FoundersCard Review 2020: Benefits, Updates, Cost – And Is It Worth It?

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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

Time to update my FoundersCard review for 2020! I’ve been a member for 6 years by now. Each year, they add more (and more useful) benefits, keep the best ones, and refine their partnerships based on member demand and use.

The upshot is making the most of even ONE perk can outweigh the $395 membership – and the rest is gravy. And when you sign up with my link, your rate will never go up.

I’ve used the 15% AT&T discount, Hilton Gold elite status, and Caesars Total Rewards Diamond elite status (which is back this year through January 2021!) to cover and exceed the membership cost.

And there are new benefits for 2020!

FoundersCard review 2020

Wow, has it really been 6 years? Just renewed my FoundersCard membership again as a Charter Member and yes that’s a really old picture

Here’s everything to know before you apply for membership.

FoundersCard Review 2020

FoundersCard is a membership built for small business owners and entrepreneurs. And the benefits reflect that.

But many of them, particularly travel and lifestyle benefits, would be useful to most peeps. Especially if you’re a frequent traveler.

FoundersCard breaks down their perks into 4 categories:

  • Travel 
  • Business
  • Lifestyle 
  • Hotels

You can still get free nights at Atlantis in the Bahamas

Over the years, I’ve saved with from discounts with AT&T, elite status and offers for travel, a cheap trip to the Bahamas, and perks like free magazine subscriptions, free TripIt Pro for a year, access to a free private jet flight, and an event in Dallas with drinks and gifts.

Basically, if you can find 2 or 3 perks that make sense, you can do well with a FoundersCard membership.

With that, here are popular benefits in each category.

1. Travel

Airlines

  • American – Rotating quarterly benefit. Past quarters included free Platinum or Gold elite status challenges, a percentage off fares, and Business Extra points
  • British Airways – Up to 10% off most fares between the US/Canada and the UK (this is also a perk of the Chase British Airways card)
  • Cathay Pacific5 to 15% off flights
  • Emirates5% off fares from the US
  • Etihad – Up to 10% off Business and coach class fares
  • Qantas – 8% to 25% off fares between the US and Australia/NZ, depending on flight direction
  • Singapore Airlines – Up to 15% off select flights from the US
  • United – Up to 6% off select flights booked directly through United.com
FoundersCard review

If you pay for flights with partner airlines, these are easy savings

I’ve made excellent use of the American Airlines benefits. And saved money on paid flights, earned elite status from free challenges, and bonus Business Extra points (which I redeemed for lounge access again this year).

I help myself to any Admirals Club whenever I fly AA, thanks you Business Extra points earned through FoundersCard promotions throughout the year

These aren’t huge discounts in most cases, but they’re certain nice when you can use them. Especially if you get travel reimbursed or fly those airlines a lot.

Hotels

  • Caesars Free Diamond elite status through January 2021 (waived resort fees on any hotel stay, VIP lines, $100 Celebration dinner, 20% off select room rates, free parking at most hotels)
  • HiltonFree Gold elite status through March 2021 (free breakfast, upgrades when available, late check-out, 25% extra points on paid rates)
  • Marriott BonvoyPlatinum elite status challenge – stay 15 nights with 3 months of enrolling in the challenge, get Platinum elite status for up to one year
  • Omni – 15% off best available rate and free cancellation

Hilton Gold elite status is the best of all chain hotels for free breakfast

I love Hilton Gold status for the free breakfast. And if you stay at Hilton hotels often, you can get:

  • Bonus points
  • Free breakfast
  • Late checkout
  • Room upgrades
  • Possible lounge access, if you score a Club floor room

Caesars Diamond is back for 2020

This year, Caesars Total Rewards Diamond elite status is back, which gets you:

  • 4 free nights at the Atlantis hotel in the Bahamas
  • $100 celebration dinner
  • Tier status match to Wyndham Diamond elite status
  • NO resort fees
  • 15% off best available room rates
  • Occasional free nights at Caesars hotels

If you like Caesars hotels, FoundersCard membership can pay for itself with one trip to Vegas

And when you go to Caesars casinos, you can skip most lines – and you never pay resort fees. In places like Las Vegas, that can save you a ton of time and money. Plus, if you like Wyndham hotels, you can match your status to top-tier elite status with them.

