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Chase Enhances AARP Card Benefits: Worth It?

by on May 7, 2013 · 6 comments

in Cash Back Rewards, Chase, Credit Cards

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Chase just launched a new enhanced version of its AARP Visa Signature card that includes 3% cash back on gas and restaurant purchases with no caps and no annual fee.

AARP CC offer

The card comes with an introductory offer of $100 cash back when you spend $500 in the first three months of account opening and 0% APR on both purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months (after that it goes up to 16.24% plus the Prime Rate). The card carries no annual fee, but it does charge 3% foreign transaction fees, so it’s not the optimal choice for purchases abroad.

In terms of the bonus categories of dining and gas, 3% cash back with no caps is a good deal, but personally, I’d rather maximize my gas purchases by earning  2X Amex Membership Rewards points with the Premier Rewards Gold or Business Gold Rewards cards, or 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points with the Ink Bold or Ink Plus. For restaurant and dining purchases, I would use my Sapphire Preferred since it earns 2.14 points per dollar at restaurants. I value transferable points more highly than fixed-value cash-back points and would peg Amex points at about 1.8 cents each at least – more with transfer bonuses like the current 35% one to British Airways – and I value Chase Ultimate Rewards points at about 2 cents each, especially when transferred to United, Hyatt and Southwest specifically.

This card used to be super lucrative when it offered a whopping 5% cash back for the first 6 months, but many people abused it (and I even know some people who have been banned from Chase for their “leveraging” of that promo). If you’re in the market for a no-annual-fee card that gives cash back and you spend a lot in these particular categories, this card might make  sense. However, the low sign-up bonus and lack of travel rewards means I wouldn’t be in a rush to hop on this.

For a no-annual-fee card, I’d rather use the Chase Freedom and maximize its 5X earning on quarterly rotating categories and then transfer those points into my Sapphire Preferred or Ink Bold Ultimate Rewards accounts and then transfer on to the program’s travel partners. In my opinion, 5 United/Hyatt points in rotating categories is more appealing than 3% back in categories I’m already getting solid rewards in!

Disclaimer: The responses below 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.

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  • David Aitken

    Curious what stops me from charging money to my own restaurant using squareup (2.75%) and getting 3% cashback? (only .25% profit, but still!)

  • Billy Ovalles

    Hey Brian,

    What debit card out there offers no-foreign transaction fees / no-atm fees when used abroad? I used to always carry the Capital One Debit card but they started charging fees about a year ago… are there any replacements out there?

  • Mark M

    I suppose you’d have to pay taxes on your ‘sales’ :P not worth it then! :)

  • thepointsguy

    At that rate you’d probably be better off with Citi Forward at 5x points on restaurants..and as Mark M says you’d have to pay taxes on that “revenue” I assume
    http://www.thepointsguy.com/go/citiforward

  • Jon

    There are no forex fees on any Capital One credit cards, but Capital One has been extremely difficult to work with in my history.

    Chase sapphire preferred nor Ink bold have foreign exchange fees, but they do have an annual fee ($95, but waived first year plus a nice sign-up bonus on both).

    For a checking account / cash access abroad, Charles Schwab checking has no fees or minimums and no foreign transaction fees plus they reimburse any ATM fees you incur domestically or abroad (although most foreign ATMs don’t charge fees).

    In my past experience Charles Schwab has been very easy to work with. You do have to open a Brokerage account with the checking, but there are no fees or minimums for that either. You can transfer money to/from Schwab and any other bank from the Schwab site.

  • Justin

    Unless you can write off the purchases at 100%…

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