Last chance for 10,000 Miles & More miles with the NEW Lufthansa payment card – and my experiences with it so far

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Of all the surprises that the miles and points industry threw up in 2018, I think Lufthansa launching a Diners Club charge card must be close to the top of the list.

This card comes with 10,000 Miles & More miles as a sign-up bonus but ONLY until 31st December.  It will drop to 5,000 miles in the New Year.  Given that you need to pay a £79 fee to apply, you should be jumping on the higher bonus.

You can find out more, and apply, here.

I now have the card and so I have a better idea of how it works.

New Lufthansa Miles & More UK charge card Diners Club

The new Lufthansa credit card really is from Diners Club!  And it isn’t a credit card.

Yes, the card that time forgot is back.  Unfortunately, just because the card is back, it doesn’t mean anyone is accepting it.

Diners Club was the first ever ‘deferred payment’ card, I think, but I can’t remember the last time I saw one before this launched and I’ve certainly never had one until now.  If you thought using American Express was tricky at times …..

The good news is that it is actually a double pack.  You ALSO receive a Mastercard, featuring a smart picture of the virtually unknown Boeing 747-800 with the extended upper deck:

New Lufthansa Miles & More UK charge card Diners Club

What is the card called?

The Miles & More Global Traveller Card

Who is behind the card?

The Miles & More Global Traveller cards are issued by Affiniture Cards Ltd which is Diners Club in disguise.

However, the companion Mastercard card is issued on behalf of Affiniture by Cornercard UK Ltd.  Cornercard is a Swiss bank which offers a Lufthansa-branded card in Switzerland.  This complex structure is required because Affiniture / Diners Club does not have a licence to issue a Mastercard itself.

What is the sign-up bonus?

10,000 Miles & More miles, until 31st December 2018.  This credits with your first purchase – there is no spend target to hit.

From 1st January it will drop to 5,000 Miles & More miles.

If you apply before 31st December you will also receive a voucher for a Lufthansa Business Lounge visit.  This would include the Lufthansa lounge in Heathrow Terminal 2.   The voucher is valid for six months.  (I haven’r received mine yet, despite having had the card for a couple of weeks, so I don’t know if there is additional small print.)

What is the on-going earning rate?

This is the interesting bit.

You earn 1.25 miles per £1 spent.  This is a VERY good rate for a Mastercard, even one with an annual fee.  It isn’t as good as the market leading Virgin Flying Club Reward+ Mastercard (1.5 Virgin Atlantic miles per £1) but the fee is 50% lower.

What is the annual fee?

£79

Is there a foreign exchange fee?

Yes, 2.99%

What is the interest rate?

There isn’t one.  This is a charge card and NOT a credit card.

You MUST repay your balance in full each month.

You MUST pay by Direct Debit.  There is no option for cheque payments or even manual online payments.

What the heck does this bit of the T&C’s mean?

“My Mastercard says pre-paid on it, do I have to add funds before I can use it?”

“No. The card works in the same way as your Diners Club Charge Card with all charges and credits appearing on your monthly statement. The card is automatically “loaded” with cash from your account for every transaction you make. You don’t have to do anything, nor do you have to have a credit balance on your Mastercard.”

What this means is that Diners Club will, in effect, load your pre-paid Mastercard a fraction of a second before the money is authorised for the payment.  You don’t need to do anything out of the ordinary.  The risk here is that you get a higher rate of declined transactions because each transaction must be authorised TWICE – once by Mastercard and then a split second later by Diners Club as it decides whether to load your pre-paid Mastercard or not.

Can I get a supplementary card?

No. They are not allowed.  No idea why.

Is there an app?  Can I use it with Apple Pay?

There is no app.  You can use the Mastercard with Apple Pay / Android Pay, but not the Diners Club card.

Any other problems I may face?

You do not automatically get Section 75 protection if a retailer goes bust as this is not a credit card. I don’t know if Diners Club is voluntarily offering cover, as Amex does to charge card holders.

The Mastercard, as a pre-paid card, may not work at places requiring preauthorisation, eg hotels and car rental outlets.

