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What is a Diners Club Card?

The Diners Club Card was the original multipurpose charge card.

A woman sits in an airport looking at her credit card.
Twenty47studio / Getty

The Diners Club Card helped establish credit cards as we know them today. Diners Club was the first independent credit card issuer, offering people the first multipurpose charge card, and a number of years later, the first rewards program. Today, it has a focus on travel and offers exclusive benefits for clubmembers.

How to get a Diners Club credit card

The consumer and small business Diner Club Cards are currently unavailable for new applicants in the US, with no news on when applications will open again. 

The only way for US residents to get a Diners Club Card is through an employer; the one version available in the US today is the corporate Diners Club Card. And your employer will have to be a member of the Diners Club Corporate Card program.

Though the company has not provided an explicit reason why the two consumer cards were discontinued, it may be related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which had a dramatic impact on the travel and hospitality industries. 

The Diners Club consumer card website provides this statement: "Our Consumer card application is unavailable while we make improvements. While we work to improve the application process, the option to apply for our two Consumer cards: Diners Club Card Elite or a Diners Club Card Premier is temporarily unavailable. We apologize for any inconvenience."

While these cards remain unavailable, there are plenty of other travel credit cards on the market. Take a look at our best travel credit cards page to find one that fits your travel habits.

Types of Diners Club cards

In the past, Diners Club offered two consumer credit cards, two small and medium-sized business cards and a handful of corporate cards. 

The two consumer-focused cards are the Diners Club Card Premier and the Diners Club Card Elite. The two business cards are the Diners Club Card and the Carte Blanche card. Points earned on any of the cards can be redeemed for frequent flyer miles for a number of different airlines, travel and merchandise.

  • The Diners Club Card Premier earns 1x point per dollar, car rental discounts, extensive airport lounge access and has a $95 annual fee.
  • The Diners Club Card Elite carries a $300 annual fee, earns 3x points per dollar at grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations. It also includes expansive airport lounge access and more travel protections.
  • The Diners Club Card has a $95 annual fee and offers everything the Premier version does, but adds primary rental car insurance. Similarly, the Carte Blanche Card matches the Elite version, but also includes primary rental car insurance.

A short history of Diners Club cards

The Diners Club's history stretches back to 1950 when it first launched as the world's first multipurpose charge card. According to the Diners Club history page, in 1974, five out of every six credit-card holders entering the US was a Diners Club-member.

In 1984, Diners Club created the first rewards program. As the market became more crowded with competitors, including large multinational financial institutions, the Diners Club card lost its market share. In 2008, Discover acquired Diners Club International. The card celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2020.

What to apply for instead

While people in the US are unable to apply for a Diners Club Card unless it's a corporate version, there are still plenty of travel credit cards to choose from. Take a look:

Consider your travel budget and your preferred travel method to find the credit card that would best suit your needs.

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