Barclays and AARP Announce New Co-Branded Credit Cards

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and Barclays have just announced a new line of co-branded rewards credit cards for members. This new line-up includes two main cards: The AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard and the AARP Travel Rewards Mastercard. Both cards carry no annual fee and are currently offering a $100 Cash Back Bonus when cardholders spend $500 on purchases in their first 90 days. Additionally, each option has rewards categories that offer up to 3% cash back — although the multipliers vary between the two products.

Starting with the AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard, it earns 3% cash back on Gas and on Drug Store purchases. Cardholders can also earn 2% back on Medical Expenses and 1% back on everything else. As for what qualifies as a “medical expense,” the card’s terms state that this category includes chiropractors, optometrists, hospitals, hearing aids, dentists, orthodontists, ambulance services, and many more. However, keep in mind that reward eligibility will be based on the merchant category code.

Turning to the AARP Travel Rewards Mastercard, it stays true to its name with multipliers that travelers will appreciate. This includes 3% cash back on Airfare, Hotel Stays, and Car Rentals. Meanwhile, cardholders will also enjoy 2% back on Restaurant purchases and the customary 1% back on everything else. Also notable is that the AARP Travel Rewards card has no foreign transaction fees whereas the AARP Essential Rewards charges 3% per foreign transactions.

While both of these new AARP cards are now available for new cardholders, those who currently hold an AARP credit card issued by Chase can continue to use their current card. According to Barclays, they’ll be sending more information regarding the transition to the new products later this summer. Their site also suggests that the switchover will happen this September.

Commenting on the new AARP co-branded cards, Barclays’ Managing Director of Travel and Affinity Programs Nichelle Evans stated, “For nearly 20 years, Barclays has teamed-up with some of America’s best-known brands to offer co-branded credit cards and financial solutions that help people thrive. With these new credit cards for AARP members from Barclays, we are offering a suite of products designed to help Americans live life to its fullest, offering valuable cash back and exciting travel reward benefits, while also helping those facing social isolation become active members of their community.” Additionally, AARP Services’ President and CEO John Larew said of the new offerings, “AARP members told us they were looking for more in a credit card. We heard them talk about needs like wellness benefits, prescription purchases and caregiving needs. We knew we wanted to work with an issuer that would innovate with the 50+ consumer in mind, and Barclays has done that.”

Overall, both of these new AARP cards from Barclays have their benefits. Of course, while the two cards have a lot in common, their rewards focuses are quite different. Therefore, it will be interesting to see which option current cardholders choose more often as the transition from Chase to Barclays occurs later this year. In the meantime, applications for both of these new options are now open.


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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