Diners Club stops free airport lounge access for cardholders

A month ago, I wrote this piece about Diners Club.  In particular, I noted that the long-forgotten Diners Club charge card comes with one key benefit – airport lounge access.

In the article, though, I also noted that various European Diners Club cards had begun to introduce fees or spending criteria for accessing the lounges.  And, with poor timing, just a month after my article the UK card has followed suit.

Diners Club

As you can see here, there is now a £15 fee for visiting any of the 400 airport lounges in the Diners Club network.

This is still cheaper than getting a Priority Pass lounge card but not by much.  It was probably asking too much for Diners Club to continue to fund this benefit, though, given that the card only costs £50 per year.

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  1. That is a damn shame, but great spot. I was about to take one of these cards for the lounge access alone after ditching my Plat.

    • Wonder if they’ve been hit by huge number of applications. I’ve applied after reading about it here on HFP. Never got a response.

      • David Butcher says:

        I recall once applying for a job with Diners Club. This was back in the seventies and they were obviously under different management at the time. Anyway, I was interviewed but my point is that I never got a response either! Plus ca change…….

  2. Is this just for new customers? I applied when the card was free and they haven’t started charging me yet. I’ll be canceling my card if this benefit is now going to cost me £15 a go.

    • It’s for all members. I have been with them for almost a year and I got the letter about the fee yesterday.

  3. Rats. My card arrived yesterday. Suppose I’ll be ringing up to cancel it now.

  4. The free lounge access was the only reason I applied, I’ll be cancelling as well…

    • Just cancelled my card (which arrived today) under the 14 day cooling off rule. They tried to talk me into keeping it, advising that more places will be accepting the card and that access to the lounges at £15 per visit was still a good deal and doesn’t need to be booked. As an infrequent flyer, paying for lounge access would still be better than paying the annual fee plus £15 each visit.

      • Same. Having added a supplementary cardholder to the account, it took the fee up to £69/year. I pointed out that for the same cost I could join PP and pay £15 for lounge access (to more lounges…)…

  5. Hardly surprising.

    I had an invitation from WEXAS Travel to ‘renew’ (?) my membership with free Priority Pass membership (£15 per visit/guest) for one year and presumably no credit check. No idea whether it would continue on the same basis after the first year.

    Similar lounge access to Diner’s is available with the AmEx Preferred Rewards Gold card with the Lounge Pass card, including two lounge visits p.a., then chargeable per visit.

  6. For those who applied recently, there is a 14 day cooling off period. For anyone else, the words “no refund of annual fee” were muttered, so you’ll have to fight it out. They tried to talk me out of cancelling, despite having changed the best benefit of the card between point of application and delivery. They were also touchy when they heard it was “on the Internet” – suggesting HFP may have something to do with it!

    • Don’t look at me! I may have driven 20 sign ups at most.

      The average HFP post only gets about 1,000 readers on the site plus whatever percentage of the email subscribers decide to open that particular one.

      MSE / HotUKDeals this ain’t (unfortunately, given the money I’d make:-) )

  7. Prettymuch the only remaining point of this card was the free lounge access. I’ve spend a lot of time trying to find ways and means and had considered this card at length – but everything else about it is useless, it’s so hard to get it accepted it makes Amex look universal.

    In the end I’ve settled for a mix of discounts with respect to lounge access through Hi-Life Diners Club (£5 Clubcard Voucher gives annual smartphone membership, 2-4-1 dining at various locations, 2-4-1 entry to No.1 lounges and 20% off entry to Servisair lounges), free access through my RBS Royalties Gold account (just UK lounges if the flight booked with their service) and redeeming Avios for lounge access (3,250 Avios per person). In addition, O2 Priority Moments sometimes offer free lounge access.

    Not ideal but not forking out £450/yr for Platinum Amex or £259/yr for Priority Pass.

    • You learn something new every day! It does indeed seem that, whilst not advertised, you can get Servisair / No 1 Traveller lounge passes for 3250 Avios.

      No use at Terminal 5 but very nifty where there is a No 1 (Servisair is a dump, generally).

      • It’s certainly not the lap of luxury that the business (or No.1) lounges are, but if it’s around £15 to get in then once you’ve used the WiFi and filled your boots on food and drinks (plus maybe a few takeouts if they charge on the plane for refreshments) then you easily have your money’s worth. 3,250 Avios for No.1 access is fab, as is 2-4-1 entry through Hi-Life.

  8. Sarcastrix says:

    The only reason I’ll be getting it now is for the 6000 Eurobonus point signup plus it’s free for Eurobonus Gold member – make the spend, take the points and then bin it 🙂

  9. I applied for a card + supplementary card after seeing the post here, purely to get lounge access, as I couldn’t see any other benefits to the card, so imagine my disgust to read that free lounge access has been discontinued! The cancellation period for the card had ended three days ago, but after a phone call to DC they have agreed to waive the fees and cancel the cards. Phew!

    • The Swedish DC card has also imposed a fee (125 krona) this week, it seems. Must be a pan-European deal to bring in some restrictions, either annual spend or per visit.

  10. Lady London says:

    It’s been hard to imagine any reason whatsoever why anyone would want a Diners Club card for very many years. They just removed the final supporting plank for the card. A fantastic brand that’s been mismanaged so far as I can tell.

    • There is only one use for Diners Club, to annoy retailers that say “we accept every card but American Express”.

  11. I received notification, the same as everyone else this week, but notice on their terms and conditions 13.1 and 13.2 where it specifically says, ‘The notice will indicate the date from which the changes will apply, which will be earlier than 2 months, from the date of the notice’
    So, are they legally able to cancel with less than a weeks notice?

    • Depends if the lounge privilege is part of the T&C’s. Amex, for eg, has just moved everything to do with points and miles collection and redemption outside its main rules to basically give them freedom to do anything with no notice.