A cashback credit card may be the ideal addition to your wallet if you want to receive regular rewards on purchases. You might be able to do this to save money on purchases you currently make, but some cashback cards might be more suitable for you than others.
Except for Target and Walmart, the AARP® Essential Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays provides 3% cash back on gas and drugstore purchases, 2% cash back on medical costs, and 1% cash back on all other transactions. Although this card appears to be geared toward senior citizens, its potential value depends on your circumstances. This card research will demonstrate how it functions.
Is the AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard right for you?
The AARP® Essential Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays may appeal to elders because typical expenses alter as you age. This could be an exciting choice for many people because of the bonus earning possibilities on purchases made at petrol stations and drug stores (apart from Target and Walmart) and for medical expenses.
The fact that AARP is associated with it helps because it is a company that specializes in offering retirees benefits. Although you don’t need to be an AARP member to apply for this card, you can use rewards to purchase a new membership.
If the bonus categories for this card don’t match up with your regular spending patterns or if you don’t have outstanding or excellent credit, you might not be a good candidate for it. However, it can make sense if you’re looking for a cashback card balance transfer offer.
Benefits And Perks Of The AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard
- Offers a generous welcome: After making $500 purchases within the first three months, receive $200 in cash back.
- Valuable rewards: Earn 3% cash back at petrol stations and drugstores (apart from Target and Walmart), 2% cash back at hospitals, and 1% cash back at other merchants.
- No annual fee: The benefits of this card might continue to be worthwhile each year with no annual fee.
- Charity donations: Every new AARP credit card Barclays approves between March 22, 2021, and March 31, 2022, will result in a $10 donation to the AARP Foundation. Barclays will donate 1% of all qualifying electronic and telecommunications expenditures made with these cards to the AARP Foundation to encourage greater social engagement.
- Offer for balance transfers: Receive a 15-month introductory APR rate of 0%, followed by 19.74%, 23.74%, or 28.74% (variable).
AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard Drawbacks
- Bonus categories: This card could not provide you with as much value as other options if the bonus categories don’t correspond with your regular spending.
- Balance transfer period: Cardholders must transfer balances within 45 days of your account establishment for the promotional offer. This is less than the standard 60+ day account opening period you can encounter with other credit cards.
- Foreign transaction fee: When using this card to make transactions outside of the U.S., a 3% international transaction fee is charged.
Redeeming and Earning Cash Back
First and second year earnings potential
Here is an example of how the AARP Essential Benefits Mastercard might help you accumulate cashback rewards.
Keep in mind that this is a projection. Your spending patterns and total amount will determine the actual value.
Year one earnings: $483
Year two earnings: $383
Groceries, eating out, gas, entertainment, travel, and other earning categories are included in the valuation model. The predicted amount of cashback received annually for this particular card would likely increase if spending a significant amount on prescription drugs and medical bills were included.
It’s advisable to use your rewards credit card as frequently as you can on purchases you’re currently making if you want to earn a lot of cashback. By employing this method with the AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard, you’ll make sure that you get at least 1% cash back on all purchases that qualify.
However, if you want to optimize your earning potential, only make purchases with your card that are eligible for its bonus categories. With this card, you may earn extra money by getting 3% back on gas and drugstore purchases (but not at Target or Walmart) and 2% back on medical bills.
Given that this card doesn’t provide bonus cash back for all your regular costs, such as food and utilities, using numerous cards with various bonus categories is a simple method to increase your overall profits.
Getting The Most Out Of Your Redemptions
There isn’t much difference between the value offered by your various redemption options and the majority of cashback credit cards. Which option(s) you select for your cashback bonus depends on your desire, as the reward value is often the same.
You may use your cash-back rewards from the AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard to purchase the following things:
- Bank deposit to a U.S. checking or savings account
- Statement credit
- Gift card
- AARP membership
You can use your cash back for any of these redemptions, but you might discover one is more appropriate for your needs. For an AARP membership, redeeming points could be more advantageous than paying for one. It’s difficult to beat a deposit into a linked bank account, though, since it’s like receiving the cash that can be used any way you like.
Is the AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard available only to AARP members?
AARP membership is not required to apply for the AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard. If you’re an AARP member, you can apply for this card by entering your membership number, but it’s unnecessary. You can use the cash back you get with this card to pay for an AARP membership.
What are the benefits of the AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard?
With the AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard, you can spend money in specific ways to gain bonus cash back, like by getting 3% back on gas and drugstore purchases (but not at Target or Walmart) and 2% back on medical costs. Furthermore, you can use your cashback to buy gift cards, bank deposits, AARP memberships, and statement credits.
Does the AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard require a specific credit score?
It would help if you usually had a solid or outstanding credit score to qualify for this card. Good credit starts at 670 on a FICO Score, a form of credit score, while excellent credit is 800 or higher.
Here are some other cards to consider
The AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard might be appropriate in some circumstances, but not everyone will be a good fit. The AARP Travel Rewards Mastercard and the Chase Freedom Flex are two different choices in a similar context.
The AARP® Travel Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays is a co-branded cashback credit card with AARP from Barclays. Still, it has a different design that emphasizes travel rewards and other types of spending. This offers 3% cash back on travel expenses, hotel stays, and rental vehicles in addition to 2% cash back on dining out. The two AARP cards are almost identical outside these bonus categories, so which is better depends on your regular spending patterns.
Another reward credit card is the Chase Freedom FlexSM, but its emphasis is primarily on regular, everyday purchases. This includes earning 5% on recurring quarterly categories (up to $1,500 spent) and travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards website, 3% at dining establishments (including delivery and takeout), and 1% on all other purchases. The rotating categories in the past have included grocery stores, home improvement stores, select streaming services, gas stations, Amazon, and more. The 5% bonus is more significant than what you’d get on either AARP card.
AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard
AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard
AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard Review
The AARP® Essential Rewards Mastercard® from Barclays provides 3% cash back on gas and drugstore purchases, 2% cash back on medical costs, and 1% cash back on all other transactions. Although this card appears to be geared toward senior citizens, its potential value depends on your circumstances.