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 2021! I’ve been a member for 7 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 2022!) to cover and exceed the membership cost.
And there are new benefits for 2021, mostly focused on business and lifestyle. A couple of the travel benefits have gone away, but I believe that’s reflective of where we currently are with Covid-19 and that they’ll return. Until then, what’s left is still a long list of benefits.
Here’s everything to know before you apply for membership.
In This Post
- FoundersCard Review 2021
- 1. Travel
- 2. Business
- 3. Lifestyle
- 4. Hotels
- What’s it all worth?
- FoundersCard review 2020 bottom line
FoundersCard Review 2021
FoundersCard is a membership built for small business owners and entrepreneurs. And the benefits reflect that – especially in 2021.
But many of them, particularly travel and lifestyle benefits, would be useful to most people. Definitely if you’re a frequent traveler. And if you’re not traveling this year, a fresh crop of small business benefits can easily make up for it. It just depends on what you personally find useful.
FoundersCard breaks down their perks into 4 categories:
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.
- 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 Pacific – 5 to 15% off flights and Marco Polo Club Silver elite status
- Emirates – 5% off fares from the US
- Etihad – Up to 10% off coach and Business class fares for certain destinations departing the US
- Qantas – Up 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
- Surf Air – Round-trip trial flight for $650 and two round-trip guest flights when buy an All-You-Can-Fly membership
- United – Up to 6% off select flights booked directly through United.com
These aren’t huge discounts in most cases, but they’re certainly nice when you can use them. Especially if you get travel reimbursed or fly those airlines a lot.
Again, these aren’t as bountiful as they once were. Notably absent in 2021 is the American Airlines partnership, which has been around for as long as I can remember. I really hope they get back on board soon.
- Caesars – Free Diamond elite status through January 2022 (waived resort fees on any hotel stay, VIP lines, $100 Celebration dinner, 20% off select room rates, free parking at most hotels)
- Hilton – Free Gold elite status through March 2022 (free breakfast, upgrades when available, late check-out, 25% extra points on paid rates)
- Omni – Up to 20% off best available rate and flexible cancellation privileges
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 2021
This year, Caesars Total Rewards Diamond elite status is back, which gets you:
- $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
- 4 free nights at the Atlantis hotel in the Bahamas
I just had my $100 Celebration Dinner at the Horseshoe Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, over Thanksgiving break.
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.
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 (which is 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 despite their official policy.
- Avis – Free Avis Preferred Plus Membership and up to 25% off rentals
- Silvercar – 20% off rentals (this discounts also comes with the Chase Sapphire Reserve card)
- Sixt – Platinum status and 15% off rentals
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.
- ZipCar – Waived setup fees for small business owners, $30 toward your first drive, $35 annual membership fee, and 10% off standard rates Monday through Friday
- TripIt Pro – Free year of Pro, then $39 annual rate for three years
I had a Zipcar membership when I lived in New York and loved saving on the initiation fees. Plus you get $30 in credit and 10% off during the week.
I’ve 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.
Shipping, phones, and data backup
- AT&T – 15% off most wireless plans OR up to $10 off per line, per month on the AT&T Unlimited Elite plan
- Backblaze – 20% 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.com – 1 free year
- UPS – Big discounts on shipping (up to 47% off)
- Zoom – 20% off Zoom services (10 license minimum), one free Zoom Rooms license, 10% off Zoom phone
- Dropbox – 40% off Business or Plus annual subscription
Promotion and documentation
- Moo – 20% off business printing
- Constant Contact – 15% off marketing tools and emails and a 60-day free trial
- Shopify – 20% off for a year after a 14-day trial, to have your own e-shop
- BizFilings – 25% off services
- Harvest – 15% off online invoice and time tracking services and a 30-day free trial
- Stripe – $20,000 in fee-free payments (!!!)
- Salesforce – Free 14-day trial and 50% off first annual subscription of Essentials
- Docusign – 15% off annual plans for the first year for a minimum of 5 seats
- HelloSign – 30% off first year of an annual Essentials or Business subscription
- Squarespace – 20% off first annual website plan
- Hubspot – 30% off software and a free CRM
- Namecheap – 20% off services (domain registration and web hosting)
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.
These benefits are super-focused for where we are in 2021. Discounts on electronic signature services like Docusign and HelloSign, cheap domain registration through Namecheap, personal websites through Squarespace, and email marketing through Constant Contact. These are big, recognizable names and discounts many businesses and entrepreneurs can actually use.
Other business savings
- Dell – Up to 40% off Dell branded products
- Microsoft – 10% off Microsoft 365 Business Standard
- Adobe – 15% off Creative Cloud apps for one year (!)
- Lenovo – Up to 40% off select Lenovo and Think products
- Office Depot – Preferred pricing up to 55% off in-store and online, and free next-day shipping of orders of $50+
- 1Password – 40% off Teams service
- Zendesk – 6 months free of sales and support service
You’ll find most of the discounts and offers, especially this year, in the business category – and there are lots more. You can poke around with a preview to see them all.
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
- Adidas.com – 30% off most items
- 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)
- Bliss Spa – 20% off select treatments
- Many gyms, including Crunch, Equinox, CorePower Yoga, and Pure Yoga – Preferred rates
- SoulCycle – 1 free class when you purchase a 10-pack
Most of them are for online shopping at upscale clothing stores. But there’s also gyms, spas, flower shops, and lots more.
I’ve used them here and there (like Mr Porter and an Equinox 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.
FoundersCard has relationships with hotel chains and independent/boutique hotels around the world. At 300+ hotels, you 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 Arlo NoMad, Standard High Line, Ace, and YOTEL in NYC. And lots all over the world.
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).
I ran a search in Buenos Aires and turned up 2 hotels in the FoundersCard program. New York has 14. Hong Kong has 4. Tokyo has 4.
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.
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:
- TripIt Pro discount (free for a year, then $10 cheaper for 3 years)
- Total Rewards Diamond elite status with $100 Celebration dinners and trip to the Bahamas (huge discounts with this perk alone)
- Backblaze cloud backup for my computer, which I use every day
Also, if you value hotel elite status, you can get Gold elite status with Hilton.
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 7 years. And will definitely keep it as long as keep up the value proposition.
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.
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. It’s easy and fun. 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?* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update! And thanks for using my links to apply for new card offers!
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