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

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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.

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.

Diners Club UK benefits rewards

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.

Diners Club offers 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 points from credit cards? – August 2022 update

If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

British Airways BA Premium Plus American Express Amex credit card

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

American Express Amex Gold

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Virgin Rewards Plus credit card

Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard

15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend Read our full review

Earning miles and points from small business cards

If you are a sole trader or run a small company, you may also want to check out these offers:

Amex Platinum Business American Express

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express card

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

For a non-American Express option, we also recommend the Barclaycard Select Cashback card for sole traders and small businesses. It is FREE and you receive 1% cashback on your spending.

Barclaycard Select Cashback credit card

1% cashback (3% on business travel for four months) and no annual fee Read our full review

Comments (20)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • 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!

    • Mike says:

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

    • harry says:

      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.

      • Bob says:

        IBM has switched to amex in some countries.

        Not sure about the K.

        • Aeronaut says:

          I guess that’s what we are now, just the K without the U…

  • Tilly71 says:

    OT:
    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.

    • anon says:

      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?

  • Andy says:

    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.

  • 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.

  • NFH says:

    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.

  • Eli says:

    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.

  • Neil says:

    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.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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