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AARP® Credit Card from Chase: Should You Apply?

AARP® Credit Card

AARP® Credit Card from Chase: Should You Apply?

An excellent credit card to use on restaurant and gas station bills
Editor's Rating: 4.5/5.0

Editor's Rating

4.5/5.0

The AARP® Credit Card is an excellent card to use when out in a restaurant or when paying at the pump. It gives 3% cash back in these categories, which is well above average – especially among credit cards with no annual fee. Consider other offers if you'd prefer a card with a great welcome bonus, or one that can be more rewarding across a greater variety of categories.

Good For…Bad For…
  • Restaurant & gas purchases
  • Individuals looking for a card with a big sign-up bonus
  • People who want to help a charity (Drive To End Hunger)
  • Those with varied spending across many different categories

Review: Our Thoughts On The AARP® Credit Card

The AARP® Credit Card is a great option for individuals with a ton of dining and gas expenditures. It was named one of our top credit cards for dining, due to its 3% cash back rate for restaurant spending. A handful of cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, can give better results. However, those cards often require optimization and planning on the cardholder's part. The AARP® Credit Card excels in the two aforementioned categories, and is subpar when it comes to all other purchases. When you use it at all other establishments you will get a measly 1% back.

What makes the AARP® Credit Card impressive is the fact that comes with no annual fee. Most other dining/gas credit cards with similar rewards rates cost consumers between $50 and $100 per year.

Anyone looking to maximize their short-term rewards may want to look at other options. The AARP® Credit Card comes with an average sign-up reward – users get $100 after spending $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. This is a pretty boilerplate offer. The Chase Freedom® can get you 50% more bonus value for the same requirements.

The AARP® Credit Card has an average interest rate of 16.49% (variable). Senior citizens with decent credit scores who need to carry a balance form time to time may benefit more from  another option. People 50 + years old tend to have good credit scores, which means they can qualify for low interest rates. The AARP® Credit Card doesn’t give room for that, since all cardholders pay the same purchase APR.

Bottom Line: The AARP® Credit Card offers a good way for consumers to save money on some of the biggest consumer expenses – dining out and gas. People for whom other purchases represent a larger chunk of their budget may do better with other cards.

AARP® Credit Card Benefits & Features

The AARP® Credit Card is a cash back credit card focused on earning rewards at restaurants and gas stations. Users can get 3% back when shopping in these two categories. All other purchases net you 1% cash back. All rewards are earned as points that you can then trade in as statement credit or an electronic deposit into a U.S. checking or savings account. For example, spending $100 at a restaurant would earn you 300 points. Redemptions start at a minimum 2,000 points (worth $20).

AARP® Credit Card
AARP® Credit Card
Annual Fee
No Annual Fee
Purchase APR
16.49%
Credit Needed N/A
Details
  • 3% cash back at restaurants and gas stations
  • 1% cash back everywhere else
  • No Annual Fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers

New cardmembers are also eligible to receive an early spend bonus of 10,000 points. To qualify, you must make purchases totaling $500 or more during the first 3 months from account opening. Note that only purchases will qualify you for the bonus. Other types of transactions, such as cash advances and balance transfers, will not. Additionally, you do not have to carry a balance for the bonus to kick-in. For example, you can still get the bonus if you make $500 in purchases during your first month and immediately pay them off.

Recently, the AARP® Credit Card offered a $200 spend bonus though the offer has expired. At the time, the $200 welcome bonus was one of the best cash back signing promos available through a no annual fee card. We don't recommend users wait around for the bonus to come back. At this time, it's not clear whether the card will ever offer $200 again.

Drive To End Hunger

The AARP® Credit Card has a charitable component to it. In 2016, Chase will donate $0.10 for each purchase made at a restaurant with the card to the AARP Foundation, in support of Drive To End Hunger. The initiative tries to combat hunger among individuals who are 50+ years old. They sponsor local community programs that help educate the elderly about supplemental meal assistance programs.

For this current year, Chase has pledged to give up to $1.1 million towards the charity.

How Does The AARP® Credit Card Compare To Other Credit Cards?

We looked at how the AARP® Credit Card preformed when compared to other leading credit cards. You should read through this section to get a better sense of where the AARP® Credit Card shines and where it falls short.

AARP® Credit Card vs Citi® Double Cash Card

Citi® Double Cash Card
This card is not available through ValuePenguin.

The Citi® Double Cash Card is a great option for users looking for good rewards on all-around spending. With the card, you get 1% back on all purchases, and then another 1% when those purchases are paid off. For the AARP® Credit Card to beat that offer, dining out and gas need to make up more than 50% of your total credit card spending. Otherwise, the rewards you earn will average out to something lower than what the Citi® Double Cash Card can provide.

One downside of the Citi® Double Cash Card is the lack of a signing bonus. If you’re the type of person to get a credit card just once in a while, this shouldn’t matter. In the end, the card with the better long-term returns should be the one you choose.

