Are you ready to become a card-carrying member of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)? While full membership is available to those ages 50 or older, there is no minimum age at which you can sign up.

However, as a younger member of the association, you won't be eligible for every benefit or service the AARP offers. Learn what the AARP provides and which features are only available for older members.

When Can You Join AARP?

While the AARP provides discounts and services for people ages 50 and older, membership isn’t limited to those who’ve reached that age milestone. This means that no matter how old you are, you can join.

If you decide to join early, you won’t have access to some benefits and services offered by the organization. Moreover, vendors can set their requirements, and some require you to be at least 50 to be eligible for their discounts.

When you turn 50, you’ll automatically become a full-fledged member. At that age, you’d get a more comprehensive range of benefits, including health insurance options and additional savings opportunities.

Even though some AARP features are restricted to those 50 and older, younger adults still qualify for discounts on travel, restaurants, movie tickets, and more.

Benefits for AARP Members of All Ages

The AARP offers a plethora of benefits for its members. Here's a look at some ways to save with your membership.

Travel Discounts

When you become an AARP member, you’ll get access to many travel-related discounts. For example, you can save on car rentals, hotels, and airfare. You can also take advantage of special rates on cruises and vacation packages.

The AARP Travel Center, powered by Expedia, also allows members to search for and reserve travel deals in one place, as well as gain access to exclusive discounts.

Restaurant Discounts

An AARP membership can help you save on your next meal. With its membership, you’ll get discounts at popular restaurants, such as Denny's, Outback Steakhouse, and Bonefish Grill.

The deals vary by company, so always check the deal’s latest terms and conditions. For instance, some only offer a discount to customers dining in and won’t allow you to use the offer for curbside or delivery orders.

Shopping and Grocery Discounts

In addition to travel and dining deals, you can also find savings on everyday purchases. Retailers offering member discounts include Shari’s Berries, the UPS Store, and Schwan’s Home Delivery. There are also exclusive printable coupons you can access to save even more money.

Installing the AARP Perks browser extension helps you keep track of available discounts as you shop online.

Entertainment Discounts

The AARP also offers member discounts on movies and other forms of entertainment. For example, you can get up to 20% off Regal ePremiere tickets purchased online. At the concession booth, you can also save on a popcorn and soft drink combination.

If you enjoy playing online games, the AARP Games site offers a variety of options, including Mahjongg, Solitaire, and crossword puzzles.

Health and Wellness Discounts

While some of the benefits in this category are limited to members who qualify for Medicare, they aren’t all restricted. For example, you can enjoy a discount on eye exams, frames, and lenses if you show your AARP membership card to participating optometrists.

You can also save money on prescription drugs by getting a card from OptumRX. While it does have a savings plan available to anyone, AARP members get a deeper discount.

Work and Jobs Discounts

The AARP partnered with MindEdge Learning to help members gain job skills for today’s marketplace. As a member, you get 40% off the list price for each online course you purchase. AARP members can also get a free resume review, and qualify for a discount if they purchase a resume package from the AARP Resume Advisor.

Gas and Auto Discounts

AARP members can save 20% on an Allstate Roadside plan, and will also qualify for a discount at Valvoline for an instant oil change. Link your AARP membership to your ExxonMobile Rewards program and save even more money.

Insurance

If you’re a full AARP member, you can save on things such as health, pet, life, house, and car insurance when purchasing from a partner company.

Always shop around when you’re searching for insurance. Don’t automatically sign up for a policy just because you get a discount. Instead, make sure it’s a good fit for you and provides for your insurance needs.

How Much Is AARP Membership?

With all the benefits available, you might think that joining the AARP would cost a lot. However, it's pretty affordable. The standard price is $16 a year; if you sign up with auto-renewal, your first year is only $12. You can also save by purchasing a multi-year membership. For example, you can get three years for $43 ($5 savings) and five years for $63 ($17 savings).

Your membership also includes a second household member. They’ll get a membership card of their own.

Alternatives to AARP Membership

Here are some popular alternatives to consider.

American Automobile Association (AAA)

While there aren’t many nationwide organizations providing an AARP-type association for younger people, AAA comes close. It’s mostly known for offering roadside assistance, but its members also get savings and discounts on shopping, dining, entertainment, travel, and numerous other categories. Clubs may even offer home, life, pet, or other insurance.

Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC)

Like the AARP, AMAC offers its members discounts on travel, entertainment, and dining. It also partners with a number of insurance providers, as well as credit cards, medical supplies, and more with discounted pricing. You can become an associate member of the AMAC at any age; however, you won't unlock all of the benefits until you're at least age 50.

American Senior Association

The American Senior Association is another organization for people over age 50. The organization selects products, services, and benefits designed to help members save money, offering them access to discounts on travel, insurance, health and wellness products, and more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When did AARP drop the age requirement?

When the AARP first began, you had to be 55 to join. In 1984, the association lowered the age to 50. Now, you can join at any age, although you won’t qualify for all of the benefits before your 50th birthday.

What does AARP stand for?

AARP stands for the American Association of Retired People. It’s an organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of older adults.

How do you join AARP?

Fill out an online form with all of your details, and after you pay, you’ll instantly get a digital copy of your membership card that you can print. You can use this for discounts while you wait to receive a hard copy in the mail.

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