasn't Medicare and private health insurance wasn’t available for many retirees.

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The organization has since switched to identifying itself with the acronym AARP. According to its website, AARP’s mission is to empower older adults to “choose how they live as they age.” It still advocates for senior-related issues such as continuing Social Security benefits, ending age discrimination, and lowering prescription drug costs.

What are the benefits of an AARP membership?

AARP offers its members a whole host of discounts on everything from travel and car rentals to dental and vision insurance. If you love to travel, the travel benefits you’d receive with an AARP membership alone are worth the membership fee. AARP has its own travel center, powered by Expedia, where members get an extra 10 percent off select hotels, up to 30 percent off select car rentals, up to $100 onboard credits for cruises, $65 off British Airways flights, and more.

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An older couple vacationing at the beach.
Source: Getty Images

An AARP membership comes with travel and rental car discounts.

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Besides travel, the other most popular AARP member benefits are:

  • Dental Insurance Plan (administered by Delta Dental)

  • Hearing Center

  • Job Board

  • Auto Buying Program

  • Eyemed Vision Insurance

  • Games

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What does an AARP membership cost?

An annual AARP membership costs just $16. First-time members pay only $12 for their first year if they sign up for automatic membership renewal. You can also sign up for three years for $43 or five years for $63.

Plus, you can also get two AARP memberships for the price of one. AARP provides members with a second membership for someone in their household for no additional cost.

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How old do you have to be to join AARP?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be over 50 to join AARP. You can join at any age, but members under age 50 may not be eligible to receive some benefits that members age 50 and older receive. Members under age 50 are considered associate members, and when they turn 50, they are eligible for an AARP full membership.

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Associate members can still take advantage of all the discounts and services the AARP membership offers, except the benefits that have age restrictions, like certain insurance products.

Are there disadvantages to AARP membership?

The only potential disadvantage to an AARP membership is if you have a problem with some of the political issues that AARP supports. For example, if you think Social Security benefits should be eliminated, you may want to avoid joining AARP, which advocates for continuing those benefits.

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