The Founders Card is a membership card popular with some travelers and is often touted by other bloggers and travel sites. It was time to find out if Founders, American Express Cards are comparable.
What Is The Founders Card?
The Founders Card is a paid membership (between $395-595 annual fee depending on where the offer is found) that delivers premium benefits aimed at the upwardly mobile or small business owners. It promotes networking among small business owners in major cities. It is not a credit card, but has benefits similar to premium credit products.
To cater to members that are on their way to “made it” in life, Founders Card offers members a variety of travel benefits and shopping discounts at premium vendors. If you already shop at those stores frequently, Founders Card might pay for itself. Business Insider (who receive a commission for new member signups) detailed the benefits, here are some brief highlights:
- Cathay Pacific Silver status
- American Airlines Platinum status challenge (fee waived)
- Discounts from 5% for many international carriers in coach, up to 25% for full-freight first-class tickets
- Up to 50% off at Dell, 20% at John Varvatos, 15% at Bang & Olufson, other retailers
- Various hotel benefits or statuses
Why Would Anyone With An American Express Platinum Ever Get One?
Either American Express Platinum card (business or personal) are better than the Founders Card. The card includes a bunch of real statuses that deliver value for cardholders like Hilton and Marriott Gold status, included TSA Pre or Global Entry, car rental status, and discounts on hotels (Fine Hotels & Resorts) and retailers through AMEX offers. The AMEX Platinum business card also gives a membership to WeWork which holds meetups in addition to offering co-working space.
I hold the American Express Platinum cards and would keep them for the benefits but I also tried the Founders Card on a free trial from AwardWallet and couldn’t find a benefit worth anywhere close to the cost of keeping the membership. If one had to book a full fare first class ticket on Singapore, a case could be made but it’s pretty narrow. Consider too, that AMEX Platinum cardholders receive 5x points on first and business class tickets or a disocunt of up to 35% if using your points to pay. These both could offset the cost.
The one case for getting the Founders Card would be if one didn’t have the credit score or didn’t want to add a credit line.
AwardWallet Misrepresented Founders Card Offer
I love AwardWallet – without it, managing award accounts would be chaos. If you want to sign up for it to manage your accounts, here’s my referral link, I don’t get paid if you sign up – just get free upgrades.
AwardWallet has become more aggressive with affiliate links. Live and Let’s Fly doesn’t offer credit card sign-ups but we understand why others do as it is crucial to our hobby and keeps blogs alive with the affiliate commissions.
I think that AwardWallet is well-intentioned but that their Founders Card offer is dubiously positioned for a few reasons. For example, in this email AwardWallet has stated that trial members get Gold and Platinum statuses in the headline of the email: “NEW FoundersCard Members get Gold and Platinum Status.” In truth, they have access to status challenges and that’s not the same thing as holding status.
The Founders Card is not for me, and frankly, not for any American Express Platinum cardholder. If a member wanted to status challenge for American Airlines Platinum during the free trial offered from AwardWallet, that would be worth signing up but not as a paid member (the challenge is available to the public for just $200.)
Have you tried Founders Card? Is there a reason to keep it I have not mentioned?
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. Neither the Founders Card nor American Express Company have reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed this work nor have an impact how and where products are placed on this page. We have not accepted any direct endorsement to write for or against credit card companies, charge cards or any of the products appearing on this site.