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Discover Card=Diners Club-OK?

I have noticed that Discover Card claims that if a hotel lists that they accept Diners Club International that I can use my Discover Card to pay the bill.

My hotel in Lugano is listed as taking Diners Club International on Booking.com but they do not list it on their own site. I know I could contact the hotel and ask them but I feel like I have already asked them so many questions. Plus, I am afraid if I ask they will say that they do not accept the card. If they showed Diners Club as being accepted on booking.com, shouldn't the hotel honor that?

Additionally...has anyone used Discover at a restaurant that said they accept Diners Club?

I am posting this in Italy forum also because I am traveling to there as well. Thank you!

Posted by
16171 posts

Discover Card almost never. Diners Club, very few. I'd be on the safe side and leave them at home and use Master Card and Visa.

Posted by
26448 posts

this is an acknowledged duplicate so I duplicate my answer found in the other thread:

You will find a very very small number of places in Europe that will have ever heard of Discover Card let alone accept it.

Unless you communicate directly with the place and they agree I'd count on them NOT accepting it. Bring another card.

Most places have never heard of Diners Club either.

Posted by
238 posts

Thank you for your thoughts on this topic but booking websites clearly state that the hotels I am staying at accept Diners Club cards. Discover Card website states that where ever Diners Club is accepted that Discover is accepted. I also confirmed this with phone calls. I have plenty of other cards but do not want to use them due to high interest rates or high international fees. Discover and Amex are clearly the best for my purposes.

I am hoping to find out if any other people have tried to use Discover and were successful.

Posted by
16171 posts

If are sure about the hotel in Lugano, why don't you go ahead and book it with your card and see if it goes through?

Posted by
238 posts

I booked the hotel with Amex because if an unauthorized charge goes through Amex then they tend to have the best results when they dispute it. Always had 100% success with Amex and disputed charges.

I got a private message from a member who told me to call Discover and ask them to contact the hotel on my behalf. I did this. We'll see how it all pans out. If it works out, I will post and hopefully help others.

Posted by
26448 posts

Please report back after your trip and let us know how it was - so that other people with similar questions will know the answer from the scene.

Posted by
21356 posts

You can be stubborn about if you like but you asked the question and some very experienced travelers gave you some good advise. Discover and American Express ARE NOT WIDELY accepted. Sure, you may find some places to accept either card but vast majority of credit cards accepted is either VISA or Mastercard. So why create potential problems for yourself? Unless this is just an under the table way to plug the Discover Card.

Posted by
9110 posts

Recap:

I want to use a specific card, but don't know if I can.

I don't want to go to the source for the immediate, straight answer.

I didn't want to try it to see if it would work.

I'll ask a bunch of people and take all day doing it, but not agree with them.

I don't want to use another card because of high fees (FTFs have all but disappeared - - a five hundred dollar hotel bill would have had a ten buck FTF - - I spent all day to save ten bucks if the fee existed).

I've ask somebody else to intercede. Maybe I'll get an answer.

I used my AmExp (which has no FTF).

Interesting logic.

Posted by
238 posts

Why are there any negative posts here...as in negative toward me? There is no reason to question my intentions or logic. Not everyone's brain works logically. I am not trying to plug any card. I just heard from a good friend after I posted this and she said that she could not even use her Mastercard...just her Visa...so everyone has different experiences I guess. I am trying to be prepared.

I am not afraid to ask ahead of time if someone takes a particular card but I was told by another traveler that some hotels, restaurants or stores will tell you they do not take a certain card (even though they do) to discourage people. I had this happen here in the USA in a small store. They posted AMEX on the door, I went to use it, they refused it. I walked out the door. They chased me and said if I bought something additional...an additional $10 they would take my card. They admitted they don't like to take it. They also take AMEX on their website for this store so people who buy things online can pay with AMEX.

The last time I traveled to Europe it was in the 1990s and I remember taking way too many cash advances (cost me a fortune) because a lot of places would not accept my cards but my memory is a bit foggy as to why. It could be similar to what my friend told me about as all my cards are Mastercards.

