FoundersCard Adds New Elite Status Shortcuts. Should I Finally Sign Up?

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Ever since I first got into award travel, friends have ranted and raved about FoundersCard. They talk about how it gives them this elite status, or that discount, or this credit. But every time I've considered FoundersCard, the benefits haven't justified the cost. So, I talk myself out of it.

However, FoundersCard recently added several new benefits for its members. These include complimentary Virgin Atlantic elite status, complimentary Oneworld Ruby status, and a Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status challenge. All perks that I value highly. So now I can't help but wonder: is it time to consider a FoundersCard membership?

In this post, I'm going to walk you through everything worth knowing about FoundersCard. I'll go over what it is, what I think are the most interesting benefits it offers, and whether I think it's worth the price.

What is FoundersCard?

FoundersCard is NOT a credit card. While it delivers many credit card-like benefits, FoundersCard is actually a membership service designed to benefit entrepreneurs and business owners. However, it's popular with travelers because many of the benefits of a FoundersCard membership are travel-oriented, including:

  • Airline elite status
  • Hotel elite status
  • Travel discounts
  • Rental car company partnerships

And those are just the beginning. In fact, the sheer number of member benefits is pretty overwhelming when first previewing a membership. My guess is that this is by design. When you sign up for a FoundersCard membership, you're buying access to these benefits. You just need to decide whether the benefits justify the price.

Is FoundersCard Worth the Price?

To decide whether FoundersCard is worth the price, we need to take a look at the benefits. More specifically, we need to ask ourselves:

  • Do the benefits interest me?
  • If you could put a value on every benefit, would the overall value be greater than the annual fee?
  • Does FoundersCard provide enough savings for your endeavors to compensate for the price?

So far, it hasn't made sense for me to sign-up for three reasons:

  1. I can easily mimic any given benefit by opening the right credit card,
  2. The perks that excite my friends don't interest me, or
  3. I simply can't justify paying the price for the offered benefits.

However, after the addition of new perks, I'm taking a fresh look at FoundersCard for myself.

FoundersCard Membership Benefits

FoundersCard categorizes its full suite of benefits into four categories:

  1. Business — Services and vendors frequented by businesses
  2. Lifestyle — Experiences, premium retail, wellness, and food/wine
  3. Hotels — Discounts, upgrades, credits, and more resulting from FoundersCard's numerous hotel partnerships
  4. Travel — Airline, rental car, trip services, and other loyalty program benefits

Each of these categories contains offerings too numerous to count. I've rounded up those that I find most interesting below. But, to view all of them, simply request a membership benefit preview (preferably through our link). There's no cost associated with this, and you'll gain access to the full suite of FoundersCard benefits.

First, let's go over FoundersCard's newest benefit—since it's what drew me to reconsider membership in the first place.

New Virgin Atlantic Elite Status Benefit

The most exciting development from FoundersCard recently is the addition of Virgin Atlantic Elite status. This benefit comes in two phases:

  1. FoundersCard members earn complimentary Flying Club Silver Elite status after completing just one Virgin Atlantic flight.
  2. Members can then fast track to Flying Club top-tier Gold Elite status after earning just 500 tier points within six months.

This is pretty exciting for anyone who flies Virgin Atlantic regularly (on award bookings or otherwise). That's because Flying Club elite status offers a host of perks while traveling:

Flying Club Silver Elite status typically requires members to accrue 400 Tier Points in a year. Virgin Atlantic's cheapest flights only earn 25 Tier Points. So, the ability to earn Silver Elite status in just one flight is incredible!

Flying Club Gold Elite status (Virgin's top-tier status) usually requires 1,000 Tier Points in a 12-month period. The FoundersCard fast track lets you earn this elite status in half the number of Tier Points — although in half the amount of time.

Making the deal even sweeter is that Flying Club members currently earn Tier Points on award flights! Translation: FoundersCard members can lock in Flying Club status without booking a single cash fare.

