This simple card is great for anyone on a fixed income and good credit. With no annual fee and small late-payment fees, you can easily reap the rewards on everyday spending without extra out-of-pocket costs—and you don’t have to be an AARP member to take advantage of this card.
The card caters to those who dine out a lot and want an easy-to-understand rewards system. And you can feel good about dining out, given that 10 cents of every restaurant purchase goes to feeding Americans older than 50. (Chase will donate a maximum of $1 million to the Drive to End Hunger in 2019.)
High rewards rates in popular categories
Help a charity when you dine out
Get a points boost when redeeming for travel
Foreign transaction fee
No bonus rewards for grocery spending
Booking travel with points is inconvenient
- Low fees: Not only does this card have no annual fee, it also has lower late fees than most cards. Whereas some cards charge up to the maximum threshold allowed by the federal government (up to $29 the first time you're late, or up to $40 if you've been late on your payment more than once in the previous six months), the AARP Credit Card charges as low as $15 for balances below $750.
- High rewards rates in popular categories: If you spend a lot on gas and dining out, the 3% rewards rate is on par with or better than other leading no-fee cards that focus on everyday spending categories.
- Help a charity when you dine out: For every restaurant purchase you make, AARP donates 10 cents to the AARP Foundation in support of Drive to End Hunger, which has donated 37 million meals to seniors since 2011.
- Get a points boost when redeeming for travel: You can make the most of your rewards by using them to book travel through Chase. In fact, points are worth approximately 10% more, with 100 points equal to $1.12 in redemption value. So 20,000 points would be worth $224 toward travel, versus $200 in cash or gift cards.
- Foreign transaction fee: This isn’t the card you would use traveling outside of the United States. A 3% fee adds $30—enough for lunch for two—to $1,000 in purchases.
- No bonus rewards for grocery spending: While the 3% cash back rate on dining and gas is attractive, many similar no-annual-fee cash-back cards also offer bonus rates for supermarket shopping as part of their programs. If you’re seeking an everyday spending rewards card that includes food shopping and delivery, you can find better options than the AARP card.
- Booking travel with points is inconvenient: To get the most value out of your credit card points, you need to book with Chase travel—but that can only be done over the phone. For cardholders who prefer simple redemption options that can be completed in a few clicks online, like statement credits or gift cards, having to deal with phone customer service to score a slightly higher redemption value might not be worth the hassle.
Bonus for New Cardholders
If you spend $500 within the first three months of opening the card, you receive $100 in cash back. That’s hardly the best cash bonus around among similar no-annual-fee cards, but the spending requirement is low, which will allow those who may be on a fixed income to easily qualify. Like most bonuses, expect to wait six to eight weeks for this bonus to be applied to your account.
You won’t qualify for the bonus if you had an AARP Credit Card from Chase within the last 24 months.
Earning Points and Rewards
The AARP Credit Card from Chase has a simple rewards-earning structure. You’ll earn 3% cash back at restaurants and gas stations, and 1% back on every other purchase.
Points generally don’t expire, as long as you keep up with your payments. Being over 60 days late on minimum payments can result in losing all your points. If you close your account in good standing, you’ll have 30 days to redeem points.
There’s a decent amount of flexibility in using the points you earn with the AARP card. Here are your options:
- Cash: Get cash direct deposited into your checking or savings account, or applied as a statement credit. A point has a value of 1 cent when redeemed for cash back.
- AARP membership: AARP membership gives adults 50 or older access to an array of discounts. You can redeem points at a rate of 1 cent per point for memberships of one, three, or five years, which cost between $12 to $63.
- Gift cards: You can redeem points for gift cards at 1 cent per point.
- Travel: You get 10% more value from redeeming points for travel via the Chase Travel Center phone number. The same 2,500 points you’d use to purchase a $25 gift card are worth $27.50 when used for travel, and you can use points to partially pay for travel.
When looking at rewards cards, you’ll want to find programs where points are worth at least 1 cent. Based on that rule of thumb, the AARP Card from Chase provides several valuable options for using your points.
How to Get the Most out of This Card
Achieve the new cardholder bonus by putting all your dining and gas purchases on this card. For instance, if you spend $100 per month on gas and $150 per month on dining out, you’ll meet the $500 minimum spend in just two months. Plus, you’ll get 3 points per dollar in both categories, totaling $15 of cash back.
To squeeze the most value out of your points, use them to book a trip through the Chase Travel Center phone line. If you decide to travel internationally, though, take along an alternate card that has no foreign transaction fee.
Because this card has no outstanding financing offers, this isn’t a good card to use if you carry a balance. Like many rewards cards, it has an above-20% maximum APR, and any interest charges you incur will outweigh your rewards earnings.
AARP Card from Chase’s Other Features
- Extended warranties
- Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
Chase ranked fourth in J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study, scoring 809 of a possible 1,000 points. That score put it just below the industry average of 810.
When it comes to online and mobile access Chase was third in the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Credit Card Mobile App Satisfaction Study. Chase customers have 24/7 access to customer service and you can keep track of your credit score with Chase’s CreditJourney service, for free.
In addition to standard security features like fraud alerts and zero liability, the AARP Card from Chase offers free emergency card replacement.
This is an inexpensive card for regular use with few surprises. In fact, the late fees are really low. They’re based on your balance, so if you’re late paying your balance of less than $750, the fee is $15. For balances of $750 or more, the late fee is up to $35, which is lower than the typical $38–$39 maximum late fee across the industry. The main fee to watch out for is the foreign transaction fee.