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AARP Credit Card from Chase Review

overall rating
3.8

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The AARP credit card from Chase is a collaboration between the advocacy nonprofit organization for those over 50 and JPMorgan Chase Bank. Part of the Visa network, it offers cardholders a one-time offer, and the ongoing opportunity to earn 3% cash back when they dine out at restaurants or get gas at gas stations. You don’t actually have to be an AARP member to get this card, but if you are, it’s possible to use cash rewards to renew a membership—or give a membership to someone else.

AARP® Credit Card from Chase

overall rating
3.8
AARP® Credit Card from Chase
On Chase's Secured Site.

Current Offer:

$100 Bonus Cash Back Rewards after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.24% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3% Cash Back rewards on purchases at restaurants and at gas stations. Earn 1% Cash Back rewards on all other purchases.
Balance Transfer Fee Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee (%) 3%
how this card stacks up
When compared among all rewards cards in our database:
Rewards
Benefits
Low Fees
Security/Customer Experience
Low Interest
worst best

The AARP Credit Card from Chase is not one of our top-rated rewards credit cards. You can review our list of the best rewards credit cards for what we think are better options.

Full Review of AARP Credit Card from Chase

Pros
  • Generous cash-back rewards at restaurants and gas stations

  • No annual fee

  • Certain purchases help charitable efforts

  • Generous one-time offer

Cons
  • Foreign transaction fee

  • No introductory APR

  • Mediocre cash back on most categories

Pros Explained

  • Generous Cash-Back Rewards at Restaurants and Gas Stations: This card comes with 3% cash back for two highly popular spending categories: restaurants and gas stations. This compares favorably with other cards, like the American Express Blue Cash Everyday, which only offers 2% cash back on gas stations.
  • No Annual Fee: The AARP credit card from Chase comes with no annual fee, so cardholders don’t have to make sure their cash back amounts to more than the fee charged.
  • Certain Purchases Help Charitable Efforts: For each purchase made at restaurants using the AARP card, 10 cents is donated to the Drive to End Hunger, a charitable initiative of the AARP Foundation. For those interested in doing a little good with their credit card purchases, this can be a definite benefit. 
  • Generous One-Time Offer: There's a one-time offer of $100 for new cardholders who spend $500 in the first three months of membership—in effect, a 20% return.

Cons Explained

  • Foreign Transaction Fee: This card charges a foreign transaction fee of 3% of each transaction in U.S. dollars. Obviously, it's one to leave at home if you’re going abroad. 
  • No Introductory APR: There is no introductory APR offer with this card for purchases or balance transfers. Other cards, like the Amex Blue Cash Everyday, offer 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for those who are looking for a break on their interest. 
  • Mediocre Cash Back on Most Categories: While it offers a nice 3% cash-back rate at restaurants and gas stations, the AARP card features a rather mundane 1% back on all other purchases, including everyday ones like groceries. Many cards, like the SavorOne and the Blue Cash Everyday, offer more of a tiered system that includes a 2% rate on common items. The Blue Cash Everyday offers 3% on groceries at U.S. Supermarkets up to $6,000 per year and the SavorOne offers unlimited 2% cash back on groceries, for example.

This Card is Best For

  • Avatar for Cash Back Strategist Persona
    Seeks to maximize cash back earnings across spending categories
    Cash Back Strategist
  • Avatar for Annual Fee Averse Persona
    Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or due to cost
    Annual Fee Averse
  • Avatar for Head of Household Persona
    Primarily responsible for household grocery and other major purchases
    Head of Household
  • Avatar for Driver/Commuter Persona
    Incurs gasoline or other commuting expenses each month
    Driver/Commuter

Obviously, this card can be good for AARP members: They can use their rewards to pay their AARP membership fees, and also support the organization’s Drive to End Hunger charitable program with their purchases.

In terms of the general public, the AARP credit card from Chase is best for those who expect to spend more on dining out and filling up. Because the higher 3% cash back is offered at restaurants and gas stations, it’s possible to earn more if those are heavier spending categories. 

AARP Credit Card from Chase Bonus

New cardholders receive $100 after spending $500 in the first three months. The 90-day period is typical, but the amount you have to buy is pleasantly low; with many cards, expenditures have to run into four figures to trigger the bonus. Compare the AARP card to the Amex Blue Cash Everyday card, which has a $150 bonus offer, but requires consumers to spend $1,000 in the first three months. A payback that amounts to a 15% return on your expenditures is a pretty good one. 

Rewards Earning Details

Earning rewards is fairly straightforward: This card offers 3% cash back on purchases made at restaurants and gas stations, and 1% cash back on everything else.

There are no caps on earnings, however. With some cards, like the Discover it cash back card, higher earnings categories are limited to the first $1,500 spent in each quarter, and the Amex Blue Cash only pays its highest-tier earnings on the first $6,000 spent in a year.

Also, cardholders don't have to worry about rewards expiring, as they are available as long as the account is open.

Rewards Redemption Details

Even though cash back is expressed as a percent, the rewards are actually listed as points that can be redeemed for various rewards.