If you stay at Wyndham hotels, you can check in as a Diamond member there, too

I’ve always found a fun way to use my Caesars status, whether it’s just popping into one of their hotels for a free dinner, or trying my luck getting into the lounges.

Rolling up to the Horseshoe Tunica with my Total Rewards Diamond elite status

It’s not guaranteed to work any more, and you may have to pay. But if they’re slow, they might just let you in. Never hurts to try – I’ve gotten in a time or two.

This is by far one of FoundersCard’s most popular perks

Car rentals

  • Avis – Free Avis Preferred Plus Membership and up to 25% off rentals
  • Getaround – $50 off your firs rental
  • Groundlink – $30 credit and 15% off all rides
  • Hertz – Free Gold Plus Rewards or FIVE STAR membership and rental discounts up to 20%
  • Silvercar – 20% off rentals (this discounts also comes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card)
  • Sixt – Platinum status and 15% off rentals

Save on your car rentals and get status that lets you walk right to a car and drive away

Again, these are all perks of certain cards. I usually rent through Priceline/Costco/Chase Ultimate Rewards. But it’s worth checking every time for the best deal (and I always do – I sometimes find cheaper rates with Hertz status than I find anywhere else, FWIW).

Other travel savings

Couple extra lil bennies.

  • ZipCarWaived setup fees for small business owners, $20 toward your first drive, and 20% off standard rates Monday through Friday
  • TripIt ProFree year of Pro, then $39 annual rate for three years

TripIt Pro has become a must for me

I had a Zipcar membership when I lived in New York and loved saving on the initiation fees. Plus you get $20 in credit and 20% off during the week.

I’m also gotten hooked on TripIt Pro. It’s become part of my travel organization and flow thanks to alerts for gate changes, delays, and connecting flights – often before the airline itself will ping you.

There are a few other extras, like 15% off with Carey (a chauffeur service), and $100 off a Sanctifly membership to work out at/near airports. They’ve done a good job adding new travel perks this past year!

2. Business

Shipping, phones, and data backup

  • AT&T15% off most voice and data plans $30+, not including unlimited voice and iPad plans
  • Backblaze20% off 1- or 2-year subscriptions (something like this is a MUST for small businesses, or anyone with a computer – I personally use Backblaze!)
  • Phone.com1 free year
  • UPS – Big discounts on shipping (up to 47% off)

If you don’t already back up your computers, you need a service like Backblaze (which is what I use)

Promotion and documentation

  • MOO20% off business printing
  • Constant Contact15% off marketing tools and emails and a 60-day free trial
  • Shopify20% off for a year after a 14-day trial, to have your own e-shop
  • LegalZoom – 20% off (I’ve used this a few times)
  • BizFilings – 25% off services
  • Harvest – 15% off
  • Stripe – $20,000 in fee-free payments (!!!)
  • Salesforce – Free 14-day trial and 50% off first annual subscription of Essentials
  • Hubspot – 30% off software and a free CRM
  • Crowdspring – $124 off a service, which is a $25 discount and free Advanced Promotion Package ($99 value)

Save on promotional materials, email services, and business filings – indispensable. And the Stripe $20K deal is pretty sweet

I’ve personally used these combined discounts several times. It really does add up. I’ve incorporated LLCs, written a will, and gotten business cards for the blog with the participating companies.

And the $20K in fee-free Stripe payments can pay for a FoundersCard membership all on its own, considering the fee is 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction. On $20,000 in payments, that’s $580 saved – at least.

Other business savings

  • Dell – Up to 40% off Dell branded products
  • Lenovo – Up to 40% off select Lenovo and Think products
  • Apple – Preferred Business relationship pricing, based on your annual spending for your business
  • Office Depot – Preferred pricing up to 55% off in-store and online, and free next-day shipping of orders of $50+

I’ve got unexpected heavy usage from FoundersCard’s business discounts

These are all geared toward building your small business. In that sense, saving cash definitely helps the bottom line.

You’ll find most of the discounts and offers in the business category – and there are lots more. You can poke around with a preview to see them all.

