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Founders Card Membership Review

9.0
9
Selection
9
Value
9
Style

Pros

Really good discounts at Luxury Hotels, High end clothing brands, and for transportation. Access to a group of CEO's at events.

Cons

Some of the discounts (especially for web apps) are hardly worth the time.

Overall

If you already live the high life, then the Founders Card will save you a lot of money.

Last Spring after I got back from the Summit at Sea I got an invite to sign up for a Founders Card membership. Since I was doing a lot of traveling at the time, I thought it might come in handy, especially since a few of the perks seemed right up my alley.

Founders Card is an entrepreneur-centered membership that’s primarily used for:

  1. Discounts on High End Travel & Services
  2. Access to Founders Card parties attended by lots of startup CEO’s

I’ve used the card many times over the past year & a half, enough to renew the $295/year membership (update: it’s now $395 when you have an invite code, and $595 standard). Here’s how I’ve used it:

  • Stayed 3 or 4 times at the Mondrian South Beach for $185/night (+ twice they’ve upgraded me to a suite for being a member)
  • $50 off first Hotel Tonight booking with an ongoing 15% rebate at Hotel Tonight
  • 10% off my monthly AT&T iPhone bill
  • 20% off John Varvatos
  • Got a killer rate for a Gansevoort Park Suite (where I incidentally ran into Rihanna and Kim Kardashian)
  • Stayed at Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas for $190-205/night
  • Stayed at Yotel NYC for only $160/night which is nuts for NY

Overall I estimate I’ve saved a few thousand dollars even since I’ve gotten the card.

I haven’t taken advantage of these but I might in the future:

  • 75% off a new Shopify account
  • Free promotional upgrade at 99 Designs & Crowdspring
  • 25% off Threadless
  • Discounts on Groundlink, Getaround, Hertz, and Zipcar
  • Discounts and upgrades on Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Lufthansa, Quantas, & Cathay Pacific airlines

Since I traveled so much last year the card definitely paid for itself and then some.

Founders Events

The other benefit of the card is the ability to connect with Startup founders, CEO’s, and entrepreneurs at Founders Card events in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, Boston, and San Francisco.

Last year I flew to the Las Vegas to the one that was held at the Mandarin Oriental and liked the vibe/crowd (though I imagine it’s similar to what you’d find as standard fare in Silicon Valley). I showed up a bit late, but got a chance to meet a few interesting people (like Antonio Eram).

Would I Recommend it?

If you travel a lot and like to stay at nice places, then definitely. If you want to connect with CEO’s of startups at events, yes.

If you don’t travel a lot or won’t actively use it, then it might not be worth it.

If you do want to check it out, I have 11 invites left as of this writing.

2014 update: If you want to sign up (you actually need to apply) but you can use my VIP Promo Code FCSPX14 for a lifetime guaranteed annual rate of $495 (30% off the standard rate of $795).

Posted 5 years ago on 10 August 2012


Brett

About Brett

Brett Gordon is the owner of DMAD and has been writing for the web for over 10 years. He is passionate about design, Wordpress, travel, language learning, fine dining, and online marketing. Note: Some links on this site are monetized by affiliate programs - see disclosure for more details.


140 thoughts on “Founders Card Membership Review

  1. Stephan Bessard says:

    I’m also a card holder. I think the service is fantastic, although I see more value in the events than I do in the savings. I use a few other loyalty cards to access perks and have a priority pass for airport lounge access. I also wish they also added a travel agent component to the service, where we could call in and have them make the arrangements, similar to how Red Butler works. Overall totally worth the investment though.

    • Yes, I think so – though not as beneficial if you were in the US – and it really depends on how much you think you’d use it. There’s hotel deals for London, Tokyo, etc. as well as flight discounts for Cathay Pacific, Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa. There’s networking events in London and Toronto. Like I said – it really depends on how much you think you would use it. If you travel a LOT and care to attend some of the events so you can meet with people who are up to interesting things, then yes. Otherwise (and if you don’t plan to come to the US much) then maybe not.

