12
Mar

How to Use a Diners Club Card and Earn Additional Frequent Flyer Miles for Business Expenses

Posted By Trav
One of the world's first credit cards.

One of the world’s first credit cards.

Regular readers will know that I’ve never held a corporate job, first being a high school teacher and now running my own small business.  So when John approached me and began talking about the powers of his company Diners Club card, I had no clue what he was talking about.

But I knew that a lot of you could benefit from what he was telling me, and I asked him to guest post.  

Luckily, he agreed, and today he’ll explain how he maximizes corporate business expenses to earn himself tons of frequent flyer miles in a totally ethical and honest way.

And now that I know what he is talking about, the opportunities are so lucrative that it almost makes me want to “turn corporate”!

Take it away John!

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Many individuals have company credit cards for company expenses, with the Diners Club Mastercard backed by Bank of Montreal being one of the most popular, and the one that my company uses.

While I’ll be using that as an example, these same tips could apply to most company credit cards with some small variations.

Unknown to most individuals in my company there is a rewards program (Diner Club Carte Blanche Club Reward) associated with this card which you must call the customer service representative to sign up for.

So I am enrolled in the program, but how do I maximize my points outside of normal everyday business activities (hotel fees, meals, car rentals, airlines, etc.)?

I volunteer to pick up the tab for catered meals and happy hours. Of course, most people agree to let me pick up the expense to avoid the cumbersome expense reimbursement process.

Now before we continue, I set major ground rules for my mileage accrual program:

  • No frivolous spending – There would be an incentive in this situation to purchase as much as I can since: 1) I don’t pay for the expenses, my company does; and 2) I have an incentive to spend as much as possible to get as many miles as possible.
  • No costs incurred in these programs to the company. I make sure that all of my programs incur no costs to my company for signing up.
  • When I select dinner venues for catered meals or bars, I do not intentionally select restaurants that participate with Mileage Plus Dining. There is an incentive to select these places for events, etc., but I select food/bar venues on their own merits. I need to be at most concerned with addressing the needs of the members of my team and not be concerned with mileage points. Mileage points are a bonus, not a priority.
  • I don’t publicize my earning mileage points, but it is known among the members of my team that I am earning points (as are they). I am transparent about my mileage accrual so as to prevent myself from appearing abusive to the system.

No harm to my company is priority #1, earning miles is #2.

How to Sign up Diners Club Carte Blanche Rewards Program

Carte Blanche, the rewards program for the Diners Club credit card.

Carte Blanche, the rewards program for the Diners Club credit card.

Here are the instructions specific to signing up for the Diners Club Carte Blanche Club Rewards Program:

Diners Club – Carte Blanche – Club Rewards

1-800-234-4034. Press “0” for a customer service representative.

  • State you want to join the Carte Blanche Club Rewards Program.
  • Confirm that there is no annual fee for this membership paid neither by you or your company.
  • Inquire about getting reimbursed with points for previous expenses incurred on the card.

You need to sign up by calling the number above, but here is the website with more details on the program: www.Clubrewardsus.com

Transfer Partners for the Diners Club Carte Blanche Club Rewards Program

The rewards program is pretty decent because it not only offers a ton of airlines, hotel and other partners, but also has good transfer ratios for most options

Here is a list of transfer partners:

$1 spent on card = 1 Diners Club Point
1 Diners Club Point Points in Travel Program
Aeroplan

1

1

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Program

1

1

American Airlines AAdvantage® Program

1

1

Amtrak Guest Rewards

1

1

Best Western Rewards Program

1

2.64

British Airways Executive Club

1

0.02

Choice Privileges

1

1.92

Delta SkyMiles

1

0.02

EL AL Airlines Matmid Club

1

0.02

EVA Airways Evergreen Club

1

1

Frontier Airlines

1

1

HawaiianMiles Program

1

1

Hilton HHonors Points

1

1.6

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts – Hyatt Gold Passport® Points

1

0.5

Icelandair Saga points

1

1

Korean Air SkyPass

1

1

Marriott Rewards Points

1

1.2

Priority Club® Rewards

1

1.2

SAS EuroBonus Points

1

1

South African Airways – Voyager

1

1

Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®

1

0.8

Starwood Preferred Guest® Starpoints®

1

0.5

Thai Airways – Thai Royal Orchid Plus

1

1

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

1

1

In addition to transferring points, Diners Club offers a program that allows you to purchase a flight with an airline with your Diners Club points.

In order to take advantage of this, you buy a flight with your Diners Club credit card and then get reimbursed by Diners Club on your statement at a 1 point = $0.01 ratio. Thereby, a $100 flight would require 10,000 points.

Finally, Diners Club offers a bunch of items for purchase (appliances, computers, statement credits, etc.).

Overall, the best value, much like with Amex or Chase points, comes with transferring to a partner.

The transfer partner that is my personal favorite is American Airlines.