3. Lifestyle

There are lots of discounts in this category, too:

  • Mr Porter – $200 off your first $500+ order, free next-day shipping
  • Entrepreneur magazine – Free 1-year subscription
  • Inc. magazine – Free 1-year subscription
  • Dollar Shave Club – $18 in credits toward a razor subscription
  • Adidas.com – 30% off most items
  • Rent the Runway – 20% off
  • Spafinder Wellness 365 – 15% off gift certificates
  • ShopRunner – Free membership (although this comes with many credit cards, including all Amex personal cards and some Citi cards)
  • SXSW – Preferred badge pricing
  • Bliss Spa – 20% off select treatments
  • Many gyms, including Crunch, Equinox, and SoulCycle – Preferred rates

Big savings on SXSW passes this year

Most of them are for online shopping at upscale clothing stores. But there’s also gyms, spas, flower shops, coffee, and lots more (68 lifestyle benefits currently).

The lifestyle benefits are full of savings on gym memberships, clothes, and much more

I’ve used them here and there (like Dollar Shave Club and a gym membership). And the free magazines were handy to toss in a bag to read during a flight or layover.

Everything here is a “nice to have” – not crucial, but a fun extra. And again, it adds up if you shop often at a few of the merchants.

4. Hotels

FoundersCard has relationships with hotel chains and independent/boutique hotels around the world. At 300+ hotels, can get:

  • Exclusive members-only rates
  • Upgrades and extra perks
  • More flexible cancellation policies
  • No travel agent/booking fees

For example, at certain Marriott hotels, perks include:

  • Complimentary welcome drinks
  • More flexible cancellation privileges
  • Spa discounts
  • Free breakfast
  • Discounts off the standard room rate

You get similar treatment at Park Hyatt hotels – although the specific perks are unique to each hotel.

Even better, you can book directly. So you’ll still earn credit toward elite status and enjoy your elite status benefits. The caveat is that only:

  • 16 Marriott hotels participate (9 W hotels and 7 Ritz-Carlton hotels)
  • 5 Park Hyatts participate
  • 15 Omni hotels participate

But there are many boutique hotels, including NoMad, Standard High Line, Ace, and YOTEL in NYC. And lots all over the world.

It’s aight

While this is a cool benefit, it’s certainly not all-encompassing. But if you have paid cash stays in a FoundersCard hotel city, you can get a few extras at places that don’t partner with Amex or Chase and their respective upscale hotel programs (Fine Hotels & Resorts and Luxury Hotel Collection).

The selection in Buenos Aires leaves a lot to be desired

I ran a search in Buenos Aires and turned up 2 hotels in the FoundersCard program. New York has 16. Hong Kong has 4. Tokyo has 3.

I don’t consider this a huge money-saver as it’s so limited, but nice to have in your back pocket. And worth checking the prices for paid stays at upscale hotels.

What’s it all worth?

As of writing, FoundersCard is $395 a year with waived initiation fees for Out and Out readers.

If you can make good use of 2 or 3 benefits, it can easily save you that much – and often more.

FoundersCard has a Chrome extension so you won’t miss savings online

For example, my AT&T phone bill is ~$110 per month for 2 lines. I save $15 per month with the FoundersCard discount (applied before taxes). That’s $180 saved per year on something I need anyway – and brings the net cost of membership down to $215.

I have easily saved that much with the:

Also, if you value hotel elite status, you can get Gold elite status with Hilton.

FoundersCard has become an invaluable part of my life, travels, and blogging business

The airfare discounts are also handy to save, if you fly those airlines often.

Using the deals = savings, not using them = not saving

It’s easy to completely cover the cost of the annual membership. But the real value is when you can use the benefits. If you do, you come out way ahead – $1,000s ahead, in some cases.

And if you don’t find the discounts useful, then skip it. 💥

The goal of FoundersCard is to give small business owners access to discounts typically enjoyed by huge corporations. In that way, it gets you more access, savings, and perks than you’d ordinarily have with a small company.

I’ve had my FoundersCard membership for 6 years. And will definitely keep it as long as keep up the value proposition.

Are you ready to dig in and explore?

Preview the membership here. If you like it, use promotion code “FCHARLAN818” to lock in the special $395 a year rate for life.

FoundersCard review 2020 bottom line

I hope this is a balanced review of FoundersCard. The upshot is: if you use the benefits, you can do well to recoup the entire annual membership fee – and much more. If there’s nothing that appeals to you, skip it.

