What is AARP? The Comprehensive Guide

Table of Content

As people age, they often face unique challenges and opportunities. Organizations like AARP (also known as the American Association of Retired Persons) aim to empower and support individuals in their later years.

In this article, we will define what AARP is, how it works, its pros and cons, its importance, its affiliates, and some common criticisms. We will also provide answers to FAQs about AARP and its rewards program. So, let’s dive in and discover the world of AARP!

What is AARP?

Mission and Purpose

AARP is a nonprofit organization that emphasizes improving the quality of life for individuals aged 50 and older. Its purpose is to support people to choose how they live as they age. AARP advocates for the needs and interests of older Americans, providing them with information, resources, and support to lead fulfilling lives.

Membership Benefits

AARP offers multiple benefits. These include discounts on various goods and services, such as travel, insurance, and entertainment. Members can also use educational resources, health and wellness programs, and opportunities for community engagement.

AARP Rewards

One of the notable features of AARP membership is the AARP Rewards program. Members can earn points for participating in numerous activities, such as completing quizzes, reading articles, and participating in online games. You can redeem these points for discounts, gift cards, and other rewards.

AARP Foundation

The AARP Foundation is the charitable division of the AARP. It concentrates on meeting the needs of vulnerable older adults and fighting against poverty and social isolation. The foundation offers programs and services to help older adults navigate financial challenges, access healthcare, and find employment opportunities.

How Does AARP Work?

Membership Eligibility

AARP membership is open to anyone aged 50 and older. There are no income or employment prerequisites to join. Individuals can become members online or through other enrollment methods, such as mail or phone.

Joining AARP

To join AARP, individuals must complete a membership application and pay the annual fee. The fee covers one year of membership and is renewable annually. AARP also offers multi-year membership options at a discounted rate.

Membership Fees

The annual membership fee for AARP varies depending on the membership term and location. Members can choose between a one-year membership, a three-year membership, or a five-year membership. The longer the membership term, the greater the discount on the annual fee.

AARP Magazine

As a benefit of membership, AARP provides its members with a subscription to AARP Magazine. The magazine covers various topics relevant to the 50+ population, including health, finance, travel, and lifestyle. It offers informative articles, expert advice, and inspiring stories.

Pros and Cons of AARP


  • Advocacy: 

AARP is a strong advocate for the needs and rights of older Americans. It works to influence policies and legislation that impact the aging population.

  • Membership Benefits: 

AARP offers many benefits and discounts to help members save money on everyday expenses, travel, healthcare, and more.

  • Community:

 AARP offers ample opportunities for members to connect with others in their community through local events, volunteering, and social engagement programs.

  • Resources and Information:

 AARP offers a wealth of resources and information to help members navigate various aspects of aging, including health, finances, and caregiving.


  • Membership Fees: 

Some individuals may find the annual membership fee a barrier to joining AARP, especially if they do not anticipate using the benefits and discounts offered.

  • Political Stance: 

AARP has faced criticism for its perceived political bias in its advocacy efforts. Some individuals may not align with the organization’s political positions.

  • Lack of Representation: 

AARP’s membership primarily consists of older Americans, which may limit its ability to fully represent all older adults’ diverse needs and perspectives.

Why is AARP Important?

Advocacy for Older Americans

One of the critical reasons AARP is important is its advocacy work for older Americans. The organization uses its influence and resources to support policies and initiatives that satisfy the needs and concerns of older adults. AARP’s advocacy efforts have helped shape legislation related to healthcare, retirement security, and age discrimination.

Social Impact

AARP has a significant social impact by promoting social engagement and community involvement among its members. Through local events, volunteer opportunities, and social programs, AARP encourages members to stay active, connected, and engaged in their communities.

Community Engagement

AARP provides a community-focused platform for members to connect with others in similar life stages. By facilitating social connections and fostering a sense of community, AARP helps combat social isolation and loneliness, which can negatively affect older adults.

AARP Affiliates

National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA)

The National Retired Teachers Association is an affiliate of AARP that focuses on the needs and interests of retired educators. NRTA provides resources, advocacy, and social opportunities tailored to retired teachers.

AARP Services, Inc.

AARP Services, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AARP that oversees the development and management of AARP-branded products and services, including partnerships with companies to offer exclusive discounts and benefits to AARP members.

AARP Financial Services

AARP Financial Services offers numerous financial products and services tailored to meet older adults’ needs. These services include retirement planning, investment advice, insurance options, and fraud protection.

Criticism of AARP

Political Bias

AARP has faced criticism from some individuals and organizations who believe it demonstrates political bias in its advocacy efforts. Critics argue that AARP’s positions on specific issues may not align with the views of all older Americans.

Financial Interests

Some critics have raised concerns about AARP’s financial interests, as the organization receives revenue from partnerships and endorsements with various companies. Critics argue that these financial relationships may influence AARP’s advocacy priorities and decision-making.

Lack of Representation

AARP’s membership predominantly consists of older Americans, which may limit its ability to represent all older adults’ diverse needs and perspectives fully. Some critics argue that AARP should do more to ensure that it represents the voices of underrepresented groups within the aging population.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are AARP points good for?

Members can redeem their AARP points for various rewards, including discounts on merchandise, gift cards, and travel. Members can accumulate points by participating in activities on the AARP website, such as quizzes, reading articles, and playing games.

How can I redeem AARP points?

Members can redeem their AARP points by visiting the AARP Rewards website or contacting the AARP customer service team. The website provides a catalog of available rewards, and members can choose the benefits they wish to redeem using their accumulated points.

Can I transfer AARP points to someone else?

AARP points are non-transferable, and only members can use them who earned them. Members cannot transfer points to another person’s account.

Are AARP discounts worth it?

Whether AARP discounts are worth it depends on individual needs and circumstances. Some members may find that the discounts offered by AARP save them a significant amount of money, while others may need help finding the deals applicable to their needs.

Bottom Line

AARP plays a vital role in advocating for the needs and interests of older Americans. Through its membership benefits, advocacy work, and community engagement programs, AARP supports individuals in their later years and helps them lead fulfilling lives. While the organization has faced criticism, it has still impacted the lives of older adults. Whether through discounts, resources, or social connections, AARP continues to make a difference in the lives of its members and the broader aging population.



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Judith Harvey is a seasoned finance editor with over two decades of experience in the financial journalism industry. Her analytical skills and keen insight into market trends quickly made her a sought-after expert in financial reporting.