Posted by
120 posts

Hi Lisa,

When I was abroad, a few merchants offered a "percentage discount" if paid in Euro as opposed to credit card. So, if they are inexpensive meals, it may be worth it to you to pay in currency. Make sure you get a receipt for everything you buy - even if paid in Euro just to remind yourself what you bought or ate to keep track of your monies. I wrote on the back of the receipt a general description of what I bought - meal or trinket, etc. Some smaller merchants may not itemize for trinkets. Restaurants did, but the itemization may not reflect on your copy of the receipt (just a total.)

I strongly encourage your bringing a Visa (MasterCard) with you, despite the higher fees, just in case the hotel(s) insist they do not take Discover or Amex. If that is the case (I would not chance it with bringing only Discover or Amex), you may have to just "chalk up the fees" so to speak instead of ruining your long-awaited vacation. If this is mostly to pay for your hotel(s), then it may be worth bringing the "safety net" of the more accepted credit cards - Visa and MasterCard. (I thought you are bringing larger amounts of country currencies to pay for most meals/wine/cafe, trains, admission fees, etc.; hence the "money belt vs. neck wallet vs. fanny pack" decision.)

With credit card companies upping their perks, etc, more and more people are using credit cards for just about anything - even $2, so they can get the "rewards" points. It would be beneficial to those who pay off their balance each month.

Visa/MasterCard does not decline a $1 charge. It may be suspect only IF a person stole a card number and was "trying to see if the card worked;" so the thieves tease it by charging a very small amount. Merchants and restaurants set their own limits about the "$10 minimum" purchases. It may be too because of the fees, etc, Visa/MasterCard impose upon the merchants to use the credit machine. So a person "charging a dollar or two" is not beneficial to the merchant - more of an expensive hassle.

Maybe these articles can give you some insight.

http://www.ehow.com/info_8439282_against-charge-minimum-credit-card.html

http://www.cardfellow.com/blog/minimum-charge-credit-card-purchase/

Posted by
6372 posts

Lisa, just some personal experience for what it's worth. I've carried a Discover Card for about 30 years and use it extensively here in the US. When I took it to Europe a couple of times it was worthless as nobody would take it - that was in France, Italy, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Luckily I had also brought a Visa card which was widely accepted. My last couple of trips I bring a cc (Visa and/or MC) for car rental or large hotel bills, etc. but mostly just use my debit card to withdraw money from ATM's and pay cash for most things. If there's a FTF it's so small in the whole scheme of things that I just write it off (and no, I'm not made of money and I travel on a very tight budget). Personally I would not count on Discover card being accepted anywhere in Europe. It may be taken in some places but it's not worth taking the chance. Car rental places won't take it and most smaller hotels and restaurants won't either. I can't speak to Am Ex because I don't carry one of their cards. Good luck.

Posted by
238 posts

Thanks for the experiences and insight.

I probably should have been clear that I was mainly going to use the Discover and Amex for the hotels and/or restaurants/bars in the hotels. Marie...you are correct and have a good memory. I am indeed using currency and AAA prepaid Visa for other restaurants and shopping. My train tickets/rail passes are already pre-paid and I have the PNR (?) numbers for all those.

The thing that makes me wonder is all the booking sites list cards that the hotels take. All the places I am staying at list AMEX. Two of them list Diners Club International. Right on the back of my Discover Card it says it is accepted where Diners Club is accepted. When I called Discover they also said the hotels are supposed to accept where it says Diners Club but Discover did offer to call the hotels for me.

Posted by
120 posts

Hey Lisa, Oh good, that a lot of things are already prepaid - lessens the worry. LoooL, yeah, I recalled the discussion about your currency and purses and money belts.

I really feel you should take the Visa with you (it does not hurt to take it) despite what a Discover CSR says or what is posted on a hotel/booking site. Being prepared is better. Try not to waste more time on that; bring both cards. Trying to analyze all this is not worth the trouble since you are leaving in a week :)

While there, you could try to use your Discover at the hotel or for larger purchases; but Discover is primarily a "USA card." That is not to say that years ago, Discover, Diners or Amex were not accepted in Europe, but Visa and MasterCard are mainly the cards of choice and of acceptance abroad besides good ole "cash."

