AARP Rewards for Good – Any good?

Now that old and young alike have AARP memberships (thanks to their generous $400 discount on British Airways business and first class flights), you might be wondering about those points that show up at the top of the screen when you log into your AARP account.  You may see something like this:

AARP Rewards for Good Points

If you haven’t played with the Rewards for Good program yet, your point total may be less.  And, you might not see “Hi, Greg” if your name isn’t Greg, but I’m betting that you’ll see “Hi” something.

AARP Rewards for Good Register

Once you confirm your AARP membership and register for Rewards for Good, you should find over 5,000 points in your account.  Woohoo!  And, it gets better.  You’ll soon get emails that offer easy bonus points:

AARP Rewards for Good WELCOME150

AARP Rewards for Good WELCOMESWEEPS

Aside from free points like those shown above, you can also earn points easily by filling out quizzes, trying out various health and financial calculators, signing up for additional newsletters, etc.  Best of all, it’s fun!  Don’t believe me?  Just look at how much fun this couple is having:

AARP Rewards for Good Hula Hoops

After a few quizzes, calculators, and Hula Hoop attempts, you too will be 8,000+ points richer!

Redeeming points

When it comes time to redeem your points, you may feel less interested in Hula Hooping.

At first glance, the program looks promising.  For example, after clicking “Redeem Points”, I searched for hotel options and found this:

AARP Rewards for Good Redeem hotel

It looks like I can redeem 8,200 points for an $82 discount.  While 1 cent per point isn’t huge, it’s competitive with most other points programs.  But, is the $209 starting price legit?  Let’s see what Kayak has to say:

AARP Rewards for Good Redeem hotel

OK, so that’s not bad.  Compared to $199, the $127 Rewards for Good price would save me $72.  That comes to .87 cents per point.  Not great, but not terrible.

What if I book directly with SPG and apply an AARP discount directly on the SPG site?  Now we can book the room for only $188, plus we get Club Lounge access.

AARP Rewards for Good Redeem hotel

Let’s ignore the lounge access for a moment…  The $127 Rewards for Good price would save me $61.  That comes to .74 cents per point value.

But, look closer at the Kayak result above.  It says that I can save up to 35% by logging in.  Here’s the result after I clicked the “Unlock now” button and logged in:

AARP Rewards for Good Redeem hotel

Wow. $92. That’s much cheaper than the Rewards for Good price!  In this example, it would actually cost me money to use my points.

That test may have been a strange fluke.  Every now and then Kayak has off-the-charts great Private Deals.  This seems to be one of them.  Let’s try a Rewards for Good SPECIAL PRICING hotel instead:

AARP Rewards for Good Redeem hotel

As you can see above, I received an opportunity to spend 5,900 points for $59 off their SPECIAL PRICING rate of $242.29.  How SPECIAL is this?  Let’s ask Kayak:

AARP_RewardsForGood_Redeem_hotel_Radisson_Kayak1

Kayak dug up a $200 rate.  I guess that $242 Rewards for Good rate wasn’t so SPECIAL after all.  Now, let’s see what I get by logging into Kayak…

AARP Rewards for Good Redeem hotel

Kayak wins again!

It appears to me that it’s theoretically possible to save some money using Rewards for Good points, but only in situations where no special discounts are available elsewhere.

Gift cards?

Maybe we can get 1 cent per point value by redeeming points for gift cards.  Yeah, we can… sort of.  As with hotels, you can use points to get a discount, but not to buy gift cards entirely.  Here are a few examples:

AARP Rewards for Good Redeem gift card

AARP Rewards for Good Redeem gift cardAARP Rewards for Good Redeem gift card

 

While its often possible to buy gift cards like those above at a discount, those discounts are not necessarily available when you need them.  So, using Rewards for Good points to secure a discount seems reasonable.  Not great, but reasonable.

Then there are some truly awful options…

AARP Rewards for Good Redeem gift card Uber

Spend 2000 points to get $20 off your first Uber ride!  Or, find a referral link from anyone and get the same deal for free.  Plus, your friend will get a free ride too.  Or, just let Rewards for Good take you for a ride.

