Background The age and degree of comorbidity among transplant candidates is increasing. Knowledge of survival benefit in relation to recipient age and comorbidity is important, considering the scarcity of organs available for transplantation. The aim of the present study was to analyze the chances and survival benefit of transplantation among patients in different age groups and with different degrees of comorbidity score at the time of entering the waiting list. Methods Data from the Danish Nephrology Registry and Scandiatransplant were merged. Charlson Comorbidity Index scores were derived from the National Danish Admissions Registry. Study period is from January 1, 1995, to December 31, 2011. A multistate model was used to analyze the chance of having a renal transplantation and the effect of transplantation in different patients groups. Results Patients older than 65 years and patients with high comorbidity score had a decreased chance of being transplanted. However, if patients older than 65 years were transplanted with deceased donor, the mortality risk was reduced by 55% (hazard rate, 0.45 (0.26-0.75). In patients with a comorbidity score of 5 or greater, receiving a deceased donor transplant reduced the mortality risk by 72% (hazard rate, 0.28 (0.20-0.39). The overall survival benefit was 62% versus 70% in deceased versus living donor transplanted patients. Conclusions Poor health and old age reduced the chance of being transplanted. However, patients older than 65 years and patients with high comorbidity still had a survival benefit from renal transplantation.