Diners Club is one of the oldest names in the business — it debuted in 1950 as the very first independent credit card company.
Over the years, the venerable mark has changed hands several times, and for several years, new customers were turned away. Now, Diners Club is back and accepting new applications for two different versions of its personal card, issued by BMO Harris Bank.
- Earn Diners Club Rewards points. The Premier card features one point per dollar spent on all purchases, while the Elite card offers triple points at gas stations, grocery stores, and drug stores.
- Use Club Rewards points. They can be redeemed for a variety of gift cards and merchandise, but the real value comes when transferring points to one of its 14 airline partners or seven different hotel programs.
- Airport lounge access. Both cards come with unlimited visits to the Diners Club network of airport lounges in 100 countries around the world.
- No foreign transaction fees. You aren’t charged this stupid 3 percent fee imposed by many other cards on charges processed outside the United States.
- EMV smart chip equipped. This feature ensures compatibility with the latest generation of secured credit card terminals already in use around the world.
- Lots of extra features. These cards offer numerous purchase protection and travel insurance policies, from extended warranty protection to trip cancellation and interruption coverage.
- High annual fees. The Premier version has a $100 annual fee, which is actually very low for a card with unlimited lounge access. On the other hand, the Elite version has a $300 annual fee, which is quite high. These annual fees aren’t even waived the first year, like some other card offers.
- Additional fees for authorized cardholders. If you want to add someone to your account, it’ll cost you an extra $35 for Premier cardholders and $150 for Elite cardholders. That’s a lot, but at least those cardholders can share lounge access privileges.
- No sign-up bonuses. Many travel reward cards offer new applicants hundreds of dollars worth of rewards just for trying their products. None here.
- Higher interest rates than non-reward cards. The interest rate is just 13.15 percent, which is pretty good for a reward card. Nevertheless, those who carry a balance should look for cards with even lower interest rates.
These cards compete with other reward programs that allow transfers to points and miles, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards.
All Diners Club needs to do now is to waive the first year’s annual fee and offer some sort of sign-up bonus, and these cards will become irresistible to those who love award travel.