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FoundersCard: 10% discount on BA, free JetSmarter private jets, Hilton & Marriott Gold

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I have mentioned the FoundersCard before on TLFL. Given that each year it has different benefits and pricing I thought it would be worth another look before their latest offer finishes.

FoundersCard is a US-based members-only community aimed at entrepreneurs. There doesn’t really seem to be particular entry criteria since it is a paid for card. It is not a credit card but more like a club that gives you discounts and benefits. I was sent an application back almost immediately when I filled in their on-line form. I was impressed by their customer service as they responded to my queries within about an hour by email.

Members receive access to exclusive benefits, upgrades, and amenities from travel, lifestyle, and business brands. Not all of the offers are applicable to the UK, so it worth going through the fine print before you join.

If you have had an American Express Platinum card and enjoyed the benefits this could be a good alternative if you are thinking of cancelling your card. Although the price is quite steep, if you are likely to buy any business class tickets from the airlines they cover, you would probably save your fee back in one trip. The current offer is for $395 for the first year with no initiation fee which works out at £281. The promo code is FCMARCH395. This is available until the end of March 2018. Usually, if you are willing to join for 2 years you can negotiate a rate of $295 per year (£210) if you pay for 2 years upfront.

The Founders card benefits include:

  • British Airways – up to 10% off most return flights between the UK and US/Canada. This is probably the biggest value benefit to average UK resident. Be aware this benefit is only guaranteed until the end of 2016 whilst they confirm next year’s program. If you are not likely to use it until next year, I would wait until they confirm the details.
  • Cathay Pacific – 5-25% discount on flights and one-time Marco Polo Silver Frequent flyer status for 1 year. When flying with Cathay Pacific this would give you lounge access, business class check-in and an extra 10kg luggage whatever class you are flying in. However, this would only give you Ruby status in One World and therefore no access to BA lounges when flying with them in economy.
  • Complimentary 3-month limited JetSmarter membership with access to complimentary seats on JetDeals empty leg flights, plus $2,000 in flight credit when upgrading to a JetSmarter Smart or Sophisticated membership. You receive one complimentary seat on their empty leg JetDeals flights as often as you like during the trial and they do fly from London. JetDeals are last minute deals though so only of limited benefit unless you are very flexible.
  • Hilton Honors Gold – this gets you late check out, a complimentary room upgrade (space available) and breakfast for 2 people at Conrad, Curio, Hilton and DoubleTree hotels.
  • FoundersCard Members Receive 3-months Complimentary Marriott Rewards Gold Elite status. Make 6 paid stays within 3 months of registering to keep your Gold Elite status until February 2019. Marriott Gold gives you free breakfast and lounge access amongst other benefits so it’s well worth having.
  • 15% off Kempinski hotels
  • Preferred rates at many other luxury hotels worldwide
  • Discounts on car rental such as Up to 20% off Hertz Daily, Weekend, Weekly, and Monthly Rates. Complimentary Hertz Gold Plus Rewards membership.

So is it worth it?

Kempinski Hotel Adriatic Istria Croatia

As usual, you need to sit down and work out how much you would use the benefits versus the cost. At £280 you would only need to want to spend £2800 on BA transatlantic flights to get your money back. In this case, if you would use the hotel benefits or want to try a private jet free too then this could be worth the expense. Although it is cheaper than the Amex Platinum charge card I still think the Amex is a better option for me. This is because you can earn Membership rewards to convert into airline or hotel points plus you get your Priority Pass membership which I find handy. However, everyone has different travel needs so it is worth comparing the two in terms of what benefits you would actually use and how much it would cost to buy those benefits per use.

You can find out more about FoundersCard here.

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