AARP® Credit Card vs Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is another great card to use for those who dine out frequently. The card gives 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. The points aren’t generic either. They are Ultimate Rewards points, which are one of the top credit card rewards programs. You can use them to pay down card purchases, book future travel or trade them to one of the participating airline and hotel programs. We value a single Ultimate Rewards point to be worth $0.0125. You can get more than that by transferring your points to the right partner at the right time. Therefore, the card can be much more lucrative on dining purchases than the AARP® Credit Card, if you make optimal transfers. The only downside is that it will take a greater effort on your part to accomplish this. 

For all the extra benefits, Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders will have to put up with an annual fee -- $0 intro for the first year, then $95. If you spend enough on travel and dining, this fee is easily worth it. Additionally, the early spend bonus will have you covered for years. You can earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That translates to roughly $625 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

AARP® Credit Card vs Chase Freedom®

The Chase Freedom® is one of our favorite cash back credit cards. With it, you can earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Sometimes, these bonus categories include restaurants and gas stations. This card can be a better match if you drive and dine out seasonally. Moreover, the Chase Freedom® gives you the chance to earn an excellent rewards rate on different categories, where the AARP® Credit Card would award just 1%.

The two cards also differ when it comes to the early spend bonus. With the Chase Freedom® you can earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. That is $50 more than the AARP® Credit Card bonus, for the same requirements.

Compare The AARP® Credit Card Based On Your Budget

You should always consider how you spend your money to get the most valuable card. We build a comparison tool that can work through the calculations for you. Simply enter your estimated monthly budget, and we will estimate the value of each card listed.

Assumptions Based On Monthly Spend of: $1,430 Edit
General:
U.S. Gas Stations:
U.S. Supermarkets:
Airlines:
Hotel:
U.S. Restaurants:
Office:
Utilities:
Computing:
Card Annual Fee 2-yr Net Rewards Rate

The Net Rewards Rate is equal to the Rewards Value over two years divided by the total spending. The total spending is equal to the values entered into the tool and multiplied by 24 months. See the rewards Value note to see details on how it is calculated.

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

Bonus Value

The bonus field shows our estimate for the value of the card’s welcome bonus. If the bonus is point or mile based, we multiply the total bonus points/miles by our estimate for their value to arrive at a dollar equivalent. We display $0 if there is no bonus or if the user doesn’t qualify for the bonus based on the current spending entered into the tool. All estimates are based on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

2-yr Rewards Value

The Rewards value is calculated by adding together the rewards earned from charging purchases to the card over two years and any welcome bonuses (if applicable). They are then multiplied by our estimated point/mile value, with any annual fees (if applicable) subtracted. All values are based on our own estimates for the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using a card and on the spend assumptions entered above (which you can edit).

The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone. They are not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95 3.00%
$625
50,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
$1,028
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 39,840 x $0.013 = $498
Bonuses
50,000 x $0.013 = $625
Less Annual Fees -$95
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 1,028

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95
APR 17.74% - 24.74% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® named a 'Best Travel Credit Card' by MONEY® Magazine, 2016-2017
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel.
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Capital One® Quicksilver® Card
$0 1.94%
$150
Get $150 bonus after spending $500 within the first 3 months
$665
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 515 x $1 = $515
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $150
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 665

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

Card Details

  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 14.74%-24.74% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 14.74%-24.74% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees

Note: The information in this box was provided by Capital One® and is not part of our independent analysis.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®
$0 1.94%
$150
Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
$665
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 51,480 x $0.01 = $515
Bonuses
0 x $0.01 = $150
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 665

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 16.74% - 25.49% Variable

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee
AARP® Credit Card
No Annual Fee 1.89%
$100
Spend at least $500 on purchases in your first 3 months and receive $100 in cash back
$650
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 550 x $1 = $550
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $0
0 x $1 = $100
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 650

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee No Annual Fee
APR 16.49%

Card Details

  • 3% cash back at restaurants and gas stations
  • 1% cash back everywhere else
  • No Annual Fee
  • 0% Intro APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
Chase Freedom®
$0 1.44%
$150
Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
$493
Graph Card Read Review More Details and Value Calculation

Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months

Card Rewards Estimated Rewards Value Dollars*
Spending Rewards 343 x $1 = $343
Bonuses
0 x $1 = $150
Total Net Estimated Rewards Through 24 Months 493

*The value estimate is calculated using ValuePenguin.com rewards point value.

Annual Fee $0
APR 16.74% - 25.49% Variable

Card Details

  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open and there is no minimum to redeem for cash back.
  • Free credit score, updated weekly with Credit Journey℠
  • No annual fee

Comments and Questions

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer's Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers see our disclosure page

* See the online credit card application for details about terms and conditions. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's website.

Info about the following cards: American Express® Gold Card, Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, Hilton Honors Surpass® Credit Card, American Express® Blue Sky, American Express® Green Card, The Amex EveryDay® Preferred Credit Card from American Express, The Plenti® Credit Card from Amex, Blue from American Express®, Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz, Bluebird, Centurion® Card from American Express, Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card, and Starwood Preferred Guest® American Express Luxury Card has been collected independently by ValuePenguin. The issuer did not provide the details, nor is it responsible for their accuracy.

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products. For more information please see our Advertiser Disclosure.