AARP Member? Save 30% On Your Ancestry Membership

If you’re an AARP member, you are eligible to receive a 30% discount on your subscription at

My subscription was going to expire. It couldn’t auto-renew because my credit card had expired which turned out to be a happy accident. I waited until about 10 days before expiration to call and renew. I wanted to see if any discounts were available.

You can see when your subscription expires by clicking on the down arrow by your name, then Account Settings.

The AARP Discount

Here’s how the AARP discount works:

  • You need to call Ancestry at 800-401-1789 in the US and talk to a customer service representative. The person I spoke with was very helpful but neglected to mention that my current subscription was not allowed to run its course BEFORE the new subscription took effect. I lost the remaining days.
  • If you’re calling from outside the US, you’ll probably need to connect via chat with a Virtual Assistance to obtain a phone number that will work for you.
  • You need to provide your AARP membership number – and they do verify the number.
  • If you don’t have your card handy, you can find your account number above your name on the AARP correspondence and/or their membership newspaper/flyer.
  • If you pay for your AARP membership for either three or five years at a time instead of one year, you’ll need to contact AARP to get a new number yearly. Yea, I know this doesn’t make sense, but that’s how AARP works, apparently. I was fortunate because I joined last fall.
  • I don’t know if this discount applies to partial-year memberships or if you select monthly payments. You can discuss that with the Ancestry representative.
  • If you select auto-renew, at this same time next year your membership WILL RENEW AT THE THEN-CURRENT RATE. This means Ancestry does NOT renew your membership at the AARP discount rate. You’ll need to call Ancestry before your membership auto-renews to obtain that discount every year.

Is what you’ll save worth it? It was for me. I subscribe to the World Explorer Membership and saved a little more than $100. I also took advantage of this opportunity to make sure my other account information was up to date.

Don’t Cheat Yourself

After I paid, I made an unpleasant discovery.

My subscription expired the following week, during the first week of June, and what I didn’t realize was that the new membership took effect on the day I called and made the payment – May 27th. So, I essentially got cheated out of about ten days of the subscription I had already paid for. That’s not right, and I was not informed of that “detail.”

Apparently, I should have let the subscription expire or at least waited until the last day to call. Don’t make my mistake.

My subscription renews on May 27 of next year. I’m putting a note in my calendar to check on this a month in advance to ensure this will NOT auto-renew. I attempted to simply remove my credit card information to prevent auto-renewal from occurring, but the system would not allow me to remove my current credit card information without replacing it with a different card.

I can probably have them remove it if I call again.

I suspect I’ll need to cancel my subscription next year when I call, then resubscribe using my AARP number. If you’re thinking to yourself, “This is a pain,” it surely is.

It’s too bad this is so challenging, but regardless, with a little perseverance, if you have an AARP number, you can obtain a significant discount. Don’t let this benefit go unclaimed.

You’ll save enough to buy another DNA test at Ancestry or maybe elsewhere.

If you aren’t an AARP member but are a member of other organizations, genealogy, or heritage societies, you may qualify for a discount via that membership. Some of those might even result in a larger percentage discount than AARP. You’ll need to contact Ancestry to see. They won’t give you the membership list. You have to provide them with a list of your memberships.

I’ve also been told, but can’t verify, that when Ancestry has a 50% off special for gift subscriptions only, you can call, cancel your subscription, purchase a gift subscription, and gift it to yourself.

If you know of other Ancestry discounts for specific organizations or other ways to obtain discounts, please post them in the blog comments.

Good luck!


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27 thoughts on “AARP Member? Save 30% On Your Ancestry Membership

  1. Several years ago I used the AARP discount. The next year they refused to let me use it a second time. Maybe they’ve changed their tune but somehow I doubt it. You might wish to check into that other “little detail.”

    • Some people are saying that they are being denied a second year, but that’s not what I was told and she even told me how to deal with the AARP membership number for next year if I pay for more than one year at a time. I guess we will see next fall.

  2. I looked into this a few years ago and thought it was only good on initial subscriptions. Did this change or was I misinformed?

    • This was not an initial subscription for me. Some people are saying that they are being denied a second year, but that’s not what I was told and she even told me how to deal with the AARP membership number for next year if I pay for more than one year at a time. I guess we will see next fall.

  3. If you cancel your Ancestry membership, then create a new one to qualify for a discount, what happens to your tree on Ancestry in the meantime? How would you re-connect back up as the owner of that tree? Or, would you need to download/upload a GEDCOM? What would get lost in that shuffle?

    • I currently have an Ancestry account but no membership, i.e. I haven’t paid recently so I can’t see records but I can still see and work on my tree. You will still have your account which you will use when you reactivate your paying membership and your tree will be there.

