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How to use your AARP discount on travel

May 16, 2022
8 min read
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When AARP — the 38-million-strong organization for people over 50 — starts contacting you about becoming a member, you may freak out. My first reaction was, "'I am not that old.'"

But after I got over my initial consternation, I realized that becoming an AARP member might open up a treasure trove of travel savings for me, including some that are always available and others that come and go periodically.

And it's a small investment: Either pay $12 a year for a multiyear membership with automatic renewal, or $16 if you rejoin annually.

Join AARP at this link to begin saving on your next trip.

"One of the strengths of the AARP program is it's always on and always available," Matthew Phillips, director of travel for the membership organization, tells TPG. "Another strength is there's the AARP discount and AARP member rate, and you also get those awards points with the programs you are enrolled in."

Significantly, members have access to discounts and member-specific deals at eight big hotel chains that together have more than 90 brands.

There are also exclusive AARP deals for Avis Budget Group car rentals and through a cobranded AARP Travel Center powered by the Expedia portal.

Here are all the ways that you can use AARP discounts on travel, including a few you might not know about.

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AARP travel deals

Hotels

(Photo by Thomas Barwick/Getty Images)

Hotel savings for AARP members start at up to 10% off the best available rate. Some hotels offer additional perks, too, such as a late checkout until 2 p.m., when available. The ongoing travel discounts are clearly spelled out on the AARP travel benefits website.

Members can click through to the AARP Expedia booking portal or link directly to the booking sites of select providers.

With an AARP membership you can score discounts for brands in the portfolios of companies such as Hilton and IHG (including Kimpton and InterContinental Hotels). The specific deals vary by brand. The IHG partnership offer is 10% or more off the best available rate. Hilton brands are up to 10% off plus a late checkout, when available. When you click on the AARP rate when booking, you should be able to see the terms, conditions and benefits.

The savings are 5%-15% off stays at Best Western Hotels & Resorts, 10% off at Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and up to 10% off Choice Hotels, whether booked through the AARP Expedia portal or directly with the brands. AARP members also save 10% on stays with budget brands Motel 6 and Red Roof Inn.

On bookings made directly with hotel companies (websites or call centers), you typically qualify for loyalty points, too. Best Western incentivizes its loyalty members even further with a bonus of 10% additional points. Radisson, which offers a 10% discount, fast-tracks AARP members to Gold status in its loyalty program after four stays.

At some point during the booking process you may be asked for your AARP membership number. In some cases, you will need to show your membership card at check-in at the hotel.

Car rentals

AARP's car rental partnership with Avis and Budget gives members discounts of up to 35% on base-rate rentals when you pay in advance. Other perks from the Avis and Budget brands include an upgrade on a booking for a compact through full-size car, based on availability, and you can add an additional driver at no cost. There's also a 5% off deal on Payless rentals.

As with hotels, you may need to show your membership card at the car rental counter.

Related: 11 common rental car mistakes — and how to avoid them

Airline tickets

(Photo by Sol de Zuasnabar Brebbia/Getty Images)

This may come as a surprise, but AARP has a longstanding relationship with British Airways. The deal is $65 off World Traveller (standard economy) and World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and $200 off Club World business-class fares. The discount does not apply to basic fares.

The savings offer applies to round-trip transatlantic tickets purchased online only, with connections available to more than 130 destinations in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

"It's an airline discount that is in the market all the time," says Phillips. "We've always been very proud of that."

With the offer, you can collect Executive Club points based on the fare booked.

Other AARP deals

Through the Expedia portal, AARP members booking cruises have access to whatever sale fares are being offered plus an onboard spending credit of up to $100 you can use for drinks, massages or other purchases on the ship, Phillips says.

Cruise companies featured include Royal Caribbean Group brands Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Silversea (with the exception of Galapagos sailings); Carnival Corporation brands such as Carnival, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line; MSC Cruises; and Disney Cruise Line. AARP members booking vacation packages with flight and hotel or flight and rental car on the Expedia portal receive the bonus of a $50 Visa prepaid card.

Three escorted and guided tour companies — Collette, Grand European Travel and Vacations by Rail — also offer discounts to AARP members.

There's a discount offer too on airport parking — 12% with ParkRideFly — at around 40 airports throughout the U.S. Popular locations include Chicago's O'Hare International Airport (ORD) and Midway International Airport (MDW) and New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport and Albany International Airport (ALB).

Exclusive AARP offers

(Photo by Jer123/Shutterstock)

In addition to the anytime deals, there are other targeted sales of travel products. If a car rental company is, for instance, having a sale open to the general public on SUVs, there may be an added offer exclusive to AARP members, Phillips says.

As an AARP member you receive the organization's magazine and printed bulletin, both with some travel content, and can sign up for various newsletters such as "Hot Deals" with limited-time offers in a number of areas such as dining and insurance products — and sometimes travel.

How to become an AARP member

While AARP is focused on people over age 50, there is no set minimum age to join. Anyone of any age can take advantage of the travel offers, plus discounts on a lot of other products.

The official AARP line is access to "200+ benefits." The exception for those under 50 is access to products that are age-restricted by vendors, such as certain insurance products.

A catch for anyone younger is that everything AARP does is geared to and heavily marketed toward those age 50 and up. You'll get pitches that may be irrelevant to your age group.

It's fast and easy to sign up on the AARP website.

Bottom line

So is an AARP membership worth It?

The low cost of joining AARP makes it a good bet for all ages, even if you just take advantage of the travel discounts. You'll get an immediate return on your $16 membership investment with just one car rental or one hotel stay.

In addition to multiple travel benefits, including hotel, car rental and airline discounts, you can take advantage of dining discounts at over a half-dozen brands — why not save 10% off your oysters, steak and truffle fries at McCormick & Schmick's?

Ultimately, for a small annual investment, your wallet will thank you.

You can join AARP for free at this link.

Featured image by Getty Images/Maskot
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

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Recommended Credit

740-850
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Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023