What Is SELECT Card?

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff Published on: Mar 6, 2018

The SELECT Card is a VIP card you use to get discounts and perks at restaurants, clubs, entertainment venues, travel, and activities.

Unlike credit-card programs like Visa Infinite, Visa Signature, and Mastercard World Elite, the SELECT provides complimentary perks and VIP status at specific, popular venues across the world.

Carlo Cisco, the company’s founder, talked with Nasdaq in Dec. 2016 about the card. He said the company offers something that goes beyond what credit card rewards and programs offer.

“There are a lot of credit cards differentiated only by the rewards they offered. Even at the most premiere levels, the benefits are pretty much the same stuff. There are some useful benefits to be sure, but also a lot of stuff nobody wants. We wanted to do something better,” Cisco was quoted as saying.

He went on to provide some facts about the breadth of SELECT’s network, something that’s important for you to know as you read through this review and decide if the card is right for you:

  • 600 exclusive partnerships
  • Discounts at more than 800,000 venues
  • Average savings on a three-night luxury hotel booking: $240
  • Main cardholder demographic: 25-40 years old

You’ll pay $300 a year for those benefits, though.

With all this information in front of you, you’ll have to figure out if the savings and status are worth the yearly cost.

We want to help you make that decision by providing you the findings of our research about this card’s benefits. Our review will cover the following areas:

  • How it works
  • Types of perks
  • Comparison to FoundersCard

Once we work through these sections, we’ll end with a conclusion that includes the card’s pros and cons as well as who we think the card is good for.

How the SELECT Card Works

You have to apply for the card in order to get it. We weren’t able to find any information about who is eligible for it but, based on the demographic stats we listed earlier, it’s a Millennial-focused card.

That doesn’t mean that the older generations aren’t eligible. In fact, Cisco said in his NASDAQ interview that 15 - 17% of their membership is over 50 years old.

Application Overview

We went through the application to get a sense of what you’d have to tell SELECT.

They ask for your name, date of birth, email address and zip code. Then, you’re asked to provide details about your job, how much you make, where you went to college and when you graduated.

After a page asking you about your interests – nightlife, dining, and travel are some of the options – you’re asked to provide an optional paragraph on why you’re a good candidate for SELECT. Enter your credit card information next; you won’t be charged if your application is not approved.

While we don’t know how many people apply for the card, we do know, according to Cisco’s NASDAQ interview, that the company had about 10,000 members by the end of 2016.

Because of the low membership numbers and the fact that SELECT wants to know your income and job status, we’d say that they’re looking for members with high income who can afford to go the venues at which SELECT perks are offered.

Using the Card

To get the benefits the card offers, you can use the card itself at the venue or the SELECT app to get the available perks.

According to their site, you can also link the card to a credit or debit card and actually use it to pay for things. Any rewards points you earn on credit card purchases will still be earned when you use your SELECT Black, their website says.

According to a customer representative from SELECT, there are no limits on benefits. You can use a benefit as often as you’d like.

Remember, though, that the program’s perks are concentrated in urban areas. In the next section, we’ll note which cities are available for which perk category.

The SELECT Card’s Perk Categories

The card’s perks and VIP treatments can be split into four categories: dining and nightlife, travel, entertainment and events, and lifestyle.

Dining and Nightlife

Membership entitles you to perks at thousands of different restaurants, bars, and clubs across the world. Here’s a list of some of the things you can get with your card, along with the cash value of the perk:

SushiSamba (Miami Beach):

  • Perk: Free round of signature martinis or other drinks of equal value
  • Value: $60 for five drinks

The Dutch (South Beach):

  • Perk: Free round of cocktails
  • Value: $75 for five drinks

In our opinion, the card is an excellent choice for those who like to dine at higher-end/trendy restaurants where drinks are an essential part of your meal. Depending on the restaurant, you can earn your membership fee back after four dinners.

The various free-drink bonuses we found all came with the following disclaimer: Cannot be combined with any other offers, including happy hour.

According to a customer service rep, some restaurants impose limits on the number of free drinks in a “round” and some don’t. Call ahead if you want clarification.

Available cities: Miami, San Diego, New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Chicago, Orange County.


