Diners Club shuffles the points partnership deck

By Chris C., May 3 2016
Diners Club shuffles the points partnership deck

UPDATE | Diners Club has reversed some recent changes to its credit card rewards program, with points transfers to the American Airlines AAdvantage and Starwood Preferred Guest schemes both being retained.

Transfers to these programs were to be axed from Diners Club Rewards as of June 1 2016, along with a raft of other partners such as Hyatt Gold Passport and Marriott Rewards.

The bulk of those changes will still proceed as planned but now with the exception of AAdvantage and SPG, which will remain.

A Diners Club spokesperson confirmed the re-jig with Australian Business Traveller and that the two schemes would remain attached to Diners Club Rewards "indefinitely".

PREVIOUS | Diners Club is ditching over a dozen airline and hotel partners from its own rewards scheme, leaving cardholders unable to convert Diners Club Rewards points into frequent flyer or hotel loyalty points of the soon to be ex-partners from June 1 2016.

American Airlines, Starwood's SPG scheme and Hyatt Gold Passport are three high-profile casualties of the cull, along with Air Canada, Marriott Rewards, South African Airways and Hawaiian Airlines.

However, several new travel partners have come on board this month: among them Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Malaysia Airlines and Qatar Airways.

Here's a rundown of the changes.

Who's out...

Airlines: American Airlines AAdvantage, Air Canada Aeroplan, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, El Al Matmid Frequent Flyer Club, Frontier Airlines Early Returns, Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles, SAS EuroBonus, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards and South African Airways Voyager.

Hotels: Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), Hyatt Gold Passport, Marriott Rewards, Best Western Rewards and Choice Privileges.

If you want to convert Diners Club Rewards points into any of the above loyalty schemes, you'll need to do so before June 1, 2016.

Who's in...

Diners has signed seven new airline frequent flyer transfer schemes and one hotel loyalty program, and has also boosted the conversion rate for Thai Airways.

Joining Diners Club Rewards this month: Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Etihad Guest, GarudaMiles, Malaysia Airlines Enrich and Qatar Airways Privilege Club, along with the Club Carlson loyalty program of Radisson Hotels.

Two Diners Club Rewards points will convert into one frequent flyer point/mile with each of those partners.

Thai Airways Royal Orchid Plus will also see a more favourable conversion rate of 2:1 compared to the 4:1 ratio applied in years past.

EVA Air Infinity MileageLands is too new to Diners Club, with three Diners Club Rewards points netting one mile with EVA Air.

Diners Club Rewards’ other partners

As to Diners’ existing partners, fear not – a Diners Club Australia spokesperson confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that no changes are being made to the current conversion rates.

That means you can continue to convert your Diners Club Rewards points into frequent flyer or frequent guest points with Delta SkyMiles, Hilton HHonors, IHG Rewards Club and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer on a 2:1 basis, even after June 1.

Further, transfers to Emirates Skywards continue to be offered at a 2.5:1 rate, and to Virgin Australia Velocity at a favourable 1.5:1 rate.

Also read: The five best credit cards for earning Velocity points

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

24 Mar 2015

Total posts 19

Really disappointed with this change... looks like its back to AMEX who still has SPG as the valuable transfer partner - well it was good while it lasted :(

04 May 2015

Total posts 270

Except that the AMEX:SPG rate is usually 1:0.5, not the same as the airline transfer rates, so if you're using SPG for the 20k:25k boost, perhaps not so appealing with AMEX.

24 Mar 2015

Total posts 19

The Diners:SPG rate is currently 1:0.5 - so same as AMEX, the downside of course is that the earning rates aren't quite as good as the Diners World MasterCard arrangement (3pts per dollar on all spend on Diners or 1.25pts per dollar on the MC).  Depending on the AMEX you sign up for you can get some similar points earning rates but generally the annual fee will be much higher (from memory the Diners World MC deal was around $390 pa),

04 May 2015

Total posts 270

Yeah, that's what I meant: one Diners point is worth the same in airline miles or SPG points, whereas one AMEX point is worth half in SPG to what it is directly with most airlines. Admit I worded that pretty poorly!!

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

08 Jun 2014

Total posts 259

Quickly, what is Diners Club and should I add it got my Velocity Plat Amex?

