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I recently got a thoughtful email from a reader with a few questions about FoundersCard benefits (HT: Kevin).
I’ve written before about the many benefits FoundersCard offers.
- FoundersCard Promo: $395 a year forever and a new AA promo
- Free Caesars Total Rewards Diamond Status with FoundersCard
- FoundersCard Membership: Is it worth it?
I thought I’d turn my reply into a blog post as others might have similar questions before deciding to sign up for the card.
Let me get your advice…
1. I am already BA Gold (Emerald) but could use a bit of VS Silver and CX Silver headstarts… and definitely could use the 10% off on US-originating BA flights to the UK (and the rest of Europe?).
2. I’m already Avis Presidents’ Club so not sure about the Car Rental benefits.3. Especially keen on the hotel discounts, eg Park Hyatt Tokyo, SLS in Los Angeles. Would you be able to share with me as a prospect what the rates are at these properties if you have the FoundersCard?
Awesome questions! I’ll go in order.
In #1, Kevin is referring to the fact that FoundersCard offers Flying Club Silver Elite status with Virgin Atlantic and a fast track to Gold elite status, while Marco Polo Club Silver Tier status is given for free on Cathay Pacific.
Having Silver status with Virgin Atlantic earns a 50% bonus on miles when flying Virgin Atlantic and Delta. That jumps to 100% when you’re Gold and gets you into the Clubhouses AKA the fancy airport lounges they have in the big airports.
You’d also get preferred pricing on flights from North American cities to the UK – up to 20% off. If you have ties with Virgin Atlantic, this is a great way to boost your status before you even step on any of their planes.
As for the other benefit with Cathay Pacific, you are automatically Silver when you have the FoundersCard, which gets you into their lounges when you fly their airline. This is great if you’re loyal to SkyTeam or Star Alliance and find yourself on a random CX flight. Being Silver with Cathay Pacific makes you Ruby with Oneworld and allows you to use the priority check-in line with all Oneworld members. It’s not a huge benefit, but it’s free and is “nice to have.” Here’s a link to the other benefits of being Silver with Cathay Pacific.
Finally, it’s true that the FoundersCard get you 10% off fares from the US to the UK and Europe… just like cardholders of the Chase British Airways Visa and AARP members!
You can also sign up for a free Avis First Membership. It gets you one car class upgrade and lets you go right to your car and skip the check-in desk when you reserve with them.
Oddly enough, I’ve been renting cars with Avis a lot recently – they simply tend to have the best prices. The money-saver with this benefit is the promo code. FoundersCard has their own, and it really does bring the price down significantly.
I rented with them when I went to New Zealand – they were cheaper by far than the competition.
Just for fun, I’ll create a new search.
Here’s a 4-day car rental from the Honolulu airport with no promo code:
Now with the promo code:
Also good to note that a compact car is about $59 cheaper (that’s what I usually get). So you can see how using this a few times a year (or definitely more often!) could add up to a few hundred bucks, or more.
And if you don’t have the status with them already, it sure couldn’t hurt.
Finally, Kevin is interested in digging into their hotel program, which is actually completely separate from their travel program. Here’s a snapshot of some of their partners:
I decided to do a speculative booking with the two hotels Kevin mentioned: the Park Hyatt Tokyo and the SLS in Los Angeles.
Here are the member rates for the Park Hyatt Tokyo:
And with the FoundersCard discount:
So in this one example of a 4-night stay, you’re looking at a $315 discount, or about 17% off, which is pretty good considering all taxes and fees are included in that calculation.
Please note you can pay for the Hyatt stay with the Chase Hyatt Visa or Chase Sapphire Preferred and get 3x or 2x the total in points (Hyatt points and Ultimate Rewards points, respectively).
I believe typical elite treatment and crediting would apply, since it’s just a discount/group code and booked directly through the hotel websites and NOT an aggregator.
Finally, note that FoundersCard has MANY boutique hotels that are not part of any chain and offers discounts on those as well.
Other travel bennies
I’d say between the 10% BA offer, the Avis promo code, and the hotel discounts that you’d be well on your way to recovering the annual fee and I am personally looking forward to another year with FoundersCard.
I also must mention:
- Free TripIt Pro
- Free Shoprunner
- 15% off AT&T bill
- 15% off Qantas fares
- 5% off AA fares
- Free Hilton Gold status through 2016
- Other little random discounts and promos here and there
Hopefully this gives some detailed insight into how the discounts and promos actually work in application.
If anyone has any further questions, let me know – I am happy to poke around the site and love learning about all the various offers.
If you’d like to sign up for FoundersCard, please consider using my link. With it, you lock in a rate of $395 per year forever.
Between the airline status, flight discounts, lounge access, rental car status/discounts, and hotel discounts – if used to their maximum – this card could save you some serious cash. Way more than the annual fee of $395.
I feel like FoundersCard is still a bit under-the-radar and that, more than anything, REALLY appeals to me and is why I keep talking about it. I hope someone out there can use the info on an otherwise not-oft-discussed program.
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