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.
You earn 1 point for every £5 spent on your card. These transfer to:
- American Airlines (400 points / £2,000 spend = 1,000 miles)
- Hilton HHonors (380 points / £1,900 spend = 2,000 HH points)
- Marriott Rewards (380 points / £1,900 spend = 1,500 Marriott points)
- IHG Rewards Club (280 points / £1,400 spend = 1,500 IHG points)
- Starwood Preferred Guest (380 points / £1,900 spend = 750 SPG points)
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? – September 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our September 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
The following offers will end soon:
- 2,000 Virgin Points on Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard (ends 15th October)
- 30,000 Virgin Points on Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard (ends 15th October)
- 10,000 Avios on British Airways American Express (ends 2nd November)
- 40,000 Avios on British Airways American Express Premium Plus (ends 2nd November)
- 60,000 points on The Platinum Card from American Express (ends 2nd November)
- 30,000 points on American Express Preferred Rewards Gold (ends 9th November)
Here are the top current deals:
British Airways American Express
10,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and an Economy 241 voucher for spending ….. Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
40,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 30,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward Mastercard
The UK’s most generous free Visa or Mastercard at 0.75 points / £1 Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
30,000 points bonus and the most generous non-Amex for day to day spending 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.
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
American Express Business Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
60,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard 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: