When AARP Travel Discounts Are Worth the Membership Costs
Because AARP membership is a low $16 per year as of 2015, it's easy for anyone who travels to recoup the membership fee with just one hotel or rental car discount. AARP also provides other discounts to members in non-travel related fields, including mobile phone plans, movie theater tickets and restaurants.
Air Fare Discounts
AARP has a deal with Expedia that gives AARP members access to special flight deals when using Expedia's AARP Web portal for booking. In addition, discounts on airport parking are available at some airports. Some seniors prefer to book their flights by phone, either because they're not familiar with Internet travel portals or don't have access to the Internet. For those AARP members, Expedia waives its booking fees.
Some airlines give AARP members discounts. For instance, British Airways offers a $400 discount on premium fares and a $65 discount on standard fares, as of May 2015. These deals are available to anyone flying out of a U.S. airport, and they're also good on airlines with a code-share agreement with British Airways.
Some airlines, however, such as popular discounter Southwest Airlines, offer senior rates on flights regardless of AARP membership.
Several major hotel chains offer significant discounts of 20 percent off the rack rate to AARP members. Among these chains are the Sheraton, Wyndham, Howard Johnson, La Quinta and Ramada Inn hotel and resort chains.
However, many of these discounts are also available to people who hold an AAA card, regardless of age. In addition, many hotels offer age-based discounts to seniors regardless of AARP membership. For instance, the Starwood hotel chain, which includes the Westin, Sheraton and W hotels, offers up to a 50 percent discount to all seniors when rooms are available. Best Western offers a 10 percent age-based discount, Marriott offers 15 percent off to seniors, and Radisson and the Choice Hotel chain offer a floating discount that can range from 10 to 50 percent.
Rental Car Discounts
Several major rental car companies give AARP members a discount. Booking on Expedia's AARP Web portal provides discounts to members as well. Alamo, Avis, Enterprise, Hertz and National also offer AARP discounts regardless of the booking sites, with some discounts as high as 25 percent. In addition, booking a rental car using an AARP membership adds additional benefits, such as upgrades, discounts on GPS rental, higher liability limits and waived fees for additional drivers.
While many airlines, hotels and rental car agencies provide substantial discounts to seniors regardless of AARP membership, having an AARP card in your pocket or membership number at your fingertips can open the door to further discounts. In addition, several cruise lines offer discounts to AARP members, making membership a great idea for anyone who takes cruise vacations on a regular basis.