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Have you ever heard of the Founderscard? It’s not a credit card, though it does provide similar benefits to some high-end credit card offerings. Instead, this card acts as a membership program for its customers, providing a wide variety of benefits across travel, lifestyle and small business needs.
Let’s take a look at Founderscard, its benefits for travelers and how you can use them to save money when traveling.
What is Founderscard and how much does it cost?
Founderscard advertises itself as a program designed for those with small businesses, but there are also some serious benefits available for those who like to travel, including complimentary elite status, discounts on flights and discounted hotel rooms.
The cost of a standard Founderscard membership is currently $595 per year with a one-time $95 initiation fee, though it’s possible to use a referral code for a discounted rate. Because this isn’t a credit card, the application does not include a credit pull, nor does it show up on your credit report or affect your credit score.
» Learn more: How to choose a travel credit card
Here are the top five travel benefits for Founderscard members:
1. Airline elite status
As a Founderscard member, you can receive a one-time upgrade to Marco Polo Club Silver elite status. Once you’ve received it, the status is good for 12 months. There are some requirements in order to qualify for this benefit:
You must have a U.S. address.
You must have a future paid ticket on Cathay Pacific (not partners).
You must have an Asia Miles account.
Those who have Silver status with Cathay Pacific also receive Oneworld Ruby status.
Although this isn’t as lucrative as Emerald or Diamond status, there are still benefits available for Oneworld Ruby members. This includes access to business or first class check-in, access to preferred seating and priority standby status.
Those with a Founderscard can also receive elite status with Virgin Atlantic. After submitting a request to join, members can receive a one-time upgrade to Flying Club Silver elite status. As with Cathay Pacific, there are requirements for those looking to use this benefit:
Members will receive Silver status after completing one round-trip flight.
The flight must be a paid ticket.
The flight must be flown within 12 months after making the upgrade request.
Those who fly with Virgin Atlantic will be happy to know there’s also an opportunity to fast track to Gold elite status; you simply need to earn 500 tier points within six months.
Virgin Atlantic isn’t part of an airline alliance but its partnership with Delta Air Lines means that Silver members will receive priority boarding, priority baggage and priority check-in when flying with Delta.
Those flying on Delta with Gold status will receive far more:
Extra baggage allowance (up to three pieces in business class).
Access to the Delta Sky Club with any connecting transatlantic flight to the U.K.
Complimentary access to Comfort+ at the gate (based on availability).
» Learn more: Which airline elite status should you pursue in 2022?
2. Flight discounts
Those who fly often will appreciate the discounts available through Founderscard on a variety of airlines. The rates you’ll receive will vary according to airline and range from 5% to 25% off standard fares:
» Learn more: How to get free flights (or close to it)
3. Caesars Diamond status
For frequent Las Vegas travelers, Founderscard provides complimentary Diamond elite status with Caesars. Diamond status at Caesars confers a number of benefits, including:
15% off best available room rates.
Waived resort fees.
$100 annual Celebration Dinner (must have at least 100 tier credits).
Complimentary valet and self-parking.
Access to the VIP Laurel Lounge (with payment).
Complimentary stay at Atlantis, Paradise Island in the Bahamas.
Caesars is also a reciprocal partner with Wyndham, which means that you can instantly match your Caesars Diamond status over to Wyndham Diamond status (and you can re-match every year as long as you hold the card).
» Learn more: Best hotels in Las Vegas to book with points
4. Hilton Gold elite status
Hilton’s Gold elite status is one of the best mid-tier statuses around. It’s possible to get Hilton Gold status in a variety of ways, but if you’re not looking for a credit card or don’t stay at Hilton properties often, this can be an easy avenue to score status.
Founderscard has a Chrome extension that’ll automatically remind you if you have benefits available on a certain website.
Hilton Gold status comes with a wide variety of benefits, including:
Complimentary breakfast or a daily food and beverage credit.
80% bonus on points earned from stays.
5th night free on award stays.
As we mentioned above, Hilton Gold elite status is easy to achieve via several different credit cards, some of which are much cheaper than the Founderscard:
Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card: Complimentary as long as you hold the card.
Hilton Honors American Express Card: Gold status earned after spending $20,000 in purchases in a calendar year.
The Platinum Card® from American Express: Complimentary as long as you hold the card. Enrollment required.
» Learn more: Your guide to the Hilton Honors program
5. Discounted hotel rates
In addition to flight discounts, Founderscard members can enjoy reduced rates on hotel stays. These aren’t as broad as discounts with a whole chain; rather, you’ll get discounted rates at specific properties. Some top options for this include:
Four Seasons Seattle: 30% off best available rate.
The Ritz-Carlton, Osaka, Japan: 20% off best available rate.
Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center: 20% off best available rate.
Four Seasons Montreal: Discounts vary according to room.
Park Hyatt Melbourne: 15% off best available rate.
Kimpton® Hotels: 20% off best available rate.
Mandarin Oriental London: Discounts vary according to room.
Park Hyatt New York: Discounts vary according to room.
» Learn more: The guide to World of Hyatt brands
If you’d like to get a Founderscard membership
Though it’s primarily a membership program for small business owners, the Founderscard has plenty of benefits for those who travel often. Although the annual membership fee is high, frequent travelers can easily recoup their costs between complimentary airline elite status, discounts on flights, hotel elite status and discounted hotel rates.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card