The number one way to earn Avios points on a credit card will be scrapped later this year in a huge blow to thousands of customers.
Diamond Club credit card holders will no longer be able to bag the travel reward points from 30 September. They will then have just two months to transfer the points to British Airways' (BA's) loyalty scheme – which uses Avios points – or lose them.
You earn up to two-and-a-half points per £1 spent on the card with an annual fee or two points per £1 fee-free – both smash the best possible rates elsewhere. The next best is the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card, which gets you one-and-a-half points per £1, but comes with a hefty £195 annual fee.
The Diamond Club was originally the BMI Diamond Club but was rebranded after BA owner IAG bought airline BMI in 2012. Users have been able to swap points from the BMI or Diamond Club schemes to BA at the rate of 1:1 and can do so until the end of November.
From 30 September the cards – run by credit card giant MBNA – will still stand as credit cards, but you won't be able to earn any Avios.
Avios get you money off flights, and can be traded in for hotel stays, days out and more.
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Huge blow for non-Amex points gathering
The main Diamond Club account that comes with an Amex and a Visa has the additional perk of offering an unbeatable one point per £1 spent on the Visa (compared with two per £1 on the Amex).
This is particularly generous given it is difficult to earn rewards at all these days on a non-Amex. To put that into perspective, the Visa rate is equivalent to the one point per £1 available on the Preferred Gold Rewards Amex credit card, which itself is one of the best earners.
How come the Diamond Club scheme is ending?
MBNA says the decision was out of its hands, and was made by BA.
A BA spokesperson said: "BMI was integrated in to British Airways in April 2012. The Diamond Club, BMI’s loyalty programme, has remained open but we feel it’s reasonable to close it now and that will take place on 30 November."
The cull is the latest in a long line of rewards axed by credit card firms due to a cap on the fees paid by retailers to card providers, which was introduced in December last year.