FoundersCard, founded in 2009, is a business that aims to give entrepreneurs the same travel benefits and networking opportunities as senior members of established corporations.
The idea is that the people working hard to make their businesses successful, entrepreneurs, deserve special treatment when they travel, network, and make purchases to grow their company.
The FoundersCard is an elite perks card that instantly grants cardholders VIP treatment with a number of airlines, hotels, and retailers—sometimes in the form of access and other times in the form of discounts.
There are over 50,000 FoundersCard members using their memberships to save money when promoting their small businesses and enjoying more than 650,000 benefit redemptions.
Find out how this program works and what membership benefits include here.
In this post you'll learn:
FoundersCard membership comes with a variety of perks for small business owners, especially those who travel. Because of the exclusive nature of this membership, FoundersCard doesn’t readily advertise the specifics of this card very well. But you don’t have to become a part of the club to understand what you’re getting yourself into.
What Is It
The FoundersCard is something like a good travel credit card combined with universal loyalty membership. You don’t use it to make purchases and it doesn’t affect your credit, but it can help you save money. This card is your ticket to elite status with a number of loyalty programs and gets you discounts codes, promotional rates, and VIP status with hundreds of businesses.
This is a private program for entrepreneurs and business owners, so many of the benefits are designed to help you save on business-related expenses such as travel and workplace solutions.
How to Get One
Anyone is eligible to apply for a FoundersCard, but membership isn’t guaranteed. FC lets in a limited number of people to keep its network private. The program is available to entrepreneurs around the world but some benefits may not be available globally.
There is a limit of one active account per member. Users under the age of 21 are not eligible for FoundersCard membership.
You will need to provide credit card information during the application process both to pay the annual and initiation fee and to give you access to membership benefits that require billing information. The company will take a couple of days to review your application and get back to you about whether you’ve been accepted. As soon as your application is approved, you become part of the community and can start redeeming perks and benefits.
How Much Does It Cost
This card isn’t cheap. The annual fee for FoundersCard membership is $595 and the cost to join is $95. You might be able to get a discount on the membership fee if you receive a referral code when you apply to sign up, which could knock your fee down to $395.
While expensive, many members say they easily make the membership fee back in benefits redemption. This is especially true for those who already spend a considerable amount of money each year on travel costs and various business expenses (i.e. most business owners).
For example, one user claimed to save over $5,000 on her purchase of a new car just from FC membership. Another saved $600 in Stripe fees. If you really use the membership for all it’s worth, you can save a lot more than you spend on membership.
Keep an eye out for free trials. FoundersCard occasionally runs promotions that let you try membership for up to six months before paying.
If FoundersCard membership isn’t elite enough for you, you can apply for FOUNDERSCARD ELITE. Basically, this card gives you even more perks and comes with a heftier price tag. Elite members get more complimentary upgrades and benefits as well as an additional FC membership for a spouse or business associate at no cost. The secondary member will enjoy the benefits the primary member has redeemed.
The spouse or significant other does not need to qualify for membership or pay a separate annual fee, but they do need to have their own credit card on file in order to access the full membership benefits. If the primary member cancels their membership, then the significant other’s membership will also be automatically terminated.
Benefits of the FoundersCard Membership Program
There are over 500 exclusive benefits in the FoundersCard membership program. These include travel discounts and elite status bumps, some of which are ideal for personal use and others which are designed more for business expenditures.
Let’s start with VIP travel as a FoundersCard member. This is one of the top, most popular benefits of the membership.
FoundersCard partners with many domestic and international airlines to give members not only elite loyalty status but also discounts on flight tickets. And while some airline benefits aren’t quite as straightforward as instant premier status or cheaper rates, there is a lot of potential to save on VIP travel.
FoundersCard partners with the following airlines:
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- Surf Air
- United Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Wheels Up
If you are a loyalty member with any of these airlines, you might be in for a status upgrade.
Take a look at the flying benefits available currently below:
- American Airways: AAdvantage status challenge – instant Gold elite status and lowered qualification thresholds for higher tiers
- Virgin Atlantic: Instant Flying Club Silver status and lowered qualification thresholds for higher tiers
- Cathay Pacific Airways: Instant Marco Polo Silver status and fares discounted up to 15%
- British Airways: Fares discounted up to 10%
- Qantas: Fares discounted up to 25%
- United Airlines: Fares discounted up to 8%
- Singapore Airlines: Fares discounted up to 15%
- Wheels Up: Purchase a Wheels Up Connect Membership at a discounted rate of $1,995 (full price $2,995) or purchase a Wheels Up Core Membership for $17,500 and receive $9,000 in flight credit
- Surf Air: Receive preferred fare pricing (e.g. purchase a round trip flight for $350 off) and two complimentary round-trip guest flights when you purchase an All-You-Can-Fly membership (prices start at $1,950 a month)
- XO: Receive 3-month complimentary trial of XO RISE membership (priced at $595 per year)
Remember that these particular benefits are subject to change and FoundersCard may even decide to partner with different airlines. Still, these benefits should give you a pretty good idea of the kind of perks FoundersCard membership can get you.
