As we exclusively revealed back in November, there are big changes coming to the Miles & More Global Traveller payment cards.
The cards were closed to new applicants in November 2020.
Existing cards are now being closed too.
Letters have started to go out to existing cardholders saying that the existing cards will close two months from the date of the notification. From the example I saw, this means 4th April.
Both the Diners Club and Mastercard will cease to work from that date.
You may want to download or print your card statements before they become unavailable.
Will I receive a refund of my annual fee?
Yes. A pro-rata annual fee refund will be made.
What does this mean for mileage expiry?
It could be tricky.
The credit card website says:
“Your card will no longer function from two months after the date of the letter you received. From that moment onwards, if you are not a Miles & More status member, any award miles older than 36 months will start expiring as per the Miles & More Terms & Conditions.“
This is clearly a disaster for anyone who has built up miles over a number of years and has been ‘protecting’ them with the card.
Even if a replacement card does launch in ‘Summer’ as originally promised, there is likely to be a gap between cancellation of your existing card and the opening of applications for the new one.
I wouldn’t panic at this point. When the MBNA Miles & More credit card closed, Lufthansa was very good at putting interim arrangements in place. I would expect that to happen this time.
The letter you will receive is more positive than the website and says “Lufthansa will be in touch about the ‘no mileage expiration’ benefit.”
Is there still going to be a replacement card?
Good question. The original plan was that there WOULD be a replacement card.
Since November, it had been showing this image:
The website, milesandmorecards.co.uk, was now branded as Cornercard. Cornercard was to be the issuer of the new Visa card in ‘Summer 2021’.
Things may have changed though.
Now, the website is a lot less bullish. The wording is:
“All UK members are very important to Miles & More and Cornercard UK Ltd. Both parties are currently evaluating options together.
If you would like to be kept informed about the launch, please register your interest so that Cornercard UK Ltd. can contact you with more information as it becomes available.”
One snag may be getting accepted for the new card
Even if there is a new Visa card launched, it is clear now that existing cardholders will not simply be transitioned to it.
It will require a fresh application. Given that lenders are very cautious at the moment, there is a far greater chance than usual that you will be rejected, especially if you are not currently working, are on furlough or are self-employed.
Why is the existing card being closed?
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 a miles goldmine.
As Lufthansa is part of Star Alliance, the miles got you access to redemption flights across 26 airlines.
I now need to pull my finger out and start pushing through payments so that my 31st July 2021 self-assessment payment is made before 4th April.
Was it profitable?
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.
I honestly don’t know. I expect an email from Lufthansa to arrive giving some warm words over the security of your mileage balance, at least for the short term.
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.
Want to earn more points from credit cards? – November 2022 update
If you are looking to apply for a new credit card, here are our top recommendations based on the current sign-up bonuses.
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
You can see our full directory of all UK cards which earn airline or hotel points here. Here are the best of the other deals currently available.
British Airways American Express Premium Plus
25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review
American Express Preferred Rewards Gold
Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Virgin Atlantic Reward+ Mastercard
15,000 points bonus and 1.5 points for every £1 you spend 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 Platinum
40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review
American Express Business Gold
20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review
British Airways Accelerating Business American Express
30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review
Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa
10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa 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.