This just in from Diners Club, points will no longer be able to be transferred to USAirways, Northwest, America West, or Continental* effective January 1. United transfers go away April 27.
Guess what they call this? Naturally, an enhancement.
They’ve added a program where you can pay points for travel directly, at a value of 1.25 cents per point. Don’t do it, it isn’t worthwhile. (Okay, it’s better than the 1 cent per point at Capital One but that’s not saying much!)
When Diners Club became a Mastercard, I accepted the end of two billing cycles to pay and higher foreign currency conversion rates. It was worthwhile to me in exchange for broader acceptance. But they’re clearly devaluing the program.
One of two things must be happening: either the programs being discontinued have exclusivity provisions with their primary co-branded credit card that forbid them from having a relationship with a Mastercard product, or the prices for miles being charged to Diners Club are simply too high now that Diners has to take the lower Mastercard intercharge fees.
Either way, this card no longer offers the full flexibility it once did having lost these airline transfer partners.
Now, I’m not going to cancel right away. I’m going to think seriously about the other transfer options and whether they’re worth the fee to me, reminding myself that there’s still the primary car rental insurance benefit. But I’m no longer recommending this card to others, the future situation seems unstable. More transfer partners may drop out if exclusivity clauses are the issue. Diners may cut off transfers to other programs if the price they’re being charged for points is too high, or they may devalue the transfer ratios. Either way, I’ll guess that there’s still another shoe to drop in this card’s future.
For a discussion of the other credit cards that I do recommend, please see Best Mileage Earning Credit Cards
(* Diners Club points can be transferred 1:1 into Amtrak, whose points can be transferred 1:1 into Continental up to 25,000 points per calendar year, so in some sense Continental transfers will still be available come January 1.)