Here’s another:

AARP Rewards for Good Redeem gift card hotel

Get two $50 gift cards for 5,000 points!  Woo hoo!  Unfortunately, in order to use one of those $50 gift cards, you must book at least two overpriced nights through myhotelgiftcard.com.  No thanks.

Auctions?

Rewards for Good offers the ability to use points to bid on items in their auctions.  Here are a few examples of recently closed auctions:

AARP Rewards for Good Redeem Auction

AARP Rewards for Good Redeem Auction

AARP Rewards for Good Redeem Auction

In all of the above auctions, the winning bidder got much less than 1 cent per point value.  For example, someone seemingly paid almost 35,000 points for a $10 Cold Stone Creamery gift card!  Someone really wanted ice cream.

While it is theoretically possible to get good point value for auction items, it doesn’t appear to happen in practice.

Wrap up

If you’re an AARP member, it can’t hurt to participate in their Rewards for Good program.  Points are easy to earn, after all.  And, if you think of those points as being roughly equal in value to stickers handed out by kindergarten teachers, you won’t be too disappointed when it comes time to redeem your points.

About Greg The Frequent Miler

Greg is the owner, founder, and primary author of the Frequent Miler. He earns millions of points and miles each year, mostly without flying, and dedicates this blog to teaching others how to do the same.

More articles by Greg The Frequent Miler »

Regarding comments: Comments posted at the bottom of Frequent Miler pages and posts are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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Henry
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Henry

I have loads of points and once tried to use them in several of the auctions. What a waste of time as you have to be a shut-in with lots of time to waste to win one of those—-I agree that their prices for hotels are not a good value. About the only worthwhile use is the 10% off for some of the gift cards but as you said, there are other venues for those deals.

plane2port
Guest

If you ever cruise on Carnival or Royal Caribbean, the best deal on the AARP website is their gift cards. You hardly see them on the website because they sell out quickly. The $500 gift cards sell for $450, and the $100 cards sell for $90. The Carnival cards can be used anything at Carnival, including ship-board credit. The Royal Caribbean cards can be only be used for booking a cruise.

You don’t have to be a member of AARP to use the Rewards For Good website, but you do have to sign up with a name and password to be a site “member.”

Here’s more info for anyone interested in getting the Carnival gift cards: http://www.plane2port.com/10-off-carnival-gift-cards-on-aarp-org/

Marilyn B
Guest
Marilyn B

Agree that using the points is not very worthwhile. My balance built quickly – you get 75 points/day for logging in. Plus I think I got 10,000 on my 1st anniversary – or something like that.
The only worthwhile thing is their sweepstakes. I have won a gift card or 2.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Your hotel examples took me by surprise. I’m actually staying at the Philly Sheraton Downtown the weekend of the 30th-1st. My SO is doing the Halloween Half Marathon and that’s the closest hotel to the starting line.

I had also looked at the Radisson Blu Warwick but I though the 70k points per night was too high, especially with the elimination of the second night free award benefit.

Alex
Guest
Alex

This looks exactly the same as the Verizon rewards website. Probably operated by the same people. The rewards are terrible. I have so many points but nothing is a good value, so I haven’t purchased anything. Does anyone know of some good value items with Verizon?

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Yep, both sites are run by Destination Rewards. Most recent deal I’ve found on the Verizon site is Sonos audio equipment – redeeming the points at 1 cent each for 20% off on wireless speakers that are rarely discounted elsewhere.

Stvr
Guest
Stvr

For a travel blogger you don’t seem to grasp the economics of what’s going on here.

They are simply taking opaque hotel inventory (Priceline rooms) and allowing you access to it in exchange for points. You could simply just go to Priceline and bid on rooms instead. It will likely be cheaper.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Are most travel bloggers good at econ?

