Is there any point getting a Diners Club card, the card that time forgot?

A reader asked me last week to take another look at Diners Club, the charge card that time forgot.  As it I haven’t covered it for three years, and it does still offer airline miles as rewards, I thought it made sense.

Most of you will probably have never ever seen a Diners Club card.  In London, you are more likely to find a shop accepting China UnionPay cards than Diners Club.

Diners Club was the first real ‘travel and entertainment’ focussed charge card, well before American Express chose to focus on this market.  Well before credit cards were first available, the charge cards issued by Diners Club and Amex were the only way to pay for items on plastic.  In recent years ownership has passed from Citi to Discover Financial Services, although the UK operation is a franchise, independently owned by Affiniture Cards since 2012.

Diners Club UK benefits rewards

A Diners Club personal card will cost you £50 per year.  As it is a charge card, you MUST clear your full balance every month.  There is no option to pay interest and roll over a balance.

Diners Club in the UK does still operate a loyalty scheme, with some decent partners.  However, the earnings rate is very poor.

You earn 1 point for every £5 spent on your card.  These transfer to:

Oddly, the website still calls IHG Rewards Club ‘Priority Club’ which has not been the case for a couple of years.

These exchange are roughly 50% as good as you would get from holding an Amex card or a dedicated credit card from one of these programmes.

The only vaguely interesting option is Marriott, because the UK Marriott credit card is no longer available.  However, with Marriott in the process of merging with Starwood, anyone keen to boost their Marriott points via card spend should just get the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express and then wait for the points to become transferable.

Airport lounge access – for a fee

Diners Club also has an airport lounge programme.

You get access to 450 airport lounges, in what looks like a cut-down version of the Priority Pass programme.  These include the No 1 Traveller lounges at both Gatwick terminals.   The fee is £15 per visit which, for many of the lounges they use, is noticeably cheaper than paying on the door.

The £50 Diners Club annual fee is also cheaper than the £69 Priority Pass fee, albeit Priority Pass has a broader lounge network.  Both charge £15 per visit.

Is there any point looking at Diners Club?

Not really, in my view.  With card acceptance being very poor outside of the hotel and restaurant sector, the rewards programme would need to be exceptionally good to justify getting the card and paying the £50 fee – and it isn’t.

(Want to earn more miles and points from credit cards?  Click here to visit our dedicated airline and hotel travel credit cards page or use the ‘Credit Cards Update’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Disclaimer: Head for Points is a journalistic website. Nothing here should be construed as financial advice, and it is your own responsibility to ensure that any product is right for your circumstances. Recommendations are based primarily on the ability to earn miles and points and do not consider interest rates, service levels or any impact on your credit history.  By recommending credit cards on this site, I am – technically – acting as a credit broker.  Robert Burgess, trading as Head for Points, is regulated and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a credit broker.

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  1. Hingeless says:

    So who would have them and why do they still exist?

    • G Flyer says:

      A Diners Club card might be useful to prove a cashier wrong on those occasions when they say “oh Amex? Sorry, that’s the ONLY card we don’t accept”

      • Genghis says:

        :) I read this comment this morning and then just this lunch time I asked the cashier, ‘Do you take Amex?’ to which the response was ‘it’s the only one we don’t accept’.

      • Mr Dee says:

        Yes I am sure its not accepted in a lot of places and a lot of people will probably never have seen one!

    • Yeah, I’ve wondered for a while how they are still in business?

    • Better deal for Americans probably explains it, ie they travel here so bigger retail chains need to accept their cards.

    • flibbly says:

      I used to have a corporate Diners around the turn of the millennium. I haven’t worked for that company (IBM) for well over 10 years so I’ve no idea whether they still use them.

  2. Tilly71 says:

    Recently applied for HH status match using a mid tier level match and proof of stays. Result came back last night of silver status when i know others have received diamond recently. Has anyone on here successfully appealed on their decision and if so, can you tell me your outcome and the process you took.
    I have emailed their rep over on FT already.

    • It is a status match, so mid-tier should match to a mid-tier Hilton equivelant.

      • Tilly71 says:

        Exactly, so should of been matched to gold atleast.

        • Genghis says:

          Have you checked StatusMatcher to see what others got?

          • Tilly71 says:

            I just did but no mention of my hotel group, all I know is a friend got Diamond status only a week ago using exactly the same status submission?

  3. In Sweden it’s still a viable option as it’s free for SAS EBG and pay’s 4 points per 100 SEK compared to 2 points per 100 SEK with MC.

  4. Well, for Austrians and Germans there is a co-branded Diners Club card, which features 12 x lounga access at a yearly rate (for the card) of 40 Euro. That might be a good deal for some.

  5. Jason Hindle says:

    Long before I had the Amex Platinum card, I had Diners Club. The lounge access used to be free, but with far fewer lounges than Priority Pass. That said, there were lounge options in many of the airports I used at the time. The Diners Club (yes, a Diners Club) lounge at Brussels was lovely and peaceful – I was often there by myself. There were also some strange rules. Manchester had lounges but they were only (officially) available to transfer passengers. Manchester isn’t exactly a major transfer hub.

  6. I had a Diners Club card issued in Germany in the late 1990s. It cost me DEM 150 (EUR 76.69) per annum, but I got up to 8 cards on one account, which I gave to family and my then-girlfriend. Lounge access was free and unlimited, but the number of lounges was much lower than Priority Pass. I switched to Amex Platinum when Diners suddenly cut its agreement with a huge number of lounges, leaving LHR-T1 as the only Diners Club lounge at any London airport for example.

    As G Flyer suggests above, it was a fantastic card to produce when a UK merchant said that Amex was the ONLY card they didn’t accept, although I never actually wanted to use it in the UK as it was billed in DEM or EUR.

  7. Hi,

    Would be interested to see an article how Brexit would affect the travel market particularly in related to the rewards industry (eg if we leave EU will the interchange cap be scrapped and how this may impact credit card rewards etc)

    • Aeronaut says:

      It won’t be scrapped.

      Brexit’s primary effect on the travel market is that it will be more expensive to travel abroad.

  8. I still carry the Diners card in my wallet. Mostly for lounge access but sentimental reasons as well. Many, many years ago there was a card called ‘Forte Gold Card’ which was a charge card that could be used at Forte hotels. When that scheme ended they sent me a Diners Club card – no agree,met to sign, just a DC card arrived in the post. Used it for car hire and hotels for many years. I still use it every now and again. It’s the card that should have trumped Amex.