Before AARP was just "AARP", it was the "American Association of Retired Persons". And although the AutoSlash team is all younger than 50 (and none of us are retired), many of us are members of AARP. Membership is flexible and effectively open to anyone willing to pay the $16 membership fee .
Among the AutoSlash team...
Many of us maintain our AARP memberships due to the discounts available through the organization. We love great deals, pure and simple. Our constant search for the best deals is the reason we run AutoSlash! We save hundreds per year due to our AARP memberships - I saved $400 on my first purchase after joining AARP - but this article is solely about rental cars. And on the subject of rental cars, AARP can be one of the best discount codes around.
We analyze pricing on literally hundreds of thousands of rentals a year, and in many cases, the AARP discount code for Avis and/or Budget beats the pants off other discounts. It depends on the situation, but yes better than Costco. Yes, better than AAA too many times. To give an example, I recently saw an AARP discounted rate with Avis that was $92 lower than any other available discount. With that kind of savings, the $16 annual membership fee ($12 if you're 50 or over) is a total no-brainer.
AARP Rental Car Partners
AARP Membership provides rental car benefits through the companies owned by the AvisBudget Group (Avis, Budget, Payless, and ZipCar). Those are the only participating rental car companies with AARP, AvisBudget Group has compensated the organization to be the "Official Rental Car Provider". Each company offering approved AARP benefits has, in fact, compensated AARP for the privilege.
AARP Member Advantages is the name for a collection of products, services and insurance programs available to AARP members from trusted third parties... Providers pay a royalty fee to AARP for the use of its intellectual property. These fees are used for the general purposes of AARP.
AvisBudget Group's Marketing Budget
Although we know AvisBudget has paid off AARP for the privilege of offering "AARP Rates", we readily admit that AARP often presents some great rates for members! We automatically compare more than 1,000 coupons and discounts available to the public on default AutoSlash price searches; if you specify that you're an AARP member on the search, we will also check those rates on your behalf.
Just a quick note of caution: Don't request a membership-based quote (such as AAA, AARP or Costco) without a current membership in the organization. If a renter is asked for proof of membership at the rental counter and is unable to produce the required documentation, that renter will end up paying the walk-up rate for the rental.
At Avis and Budget, the benefits for AARP members are identical. In addition to competitive pricing, there's a free upgrade (subject to limitations on the car class and availability). The benefit of unlimited mileage on most rentals is already common on rental cars nowadays (with limited exceptions). Even the discounted Garmin GPS ($6.99 per day, plus tax) is easily avoidable with smartphone apps .
At AvisBudget Group's Payless affiliate, the member benefits vary and the maximum discount is only 5% of the base rate. The free additional driver provision still is listed but there's no limited liability, no discounted GPS, etc. There is also the indignity of renting from Payless, which is too frequently an experience in overbilling and alleged misrepresentation .
Of course, any offer comes with restrictions. The AARP benefits and codes are only valid within the United States, and Avis/Budget provisions such as unlimited mileage explicitly require returning the vehicle to the original pickup location. One-way rentals are not allowed on the Payless side of the corporation at all.
However, the minimal financial outlay of AARP membership ($16) can frequently save a car renter far more than the annual membership fees. We're always willing to help AutoSlash renters understand how to avoid fees (such as additional drivers) that can quickly approach the cost of the rental car itself. AARP is one of many membership organizations that provide a subset of renters an opportunity for outsized savings on rental cars. That's something the AutoSlash team will always appreciate!
Also in Our Series of Membership Organizations