[You may also like: How to get United Airlines Elite Premier Status in 2021.]
If you often find yourself in rental cars, you can make your drives a bit more comfortable while saving money using your FC membership. Complimentary upgrades and rental discounts are always available.
Here are some of the discounts available to redeem now in the Ground Transportation category:
- Hertz: Complimentary Elite status and up to 20% off rentals
- Avis Rent A Car: Complimentary Avis Preferred Plus membership status (President’s Club status for FC ELITE members) and up to 25% off rentals
- Sixt Rent a Car: Complimentary Platinum Sixt Card membership and up to 15% off rentals
- Silvercar by Audi: Save up to 20% off rentals
- EmpireCLS: Save up to 15% off all services globally
- Carey: Receive 15% off premium chauffeured limousine service
- Go Rentals: Save up to 20% on luxury car rentals
Whether you’re renting a reliable car for a business trip or looking to travel in style on a personal vacation, don’t forget to see what ground transportation benefits FoundersCard has to offer.
Other Premium Benefits and Services
Besides airline loyalty rewards, fare discounts, and car rental perks, there are usually several other travel benefits. For example, members are eligible to receive a discount of 15% off ongoing Heathrow VIP Concierge bookings and 20% off their first Heathrow VIP booking.
There is also an air medical transport benefit, with members saving up to 45% on Medjet services for individuals or families. Members are saving $104 with this benefit on average.
And should you need help planning your trips, you can redeem a benefit for complimentary TripIt Pro membership for one year and a discounted rate of $39 for three years after.
FoundersCard Hotel Program
When you join FC, you can get complimentary elite status with select hotel loyalty programs. Here are the current upgrades available to members:
- Caesars Rewards: Complimentary Caesars Rewards Diamond status
- Hilton Honors: Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status
- Marriott Bonvoy: Platinum Elite challenge – members who stay 15 paid nights within the first 3 months of Marriott Bonvoy enrollment are bumped up to Platinum Elite status for one year
- Omni Select Guest: Complimentary Omni Select Guest Platinum status (FC ELITE members only)
Besides loyalty program status upgrades, members can receive discounted room rates at select hotels. FoundersCard partners with the following hotel chains:
- Park Hyatt
- Rosewood Hotel Group
- The Peninsula Hotels
- Omni Hotels & Resorts
- W Hotels
- The Standard
- Caesars Entertainment
Cardholders receive exclusive hotel rates when staying at these brands, complimentary upgrades in the form of upgrades and amenities, and are granted more cancellation flexibility than non-FC members.
However, these perks don’t apply to every hotel within a given brand. Participating hotels and resorts are only located in San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York, London, Tokyo, Miami, Paris, Chicago, Singapore, and Vancouver.
Here are a few examples of the hotel benefits available:
- The Standard High Line New York: 25% or more off room rates, upgrades when available, welcome amenity at check-in, and flexible cancellation
- NOBU Hotel at Caesars Las Vegas: 20% off standard room rates, 10% off suite rates, and complimentary Caesars Rewards Diamond status
- St Martins Lane Hotel London: 20% off best rates, complimentary Wi-Fi, and flexible cancellation
- Park Hyatt Tokyo: Discounted rates starting at JPY 42,000 for Park Rooms, JPY 47,000 for Park Deluxe Rooms, and JPY 102,000 for Park Suites; flexible cancellation and World of Hyatt points
- Hotel de Crillon Paris (a Rosewood Hotel): 15% off most room rates and flexible cancellation
- Chicago Athletic Association Hotel: Up to 25% off room rates, complimentary premium Wi-Fi, welcome amenity at check-in, upgrades when available, flexible cancellation, and World of Hyatt points
Some discounts are not available for every type of room, but it depends on the property. Each hotel’s version of flexible cancellation is a little different too, so make sure you check with a hotel about the cancellation terms. Also, some hotels will have blackout dates, which you can see in the fine print of the benefits page for each hotel or resort. FoundersCard members do not, as a rule, get priority status over other guests when it comes to blackout dates.
FoundersCard members can choose from a wide variety of business-related benefits from marketing discounts to service credits.