Your SELECT Black card will also get you discounts and perks at various hotels across the world. We searched the site and found the following examples of the types of VIP treatment you can expect:

Standard Hotel (L.A.):

  • Perk: Up to 25% off on rates, free upgrades when available
  • Value: $2277.50 for $250 room for three nights, upgrade included

Row NYC (New York):

  • Perk: Up to 15% off, complimentary breakfast, complimentary WiFi when available
  • Value: $135 for three nights, breakfast included

Like the previous section, we think there’s some good value here, especially at hotels that offer multiple money-saving perks. A trio of three-night stays in regular rooms at eligible hotels can pay for your membership fee.

Available cities: Participating hotels are spread out across the world.

Entertainment and Events

Your card will also get you discounts on entry at entertainment-related events. Here’s a quick example of two offers SELECT Black members received:

FiveStar New Year’s Eve (NYC):

  • Perks: 10% off tickets and packages
  • Value: $30 - $2,000

Faena Theater (Miami Beach):

  • Perk: 15% off tickets and, when available, a pre-show meet-and-greet with the cast
  • Value: $13.75 - $40.50

Big spenders will benefit the most from this category, as you could easily earn back your membership fee by booking a table at a top-flight NYE party.

Available cities: Miami, San Diego, New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Chicago, Orange County plus other locations across the country.

Lifestyle and Activities

This final category includes various services and experiences not included in the categories above. Some examples are a romantic flying tour in Miami, ballroom dancing in Chicago and a half-day bike and kayak tour in San Diego.

The following examples are representative of the types of activities that receive discounts:

San Diego Seaplanes:

  • Perks: Member rate of $279 for a 30-minute flight
  • Value: $31

Chicago Architecture Foundation:

  • Perks: Two-hour walking tour for $16.20
  • Value: $3.80

The value of the program’s lifestyle and activity discounts aren’t astonishing and vary depending on what it is you want to do.

Available cities: Miami, San Diego, New York, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Chicago, Orange County plus other locations across the country.

How the SELECT Card Compares to FoundersCard

FoundersCard is a similar VIP membership program in which members are entitled to perks, discounts and VIP treatment at venues all across the world.

One of the main differences between the two cards is the price. FoundersCard’s annual fee is $495 if you pay yearly and $395 if you pre-pay two years of membership.

The real question is whether or not the FoundersCard is worth that extra $95 to $195. In our opinion, we believe it is because the card offers the venue discounts like SELECT but it also gives you complimentary status upgrades at hotels and airlines. Here’s a list of a few of those upgrades:

  • Platinum status with American Airlines
  • Preferred pricing with JetBlue
  • Gold status with Hilton
  • Silver status with Cathay Pacific
  • Diamond status with Caesars hotels

Each one of these perks provides serious benefits for those who travel often. Some of the complimentary offers you’ll get are room upgrades, late checkout, welcome perks, seat upgrades and more.

Though the FoundersCard is more expensive, we believe it offers the better value for those who travel often.

The main downside to FoundersCard is that you have to request a preview membership in order to view the various discounts you get at restaurants, events, nightclubs and other establishments.

The Final Word: Pros, Cons and Who SELECT Card Is Good For

We believe, based on our research, that this membership is an excellent choice for those who live in big cities and who like to drink and travel.

The perks we mentioned earlier in our review are at their best when you’re dining out and want a round of drinks for your friends. It would take four rounds of drinks for five people to get discounts that would exceed what you paid for your membership.

We found that the same could be accomplished by staying at hotels within SELECT’s network. In fact, it’s completely feasible that you could spend one weekend in a hotel and go out for dinner a couple of times and earn discounts that would exceed your annual fee.

The downside of the card is that it doesn’t offer the same status upgrades that FoundersCard does. Those who love to travel would enjoy the SELECT hotel and drink discounts but they may be drawn to the FoundersCard’s status upgrade at Hilton hotels.

We also believe a drawback to the card is that your membership isn’t guaranteed. However, if your application is rejected, it won’t cost you anything and no credit checks are involved.

» SEE ALSO: The Best Luxury Credit Card of 2018

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