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You can no longer get the Lufthansa payment card – bad news for those paying HMRC

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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.

HFP Lufthansa Miles & More credit card

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.

Miles and More Diners Club payment card

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?

Nothing.

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.

Comments (43)

  • Joseph Heenan says:

    People might remembering me mention back in April this year that I’d applied for this card, then got an email the next day saying applications weren’t being processed (due to furloughed staffed) and to resubmit an application “later in the year”. Followed by an email a week later to say that in fact the application had been sent to the credit team for review.

    Then nothing until on the 7th November I received an email ” It has taken longer than usual to process your application due to the initial success of the product and then the current pandemic.” – asking if I still wanted to go ahead and if so whether any details on the application had changed. Replied to that the next day to confirm I did want to go ahead and got the “you’ve been accepted” email 11th November.

    The first card arrived yesterday (as expected / as I applied for it is the cornercarduk branded prepaid MasterCard card).

  • Mikeact says:

    Diners lost their way many moons ago. In the 70’s, early 80’s it used to be my card of choice ,with numerous perks…but thay just couldn’t keep up with Amex and the emerging credit card loyalty offerings. Mind you, we still bring out one of their freebe gifts each Christmas, the old Roulette wheel !

  • Richmond_Surrey says:

    I used Diners at veterinary clinic couple of times. There was known issue with pre-paid card and customer service advised me to use Diners. So I managed to spent couple of thousands on Diners. But never found ATM to change PIN. Also used Diners for access to airport lounge. One time fee of £15 is decent, if you don’t have Priority Pass or airline status.

    I used pre-paid card to pay personal taxes and VAT. Had no contact from issuer regarding VAT payments. I’m going to pay corp tax with it as well.

  • Dwadda says:

    Any suggestions on what alternatives I can use for this January’s self assessment HMRC payment would be greatly appreciated. It will be £300k this year (unusual year for me) so worth getting some miles/avios.

    • The real John says:

      Curve metal

    • Rob says:

      Should have got that Lufthansa card in earlier! Bottom line is that you cannot pay such sums on plastic anyway. I have been paying weekly this year, because I know the card will let it through. Happy to give HMRC a free loan given the pathetic interest rates in the bank.

      Your only option is Curve Metal (£75 min fee for 6 months). The question is what Visa or Mastercard you plan to link to your Curve. The only super-valuable ones are the Virgin cards BUT you can’t earn miles each month beyond your credit limit. This means you’re stuffed, because even if you have a £20k monthly limit and you spend £20k per week, clearing it immediately, you still won’t earn miles on anything except the first £20k per month.

      If you have a legacy Visa or Mastercard which earns at a decent rate (eg IHG Premium) then this would be a good option.

      This also assumes that Curve gives you a higher annual limit than the standard starting point of £50k. If all your spend is HMRC you are unlikely to be moved up.

      • Mark says:

        Or HSBC Premier WEMC…

        • KBuffett says:

          Do HSBC allow you to ‘load’ the card, to spend above your credit limit?

          • Ryan says:

            I don’t believe so, but I did pay off a £175k mortgage balance with it over a couple of weeks. 25k to mortgage co, 25k transfer to HSBC, 2 days for balance to clear, repeat.

        • Dwadda says:

          I have one of these. It’s not prepay though but will investigate. Thanks.

          • Dwadda says:

            Oh, I get it. Link my HSBC wemc to curve metal. Will do that and see how much they’ll up my limit. Many thanks.

  • 747_Brat says:

    Slightly O/T
    Has anyone had any luck with M&M increasing the credit limit, without getting the account scrutinised at transaction level?

  • Greenpen says:

    I have had this pair of cards for some while as I strive to fly LH F. Worried as if it folds or changes I may not have enough miles! Oh woe!

  • Dan says:

    It is interesting to see what the refresh card does better than the older one, because I registered my interest on the website, and found that this card would appeal to a person like me that takes substantial breaks in travelling and wants to find a way to earn and protect those miles when i am not traveling

    As mentioned in the article, there was no mention of an annual fee, which leads me to my *speculative* conclusion that they scrapped it to make It more appealing.

    • Lady London says:

      If they scrapped the annual fee then the new card would have to have a lower earning rate. Especially as they will prob keep existing cardholders alongside, with a bit of luck?

  • Jonathan says:

    Thanks Rob. Do you just use HMRC website to pay the Self Assessment tax? When I look, it says “If you’re unable to pay your Self Assessment tax bill in full by card, you should use another payment method like a bank transfer.”. So, do you transfer the full amount to your card first, so you can pay it in full? Or do you have a very high limit on your card? Thanks again.

    • Rob says:

      Ignore that. Just pay whatever you thing your card can cope with. I make 2 weekly payments, so effectively each payment is made in 26 installments. They are fine with that as long as you use the same card. What they dislike, because of trouble if you need a refund, is mixing cards.

      • Jonathan says:

        Thanks Rob. Are you talking about making what HMRC call “regular payments in advance”. They say “You can set up a budget payment plan if you want to put aside money to cover your next Self Assessment tax bill.”. Or is this how you pay off your current tax bill?

        • Rob says:

          No. Stop taking the HMRC website seriously.

          Just make a payment, any payment. If you log in after three days, it will say ‘your account is £2,000 in credit’ (or, if your liability is known for January, it wil say ‘you still owe £45,000’ or whatever). Rinse and repeat.

          I have done this for years and it works fine.