  2. Nihao says:

    What is the foreign transaction fee for this card? I was thinking it should be pretty good since there are so many travel related perks and seems to cater to a jet setter audience.

  3. Amanda Mooney says:

    Was just reading your review of Tablet Plus. This sounds like a better option for me. If you still have an invite, I’d really appreciate it.

  4. Kimberly Bondy says:

    I would also like to apply for the card, if you still had any invites left I would greatly appreciate one! Thank you!

  5. Joy says:

    I’m going to be traveling extensively in the UK and Europe this year and next. If you think the card would be a benefit I’d love one of the invitations, should you have any left.
    Thanks so much for this informative post, as well as the one on Tablet Plus, which I also just read.

    • Carsten says:

      Hello Max,

      the idea behind Founderscard sounds awesome! My first reaction was setting up a similar service for the German Startup and Entrepreneur Scene. Do you have any feelings about that?

      Carsten

      • Hey Carsten, I personally like the international scope of FoundersCard. I’m not that familiar with the German startup scene so I’m not sure how much of a market there is for it over there.

        • Carsten says:

          Hi Max,

          that might be a good point, the scene here in Germany is not very big or mainly concentrated in Berlin. I think about expanding it to the European Tech Scene, but don`t know how many of them are already Founderscard Members. Maybe it could be a way to combine the Founderscard model with a travel agents service. What Do you think?

          Carsten

          • The European Tech scene might be a better and broader target. I think the way to do it would be to ask your target market about what they’d pay for – I know I don’t personally have much need for a travel agent service.

      • Francois says:

        Hello Carsten,

        I’m working on the same idea in Paris France. It can be useful to talk about that together. Because like you i think is more interesting to extend it to europe. France or Germany tech scene alone are too small. My e-mail is francois.souare@gmail.com feel free to contact me.

        Bye

  6. Stephanie Leavitt says:

    Hi Max,

    Also just recently got word of FC via “Freelybe,” a CSR/social good and event company. Would love an invite as well, if you’ve got any left. (Thank you for your willingness to share!)

  7. Gary Mezo says:

    I agree with Max, The FoundersCard is great and I easily save more money than spent on the card….in addition now you get 15% discount every month on your AT&T bill (personal & business!) and they have the Republic Bank account $300 credit if you open an account……Virgin Airlines….It just keeps getting better and better! I have 31 invites available to FoundersCard if anyone needs an invite!

    Just email me if you need an invite…..Cheers! Gary ( gmezo@nanobiotech.us )

  8. Daniel says:

    Hey Max,I just read your review and am super stoked and excited to sign up. Do you happen to have any invites left?Also, what are the chances of getting an application approved? I heard that they turn people down really often.Cheers,Daniel

  9. Max, enjoyed the review. A good friend of mine just attended the SF Founders Card event. I would love to network more with founders in perhaps similar situations as myself. Do you have any more invites?

  10. pete says:

    i’ve recently started a production company and construction management firm in NYC and have already worked some 5K people events. i wonder if my expansion plans would be something that would grant me access to the card, any invites left?

  11. Melanie Corral says:

    Curious, how much is A LOT of travel? you stated that several times, but it makes me wonder… … or are we looking at 10,15,20 flights. or hotels, etc. to make it worth your investment?

    • Well, let’s look at it a few ways. To break even you need to save $395. I have AT&T so 15% off saves me $34 per month – that’s $408 per year already. If I stay @ Mandarin in Vegas over a weekend that saves me about $120 on the trip. If I stay a weekend @ Mondrian in Miami that saves me $41 per night and a lot of the time I get a free upgrade. If you fly Jetblue you save 5-10% so on a $500 flight that’s $25 to $50 off. And that’s not counting the social events which are easily be worth the price of admission themselves. So if you even stay 10 nights in nice hotels or have AT&T and fly a few times per year, and/or want to meet other cool entrepreneurs, it’s worth it.

