Barclays revamps and launches new AARP cards for all applicants

Mar 22, 2021

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Towards the end of last year, Barclays acquired the AARP portfolio from Chase and announced a new lineup of cobranded cards coming in 2021 for AARP members. Today, Barclays announced the launch of a new suite of cobranded credit cards — The AARP® Essential Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays and the AARP® Travel Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays which are now open for applicants.

The information for the AARP® Essential Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays and the AARP® Travel Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

The cards offer a generous cash-back bonus structure for today’s everyday purchases like gas stations, restaurants, drug stores, travel and medical expenses. There is no limit to the rewards that cardmembers can earn and rewards never expire as long as the account remains open and in good standing. Although an AARP membership is not required to apply for the cards and anyone can become a member regardless of age, AARP members can save considerably on travel expenses such as flights and hotels. Let’s take a look at each new card:

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In This Post

AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: Earn $100 after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Earning structure: 3% cash back on gas and drugstore purchases, 2% cash back on medical expenses, 1% cash back rewards on all other purchases.

Annual fee: $0

AARP Travel Rewards Mastercard

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Sign-up bonus: Earn $100 after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days.

Earning structure: 3% cash back on airfare, hotel stays and car rentals, 2% cash back on restaurant purchases, including food delivery services, 1% cash back rewards on all other purchases.

Annual fee: $0

Other benefits: Along with the useful bonus categories for each card, Barclays will donate $10 per new account opened (for both cards) and 1% of all eligible electronic and telecommunications purchases to the AARP Foundation on up to $1 million annually.

Why the new cards are worth a look

While the new Barclays cards are targeted at AARP members, you do not need to have an AARP membership to apply. The AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard offers 3% cash back at drugstores and 2% back on medical expenses. The medical expenses category is a unique bonus category and is defined broadly by Barclays as:

Medical purchases are defined as Dentists, Orthodontists, Osteopathic Physicians, Chiropractors, Optometrists, Ophthalmologists, Opticians, Optical Goods & Eyeglasses, Chiropodists, Podiatrists, Hospitals, Medical and Dental Laboratories, Hearing Aids, Ambulance Services, Orthopedic Goods, Prosthetic Devices, Nursing and Personal Care Facilities, Medical Services & Health Practitioners not elsewhere classified (NEC) and Doctors not elsewhere classified (NEC), as identified by the merchant category codes.

So if you have regular medical expenses and prescriptions, the Essential Rewards Mastercard may be a worthwhile addition to your wallet.

Related: Best credit cards for paying your medical bills

Next, the AARP Travel Rewards Mastercard earns a solid 3% cash back on common travel expenses such as airfare, hotels and car rentals and 2% back at restaurants, including food delivery services such as UberEats, Grubhub and DoorDash. As far as cash-back cards go, the 3% back on those travel categories is competitive.

Both cards offer a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on balance transfers made within 45 days of account opening and no annual fee. While each card comes with a modest sign-up bonus, the low minimum spend requirement makes it easy to earn the $100. Cardholders can redeem rewards at a 1:1 rate for cash back, statement credits, gift cards, merchandise and AARP memberships starting at $16 in rewards.

Bottom line

Though both AARP cards provide valuable cash back rewards on everyday purchases, including medical expenses, drugstore purchases, dining and more, there may be more compelling cash-back and travel rewards cards for your bonus category spend. Still, if you spend a considerable amount on medical expenses — a unique bonus category — the 2x cash back offered by the Essential Rewards Mastercard could be very valuable to you.

 

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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