Posted by
31325 posts

lisa,

As you haven't travelled in Europe for a few years, one more very important point to mention regarding credit card use.

When paying bills by credit card, you may be asked if you wish to pay in U.S. dollars rather than the local currency. This practice is called Dynamic Currency Conversion, and if you choose that option you'll be paying more for exchange than if that was done by the credit card firm. Merchants tend to "encourage" this, as they make more. I always refuse and tell them to put the transaction through using the local currency. For more information, have a look at THIS website.

I'm sure the others will have a few thoughts on this as well.

Posted by
238 posts

Thanks for the advice Marie and Ken....Dynamic Currency Conversion...I had no idea about this! I will read up on it! Thanks!

Posted by
238 posts

UPDATE-My hotel in Lugano does take Diners Club

They did not say "We take Discover" but the Diners Club Logo is clearly printed on my Discover Card.

Posted by
11613 posts

Re DCC, some ATMs have this option as well. Avoid it.

Posted by
16878 posts

Use that card where you can, if it has benefits for you, but I would not go without a Visa or MC as a back-up plan, in addition to an ATM/debit card. It's always good to have more options.

Posted by
238 posts

I have many options I just prefer to use the most advantageous ones for me ;-). That would be Discover and Amex.

I did find out that the listing on booking.com for two of the inns I am staying at were indeed misleading! So...booking.com has since corrected this. Hopefully this action (or "paranoia") on my part will save others the hassle of thinking they can pay one way and then finding out they cannot.

Posted by
87 posts

See https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/money/card-fees.

http://www.cardhub.com/edu/currency-exchange-study found debit card and credit card networks to provide much exchange rates than banks, credit unions, or Travelex. There are slight differences in the networks, though. Currency converters at:
http://usa.visa.com/personal/card-benefits/travel/exchange-rate-calculator.jsp
https://www.mastercard.com/global/currencyconversion
http://m.dinersclub.com/dcimobileweb/action/CurrencyConverter

show these results for 2014-06-24:
1 CHF = 1.118832 USD for Visa
1 CHF = 1.116694 USD for MasterCard (inverting 0.8955 CHF = 1 USD)
1 CHF = 1.11732 USD for Diner's Club (Discover)

A growing problem is that US banks still don't issue EMV chip-and-PIN cards, which are needed more and more places where they don't have network connectivity (e.g., French subway machines). Rick has an article on that at https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/money/chip-pin-cards. Citi and a few others are starting to offer chip-and-signature cards, but they don't work where PINs are required. http://creditcardforum.com/blog/chip-and-pin-credit-cards-usa has a list of the paltry offerings so far.

Posted by
238 posts

OK now I am concerned that my AAA travel card...which is not a "chip" card (but it is a VISA debit card with a magnetic strip) will not work in places like small gift shops. My AAA card was intended to be like "cash" meaning I was going to use it instead of stopping at an ATM if I did not feel comfortable doing so. I did read the RS article, which was very helpful, but hoping I do not run into this problem.

Posted by
26448 posts

Lisa, are you going to give us a summary of how the prepaid card and the Discover went throughout the trip?

Such first hand experience is so valuable. People following in your footsteps will benefit so much from your experiences....

Posted by
87 posts

I was recently able to use Discover Card at least one place in Switzerland - an SBB train station swipe machine. The SBB web site only accepts 14 digits for a card type of Diners Club, so it doesn't work there (e.g., for buying tickets with the SBB Mobile app).

Posted by
756 posts

The Discover and Diners Club should be about a useful as the other great anachronism, travelers checks. Amex acceptance is growing but still a VISA card is a good back up assuming you are at places large enough that they will accept a US mag stripe card. Otherwise you need cash and that means, like it or not, at least one ATM card. I say at least one ATM card because you should have a back up in case of something like the time Bank of America dropped the ball when my wife notified them that we were going to be in Europe and we spent the most of the trip using my ATM card from a different bank. Bank of America was very gracious ... they would only reactivate the card when she went our local branch in person to get it reactivated. They even explained how happy she should be that their security system worked so so well. Bottom line two of each.