AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard from Barclays Review

Get your AARP membership covered through cash back with this card / Now with a $200 bonus offer you will not want to miss out on

Written by : Updated On: August 4

The basics

Reward Rate:




Medical Expenses




Unlimited 3% cash back on gas and drugstore purchases, excluding Target and Walmart

Unlimited 2% cash back on eligible medical expenses

Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases

Rewards never expire.

Key Features:

Annual Fee


Intro APR

0% on balance transfers made within the first 45 days of account opening for 15 months

Regular APR

16.99%, 20.99%, 25.99% based on creditworthiness

Signup Bonus


$200 cash back bonus after spending $1000 on purchases in the first 90 days after account opening

Redemption ways


Redeem for cash back, AARP membership, and more at

Our Verdict

The AARP Essential Rewards Mastercard from Barclays is a great card for anyone. You actually do not need to be an AARP member or a senior citizen to apply for the card, but we would recommend falling into one of these categories to be able to get the most out of the card. You can use your cash back for AARP membership, so it makes sense for those wanting membership to get this card.

Unlimited cash back is always nice, especially if you are spending a lot on gas, drugstore, and medical expenses. The card comes with standard variable APR but an intro balance transfer APR of 0% for 15 months, so this would be an excellent card for those seniors that want to consolidate and pay down debt without accruing interest.

We also love that Barclays uses this card to give back to the AARP foundation by giving 1% of all purchases and $10 for each new account. It is great to be able to use a cash back card and know that you are giving back to a helpful foundation. The only downside to this card is that it does not include Target or Walmart in the highest rewards category and does have foreign transaction fees, so you will want to only use it in the U.S.

Best Suited for:


The Health Nut

Eat healthy, exercise, and take care of yourself is your mantra. You belong to the best gyms, follow all the latest healthy food recommendations, and make a trip to the drug store every week to purchase the latest supplements and vitamins.


Always on the Road

Travel is your middle name. When you aren’t taking advantage of transit for your daily commute in the form of cabs, rideshares and trains, you are looking for a weekend escape. And if there is an opportunity to go somewhere, you take it. You are into earning miles, getting hotel upgrades, eating out and making sure your car is always fueled.

Hidden perks

The best part of this card is the signup bonus, which gives you 90 days to spend $1000 to get $200 of it back. This amount over three months comes out to a little over $330 per month, which is very easy to do on gas and drugstores. Getting this money back can be very helpful, especially for seniors.

Pair this card with:

Blue Cash Preferred


This card would go great with another cash back card that gives you more cash back, like the Blue Cash Preferred from American Express. It gives you 6% back at supermarkets, which are not covered under the AARP Essential Rewards card. Use the Blue Cash Preferred for groceries and the AARP card for gas and drug stores to get the most rewards.

Apply for: Blue Cash Preferred Credit Card

Beyond the basics

Balance Transfer Intro APR

0% APR for 15 months on transfers made within the first 45 days after account opening

Cash Advance APR


Foreign Transaction

3% of each transaction in US dollars

Loan APR


Late Payment fee

Up to $39

Penalty APR


Credit Score Required


Other Offers

Barclays will donate $10 to the AARP foundation for each new account. They will also donate 1% of eligible purchases to the AARP foundation.

Redeem your rewards for a membership for yourself or as a gift to someone else. Options start at $16 in rewards.

Enjoy complimentary access to your FICO score to monitor your credit profile each month.

Cashback Example

The average American spends around $200 per month on gas, which comes out to $2400 per year. By putting those purchases on this card, you could get $72 of that back annually.

Redeem cash back for AARP membershipForeign transaction fees
Cash back on eligible medical expensesExcludes Walmart and Target

Apply now