  4. So I do not get caught in the auto-renew, 5 days before my expiration, I always cancel on-line; and they allow me to use my subscription until it matures. I then wait a few days or weeks, hoping they will offer me a discount, then subscribe again. They seldom offer me a discount. LOL. So, next time, after the expiration, I will call and ask for the AARP discount. Many thanks!

  5. There used to be a discount subscription for DNA testers. You had to call to get it. Do they still offer that ? What did it include ?

    • I haven’t heard about that for years. You’d need to call and ask. If you find out, please let us know.

  6. Last time I checked, the only AARP discount was a one time free upgrade to World, which may be useful for Canada, Germany, ?

  7. I used the AARP discount several years ago as well. I was told when I tried to use it again a couple of years later that it was only good for a one time discount. Never tried it again. By the way, my annual renewal for the World Explorer without any kind of discount is $319/year. It’s been that for the past few years.

  8. You didn’t make clear how to “cancel your membership”? Since you lost 10 days of your previous membership, I don’t think I would join Ancestry in any case, even though I am an AARP member. I would not jump through those hoops, I have enough trouble remembering my passwords. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  9. Do you know if this is only for the World membership or can it be used for the regular membership? Mine is actually expiring in the next couple weeks.

    • The discount is good ONLY for the World membership or the “All Access” membership, which includes I just called, and actually what he said is consistent with what I’ve read before (but forgot) about how the AARP discount is only for those two members, not the regular U.S.-only records membership. Darn!

  10. For several years I had my husband give me a one year gift subscription to Ancestry at Christmas when they offer 50% off. He would start the new subscription the day after the previous one ended. This year I noticed that they stated these gift memberships are only for new memberships, not for renewals.

  11. Hi Cousin. Thanks for the Ancestry Rate stuff.I had just missed my all access automatic renewal 3 days ago waiting to switch my 6 mo all access to 12 month World Explorer $319. Made the call as suggested. Would not let me change now and my AARP had been used once (have 5 year card) What they did do though was preset my December Renewal to World Explorer with year an automatic renewal at 25% off.

    PS: Have looked recently at our shared Lentz connections and a contact through Roots Tec with a cousin with the Dayton/Trotwood

  12. Thanks for the tip! I hope they do allow it to be used across multiple years. Like the others, I thought it could only be used once.

    A note about the expired credit card. From my experience with another genealogy company, I had a card on the account that was expired, so I thought it was safe from auto-renewing. However, they must have ran the card multiple times, and eventually were given my new card number. I was shocked that they could do that. Just be careful. I had planned to wait for the next promotion.

    Also, with a different genealogy company, I had joined on a special one year promotion (might have been a free year). I didn’t realize it was on autorenew. I barely used that subscription too. A year later when it hit my card, I called the company the day after, and after talking with them for almost an hour, and them trying to convince me to keep the subscription, I got frustrated. I wanted to cancel. He would not change his tactic of keeping the subscription. We went around and around with me telling him I barely used the subscription at all. Finally, I mentioned I would report them to the Better Business Bureau. Bingo! He instantly changed his tune, and cancelled and refunded my money. Keep the BBB in your back pocket if you have trouble cancelling something.

  13. I do subscribe from time to time and it’s thoroughly worth it when I have lots to do. But for occasional use I go for one of the other subscriptions I already pay for anyway – Library access through my Family History Society or my local Library. I have to visit them to do that, but that just brings back memories of travelling short distances frequently to find records or longer distances more rarely. So last millennium!
    I can’t believe how much we can do from home these days.

  14. It seems that availability of the 30% discount for AARP members in more than one year depends on which Ancestry representative you happen to get on the phone. Here’s my experience from the past two days while trying for the discount as my Ancestry World Explorer subscription was set to automatically renew today, September 17, at the $319 annual rate. I called 1-800-401-1789 last Friday to check whether I could get the discount, even though I had used it once several years ago. The rep I got on Friday checked with someone else for a couple of minutes and advised that I could get the discount now if I have an AARP membership ID different from the one I previously used. I called AARP intending to cancel my current AARP membership and get a new one. The AARP rep advised that the new membership would have the same ID number, but she offered to immediately issue a new ID number for my current AARP membership.

    Yesterday, Saturday, I called Ancestry back and of course got a different rep than the one I spoke with on Friday. I asked for the discount and gave the new AARP membership ID number. But the Saturday rep still noted that I had used the discount before and refused to apply it again. I explained what the Friday Ancestry rep had firmly advised, but the Saturday rep continued to decline the AARP discount. As I kept talking, she did offer a “loyal customer” (since 2007) discount of 25%. As I kept talking more, she eventually offered a 30% discount in conjunction with cancelling my current subscription and opening a new one beginning immediately (September 16). So I lost one day of the current subscription but did get the equivalent of the AARP discount. Other people’s mileage may vary . . .

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