  12. Yasin says:

    Hey Max – I was at the event last night in NYC. Great network, and I can benefit from being a member so I’ve decided to join. Do you have any invites left?

  13. Manuel says:

    I think thats really cool, now that my apps are getting bigger I'm always traveling and i think this is an excellent idea.Would you send me one invite Max?

  14. Hi Max – Great article! I think I am going to pull the trigger on signing up – I’ve been thinking about it for a few weeks now. Is the fee still $395 with an invite? do you have an extra one?

    Thanks!

  15. William Gatti says:

    Very informative article. Looks like it might be worth it to me. If you have any invites left, please send me one. Thank you.

  16. Leon Burks says:

    This seems amazing I have a friend who kept this to himself. Once posted I read your blog and I am amazed at the networking opportunities are well worth the fee. Awesome.. I was curious about the lifetime renewal how does that work.. I’m curious..

    • I think the fee renews at the same rate you got in @ (so if you get a discount I’m pretty sure it will renew at that price every year – that’s been my experience anyway). You might want to check with them directly though.

  17. Julian says:

    I read that you get Diamond Card upgrade at Ceasars Palace in Las Vegas, can you confirm this and if so can you send me an invite.

  18. Patrick says:

    Hi Max – don’t know if I’m late to the game. I’m see info on an offer in my Facebook feed and came across this info. Do you still have invites or do use the one on FB?

  19. Great post Max. Curious to how this works – is it a simple identity verification with the vendor to avail the benefits ? Or is there a magnetic strip that gets swiped, ie it integrates with the PoS of the vendor to give you the % discount ?

    Also, would appreciate an invite if you still have one. Many thanks!

    • They send you a card but most of the time, I just use the discount code online from FC website or email them for the promo code and no one so far has asked for verification (at hotels anyway). Sent you an invite.

  20. nicky says:

    Founders Card is a joke, is absolutely not worth it. Scott the guy that runs it is hypocrite, nice in your face and talking shit, complaining in your back. This adds no value at all ! and their event are stupid. last one was on a small patio at the SLS. very nice location but the event was held on a small patio outside, very crowded. again no value. not worth it. bad management.

  21. Stephen L. says:

    How many people typically attend the networking events? What type of businesses usually show up? I’ve done plenty of networking events with all types of organizations but never found enough value in the meetings. Great article and thank you for the information.

  22. Dan Swanson says:

    FoundersCard is a complete re-bill scam with lousy benefits. I URGE you to not waste your money, they will not offer you a refund, which says a lot.

  23. Gabriel Silverstein says:

    This is a scam. The benefits are nothing you don’t get already if you ever travel and have membership in frequent flyer/stay/renter programs. I cancelled a week before my trial membership ended and they said it was done and then they charged me anyway and now are refusing to refund the money. Big scam, beware.

  24. D.Maxwell says:

    I have looked on their websites and called their customer service numbers and no one at Caesars/Harrahs know anything about accepting the Founders Card for Diamond status. This sounds like a scam to promise so much from so many. Can anyone prove FC gives Caesars/Harrahs Diamond status?

    • zls23 says:

      Yes, I signed up for FC this year as well as the Diamond status through Caesar’s. Everyone at FC is great. Give them a call if you’re still feeling unsure. They’re based out of Texas, I think, so it’s not like you’re speaking to a telemarketer in another country.

    • zls23 says:

      I don’t see any recent replies here. You can use my invite for a reduced annual price of $395: FCDANA339 (the standard rate is $595).

  25. Tara R says:

    If anyone is looking for a code, I have one available:

    Use my VIP Promo Code FCTARA363 for an annual rate of $395 (vs. our standard rate of $595), valid through August 10, 2016.

    On the first day I joined Founders Club, I requested my Total Rewards Diamond Status upgrade, I received the Tier upgrade in my Total Rewards account 1 week later, and today I successfully booked my 4 day trip to Bahamas Atlantis using my Diamond status. That alone was well worth the $395 investment.

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