What’s the Status of the $400 AARP Discount for British Airways Flights?

I’m an AARP member. I’m 41 years old. I don’t even support the organization’s policy positions. I joined, really, for just one reason: discounts. The biggest and most useful discount is with British Airways.

Here are the discounts. You save $400 on business class tickets.

The discount has been around for awhile, and gets renewed on an annual basis. The current one shows valid for bookings made by October 31.

The terms do say that the discount can be modified or pulled at any time.

Back in April you could buy British Airways business class New York – Paris for under $1000 roundtrip when BA was matching La Compagnie pricing and let you stack both the AARP discount ($400 off) and the British Airways Visa discount (10%).

After that deal the AARP discount seemed to stop working on certain promotional fares.

Last night God Save the Points wrote that the AARP discount was no longer working at all.

And indeed, after validating my AARP membership I receive the following message:

We regret that the special discount offer is currently unavailable.

If this discount is gone (and it could just as easily not been renewed at the end of the month), I will likely let my AARP membership lapse.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. This offer has been one of the all time great deals for me, used it four times, saved $1,600 for the price of annual membership ($35???). It was great that they extended it last year but it seems too good to last.

  2. Starwood hotel bookings with an AARP discount are often lower than a AAA discount. One hotel stay could pay for the membership.

  3. Sometimes I wonder about you Gary. In one article, you advocate spending $112.50 to pay $7,500 in bills and then say you’ll let your AARP membership lapse that only costs you $12.60/year (5 years). There are a ton of discounts (travel and otherwise) that more than make up for that minuscule fee.

  4. Am I missing something? I went to AARP site, its says that people over 50 can join for $16 a year. How can younger people join? Even at lower rate? Thanks.

  5. AARP a few years ago had a Chase credit card with a 5% cash back/ 5X points for 6 months. I too joines AARP for that benefit. Chase decided to reneg on on the deal and closed accounts refusing to award points at a given time when they realized the deal was costing them. I got what I was entitled to after a huge battle. AARP (The company) (in my experience) allows their co partners to do basically whatever they want, with or without any notice whatsoever. AARP sends a boilerplate response on any complaint regarding some of these “deals”. Its an interesting thing. As Gary says they claim to be a certain type of organization, but my experiences tell me otherwise.

  6. Does the AARP discount apply to the absurd “fuel surcharges” on award bookings?
    If so maybe I will reinstate my membership. Because those are the only tickets I “buy” on BA.

    In general I did not find the AARP “discounts” to be useful, particularly after my local Denny’s closed. The hotel rates are usually comparable to AAA rates (which themselves are often higher than other special rates).

  7. @Boraxo – I agree that AARP hotel rates are comparable to AAA. What does AAA cost you a year? Fees are regional but run about $100/year for two people. Yes, there are other benefits that i can find cheaper. I wouldn’t say “often” but there are ties, places where a sale rate is cheaper. My point is that we are talking about a cost of $12.60/year, though.

  8. @Jerry – AAA annual dues are now $150/yr for 2 – very high but the 150mile towing benefit has bailed us out of a few situations including with inoperable rental cars that had to be returned to the airport. There are probably cheaper options but both my cars have 100k+ miles …
    AARP is definitely a bargain but prefer not to support their political agenda unless there is a good reason

  9. @Jerry – AAA annual dues are now $150/yr for 2 – very high but the 150mile towing benefit has bailed us out of a few situations including with inoperable rental cars that had to be returned to the airport. There are probably cheaper options but both my cars have 100k+ miles …
    AARP is definitely a bargain but prefer not to support their political agenda unless there is a good reason

    Umm. if the rental car is inoperable, why did you need to use your own AAA benefit? Wouldn’t the car rental company obtain and pay for the tow on their car?

    It should be noted that you have a higher tier AAA Plus or Gold type membership which gives you longer towing. I have a basic one which is about $55/year but towing is only 5 miles or so I believe. Fortunately, I’ve never had to use it!

  10. @Boraxo – I usually just call Hertz and tell them to come get their card and bring me a new one….

  11. I thought you were supposed to be 50 years old or older to join AARP? This post doesn’t seem very ethical.

  12. @DonR There is no stipulation about being a senior citizen or of any age. I am a 28 year old member, admittedly mostly for the discount but I entered my true age, occupation as a full time employed person and none of these things are against any policy. It’s no longer the American Association of Retired Persons, the RP is now “Real Possibilities”. It’s a simple interest group which interestingly just begun a venture capital round today.

  13. Well, Gary, I think it’s really sad that you are such a whore you would support a group whose views you disagree with just for a discount, but since I AM over 50 and DO support their positions, I thank you for your support–no matter how self-interested in may be. Maybe your views on their positions will change when you get older.

    I didn’t join when I turned 50 (when there’s a huge push and you get bombarded with literature from them), and told some friends that I didn’t see the benefit, b/c I didn’t use most of the things for which they offered discounts (this is before I started the points game). One of my friends pointed out that she’d never even thought about the benefits–she joined because she thought you should support them for moral reasons. As she said, “they’re the only organization consistently speaking out for Americans over 50.” She’s right, I was a little embarrassed, and I’ve been a supporter ever since. (And, I’ve never actually saved a nickel due to that membership, but I still pay my dues, and may one day find a worthwhile discount on something. It would have been nice if the BA deal had stuck around.)

  14. My guess, based only on anecdote, is that once you give AARP your mailing address, it will be sold ad infinitum. So, too late for you, Gary! Whenever I visit a senior citizen relative and answer the phone for them, it’s nothing but scam artists. I bet this is a direct result of AARP’s (non)-privacy policies.

  15. I think this deal will be renewed. I think the slight down ward trend in air travel to Europe, will be the incentive for BA to renew this discount.

  16. The reason I am a member is the great information they deliver in their magazine and semi-magazine (not sure what to call it). I think I might have gotten an AARP rate once at a hotel, so it’s not for the discounts. Just a lot of really good information (health, retirement, etc.).

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