Too Young for AARP? Think Again: Loopholes for 3 Money-Saving Clubs

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We’ve all seen them: Membership programs that have great benefits but are available only to certain, qualifying people. I recently discovered there are workarounds for some of the most popular membership clubs that are typically known for age or location requirements. One of them even offers discounts on movie tickets and popcorn combos.


Some see joining AARP as a glittering reward for reaching 50. However, if you’re like me and don’t want to wait the extra 20 years, there’s a way around it.

You won’t find this information on the website, but those under 50 can purchase an associate membership.

You won’t enjoy the insurance benefits, but AARP offers discounts on restaurants, entertainment, travel, car rentals, cell phone service, eyewear and more. For example, AARP offers 25% off Regal movie tickets and $3 popcorn combos.

You can join by calling 1-888-OUR-AARP and telling the representative you’d like an associate membership.

You’ll get a discount if you sign up for auto renewal. Don’t worry, you can cancel auto renewal at any time during the year if you don’t feel you’re getting the benefits of the membership.

In addition to your membership, you also have the option of adding a second person to your account for free. So for $12 per year, my boyfriend and I are now proud AARP members.

Federal Credit Unions

Credit unions tend to carry the stigma that they’re open only to teachers and state employees. This is wildly inaccurate. With their low APRs, high dividend rates and zero-fee checking accounts, a credit union membership is highly desirable.

While credit unions do have membership qualifiers, it’s likely you already qualify or can easily become qualified.

For example, NASA Federal Credit Union is open to NASA employees and their families, relatives of existing NASA Federal Credit Union members or employees of NASA Federal Credit Union partner companies.

Don’t meet these criteria? No worries. Simply join the National Space Society for free, and you’re now qualified to join the NASA Federal Credit Union. What’s more, you don’t need to live in a specific city to join this credit union. NASA Federal Credit Union has more than 30,000 ATMs and 5,000 credit union service centers nationwide. Easily access your account no matter where you live or travel!

What will you get? How about 7.9% APR on balance transfers for the life of the transfer. Or $0 down fixed-rate mortgage with no private mortgage insurance required. Not to mention a plethora of exclusive discounts for NASA Federal Credit Union members.

Look for the free membership during the signup process for NASA FCU.

Diners Club

You may know this as the old-timey charge card your grandparents keep in the back of their wallet, but it is actually chock-full of rewards and benefits.

Diners Club consumer cards come in two levels: premier and elite. The premier card has a $95  annual fee and the elite has a $300 annual fee. The main difference being you get three points per dollar on the elite card versus one point per dollar on the premier card.

While Diners Club used to be known for its extensive restaurant benefits and discounts, it is now a world-class travel card. For as low as $95 per year, the card gives you access to more than 700 airport lounges worldwide, which typically require $200-per-year memberships.

Participating airlines include Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, and Delta and British Airways. Additionally, cardholders can redeem their points at many popular hotels and with Amtrak.

Among its other key benefits are hotel room upgrades, rental car discounts, primary collision damage waiver coverage on rental cars and the ability to redeem points on a variety of airlines.

Some of the most unique benefits that set Diners Club above the rest are spa credits, free breakfast, private cooking lessons, in-room massage, and preferred access and VIP experiences at acclaimed restaurants around the world. The Diners Club wine program offers exceptional bottles of wine at up to 50% off market price.

In addition to its flexible rewards program, hotel upgrades, rental car discounts and more, this is the perfect card for anyone who wants to travel with ease.

These membership clubs are available for the taking if you know how to ask for them. Before you know it, you’ll be saving hundreds, finding exclusive deals and discounts, and being the topic of conversation when you whip out that AARP card at the movies and restaurants.

Natalie K. Gould is an Austin-based writer. She loves to garden, drink Two Buck Chuck, and flash her AARP card any chance she gets.