Reviews AARP Credit Card From Chase review
AARP Credit Card From Chase review

AARP Credit Card From Chase review

Published: December 2, 2016
Ratings Policy
Cash Back Rating:
3.6 rating
3.6 rating
3.6 / 5
Rewards Value: 3.4
Annual Percentage Rate: 4.1
Rewards Flexibility: 3.6
Features: 2.0

In a nutshell:

Designed for retirees who like to travel, this affordable cash back card earns solid marks for its strong rewards rate on restaurant and gas station purchases.

Rewards Rate

  • 3% cash back on restaurants and gas station purchases
  • 1% cash back on general purchases

Sign-Up Bonus
$100 if you spend $500 in the card’s first three months

Annual Fee
$0

Average Yearly Rewards Value ($1,325 monthly spend)
$284

APR
16.49% (variable)

Pros

  • No limit on the amount of cash you can earn
  • Cash doesn’t expire
  • Redeem cash as a bank deposit or statement credit or for gift cards or travel
  • No blackout dates or restrictions if you redeem your rewards for travel

Cons

  • Cash can only be redeemed in increments of $20. However, you can redeem gift cards for as little as $5

Other Notable Features: $0 fraud liability, fraud alerts, purchase protection, extended warranty, emergency card replacement, 10 cents donated to the Drive to End Hunger each time a card is used at a restaurant

Retirees who count on the nonprofit lobbying group AARP for senior discounts and retirement advice will appreciate the senior-friendly features offered by this cash back card for AARP members.

The AARP card, which offers strong rewards on categories such as gas and restaurant purchases, is an ideal choice for post-retirement road trips. The AAPP credit card also sets itself apart from most rewards credit cards by advertising just one APR on purchases – a welcome change for applicants who are worried about being offered a higher APR than they expected.

However, don’t expect a huge windfall from this relatively basic cash back card. Its modest sign-up bonus pales in comparison to most competitors. It also offers fewer card benefits than most rewards cards these days, making it less-than-ideal choice for cardholders who prefer to rely on just one card.

Big rewards for road-based vacations
If you plan on spending a good portion of your retirement traveling by car around the country, you’ll appreciate the road trip-friendly bonuses included in the AARP card’s rewards package. Cardholders are awarded a 3 percent bonus for every dollar spent on gas station purchases and an equal bonus on restaurant purchases. With gas prices relatively high, this is a big benefit — particularly if you travel frequently or drive an extra-large vehicle such as an RV. Like most rewards cards, the AARP card also awards 1 percent cash back on general purchases.

A special perk for community-minded cardholders
If a 3 percent bonus on restaurant meals isn’t generous enough to persuade you to dine out, the AARP card also packs another feel-good incentive for using your card at restaurants. Each time you use your card to eat out, AARP pledges to make a 10-cent donation to the nonprofit’s Drive to End Hunger fund. Though it applies to each person on your bill, this feel-good benefit still seems small. But if enough cardholders regularly dine out using their AARP card, that extra 10 cents for every meal could turn into a considerable force for good.

A disappointing sign-up bonus
Despite ample rewards on gas and grocery purchases, the AARP card doesn’t offer an especially strong sign-up bonus – especially compared to some of its competitors. The AARP Rewards Visa offers just a modest $100 incentive to new cardholders, which is well below what some comparably priced rewards cards offer. For example, some competitors offer bonuses worth $150 to $200 or more. The good news is, you don’t have to spend much to earn the $100 sign bonus. Cardholders are eligible for the bonus after spending just $500 in the card’s first three months.

Missing perks
In addition to a smaller bonus, the AARP card also offers limited perks. For example, the AARP card doesn’t offer online applicants a 0 percent promotion on purchases or balance transfers, nor does it offer car rental insurance, which is usually standard on rewards credit cards.

Reasonable APR
On the plus side, the AARP card is relatively affordable. Unlike most rewards credit cards, the AARP card advertises just one flat APR of 16.49 percent for every cardholder, so applicants don’t have to guess which rate they’ll actually get after they apply. That’s a big perk for cardholders who have been burned in the past with higher rates than they anticipated. A 16.49 percent APR is still relatively high for carrying a balance, though, so it’s a good idea to only use this card for purchases you can afford to repay quickly.

Reasons to get it:

  • You spend a significant amount of money on gas and restaurant purchases and would benefit from the card’s triple rewards rate.
  • You appreciate a card that gives a portion of the card’s earnings to charity.
  • You’re an AARP member and want a card that supports the organization.

How to use it:

  • Use your card for all your gas and restaurant purchases in order to earn the maximum amount of cash back.
  • Spend at least $500 — roughly $167 a month — in order to receive the card’s $100 signup bonus.
  • Avoid paying interest by paying off your card in full each month.
  • Use a different card to pay for a car rental. This card doesn’t offer car rental insurance.

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