Changing the PIN on the Mastercard is easy, as it can be done at any bank.  Changing the PIN on the Diners Club card requires you to use a cash machine run by Cardtronicsthere is a list here.  If your local corner shop has an ATM, it is probably from Cardtronics.

One other lesson I learnt the hard way – after you call to activate your Diners Club card, you need to wait until the next day before using it or changing the PIN.  The Mastercard activates immediately when you call.  Online activation is not possible.  The good news is that Diners Club doesn’t try to sell you anything when you call to activate.

One other point to note is that, for some reason, the Mastercard looks cheap.  Your details are not embossed on the front, they are printed on – but in a font which makes it look like embossing!

What other benefits do I get with my Miles & More Global Traveller Card?

You can access a curated portfolio of airport lounges for £15 per visit.

Does this credit card stop my Miles & More miles from expiring?

Yes.  Miles & More has a VERY aggressive expiry policy – your miles expire 36 months after you earn, irrespective of what activity you have.

There are only two ways to stop expiration.  You either need Miles & More elite status or you need to hold a Miles & More payment card.  Miles expiry will stop when:

  • You have been a holder of the Diners Club card for at least 3 months and
  • You make at least one miles-earning purchase on the card each month going forward

Is this card better than the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express for getting Lufthansa miles?

Here is an important thing to remember:  this card has the same earnings rate (1.25 Miles & More miles per £1) as you get indirectly via the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card, which has a £75 fee. 

The only caveat is that you need to convert your Starwood / Marriott points in chunks of 60,000 (£20,000 of card spend) to get the 1.25 Miles & More miles per £1 rate.  On the other hand, Starwood / Marriott points are MASSIVELY more flexible than Miles & More miles because there are another 40 airline partners plus of course hotel room redemption options.

If you have Lufthansa status – and so don’t have a problem with miles expiry – the Starwood Amex may be a better option.  You should sign up for the first year, of course, because you will get 10,000 miles for just £79.

For the rest of us who are worried about our Miles & More miles expiring, we are stuck with this new Diners Club package.

Conclusion

This is one of the oddest card packages to come along in a long time ….. perhaps ever!

The bottom line is a simple one, however.  If you want to protect your Miles & More miles from the three-year hard expiry, and don’t have Miles & More status, you MUST get this card and use it once per month.  Your miles are then protected.

If you have Miles & More status you don’t need this card.  It is worth getting it JUST for the sign-up bonus (£79 for 10,000 miles is a decent deal) but you can then happily cancel it and stick with the Starwood Amex as a more effective way of earning 1.25 Miles & More miles per £1, with the extra benefit of also being able to use your points for hotels or other airlines.

Personally …. my Mastercard now sits in my office desk.  Once a month I will buy my lunch on it.  The Diners Club card is hidden away and unlikely to ever be used.  The £79 fee I paid for Year 1 was worth it purely for the 10,000 miles sign-up bonus, so I have no problems with that.

I am less keen to pay £79 per year going forward but that will depend on when we find a good opportunity to spend our existing 200,000 Miles & More miles.  Given that it is never easy using Avios during school holidays for a family of four, having access to all of the 29 Star Alliance airlines via Miles & More is worth having.

(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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Comments

  1. For me, Diners lost their way years ago ….. it had it use then, albeit limited, and we still play with the Roulette they sent me, but I can’t remember why.
    And as for Air miles….bring back the good old days. Sadly, I’ve just counted up…I still have over 500+ paper vouchers…perhaps with a future BA celebration, they might invite any holders to cash them in ! (But I doubt it.)

  2. There seems to be a fairly obvious commercial opportunity here for Curve to extend their premium £50 a year card offering to also allow spend to be recharged to a Diners Club card as well as to Amex.