 Ways to Earn Diners Club Points (and additional frequent flyer miles) For Business Expenses

how to use Diners Club

1.  Eating out at Restaurants

As previously mentioned, every time we go out for business lunches, dinner, or happy hours, I’ll offer to pick up the tab.

For every $1 spent, I’ll receive 1 Diners Club point, so a $500 meal for our team will net me 500 Diners Club points (which I’ll turn in to 500 AA miles).

However, to fully maximize my mileage earning, I’ll often “double dip” by going to a restaurant that is part of the United Dining Program.  I have registered my Dining Club card with the United Dining Program, which takes all of 2 minutes.

Since I’m a United Dining Program VIP, which is achieved after eating at restaurants in the program 12x per year, I receive 5x United miles per $1 spent.

If we eat at a restaurant affiliated with the United Dining Program, that $500 tab earns 500 Diners Club points (for using my card) AND 2,500 United miles (because I’m a United Dining Program VIP member).

Talk about a win-win!  I get two types of miles simply for paying the bill and my colleagues don’t have to worry about filling out reimbursement slips!

Here’s a list of some of the restaurants in my area that are part of the United Dining Program:

United Dining Club restaurants

 

2.  Hotel Stays

Another great way to “double dip” is to use your Diners Club card to book hotels for business trips.  I’m earning points by using my Diners Club to pay for the room and I’m also earning hotel points for staying there.

I don’t really enjoy staying in hotels when I travel for pleasure, so every time I book hotels for business trips, all costs being equal, I select hotels who have a rewards program that allows me to exchange hotel points for airline miles.

Therefore, I often stay with Hiltons or Hyatts.

If I booked a $200 room at a Hilton, I’d earn 200 Diners Club points and I’d also earn 2,000 Hilton points (for each stay, Hilton offers 10x per $1 spent).

Then, I’d transfer those Hilton points to either United or American Airlines (to see a list of all Hilton transfer partners and ratios, click here).

3. Car Rentals

Car rentals for business operate in much the same way that hotel stays do.  I use my Diners Club card to pay, thereby earning me 1x point per $1 spent.

Then, all costs being equal, I rent from a program, like Hertz or Avis, that allows me to earn miles with an airline partner instead of with the car rental company.

With Hertz, the amount of airlines miles you earn for your rental depends on the airline you choose.

For example, with AA you’ll earn 1 mile per $1 spent on the rental, so a $100 car rental will net me 100 Diners Club points for using my car and 100 American Airline for renting the car.

With United, you’ll earn 75 miles for each day of the rental (to see a full list of all Hertz partners and terms, click here).

Before renting, simply figure out which airline promotion works best for you.  Then, when renting, give them your frequent flyer number for that airline and make sure to use your Diners Club card to rent and enjoy “double dipping.”

Oh, and don’t forget to check out these 10 tips for saving money on car rentals to get an even better deal!

4. Flights

Whenever I fly for business, I always try to book with American Airlines or United.

Why?

Because I value AA or United miles more than other airlines and by flying with either AA or United, I’m earning miles in their program.

Of course, I’ll always make sure to use my Diners Club card to pay for the tickets so that I’ll earn 1x per $1 spent.  That way, I’ll be earning miles for buying the ticket AND earning miles for flying.

An Amazing Diners Club Card Perk

On top of allowing you to earn miles for picking up business expense tabs, the Diners Club Mastercard has another awesome perk:

FREE LOUNGE ACCESS!

Also, the list of lounges you can access with your Diners Club card is huge:  http://www.dinersclub.com/airport-lounges.html

This is definitely something that all Diners Club cardholders should be aware of and take advantage of.

Final Word(s)

A great big thanks to John for sharing this incredible information with the EPoP community.

For anyone who does have a business credit card, like a Diners Club card (which is the most popular brand), start taking advantage of all the ways that you can earn miles for business spending.

For the small hassle of filling out an reimbursement slip, you could end up earning tens of thousands of extra miles a year:  Hello free trip to Europe!

And don’t forget to take advantage of the free lounge access.  The only thing better than a free trip is a free trip in style!

For all you “real-job” workers, what are some of the ways you’ve been able to earn frequent flyer miles for business expenses?  Comment below!

Consider this your shot at swaying me towards the “dark side”…because you know how much I love earning extra miles!

(photos courtesy of How I See Life,  adeu)

 

2 comments

  1. bundy says:

    sorry, but i dont see the benefit of of 1 to 1 return on the diner club card. wouldn’t one of the chase card be better giving you back 2 for dining? why not use another business card where you can get 2-3% back?

    1. Trav says:

      @Bundy- The diner club card is for people who need to use that card for their business expenses because that is the card their company gave them to use. Yes, a Chase card would be better off to give you 2x for dining, but many companies won’t allow you to use a personal card for business expenses and get reimbursed. They’ll give you the Diners Club card and tell you to use that, so this post is explaining how to maximize the Diners Club card if you are in that situation.

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