It is weeks before your 50th birthday. You are ok with it. Really you are. After all, we all know we are better after 50. You still feel great. You look fabulous. You have everything to look forward to. All is well….until that one day, when you come home from work, open the mail, and there it is: the happy birthday greeting from AARP. It’s harmless enough in itself- it’s simply a card- it’s black and white and red all over, but it’s not as harmless as the newspaper. Your first AARP card means something. It’s a turning point. How could you be old enough to be a member of AARP?
If you are like many of my friends, you can’t deal. You immediately trash the card, or better yet, you run the card through the shredder to have the satisfaction of hearing the whir as you destroy it. If you don’t own it, it won’t exist. You will not be old.
Not so fast, sister. Shut off the shredder. Keep the card, and tuck it in the back recesses of your wallet, lest it show when you pull out your credit card to pay for your purchase at Sephora. But you just may find you use it; it’s money in the bank.
AARP, as the biggest lobby in the country, with over 38 million members, has partnered with a huge number of vendors- so many that it can be overwhelming. You can find the full list here. But it’s not just for discounts at Denny’s anymore (though you still get that, of course, should you be interested.) Here is my top ten list of benefits of AARP membership for BA50s (I have not included health insurance plans or financial planning services- just the fun perks– and notice Denny’s is not on the list):
- Zipcar: Zip cars are getting more and more popular with boomers moving out of the suburbs and into a condo into the city who want to give up a car, and they are available at more and more airports, allowing you to skip the rental counter. AARP members can join Zipcar for $40 and get $40 in free driving zipcar.com/aarp
- Starwood Hotels: Going to be staying at a St. Regis, Westin or W Hotels? You’ll get up to 20% off as an AARP member. I tried going in through the Starwood site, but somehow ended up on hotels.com. You are best off going in to book thru AARP. In any case, you might end up with a better deal than your AAA card (and you’re not embarrassed to use that, are you?)
- UPS store: Who doesn’t use UPS? Show your card and save 5% on UPS shipping and 15% off on other eligible products and services, including moving supplies and packing materials (boxes, tape, packaging peanuts, bubble wrap), packing services (odd sizes and breakables), printing services (posters, postcards, banners, etc.)
- Avis/Budget/Payless Car Rental: among other benefits, get a free upgrade, unlimited mileage on most rentals, additional driver fee waived, insurance coverage waived. Visit avis.com/aarp
- British Airways: Traveling to the UK or Europe? Get $400 off in first or business class, $130 for premium economy, $65 off economy. Offer extends to October 14, but will likely be extended. Book through AARP member discounts website.
- Regal Entertainment Group: $8.00 movie tickets if you buy online. All Regal Entertainment theatres included. It turns out that the Fenway Theatre in Boston is a Regal theatre, only about 3 miles from my home- that may be reason to give up the comfort of the Superluxe theatre down the street!
- Amazon Kindle. AARP members save 10% off Kindle e-readers and Kindle Fire HD tablets.
- TicketMaster /Live Nation. If you are buying 4 tickets to any event or show and are purchasing with Ticketmaster or Live Nation, log in with your AARP card to save 25% or more on the tickets. It’s worth a try. You can also redeem by phone- have your AARP membership card handy.
- Angie’s List: Join Angie’s list for 45% off.
- McCormick and Schmick’s: 10% discount off food and non-alcoholic beverages when you show your AARP card. A far cry from Denny’s.
So next time you are about to trash the card….think again, suck it up and think about joining. At $16 bucks, it’s kind of a no brainer.