    I was considering whether or not to pay for the premium £50 per annum Curve card as I had nearly used the £10,000 annual spend on the free Curve card but then suddenly and in one fell swoop (with no warning when Luke at Curve had suggested its limits would slowly increased bit by bit but this never happened in the previous 9 months) Cuve upped my spend cap on the free card to £50,000 instead of £10.000 But I had to get to almost £9,000 of spend over about 9 months of use before they suddenly did this completely out of the blue. The only actual benefit of the premium Curve card seems to be no fee for recharging spend to Amex (within the caps) and fee free overseas use at all times (rather than only Monday to Friday) plus substantially larger spend caps for overseas use (including cash withdrawals) than on the free card.

    However as I have now earned another flight upgrade voucher on my Lloyds Rewards card and have no hope of earning another one before it is killed off I really must get mysellf a BAPP Amex or Amex Preferred Rewards Gold card at some point but as Lloyds still gives me 1.2 Avios per pound spent on the Amex card there only seems any hurry to do so if go for the BAPP Amex card. (1.5 Avios per pound spent) Changing to the Amex Preferred Rewards Gold card would actually give me less Avios per pound spent.

    Anyway the free Curve card also allows recharge to Amex too but with an 0.7% fee, which may be worth it to make sure of hitting the introductory sign up bonus on either of the Amex cards…..

    Regarding the Diners card are there any major UK high street store chains left that take it or is it only expensive hotels and restaurants? Also what about petrol stations? When I last had a BA Diners many years ago they all took it but do all UK petrol stations take Diners now? In Spain I found that the CEPSA petrol chain wouldn’t take Amex, even though Repsol, BP and Shell all do accept it. Of course that’s all academic if one has the £50 per annum Curve card and can use that instead to recharge to Amex…………………

    It says at https://discoverglobalnetwork.com/diners/travel/guides/acceptance-map/ that acceptance of Diners is the same as Discover and at a Medium level in the UK (seems to be High in USA, Eastern Europe, many parts of South America, Japan, India and bizarrely enough Kazakhstan). I only generally ever seem to notice Discover card logos in petrol stations on the whole but then again many places that take Amex don’t actually show the Amex sign………..

    • It says at http://uk.creditcards.com/guides/what-is-discover.php that:-

      “Where can Discover cards be used in the UK?
      Despite lacking a local UK presence, global Discover card users are well served in the UK.

      A partnership with the Link ATM network enables Discover cardholders to withdraw cash in around 60,000 places throughout England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

      Discover cards are also accepted wherever Diners Club cards can be used. Diners Club itself is not as widely accepted as MasterCard and Visa (or even American Express), but cardholders can still use their cards to make purchases with leading UK retailers, like Tesco and Sainsbury’s, British Rail and most petrol stations.”

      So it seems like Diners Club acceptance would not be that different from Amex acceptance in the UK in practice? My late father used to very proud of his Diners Club card back in the late 1970s so it seems weird they have allowed the brand to wither this far. Surely either kill Diners Club and make it all Discover worldwide or otherwise start pushing Diners Club big time at the same level as Amex would surely be the logical commercial strategy?

      • Shoestring says:

        I’d get the job, not you, Julian.

        Not that we’re applying.

        • You mean due to your less loquacious and more to the point writing style?

          I learned at the HfP christmas party that one of the applicants for the job edited two well known travel related publications but only earned about half of what Rob was paying. On the other hand I wonder if someone of that level of experience wouldn’t also have issues functioning as Rob’s subordinate, just as I undoubtedly would.

          So it will be interesting to see who Rob finally appoints for the permanent assistant job.

          Also a pity that almost none of the regular contributors to this discussion blog were there apart, allegedly, from Genghis. However apparently Genghis was using some other name (possibly his real name and I also never met him in the three and a bit hours or so I was there as Rob never introduced me to him, even though I did talk to Rob on two different occasions.

          • Cat was there, Genghis was there, off the top of my head. I never actually went through the list to see who was on it.

        • Also my INTP personality type (on the Myers Briggs scale) has made me less and less employable in the modern must always stay on corporate message business world.

          So I probably wouldn’t be Rob’s cup of tea from that point of view anyway at this point in my career. But I reckon it was exactly the right kind of job for the 25 to 33 year old version of myself………….