The main redemption is for cash back rewards, which come with no minimum. It’s possible to redeem cash back for statement credit or to have it directly deposited into a checking or savings account.

However, it's also possible to redeem rewards for gift cards starting at 500 points, which translates to $5. Points can also be put toward an AARP membership, either for the cardholder to renew their own or gift a membership to someone else. You do have to wait for a letter with a redemption code before you can complete the process.

Finally, it's also possible to redeem points for travel purchases. When redeeming through the Chase travel portal, the points are worth 10% more. For example, getting $300 cash back would take 30,000 points. However, getting $300 worth of a travel-related purchase through the Chase portal would only require about 27,000 points.

How to Maximize Your Rewards

The best way to maximize rewards from the AARP credit card from Chase is to use it in conjunction with other cash back credit cards. Priority one would be to use it for dining or car refueling, since those are the categories where the juicy 3% cash back applies. The potential for earning a higher rate at gas stations is unusual, since some other tiered rewards cards, like the Blue Cash Everyday, offer only 2% at such locales. However, the Blue Cash Everyday card also offers 3% cash back on groceries at U.S. supermarkets up to $6,000 per year. As a result, it can make sense to use the AARP card on gas, while using the Blue Cash on groceries at U.S. supermarkets. 

When redeeming, the best way to maximize the rewards is to use points to pay for travel through the Chase portal. This offers an extra 10% in point redemption value. The average consumer spent close to $2,109 in gas and $3,459 at restaurants in 2018. With 3% cash back, that amounts to 16,704 points for redemption, or $167.04. However, when used for travel through the Chase portal, the value increases to $183.74. That doesn’t include additional spending at the 1% rate, however.

Plus, it doesn't include the combination of using other cash back cards in tandem. Someone who uses the Blue Cash Everyday can earn another $133.92 in cash back on groceries if they spend the average of $4,464. Plus, with the Capital One SavorOne card, which provides 3% cash back on entertainment as well as dining, it’s possible to spend the average of $3,226 on entertainment and receive another $99.78 in cash.

With the right strategy attached to using these three different cards, it's possible to get at least $400 in cash back, just by using specific cards for certain spending categories. 

AARP Credit Card's Outstanding Benefits

  • Donations to a charitable cause
  • 10% redemption bonus on travel through the Chase portal
  • Purchase protection (theft or damage coverage)
  • Extended warranty protection

Standard Benefits

  • Zero liability on unauthorized charges
  • 24/7 customer service
  • Chip-enabled cards
  • 24-hour emergency card replacement

Cardholder Experience

JP Morgan Chase Bank, which issues the AARP card, has a score of 807 in the latest J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction survey for credit card issuers. This ranks it in third place (tied with Capital One) behind Discover and American Express.

The Chase mobile app is ranked #7 in the Finance category in Apple’s App Store and has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars. On Google Play, the app has 4.4 out of 5 stars.

It's also worth noting that new purchases made with this card are protected for up to 120 days against being damaged or stolen. This coverage is worth up to $500 per claim and $50,000 per account.

Cardmembers can call 1-800-283-1211 any time to speak with a representative.

Security Features

With the AARP credit card from Chase, it's possible to receive fraud alerts via text message or email, keeping cardmembers up to date with potential problems. Additionally, this card comes with zero liability protection against fraudulent purchases and emergency card replacement within 24 hours in the United States. 

Our Verdict

The AARP credit card from Chase has a competitive one-time offer, and offers ongoing cash back at restaurants and gas stations at a highly respectable rate. But it is pretty middling on other everyday purchases; unlike others, it offers no middle tier, going straight from generous (3%) to mundane (1%) in cash reward rates. It might not make sense for those whose high-spending categories include groceries, travel and other everyday purchases. 

Also, given that rewards are optimized if used through the Chase travel portal, it seems odd that AARP card charges a hefty foreign transaction fee. There are numerous cash back cards that don’t, such as those from Capital One. Something like the Capital One SavorOne might be a better option for international travelers—especially as the SavorOne offers an even better one-time offer: New members can get $150 cash back after spending $500 in the first three months.

It makes sense for consumers to carefully analyze their spending before deciding on the AARP card as a primary payment method. Still, given that it has no annual fee and a competitive bonus, it might be a solid addition to the wallet, especially if used in tandem with other cash back cards. For those who don’t mind coordinating multiple cards, the AARP Visa from Chase could be an ideal way to reap 3% cash back in spending categories that they might not yet have covered.

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For AARP® Credit Card from Chase
on Chase's Secured Site.
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CURRENT CARD
AARP® Credit Card from Chase
overall rating
3.8
Recommended Credit Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
350 579
580 669
670 739
740 799
800 850
Good - Excellent
Regular APR (%) 16.24% - 22.99% variable
Annual Fee $0
Rewards Earning Rate Earn 3% Cash Back rewards on purchases at restaurants and at gas stations. Earn 1% Cash Back rewards on all other purchases.
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.