You can save a considerable amount of money in business and personal expenses using these discounts. There are too many to list them all, but we’ll highlight several of the business benefits available now:
- AT&T Wireless: Save up to 15% on monthly service charge for personal wireless plans including the AT&T 4GB Plan; save up to $10 per line, per month on the AT&T Unlimited Elite Plan
- Stripe: Receive up to $50K in fee-free payments up to $1,450 value on new and existing Stripe accounts ($20K for FC standard members and $50K for FC ELITE members)
- Salesforce Essentials: Save 50% off first year of subscription after free 14-day trial (savings up to $1,500 value)
- UPS: Save up to 47% on ground, air, and international shipping (can stack on other discounts)
- HubSpot: Save up to 30% on email marketing plans including HubSpot Pro and Enterprise
- Airtable: Receive $2,000 Airtable credit and access to Airtable for Startups perks and services
- Dell: Save up to 40% on most Dell products
- Lenovo: Save up to 60% on select Think and Lenovo products ($1,500 average savings)
- Google Workspace: Save 20% on Business Standard and Business Plus Google Workspace plans
- Dropbox: Save 40% on Dropbox Business or Dropbox Plus annual subscriptions
- Zoom: Save 20% off of list price on Zoom services (when you have a minimum of 10 Business licenses) and 10% on Zoom phone services, receive one complimentary Zoom Rooms license
- Slack: Save 30% on plan upgrades for the first 12 months including Free Plan to Standard or Plus Plan and Standard Plan to Plus Plan upgrades if your business has less than 200 employees OR receive access to Sales team for special pricing if your business has more than 200 employees
- Zendesk: Receive 6 free months of Zendesk Support and Sales SRM services
- Indeed: Receive $200 Sponsored Job credit for new accounts in select countries
- Skillshare: Save 30% on Skillshare Premium Annual Subscription (for up to 2 years) after complimentary trial period
These benefits can help you save money running your business and even cut personal costs you may incur networking, traveling, or otherwise investing in the growth of your business. The bulk of FoundersCard membership benefits are business-related.
Keep in mind that some of these discounts only apply to new accounts and others apply whether you are a new or existing customer. Some discounts cannot be applied to certain service plans or may have minimum order requirements.
Also, most benefits can only be redeemed once. Many benefits have specific duration requirements such as a minimum subscription of 1 year or a maximum subscription of 3 years as well.
Finally, it’s time to talk about the lifestyle privileges that come with a FoundersCard membership. These include special pricing, discounts, and exclusive access to events and promotions. The categories are Experience & Access, Food & Wine, Health & Fitness, Holiday Favorites, and Premium Retail.
Again, there are far too many lifestyle benefits to name them all, so here are some of our favorites:
- Audi: Receive exclusive member pricing
- BMW: Save up to $3,000 on new BMWs, receive a $500 credit on the purchase of a new MINI, and save up to $11,000 on new BMW i3s
- Montblanc: Save up to 15% on every online purchase
- Adidas: Save up to 30% on every online purchase
- Harry & David: Save up to 20% on most orders
- Jonathan Adler: Save up to 20% on all online and in-store purchase
- Herman Miller: Save 15% on all online purchases and get access to a dedicated contact for customer service and support
Members also receive preferred pricing on a number of live performances including concerts, sporting events, theatre performances, and more.
How to Redeem Benefits
The benefits offered to FoundersCard members are not automatically applied to every account. You have to log in to your FoundersCard account to see current benefits and click onto the ones you want to apply.
Each benefit has its own page of details and fine print, so review this carefully to make sure that a benefit is available in your area, you understand the policies associated with privileges such as cancellation flexibility, and make a note of any expiration or blackout dates. Then, redeem the benefits you want by selecting “Redeem Now.” This will give you a promotional code that you can use when making purchases.
Available benefits are always changing, though some tend to renew each year. Benefits can become unavailable without notice, so get into the habit of checking a benefit each time you go to use it. There doesn’t seem to be a rhyme or reason to which benefits are pulled when.
The FoundersCard community is an extensive network in and of itself. Because every member is a business founder, you will share a lot in common with other cardholders and can leverage your membership to make valuable connections.
You can also promote your brand to other FC members by creating an exclusive benefit they can redeem with FoundersCard. The Community section of the FoundersCard platform features benefits created by businesses founded or run by other FC members.
For example, CEO of Namecheap.com Richard K. is offering 20% off most Namecheap domain services for FC members; the CEO of Wine Access is giving members 20% off their first order and a 10% discount after that; and the founder of MOO Inc. is offering a discount of 20% to FC members on business cards and stationery.
Is It Worth It
If the question you’re now asking is “Is it worth it?” then our answer is that it depends. If your business is pretty small and you don’t find yourself traveling a lot or paying for luxury services and top-tier business solutions, then you might not make your annual membership fee back easily and this membership could just become another expense to pay. In this case, it might end up being stressful trying to make the membership worth it
But if the opposite is true—you fly, you stay at hotels, you invest in premier business solutions regularly, etc..—then you can probably justify the membership fee no problem and you’ll enjoy the discounts and VIP treatment the FoundersCard can give you.
Overall, we don’t recommend the FoundersCard to businesses that are struggling or not particularly active, to entrepreneurs that do little to no traveling, or to individuals who already have travel credit cards that give them loyalty status upgrades and discounts.
Our biggest piece of advice is to read the fine print on benefits being offered before committing to membership. You can do this by completing the first stage of application, which just requires an email address and some personal information. Once you’re in, check out the benefits available and try to find several that would be immediately useful to you. You don’t want to cough up $400+ for membership if you’re going to have to alter your lifestyle or business to get the discounts and perks.
Hopefully, you feel like you have a much clearer picture of this exclusive program, which tries very hard to keep its benefits a secret, after reading this article.
Will you be joining FoundersCard?