Money at 30: FoundersCard Overview and Trial Info
Oh, the Internet. Isn’t it awesome how if you browse a page or conduct a search you’ll end up seeing ads for related items everywhere you go? Well, as my credit card enthusiasm grew, I started to see an increasing number of ads for something called FoundersCard. Cut to several months later and I’ve recently signed up for a free trial of the service to get a closer look at what it offers and whether the annual fee makes sense for me.
If you too have encountered FoundersCard, are wondering what the free trial entails, or just want to know more about the service, stay tuned as we dive into a few things to know about the membership and its benefits.
What is the FoundersCard and What Does It Offer
First of all, FoundersCard is not a credit card. Instead, it is a membership that offers exclusive perks and benefits to cardholders — including travel perks, discounts on business services, lifestyle privileges, etc. Secondly, despite the name, you do not need to be a founder to apply. If you’re an entrepreneur, self-employed worker, or just about anyone else, you can apply.
According to their site, FounderCard members have access to more than 500 benefits. So, next, let’s take a look at some of those along with how much the membership costs.
FoundersCard Pricing and Benefits
Here’s the thing about FoundersCard: if you go to their site, you won’t exactly find a list of benefits or pricing info. Instead, to get more details, you’ll need to provide some basic info about yourself including your email address. Once you do this, you’ll get an email with a link to their benefits page. And while this particular BENEFITS page is technically publicly accessible, I won’t share the link so as to not upset them. But, if you’re clever and know where to go, you might be able to find it. Of course, if you are hoping to get invited to a free trial, then you’ll want to give up your email anyway.
The other thing about FoundersCard is that, even after you do reach that benefits page, you may notice that the list of perks looks really long. Well, in reality, this is partially because they start repeating benefits by drilling down. For example, since one of the perks is discounts on Caesars hotel bookings, you’ll eventually see listings for individual Caesars properties as if that benefit wasn’t already covered. This isn’t so much sneaky as it is kind of annoying.
In any case, here are some of the benefits that FoundersCard members can enjoy:
- Hertz: Save up to 20% and automatic Elite Status
- MR PORTER: Receive $200 account credit
- Dell: Save up to 40%
- Lenovo: Save up to 60%
- Bang & Olufsen: Save up to 25%
- Dropbox: Save up to 40%
- Caesars Rewards: Complimentary Caesars Rewards Diamond Status
- United Airlines: Save up to 8% on fares
- Hilton Honors: Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold Status
- Cathay Pacific Airways: Complimentary Marco Polo Silver Status + up to 15% off
- Stripe: Receive up to $20K in fee-free payments ($50K for Elite)
- AT&T Wireless: Save up to 15%
- Virgin Atlantic: Receive Flying Club Silver Status + Fast Track to Gold
- UPS: Save up to 47% on shipping
- Shopify: Save 20% on plans
- MOO Inc.: Save 20% on business cards and stationery products
- Salesforce Essentials: Save 50% off first year
- John Varvatos: Save 20%
- Herman Miller: Save 15%
- Sixt Rent a Car: Platinum Status and 15% off rentals
- British Airways: Save 10% on fares
- Avis Rent A Car: Complimentary Upgrade + up to 25% off
- HubSpot: Save 30% on email marketing plans
- FIJI Water: Save 25% on orders and 45% on subscriptions
- Entrepreneur Magazine: Receive complimentary one-year subscription
- Wine Library: Receive free shipping and up to 25% off
- Office Depot: Save up to 55% on office products
- And more
Again, this isn’t a complete list of benefits, but gives you an idea of the card has to offer.
As for the price, there are currently two tiers of service: FounderCard and FoundersCard Elite. While the price you encounter may vary, the site lists the official new member price at $595 per year for FoundersCard and $995 a year for FoundersCard Elite. The latter adds such benefits as $5,000 in Amazon Web Services credits, ups the Avis and Hertz status to President’s Club and President’s Circle respectively, adds complimentary Omni Select Guest Platinum Status, offers VIP upgrades and special amenities at FC Hotels, and more.
Rather than have to go to the FoundersCard site to see if you have a valid perk for a certain business, members have the option to install a useful Chrome browser extension instead. Akin to the Rakuten extension or others, this tool will pop up a notice when you land on a site where your benefits might apply. Whether you’re a full fledged member or someone on a trial (more on that in a moment), I think this could definitely come in handy and help you get the most value out of your membership.
Beyond the perks, as a FoundersCard member, you’ll also be able to earn and redeem FCPoints. You’ll rack up points for adding a significant other to your membership, referring others to the card, and more. As for what you can use these points for, options include a year of American Airlines Admirals Club membership, Amazon gift cards, a free year of FoundersCard membership, and more.
While this could be a nice bonus, you’ll need to do to get a few people on board before you’ll be able to cash in as you’ll earn 20,000 FCPoints per successful referral and redemptions start at 50,000 points. But, considering that the minimum value for that 50,000 point redemption is $200, it’s not a bad reward if you do have friends who are interested in the product.
My FoundersCard free trial
After seeing numerous ads for FoundersCard and getting several emails from them, I was offered the chance to sign-up for a free trial of the service. Since I was curious, following a few weeks of resistance, I eventually took them up on the offer. True to their word, I was able to join without paying anything — although a credit card was required as it will be charged should I fail to cancel before my year is up. In the meantime, if I do want to upgrade to a full-fledged membership, I currently have the option to get a standard membership for $395 a year or Elite membership for $595 the first year followed by $995 a year after that (although, when I first started the trial, I could have opted for a year of Elite for $295 followed by the $995 renewal).
As you might expect, seeing as this is a free trial, some of the card’s benefits are not available. Unfortunately, this means that many of the most attractive perks are excluded. Here are some examples of benefits not available to free trial members:
- Mr. Porter credit
- Bang & Olufsen discount
- Caesars Rewards Diamond status
- John Varvatos discount
- Hilton Honors Gold status
- Virgin Atlantic status
- UPS discount
- And more.
While I completely understand why many of these need to be exempted from the free trial, the irony is that it makes it harder to know whether the card would be worth paying full price for. For example, as someone who already has Caesars Diamond status, I know the value of being able to book rooms without paying resort fees. Alas, without real world experience of what that can equate to, it can be difficult to truly assess the value of that perk or the FounderCard as a whole.
So, as you can probably guess, I’ve decided I won’t be upgrading to a paid FoundersCard membership once my trial expires. While there are some interesting perks, I really don’t think I can justify the cost. Plus, some of the perks — such as Hilton Honors Gold Status — I already enjoy via my American Express Platinum card. As a result, while I’m thankful that I got to take a closer look at the card and its offerings, I now know that it’s not for me.
Is FoundersCard Worth It? (Final Thoughts)
Personally, as I’ve determined thanks to my free trial, the FoundersCard is not worth it for someone like me. That said, I imagine that it could be beneficial for others who already utilize some of the key services such as UPS, Office Depot, and Stripe for their business — although I can’t exactly speak to how good these discounts and offerings really are. On top of that, the various statuses provided by the card could be beneficial, especially if you manage to leverage those into other elite statuses via matching (for example, Caesars Diamond status can be used to gain Wyndham Diamond status as well). Then again, I’d advise you to take a close look at the card’s status benefits as some are for complementary status while others are simply for status challenges.
All in all, even though the FoundersCard is open to a wider group of people than just founders, I suspect that the original target market will still be best served by the product. As for self-employed writers like me who don’t shop at John Varvatos, drink copious amounts of Fiji, or even rent many cars, they may be better off with travel or business credit cards with broader benefits.
Also published on Medium.