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2514

Diners Club is a different type of card to Visa, MasterCard and American Express, and merchants in Australia can't accept Diners by default on their EFTPOS terminal. Instead and in a similar fashion with American Express, they need to apply directly to Diners Club to accept these cards, and as the merchant fee charged is usually higher than for Visa or MasterCard, larger merchants tend to accept it (Coles, Woolies, major airlines, hotels, car hire companies etc.), but many smaller businesses don't.

As a general rule, if a business doesn't accept AMEX, it probably won't accept Diners Club either... and if a business accepts AMEX, there's no guarantee they also take Diners Club. :)

04 May 2015

Total posts 270

Good to see Diners getting its act together with its partners, but sad to see AA and SPG disappear.

Partners like Frontier, Southwest and EL AL can't have been big in Australia, but Cathay, Etihad, Malaysian etc, all of which actually fly to Australia, sure are.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 681

... and now we can see why Diners Club continues to have a total sense of irrelevancy in the Australian market and why Americans won't be happy:

- look, we've just eliminated the two global hotel chains who are gonna become the world's largest hotel chain (SPG and Marriott)

- don't worry, we also got rid of Hyatt, Best Western and Choice.

- that leaves you with IHG (multi-level) or Radisson. Take it or leave it.

- we also drop the world's largest airline (AA) and kill off AC, AS, F9 HA & SW in the process. Goodbye North America.

- no local Australian airline partner (QF, JQ, VA)

- the new added airline partners are 'interesting' - EK, EY and QR (yeah - Australia actually get to earn some points swapping capability, but only if you fly these three), plus CX.

- But others such as TG, GA, MH hardly benefit US members at all, since they don't currently fly to the US mainland.

One would sorta think that being a 'prestige' card, you'd see high quality luxury hotel partners such as Four Seasons, Fairmont Hotels and maybe Sofitel (luxury component of Accor) replace the everyday 'chain' hotels?

Apparently, the bastions of travel-market honesty - rental car companies - are left alone.

Some nice new additions, but generally of the niche variety.

24 Apr 2012

Total posts 2514

Hi kimshep, just to clarify on your post: Virgin Australia Velocity is, and remains, a Diners Club Rewards transfer partner which we mentioned in the article.

Diners Club cardholders can also earn Qantas Points using the Qantas Frequent Flyer Diners Club cards which AusBT reviewed earlier this year, which are a different to the 'Diners Club Rewards' cards which these changes cover.

This article covers Australian Diners Club cards, not US Diners Club cards which oddly fall under the MasterCard banner.

Aussie citizens residing the USA likely aren't Diners Club Australia's target market – the same could also be said of the other Australian banks – so changes as they apply to US residents aren't something AusBT would typically cover. :)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 681

Hi Chris - apologies - I missed the very last line of your article mentioning the Virgin Australia option. Happy to stand corrected.

There's nothing 'odd' about Diners Club falling under the Mastercard banner in the US (or even globally) for that matter, as D/C signed an agreement with Matercard back in 2004-5 to become part of Mastercard's distribution and processing network. There's a reasonably good article at Boarding Area on this issue.

Whilst not the most centric piece of Diners market, I would perhaps suggest that given Diners Club previous history of stringent credit policy and the attempt to attract high and ultra high-earners to their card, Diners would be more than keen to embrace Australians resident in the USA. After all, they are usually corporate types on secondment in the USA and tend to fit the high, nett worth / higher average income model that Diners has traditionally tried to attract. Somewhat perversely, I don't believe that Diners has gone down the same track as AMEX with their multitude of native in-house (not bank-sponsored) card products.

30 Jan 2015

Total posts 25

Thanks for the heads-up on this, because Diners didn't tell me and it's not mentioned on their website. I supposedly will receive correspondence with my next bill.

Dropping SPG and AAdvantage means losing the two remaining things that made this stand out from the high-end AmEx cards. This news came through the day my Westpac Altitude Black cards arrived on a package upgrade from my existing Westpac Visa. That upgrade looks better every day.

24 Mar 2015

Total posts 19

Just got a call from Diners - SPG and AA is being retained as a transfer partner!  GREAT news - im sooo pleased I raised my concerns with them - more power to the consumer :-)

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