It seems we were correct when we wrote a few weeks ago that something seemed to be ‘up’ with the Miles & More Global Traveller payment cards.
The cards have now been closed to new applicants.
A replacement card – purely a Visa, as I suspected – will replace it in ‘Summer 2021’.
IMPORTANT: For some weird reason, the link to the account management part of the old website has gone! Click here to be taken to it. If you have the card, I recommend bookmarking this link.
Why was this such a great card?
The Miles & More Global Traveller Card was, to put it mildly, a weird product.
- You received a double pack of a Diners Club card and a prepaid Mastercard debit card (yes, you read that right – a Diners Club card and a prepaid Mastercard!)
- BOTH cards earned a whopping 1.25 miles per £1 spent, an astonishingly good rate for a non-Amex card
- You could NOT run a balance on the card – you had to pay it off in full each month
- If you had the card and used it each month, it stopped your Miles & More miles from expiring. Miles & More miles have a ‘hard’ expiry – they expire 36 months from when you earn them, irrespective of your activity. This is FAR tougher than the Avios policy and makes it incredibly hard to build up a large balance.
This was an outstanding product for paying personal tax to HMRC
Because the Mastercard was techinically a prepaid debit card, you could use it in many places where credit cards were not accepted.
The key one was HMRC. You were not allowed to use it to pay business taxes – you would get a warning from the card issuer if you did – but it was fine for personal tax. There were no fees attached.
If, like me, you are self employed and paying substantial amounts of income tax via Self Assessment each year, it was (and remains, as long as they don’t cancel existing cards) a miles goldmine.
As Lufthansa is part of Star Alliance, the miles got you access to redemption flights across 26 airlines.
Why has the card been closed?
This is my best guess. I could be wrong.
The issuer was Affiniture, which has the Diners Club licence for the UK.
Because Affiniture knew that no-one would apply for a pure Diners Club product, they did a deal with Cornercard – which issues Lufthansa cards in other European countries – to add the prepaid Mastercard element.
Charges from both cards went onto the same statement and you paid your bill to Affiniture.
The problem, I am guessing, is that usage of the Diners Club element was virtually nil. I have put substantial sums of through my Mastercard over the last couple of years but diddly squat on the Diners Club card. A few months ago I actually cut it up.
Where Affiniture went wrong was having the same earning rate on both cards. If the Mastercard had earned 1 mile per £1 and the Diners Club card 1.25 miles per £1, I would have used the Diners Club card to settle big bills such as hotel stays or flights. These transactions would have been far more profitable for Affiniture.
I still wouldn’t have bothered to carry the Diners Club card around day to day, even if it did earn more miles, but I would have made the effort to use it for four figure payments.
However, as both cards earned the same rate, I didn’t need to bother.
The new card will be purely a Visa
What appears to have happened is that Affiniture has walked away from the deal.
The website, milesandmorecards.co.uk, is now branded as Cornercard. Cornercard will be the issuer of the new Visa card in ‘Summer 2021’.
The new card looks like the old card
Nothing appears to be changing with the new Visa card, either physically (see the image above) or in terms of benefits.
The sign-up bonus is still showing as 5,000 miles and the earning rate still shows as 1.25 miles per £1.
The card is being described as a charge card, but it may technically remain a prepaid debit card. It must be paid off at the end of each month.
The only question mark is over the £79 annual fee. There is no mention of a fee on the website. This either means there won’t be a fee or Cornercard has yet to decide what it is.
What can I do now?
It isn’t clear if the current Diners Club / Mastercard package will be withdrawn, either immediately or in Summer 2021 when the new Visa card launches. Existing cardholders should sit tight for now.
If you don’t yet have this card but like the sound of it, you will need to wait until Summer 2021 to apply.
We will keep you updated with news as we get it, although neither Affiniture or Cornercard have chosen to engage with us in the past.