The value in many Australian credit cards has diminished in recent months, as banks respond to the RBA’s new interchange fee rules. But how have the changes affected Diners Club, which markets itself as a “premium” option?
Diners Club credit card points can be transferred to a very wide range of airline frequent flyer and hotel loyalty programs. Cards also come with additional benefits such as lounge access. Unlike American Express, however, Diners Club cards were not immune to the recent RBA changes.
From last month, the earn rates on Diners Club cards were reduced across the board. The rate at which Diners Club rewards points could be transferred to the American Airlines AAdvantage and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) programs also increased from 2:1 to 2.5:1. But 2 Diners Club points will still get you 1 frequent flyer point when transferring to most other airlines, including Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Thai Airways and Cathay Pacific.
The main advantage of Diners Club points remains the number of different transfer partners available. Points can be transferred to 17 airline and hotel programs, several of which are unique in Australia to Diners Club. Points can also be converted to dozens more airlines, such as British Airways, by first transferring the points to SPG.
For transfers to SPG, the Diners Club personal charge card still offers the best value in Australia on everyday purchases.
The Amex Plat charge is my go to card for restaurants, 3 points per $, travel 2 points per $ and overseas transactions 2 points per $, and now ATO with a paltry 0.5 points per $.
Diners 2 points per $ works at Supermarkets, Petrol Stations, and anywhere else where Amex only offers 1 point per $.
The Diners Club charge card – which did recently have its annual fee reduced – still offers relatively competitive earning rates if you’re transferring the points to other programs. But these rates are not market-leading.
Another key advantage of Diners Club is the airport lounge access. Diners Club cardholders can access over 700 airport lounges for free. While only two of these lounges are located in Austaralia (in Brisbane and Darwin), they are located in many airports worldwide including Singapore, Auckland, Bali and Dubai.
There are though occasional places that accept DC but not Amex plus the lounge access is sometimes useful if a crowded airline lounge or no longe for the carrier you are flying.
With the Qantas Frequent Flyer Diners Club card costing only $150 per year, this card still remains a great value option for lounge access. The card’s annual fee is considerably cheaper than a similar lounge membership through the likes of Priority Pass.
Unfortunately, the problem of card acceptance remains. While many larger retailers will accept Diners Club, most small businesses do not. Other businesses impose a significant surcharge.
Anywhere that has a big mother company or is just a big company will generally take it, eg Repco, Myer, David Jones, outside of that I have had limited success, one restaurant I go to accepts it but added a 3% surcharge so wasn’t worth it, so just used the MC but as it has Citi on the front you could still use the Citi free bottle of wine promo
If you’re planning to transfer your rewards points to SPG – or use the card for lounge access – your Diners Club card is probably worth keeping. But after the recent changes, you may find that there are more competitive credit cards in the Australian market.
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