This is me, eating crow.
I've always had problems with the AARP. I don't like their politics, and I resent the frequent junk-mail reminders that I'm getting older and should sign up. When Porter joined—chiefly to get the AARP discount at Outback Steakhouse—I reluctantly put the card in my wallet, but was ashamed of its presence. Having campaigned for decades against age discrimination, I still don't like the idea of an old-folks organization, and have thus far refused to read their magazine or even check out their website, though Porter says they have some interesting games. It's a matter of priniciple.
As it turns out, some principles go only so far, and mine broke down today. I discovered the AARP discount at Ancestry.com.
Remember my 95 by 65 goal to put in 40 hours of genealogy work by the end of January? The chief impetus for that was the upcoming end of my Ancestry.com subscription, which I had planned to let expire for a while. However, at least until March 4 (after which the agreement may or may not be renewed), AARP members receive a 30% discount on the World Explorer membership. Thirty percent!
Pricing at Ancestry is so complex that I made a spreadsheet just to figure it all out. (Or maybe that's just me.) Not only are there different extents of Ancestry membership (World, or U.S. only), and different time periods (monthly, semi-annually, annually) but their World Explorer Plus membership also provides annual subscriptions to Fold3 and Newspapers.com. The Ancestry website is not nearly as forthcoming with prices as it could be, making comparisons difficult.
Enter the world of the phone and the human interface. I'm not a phone person, but this was worth it. I learned the truth of what was so confusing on the website: The World Explorer Plus membership cannot be given as a gift, and the AARP discount only applies to World Explorer, not U.S., and most importantly in my case, not with the AARP discount. The last was a disappointing loss, but it turns out that Fold3 and Newspapers.com offer a 50% discount to Ancestry.com members, which adds up to only $8 more than if the AARP discount had applied to the World Explorer Plus membership. (Are you confused now? That's why I made the spreadsheet.)
Plus, because I upgraded my membership before it actually expired, they added an extra month to my subscription. That's never happened before, but I was happy to take it. When this membership is about to expire, I'll be sure to call ahead of time to see if the AARP discount is still active, or if there's something else useful. I'd never have known if I'd just let my subscription expire, or renewed online.
I still have problems with the AARP. But I'll take the perk. In this transaction alone, the $16 membership fee saved me $90.