FoundersCard Review 2021: Benefits, Updates, Cost – And Is It Worth It?

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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.

FoundersCard Review 2021

Has it really been 7 years? Just renewed my FoundersCard membership again as a Charter Member

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

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:

  • Travel 
  • Business
  • Lifestyle 
  • Hotels

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

  • 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 and Marco Polo Club Silver elite status
  • Emirates5% 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

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

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.

Hotels

  • 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)
  • HiltonFree 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

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 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.

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 (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.

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
  • 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, $30 toward your first drive, $35 annual membership fee, and 10% 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. Try it free for a year

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.

2. Business

Shipping, phones, and data backup

  • AT&T15% off most wireless plans OR up to $10 off per line, per month on the AT&T Unlimited Elite plan
  • 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)
  • 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

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
  • BizFilings – 25% off services
  • Harvest15% 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
  • Squarespace20% off first annual website plan
  • Hubspot30% off software and a free CRM
  • Namecheap20% off services (domain registration and web hosting)

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.

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
FoundersCard Review 2021

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

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.

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
  • 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.

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

4. Hotels

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.

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).

FoundersCard Review 2021

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 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.

Boom

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:

  • 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.

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 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.

FoundersCard review 2021 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. 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? 

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About Harlan

Digital nomad living on the road and working toward financial independence.

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Comments

    • Hi Sean! It’s just Diamond. You don’t get any level associated with earning tier credits. To get those, you still must play in the casinos. Sorry for the confusion – that is just my naming convention. I will be sure to keep that in mind in the future. Thanks for asking for clarification!

  1. On the fine print of the FoundersCard offer:

    Please Note: Caesars Bluewaters Dubai and Atlantis Paradise Island benefit only valid for earned Tier Status (Diamond members earning at least 12,000 Tier Credits previous or current year).

    • Thanks for adding that, Menashe! Despite those terms, I’ve had success booking a stay anyway, although I’m not sure what would happen if someone showed up for the free nights. I asked the rep if I’d be charged, but she didn’t seem to think so. YMMV on that one. I’ve been able to use the other benefits of Caesars Diamond status though (like the $100 celebration dinner).

  2. I have attempted to use a Founders Card for the better part of a year. I say attempted because I have never seen any value in this card. Complete waste of money.

    • Hi Mary! Definitely hear you. That’s why I recommend looking closely at the benefits and doing a preview tour of the site before committing. You want to be sure you’ll find the benefits actually useful. Otherwise, it’s not going to be a good deal for you.

      Hopefully they’ll add more benefits this year that you can use, especially as covid gets better. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  3. If you are an existing Caesar rewards member (platinum) will you still be upgraded to Diamond with Founders membership? Thanks

    • Hi Matthew! Yes, that would work! You can actually go from having no status at all to Diamond – that’s what I did. So the upgrade from Platinum to Diamond would definitely work for you.

  4. This is a card that for you to get value from, you need to travel and you need to run a business where you take payments by credit card and do shipping (a traditional business.) For someone like me, a criminal defense lawyer who doesn’t travel, it makes no sense at all. I would not get my money back on this card.

    • That’s definitely true. I recommend poking around and looking at the benefits. If you can use them, they actually add up pretty quickly. And if you can’t – well, like you said – it doesn’t make sense.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Stephanie!

  5. There are significant differences in practice, between the three Diamond levels of Caesars Rewards. You should really update your review to be clear that what you call “Diamond elite status” is not the same as the “Diamond Elite” level. They also do not give “4 free nights at the Atlantis hotel” to those that have not earned the minimum level of tier credits. That section of your review is very misleading.

  6. Are the flight benefits for a single ticket or can you include a companion ticket and still get the discount? Any suggestions for finding domestic first class discounts? We only travel thee or four times a year, but always purchase domestic first class seats due to our extreme height.

    • Hey DJ! You can buy tickets for anyone with the discount. Most of their partner programs are international, so not it wouldn’t really translate to domestic flights unless it’s with a domestic carrier. Hope that helps!

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