I get enough return on my membership with the AT&T discount, which saves me $180 a year (this is irrelevant if you don’t have AT&T, of course). And all the other savings are easy and fun – which is the feeling I get from FoundersCard membership. I love checking the new perks and using the various discounts that appear through the year.

Many of the built-in benefits are ancillary with co-branded credit cards. But here, you can access them without signing up for lots of cards.

As long as the value remains, I’ll keep FoundersCard. The savings are easy, discounts pop up often, and they’re engaged in the end product and user experience. It’s excellent for small business owners looking to access many of the same travel, hotel, lifestyle, and business benefits usually given to large corporations.

Interested? Preview the membership here. And if you want to apply, use promotion code “FCHARLAN818” to lock in the reduced membership rate.

If you have FoundersCard, what do you think of it? Have you gotten outsized value from your membership like I have? 

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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    • Enjoy 3 months of AAdvantage® Platinum or Gold status with the opportunity to keep it through January 2021 by completing the following requirements within 3 months of your challenge start date:

      American Airlines AAdvantage® Platinum Status Offer
      * Enroll in Business Extra
      * Select Status Tier (Platinum/Gold) and Challenge start date (between Feb 1- March 31) on aa.com after enrollment
      * Earn 12,500 EQMs or 16 EQSs AND $2,000 EQDs*

      American Airlines AAdvantage® Gold Status Offer
      * Enroll in Business Extra
      * Select Status Tier (Platinum/Gold) and Challenge start date (between Feb 1- March 31) on aa.com after enrollment
      * Earn 7,000 EQMs or 8 EQSs AND $1,000 EQDs*

      But it’s closed for enrollment now. The next one should pop up in Q2.

  1. Any idea what the equinox benefit is, The reduced rate specifically? Thanks for the great post and will be sure to use your code!

    • Hey Patrick! IIRC, it’s a percentage off the normal rate – I think 20% or 25%. In Dallas, it’s usually $160 a month, but I got $30 off per month. So $30 X 12 = $360, which just about covers the FC membership for the year. Plus you get waived initiation and some other new member freebies like a free Pilates session, meeting with a trainer, etc.

      It does vary a bit by market, but seems to be around $300 savings up front plus the ongoing discount. Hope that helps! 🙂

  2. Has the Atlantis paradise benefit changed this year? I don’t remember reading in the past that you had to earn her diamond status to use it, but the fine print makes it read like you do now?

    • It’s the same as it was last year – and I was able to book it without “earning” Diamond elite status. Despite what the fine print says, the agent had no problem confirming my room. I don’t think they enforce these rules in practice. And others I’ve heard from say they’ve booked + stayed without issues.

      But it hasn’t changed since two years ago, when they added the “earning” requirement.

  3. Hi Harlan,

    I live in Australia and I’m considering joining FC however the benefits are mainly focused on benefits from USA based companies.

    Can you provide any advice on discounts on airlines – Qantas, Emirates etc and hire cars in Australia.
    I see these as my best chance of gaining value from the card.

    Or any other benefits that my be worthwhile in Australia

    Thank you so much in advance for your advice.

    Regards Andrew

    • Hey Andrew!

      It really is best if you’re a US resident as many of the bennies are US-focused, like you said.

      Here’s what can maybe apply to you:

      – Up to 15% off Qantas fares from AUS/NZ to the US
      – 5% off Emirates fares from ex-US flights
      – Discounts with Hertz, Avis, Sixt – those might be helpful to you
      – Discounts with international companies, like Adidas, Constant Contact, Hilton, Marriott, American Airlines

      Def click the link in the post to access a preview site. You can see every discount and see if they’d apply to/be helpful for you. 🙂

      There might be one or two you really value. Hope that helps!

  4. I personally love this card. The AT&T benefit alone covers 75% of my membership fee. I also go to Vegas yearly and the no-resort-fee benefit at Caesars properties is amazing!

    Does anyone have experience using the BMW benefit in Canada? I’m not sure if it’s as good as the USA.

    Reference: https://creditcarrots.com/founderscard-review/

    • Here ya go:

      FoundersCard Canada Members receive:

      Up to $4,000 CAD off new BMW and MINI vehicles

      It’s actually very comparable to the USA benefit!

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