FoundersCard Travel Benefits

  • Cathay Pacific — Recieve complimentary Marco Polo Silver Elite status for 12 months. This is Cathay Pacific's base elite status, which includes Oneworld Ruby status. Oneworld Ruby delivers numerous benefits when flying other Oneworld airlines (like AA and Alaska). Additionally, FoundersCard members also receive up to 15% off base fares for itineraries originating in the U.S. — as well as preferred pricing for businesses.
  • Hertz — All FoundersCard memberships can receive complimentary Gold Plus Rewards status. Members with professional titles including Founder/Co-Founder, CEO, President, or Owner receive complimentary Five Star elite status. Plus, all members get up to 20% off all daily, weekend, weekly, and monthly rates.
  • Caesars Rewards — Receive complimentary Diamond Ceasars Rewards through January 2022 plus 20% off most rooms at select properties. Ceasars Diamond is notably valuable, since Diamond members get free parking and waived resort fees, an annual $100 celebration dinner credit, complimentary stays at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, and more. It also opens the door to several lucrative status match opportunities with other Casino brands.
  • Marriott Bonvoy — Exclusive Platinum Elite status challenge: register and complete 15 paid nights within three months and enjoy Marriott Platinum Elite status for up to one year.
  • Hilton Honors — Receive a complimentary upgrade to Hilton Honors Gold status through March 31, 2022 with no stay requirements.
  • Omni Hotels and Resorts — Receive a complimentary upgrade to Omni Select Guest Platinum status [NEW]
  • InterContinental Hotels and Resorts — Save 20% off the best flexible rate [NEW]
  • Avis — Get up to 25% off rentals and complimentary Avis Preferred Plus membership.
  • Sixt — Receive 15% off rental bookings and complimentary Platinum Sixt Card membership.
  • Airline discounts — FoundersCard members can take advantage of discounts with partnered airlines, including up to 8% with United, up to 10% with British Airways, up to 25% with Qantas, and up to 15% with Singapore Airlines. All of these discounts come with route restrictions. So, be sure to review those terms before getting too excited.

FoundersCard Hotel Benefits

Members who book partnered hotels with FoundersCard can take advantage of directly negotiated rates, flexible cancellation policies, and complimentary upgrades.

In this regard, it's somewhat similar to the Amex Fine Hotels and Resorts program. However, I've heard anecdotally that discounts tied to FoundersCard hotel bookings can be even more significant.

Here are a few of the partnered hotels that stick out to me:

  • St. Regis San Francisco
  • The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas
  • The Park Hyatt New York
  • Shangri-La Hotel, At the Shard, London
  • The Peninsula Tokyo
  • The Standard Miami/South Beach
  • Hotel de Crillon Paris, A Rosewood Hotel
  • The Peninsula Chicago
  • The Warehouse Hotel Singapore
  • Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver
The view from Suite Bernstein at the Hotel de Crillon, a FoundersCard hotel partner.

FoundersCard Business Benefits

  • Dell — Take advantage of up to 40% off the everyday price of Dell-branded products.
  • Stripe — Receive up to $20,000 in fee-free payments.
  • UPS — Receive up to 47% off UPS air, international, and ground shipping.
  • NameCheap — Save 20% on the current regular price of most NameCheap domain services.
  • AT&T — Save 15% per month on the monthly service charge of qualifying personal wireless plans. Get up to $10 off per line, per month on the AT&T Unlimited Elite plan.
  • Shopify — FoundersCard members new to Shopify can receive 20% off one year after a 14-day free trial.
  • Dropbox — Get 40% off a Dropbox Business or Plus annual subscription.

