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The AARP® Credit Card from Chase offers good rewards on dining and gas, even if you're not among AARP’s key demographic of Americans age 50 and older. This is especially true given the card's $0 annual fee.
But depending on where you do the bulk of your spending, other cards may be better fits or offer more flexible rewards.
Here are five things to know about the AARP® Credit Card from Chase.
Nerd tip: AARP's credit cards are switching issuers. The Chase-issued card described in this article will be replaced in the spring of 2021 with a suite of cards issued by Barclays. Holders of the existing AARP® Credit Card from Chase will get a new card from Barclays. As of October 2020, details about the new Barclays cards had yet to be released.
1. The card’s bonus categories are a useful pair
For consumers who spend a large portion of their budget on dining out and gas, this card earns rich rewards: 3% cash back on restaurants, including both sit-down service or fast food, and at gas stations. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.
It's not easy to find a no-annual-fee card that offers 3X back in both of those spending categories — but there are some exceptions:
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card offers triple points on dining out and ordering in, and on gas stations, rideshares and transit, along with travel and select streaming services. All non-bonus-category spending earns 1 point back. Terms apply. Points are worth a penny each and can be redeemed for cash back, travel and more.
The Navy Federal Credit Union® More Rewards American Express® Credit Card earns 3 points back at restaurants; on gas and transit; and at supermarkets, as well as 1 point back on everything else. However, to get the card, you'll have to join Navy Federal Credit Union, meaning you'll have to meet certain eligibility requirements first.
Or, if groceries are a bigger slice of your budget than gas is, you could opt for the $0-annual-fee Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. It pays 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores and 1% on everything else.
2. The rewards you earn aren't Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Because the AARP® Credit Card from Chase is a co-branded card, the rewards you earn aren't Chase Ultimate Rewards®, which means you can't combine them with points from other Chase cards or transfer them to the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve® for a higher redemption value.
» MORE: What is the 'Chase Trifecta'?
3. There is a modest sign-up bonus
The card comes with a sign-up bonus: $100 Bonus Cash Back after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening*.
That's not bad, but several alternatives feature much higher sign-up bonuses, including all of the aforementioned cards — the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card and the Navy Federal Credit Union® More Rewards American Express® Credit Card.
4. You don’t have to be an AARP member to apply
Anyone can apply for this card, regardless of age or AARP membership status. You also can use your rewards to pay for your $16 annual AARP membership fee.
5. A portion of your restaurant spending goes to charity
Every time you use AARP® Credit Card from Chase at restaurants, 10 cents is donated to the AARP Foundation’s Drive to End Hunger campaign. Chase says it has helped raise over $10.7 million since 2011, or the equivalent of of 3.5 million meals for older Americans. For those looking to support AARP’s mission of empowering people as they age, this charitable feature is a key differentiator and one you can’t find on another card.
Information about the AARP® Credit Card from Chase has been collected by NerdWallet and was not supplied or reviewed by the issuer of this card.