Dave
Guest
Dave

My dad gets crap from AARP in the mail all the time tryingto get him to join. He likes to send it back to the in the prepaid envelopes. You all should research their political lobbying before you sign up.

ed
Guest
ed

It’s so unfortunate AARP has turned into a political lobbying group that goes as far as to endorse political candidates which aren’t always in the best interest of senior citizens, but pretend to be. I know many seniors who have turned away from AARP, partly because they see less true value to seniors, they get better discounts elsewhere and because of AARP’s political agenda which no longer truly represent seniors like it really should. Power corrupts.

A WSJ article revealed some of the emails showing who was truly influencing top management at AARP:
“The emails overall show an AARP leadership — Policy Chief John Rother, Health Policy Director Nora Super, Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond, Senior Vice President David Sloane — that from the start worked to pass ObamaCare, before crucial details pertaining to seniors had been addressed. This crew was in constant contact with Mr. Obama’s top aides, in particular Nancy-Ann DeParle and Jim Messina.
Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/09/we_didnt_leave_aarp.html#ixzz3pKFQl1yG

skizzy
Guest
skizzy

Good one ed.
Decent healthcare for seniors, phhhhht – that’s the last thing they need.

ed
Guest
ed

My senior dad had great healthcare before this mess and cheaper premiums for supplemental. He hates this now since he pays more.

We actually have no insurance now because the premium skyrocketed under this new system. All medical facilities, nurses and doctors I’ve spoke to said this caused so many regulations and paperwork that it’s a nightmare for them. The insurance companies controlled much of this new law. Sad. Could have been something much much better.

Ann
Guest
Ann

What a waste of time. You bid and when you get down to about 30 secs left it shuts you out and doesn’t accept your bids anymore. I’m not talking about just once but many times. I give up. The people at AARP probably laugh every time you try. And the discounts they give are on merchandise that is so expensive you couldn’t afford it if they gave you 50% off.

fatima
Guest

hi i am from algeria and i m a member in rewards for goods can any one tell me if they can send my rewards to my country

V J Ramey
Guest
V J Ramey

I’ve been very disappointed in the AARP Rewards program. I bought a 3 year subscription & haven’t gotten one penny back in discounts or rewards of any kind. Their Daily Deals is usually not a deal at all or sells out within 3 minutes so the deals are very limited. I’ve never won a sweepstakes item or a bid item although I’ve tried on numerous things. I won’t be renewing my subscription that’s for sure!

Michael Belisle
Guest
Michael Belisle

There are various restaurants listed that have aarp discounts. just present your card

E. M. Urban
Guest
E. M. Urban

I have used AARP member advantages several times to book a rental car from the Austin, TX airport.
I usually get a great rate and often the car rental agent at the airport says, “That’s a great rate”. With your AARP booking you also get other perks like a second driver free(doesn’t have to be a senior), extra insurance, etc. Just visit the website and do a little snooping! Remember that it is AARP Member Advantages.

Pauline
Guest
Pauline

The best deals for us are the restaurant discounts. I have used several and gotten $10-$20 off each time! Granted, the list of restaurants is mostly fast food which I don’t use, but some of the other restaurants in my area I was able to get a free entree and/or up to $20 off at some places, usually with the purchase of another entree (and just bring the printed coupon). That’s pretty darned good. I have not tried any other discounts yet, but for free sign up, I thought the food discounts were not bad. Besides this, have used my AARP card for one restaurant discount, but in the Midwest, many AARP discounted restaurants don’t exist.

Deb
Guest
Deb

Thank you sooo much. I’ve been trying to figure this out for quit some time. The reason iwas building up points was to help a friend who could use some good deeds in her life. She has a lot of traveling long distances to get health care. Turns out I’d be better off buying the gift cards outright than putting her through the pain of using the “offers”.

Don force
Guest
Don force

Bought a aarp 500$ carnival gift card the other 3 worked fine but one was bad an it’s been 10 calls an a mo. Later trying to get them to send a new one.. I sent back card in their return ups envelope. They received last wed at 10:20 am still wanting for them to process wondering if the warehouse is in a 3rd world country…