FoundersCard Lifestyle Benefits

  • Mr. Porter — Receive $200 off a $500+ purchase.
  • BMW — Receive up to $3,000 off a new BMW, $500 off a new MINI, or $11,000 off a new BMW i3.
  • Audi — Get 6% off MSRP on the purchase or lease of a 2020 or 2021 Audi.
  • Land Rover — Save 10% off MSRP on the purchase of a Land Rover.
  • Adidas — Get an ongoing 30% discount at
  • Reebok — Receive an ongoing 30% discount on online purchases.
  • Puma — Get an ongoing 20% discount at
  • FC Tickets — Get preferred pricing on tickets for live events, including concerts, sports, theatre, and special events.
  • Wine Access — Receive $100 off your first purchase of $200+, then 10% off all following purchases.
  • WORLDvantage — FoundersCard members receive a preferred invitation to join for $495 per year (a $500 annual savings).
  • Pure Yoga — Get a waived initiation fee on enrollment and a preferred rate of $240 per month on an annual Premium membership.

FoundersCard Elite Benefits

Beyond the standard FoundersCard membership, there's yet another higher tier that offers even more benefits. This is called FoundersCard Elite, and its perks pack a punch:

  • Access to all standard FoundersCard benefits.
  • A complimentary companion FoundersCard (standard) membership.
  • Access to the Elite concierge service for up to five complimentary task hours per month.
  • Receive VIP upgrades and special amenities at FoundersCard hotels.
  • Stripe — Receive up to $50,000 in fee-free payments (instead of the standard $20k).
  • Avis — Get complimentary Avis President's Club status (as opposed to Avis Preferred Plus).
  • Hertz — Get complimentary Hertz President's Circle status (as opposed to Hertz Five Star).
  • Omni — Receive an upgrade to Onmi Select Guest Platinum Status.

The value of these upgraded benefits is entirely subjective, although the added companion FoundersCard membership adds a lot of value by itself. In the end, weighing the perks to the (not insignificant) cost may make the decision easier.

Speaking of the costs…

FoundersCard Costs

As you'd expect, this massive list of benefits comes at a price. In fact, it's the crux of my issue on whether or not to join myself.

Here's what a FoundersCard membership currently costs:

  • Standard Membership (no referral) — $595 per year plus a one-time $95 activation fee
  • Standard Membership (via referral) — $395 per year and a waived activation fee
  • Elite Membership — $995 per year, and no activation when using the referral code FCELITE2021

If you're like me, those prices probably deliver a bit of sticker shock. A standard membership costs almost $700 all-in without a referral—which is not a sum I take lightly.

Thankfully, there's no reason for anyone to pay that. If, after reading this post, you feel FoundersCard suits your business or lifestyle, you're welcome to use our referral link. In addition to getting you a lower fee, this also helps support our blog.

That leaves us with just one question: Is FoundersCard worth $395 per year?

Is FoundersCard Worth It For Me?

Now that I've sifted through all the perks FoundersCard has to offer, the question is whether I value the benefits enough to justify the $395 price tag. To decide this, let's go through the benefits that I could see myself utilizing.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Silver or Gold Elite Status

While this was an exciting notion when I first read about it, I can't bring myself to assign any value to it. That's because I've never once flown Virgin Atlantic. I hope to someday, but that'll likely be in Upper Class on an award ticket — where most of the benefits of Flying Club elite status are already included.

Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Silver Elite Status

While I don't frequent Cathay Pacific flights enough to value Marco Polo status, Oneworld Ruby is quite valuable. In fact, it's probably worth at least $400. That's because it grants free checked bags, priority check-in and boarding, and more when flying any Oneworld airline. However, I already earned Oneworld Ruby status this year via an Alaska Airlines status match from Southwest A-List. That means I'd have no use for duplicating it with Cathay Pacific.

Hertz, Caesars, Hilton, and Avis Elite Status

It's hard to put a direct value on each of these statuses individually, but together it's significant. Maybe $300–$400 total. But again, I personally already have all of these thanks to various credit card perks and status matching.

Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite Status Challenge

Don't get me wrong, Bonvoy Platinum Elite status by itself would be quite valuable. However, the fact that you need to complete 15 paid nights to get it means I'd probably never do it myself.

Airline/Hotel Discounts and Benefits

The fact that I rarely book flights or hotel stays with cash affects my value of these benefits significantly. But if you or your business does so often, I could see these holding a much higher value.