  3. 1nfrequent says:

    I’ve found the administration for this card very friendly but incredibly slow. The telephone lines are only open Monday to Friday (which is a PITA because you have to phone them to activate the cards and are restricted to these days) and they’ve been overwhelmed by demand for the card – I have been told a number of times though that the 10000 points offer is extended to the end of February to reflect this. It’s frustrating that you have to wait for the Diner’s Club card to arrive and be activated before you can use the MasterCard but I’m hoping to finally be able to use the damned thing by close tomorrow.

    1F

    • How long did it take for your card to arrive after applying? I applied about a week ago, any idea when I should expect to hear from them?

      • I see a credit check was made on 15/11/18. The first year’s sub was already charged to the account on 17/11/18 and subsequently paid by d/d.

        These events occurred after the sub was charged (sorry, haven’t kept details of dates):
        – DC PIN arrived by post;
        – MC card arrived by post;
        – DC card arrived by post;
        – MC PIN arrived by SMS, after I reported that a postal PIN had not arrived some time after I had applied (and still hasn’t)

        It seems trigger happy to charge an annual fee when the cards weren’t avallable for retail use.

      • 1nfrequent says:

        It took 3 weeks for the cards to arrive – Mastercard arrived first and then the Diner’s Club.

        1F

  4. From their web page at http://www.dinersclub.co.uk it seems that the Vanilla non co-branded Diners Club card is now a business expenses only oriented product and not available as a personal card.

    But given the issues that Amex has run in to with co-branded cards (even the BA Amex) over the interchange fees cap I wonder how this dual Diners and Mastercard product manages to get around that rule?

  5. A family member has close to 50k miles expiring in 3 months.
    No point of getting the card I guess?

    • Probably too late. Looks like it’s going to be a hotel booking or Heathrow Rewards transfer …. (or some rubbish from the World Shop catalogue!)

  6. It is misleading to suggest that Amex voluntarily provides Section 75 protection to charge card holders or that the above cards might offer it voluntarily. Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 allows the card holder to claim against the card issuer for any breach of contract by the merchant, including all the costs of remedying that breach of contract. For example, if an airline goes bust just before you fly, then you can claim against the card issuer for the cost of replacement tickets on another airline, which could cost many times the original purchase price because it’s last minute. Any voluntary chargeback scheme is limited to the original transaction amount and does not extend to consequential losses or the cost of remedying a breach of contract.

  7. Diners Club was fantastic in the late 1990s. I had one issued in Germany for DEM 150 (EUR 76.69) per annum. The lounge access was widespread, and allowed entry at no additional charge. I could have up to 8 card holders on the same account, which meant I could give free lounge access to family etc. I kept it after moving back to the UK, but then Diners Club suddenly ended agreements with many lounges, leaving for example only one for all London airports (LHR T1 I believe), so I stopped the card at that point.

    When I try to pay by Amex, shop or restaurant staff often say rather stupidly “Amex is the only card we don’t take”, upon which I would present my Diners Club card instead, which proved them wrong.

    • Guesswho2000 says:

      Diners is actually better than I’d expected. I’ve got one through Citibank Australia, and they don’t charge forex fees (3.4% on the Visa, waived on the DC). Acceptance in Australia is a bit of a pain, supermarkets and petrol stations are all good though.

      However, acceptance overseas is pretty good. The use other networks which has been great for me, Discover in North America, JCB in Japan and Unionpay in China (though it doesn’t work on UP outside China).

    • > When I try to pay by Amex, shop or restaurant staff often say rather stupidly “Amex is the only card we don’t take”, upon which I would present my Diners Club card instead, which proved them wrong.

      I am SO going to use that!!! lol!

  8. Can I just add, “What a horrible application form process!”

    Incredible awkward and difficult to read, navigate and use.

    Hopefully that won’t be the sign of things to come on administering this card…

    Happy New Year everyone!

  9. Richmond says:

    £15 entry fee to lounges is good benefit, when flying economy without status. I may try it at LHR2 Premium Plaza.

  10. James Hadley says:

    Since the Mastercard is technically a prepaid/debit card, does anyone know if it works at HMRC without incurring a fee? Curve is not an option due to the limits.

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