Thursday, September 29, 2011

Diners Club transition update

This post is more for those of you who are already Diners Club cardholders here in Canada as the card is not available at this time to new customers. For those of you who are and have not received the new welcome package from BMO (who took over the Diners Club brand in North America from Citibank) here are some details that I can glean from the information sent although some information is still missing.
  • New cards will come in November that will include chip technology and the MasterCard PayPass feature
  • Travel Insurances all look to remain the same including the primary car rental coverage
  • Business Class lounge access looks to remain the same which is great as access has expanded to over 450 lounges worldwide
  • Fees and Interest Rates will change. The interest rate will increase slightly to 19.5% and fees now include your standard BMO suite of charges for going over your limit, dishonoured payment etc.
  • There is a new website which is already functional but I assume will contain a lot more information and booking features in the future:
  • Club Rewards will apparently have improved reward redemption options, the awesome tailored travel feature remains where you book your travel yourself and then redeem points against the charge. What the information packet does not state is if the rate of return will remain at 1.7%. You will still be able to transfer Club Rewards points to select frequent flyer and guest accounts. The new feature that is being added to Club Rewards is called a "Self Serve Travel Reward" which you will book via the Club Rewards website or by phone. Seeing as the card is now owned by BMO, I am assuming that this feature will be much like the BMO Elite Reward Centre for the BMO World Elite MasterCard. Again, what we don't know is what the redemption rate will be like for booking  travel via this option. It does state a booking fee is charged for the "Self Serve Travel Option", hopefully this is only the case for phone in bookings and not online bookings (the BMO Elite used to charge a fee on both but then removed the online booking fee)
  • There is no mention as to whether cardmembers will still receive an annual membership in the Priority Pass Airport Lounge program
Overall the changes don't look to be too drastic unless there is a change in the redemption rates and whether or not Priority Pass will still be included. I guess all of us Diners Club cardholders will have to wait until November to find out all the details.

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