The rest of the benefits are largely uninteresting to me. So, it's safe to say that I wouldn't get enough value from FoundersCard to offset the annual fee.

Who is FoundersCard Right for?

FoundersCard provides an astounding number of benefits and partnerships to its members. But you don't have to use all of them to get your money's worth. In fact, you may only need to use one or two to justify the annual fee. For example, if you fly Virgin Atlantic a few times a year, Flying Club Elite status may justify the fee by itself! So, if a few of the aforementioned benefits suit your needs, that could be all it takes.

If you're just getting started with loyalty programs, you might not have any of the elite statuses mentioned here. And if that's the case, FoundersCard can add enormous value to your traveling life. It sets the perfect foundation of statuses (airline, hotel, and rental car) to get you started in program loyalty.

With these things in mind, it's not hard to see how FoundersCard works so well for so many. It's perfect for anyone new to loyalty programs, travels regularly, and would utilize its business partnerships.

Final Thoughts

FoundersCard is a membership program designed for traveling entrepreneurs and business executives. Through its numerous partnerships, members can get a slew of travel perks, and there are seemingly new benefits announced every year.

For 2021, FoundersCard announced a new partnership with Virgin Atlantic that offers complimentary elite status. This prompted me to look at the benefit-cost ratio once again to decide whether I should finally join myself.

While FoundersCard still isn't quite right for me, it could be perfect for you or your business. If any of the benefits I've mentioned strike your interest, take the time to preview a membership via our referral. That'll allow you to view all the benefits on offer while saving you almost $300 off the publicly available offer if it makes sense for you to join.

What FoundersCard membership benefits are most valuable to you?

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  • The term Elite status is used incorrectly here. It is easy to gain Gold status, which is not Elite. Elite is the top tier, Platinum, Diamond, etc. I think I gift Gold status to one person a year. Just nothing big about it with most airlines. Hell on Delta, Gold means you are last to board!

    • Hey James, thanks for the feedback. We refer to all levels of “status” as “elite status” throughout our content. I take your point that the lower levels of status aren’t always super rewarding, but we try to keep our language consistent across the blog.

  • Jorge D Tapia says:

    Thank you for your clarification, one question tapping I. Your experience.

    I am already a Elite Presidential w Marriot Bonvoy. What do you recomend as far as complementing it w airline upgrades, memberships or credit cards for business or 1st class airline travel.

    Thank you for your insight

    • Hi Jorge, I’m not sure I understand the question.

      • Sorry for any confusion Erik

        The question is?

        Tapping on your experience and knowledge of various programs / reward credit cards.

        I am a Bonvoy Marriott Titanium Member. I hold AX Bonvoy.

        I am looking to get the most when I travel via airline, what business credit do you recommend? That also I could connect to my Bonvoy Marriott membership.

        I hope this clarifies my question.


  • Personally There some value only if you air travel atleast 16 times yearly. I found the benefits worth the fee and it may work for others.

  • I’m going to give the complimentary 6 month membership a try and see if I can get value out of it. Will report back on details.

  • Personally I don’t find a lot of benefits joining the FoundersCard programme.
    They should try to include some lounge benefits with Priority Pass or LoungeKey.
    But this is just for me. It’s difficult to satisfy everyone.

  • Always thought about joining, especially when they were doing $295 last year, but already have several statuses that would be duplicative to what they offer (or are better). The Virgin Atlantic one is interesting for sure that is new. Haven’t quite seen the value proposition before, but the addition of that might make a difference.

  • This did look like an exciting program, but its quite expensive considering many of the benefits can be had from other sources. Maybe it will attract some? ill give it a pass for now.

  • Thanks for breaking it down, but I think I’d have to use at least five of those benefits to make it worth the fee, and there’s just not five programs there I could see becoming part of my travel habits.

  • Sounds like an interesting program. Does anyone here use it and find it valuable?

  • How often do you need to fly in order to earn 500 VS tier points with this program?

  • Bhikhu Shah says:

    I got excited when I heard about the Virgin benefit, but after reading the details, it’s not worth paying $400 for that and everything else it offers, unless you make full use of it and can’t get most of the other benefits elsewhere.

