I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same). Terms apply to the offers and benefits listed on this page.
I’ve talked to several entrepreneurs lately that are in the pre-launch stage of travel startups. They’re navigating some tricky waters – they want to charge for their service, but consumers are reticent to pay for something up front. Trust is at an all time low, so businesses need to show consumers value first before they fully buy in.
The same phenomenon helps drive credit card initial bonuses. In other for a credit card to become top of wallet, cardmembers need to see that it’s driving real value. The only way to do that is to have a good redemption experience quickly. So banks need to front a bunch of points to customers to generate the proof point that drives ongoing spend.
I was emailing with Eric Kuhn, the CEO of FoundersCard, and asked if he might extend a 3-month free trial of his membership program to readers. Several readers have recommended the great deals they’ve gotten through FoundersCard here on the blog (for instance here, here, and here). But it would be great to let folks poke around and see for themselves the kind of value they’d get out of membership.
- This is for new FoundersCard Members only.
- Application is subject to approval.
- You’ll be charged after the free period if you don’t cancel
- There are some benefits that are restricted to fully paid members, but this is a great opportunity to take advantage of many of the benefits right away and see if it makes sense for you.
By creating a community of entrepreneurs and connecting them with rich offers, FoundersCard has essentially created a two sided market that works well for both companies and members. They’re delivering the attention of a valuable customer segment to travel brands, and delivering valuable deals back to customers.
— Chris Maddern (@chrismaddern) February 21, 2017
The trick is that they don’t market many of their valuable benefits outside of sharing them with existing members, because doing so would jeopardize the offers themselves. I’ve called hotel ‘book direct’ and ‘best rate guarantee’ pitches a scam, and hotels can offer better rates to FoundersCard members (since it’s a paid membership organization, it’s exempt from best rate promises), but given the emphasis on the best deals supposedly being direct they can’t rub they deals they’ve got in chains’ faces.
Poking around their materials I find:
- Airline discounts: 10% off British Airways; 5% off JetBlue; up to 25% off Qantas; 15% off Cathay Pacific; 5% off Emirates; up to 10% off Etihad. Some have fare restrictions.
- Hotel elite status: Hilton Gold; Caesars Diamond; Omni Select Guest Platinum; Marriott Platinum challenge
- Airline elite status: American Airlines Gold/Platinum challenge, they recently had a status challenge with United, and I recall reading about a past Cathay Pacific elite status offer too.
- Transportation status and discounts: Hertz status and discounts; 20% off SIlvercar; discounts with GroundLink, zipcar, Getaround, EmpireCLS, and Carey Transportation.
- Hotel deals: Discounts with Park Hyatt, W Hotels, Peninsula, Four Seasons, Omni and several others both in the U.S. and throughout the world. These are the deals they’re most sensitive about being about to discuss outside of members.
- Business discounts: Lenovo, Shopify, Apple, UPS, Salesforce, and Dell
The specific offers change, because travel brand partnerships come and go and travel providers try different things to entice business, but these current offers provide a flavor.
Strictly speaking they take an application. They’re able to get these benefits because FoundersCard is for entrepreneurs, business owners, executives, and the like. However they’re also an inclusive community and many (though not all) readers will benefit.
Are you a current or past member, and what’s been your experience with their deals? Will you take advantage of the free trial?