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.
I now have the card and so I have a better idea of how it works.
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:
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?
Is there a foreign exchange fee?
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 Cardtronics – there 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.
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 points from credit cards? – June 2021 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit or charge card, here are our June 2021 recommendations based on the current sign-up bonus.
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the other top current deals:
British Airways American Express
5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 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 – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 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
Earn both Avios and BA On Business points with your business spending 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