  • muy bueno! interesantisimo

  • OneWorld Ruby status, on BA this requires 2 x oneworld flights & TP normally.
    If you were to take Foundersclub membership out would you only need to take 2 more BA or OneWorld flights & required TP’s to gain Silver on BA?

    • I wish! Unfortunately, FoundersCard doesn’t provide a head start toward BA status. Instead, you’re getting the elite status outright. So, you’d still need to start from scratch to earn higher elite status on BA – or any other Oneworld program.

  • I’d never heard of a founders card, it does look interesting and covers divers programs and benefits. It looks too expensive as there is a lot of overlap to other programs.

  • Annual fee is too rich for my blood even at $395. I just dont fly or travel enough to make the benefits worth it.

  • If it made sense for me, I’d definitely sign up, but the status that you get for most of the programs is much more attainable by credit cards or through travel. This is for someone just starting out or who is not interested in learning about the points and miles hobby. The other time it might be worthwhile is for those who have to use a corporate card for everything and have no control over their travel.

  • Ah, for the good old days (let’s hope they’ll also be the coming days) when we traveled frequently and these decisions were easier to make.

  • How long has the program been around?

  • 0 interest in these types of cards that seem to be in it for the membership fees!

    • Yeah, the target audience is most assuredly people who have too much money and want to have status and buy experiences. Someone who could go out and buy a new Lexus for Christmas if they wanted. That person is definitely not me.

  • I’d need to do the sums on this one. Seems very hard to justify the outlay whilst travel is (not) up in the air.

    Maybe once I can start booking trips without having to check what tests I need, whether I’m allowed to transit, is there mandatory quarantine, or do I need to self isolate, then I can consider the value.

  • Until we travel more I don’t think I would use this, but the information can be useful in the future when membership benefits will matter more for daily life.

  • While the OneWorld Ruby status is intriguing, the benefits still don’t add up for a $395 annual cost….think I’ll stick to q premium credit card that also has some airport lounge access included for that kind of money,

    • OneWorld Ruby status is worth having, but from what I recall it was a one off benefit with FoundersCard rather than an ongoing year on year one. I would have a similar opinion that the fee is better put towards the cost of premium credit card with lounge access.

  • Too pricey for me, but very good breakdown on your part.

  • For the airline discounts, do you ever actually get the max discount listed? Do you have to buy full fare tickets to get it? Whats typical on United for example?

    • Great questions! Unfortunately, we don’t have access to search with these discounts. But others that have searched found anywhere from 2-6% discount on United.

  • Nathan Hagan says:

    New additions to cards are always a good thing, I might have to look into this!

  • Wow! Just wow. Never knew about this but if you’re gonna buy an Audi, BMW. Or Land Rover, this is definitely a no-brainer.

  • Nathan Hagan says:

    Founders Card has always been interesting to me. I might take a closer look now!

  • Always appreciate these informations, I was completely unaware of Foundercards benefits. I’m a Virgin Atlantic flying club member abs it’s very hard to get elite status as I only fly with them 2 or 3 times per year. With this card I could easily get an elite status far easier.

  • I keep looking at the FC and sadly it has little to no value for me. LT Gold AA. LT Platinum BONVoY. Amex Platinum gives the perks with National (status match to other auto companies) and Hilton Gold. Seems impossible to get anything to convince me otherwise.

  • I got FoundersCard a few years ago but found the benefits not to be worth the fee. Whilst it may work for others, I don’t think I used any of the benefits in the year I had it

  • I still don’t see the benefit. To me, taking out the Hilton Aspire card gives the same Diamond status and free nights that can be product matched to get Caesar’s status. Marriott’s status challenge is obtainable by calling Marriott. I would love to see a card that provides status at Marriott similar to Hilton. I just don’t understand the benefit beyond Stripe, which seems like a solid benefit for companies who use it.

  • It is very interesting I Hope everything go Back to normality and we can travel and enjoy vacations again!!