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There is no better form of flattery than imitation in the payment card industry. MBNA’s new “WorldPoints Platinum Plus VISA” is a knock-off of the Diners Club “Carte Blanche” card, that was revived in December 2000. While the cards appear to have the same “world” design, they are worlds apart in their pricing, perks and functionality. The new MBNA “WorldPoints Platinum Plus VISA,” which is a credit card, carries no annual fee, while the “Diners Club Carte Blanche,” which is a charge card, carries a $300 annual fee for primary cardholders and a $150 annual fee for additional cardholders. Apart from the disparity in annual fees both cards offer rewards based on card charge volume. But there is a big difference in their reward structures. The “Diners Club Carte Blanche” awards cardholders two points with every dollar charged that can be redeemed in the most flexible and customized manner of any payment card in the USA, including American Express. In addition to redeeming points for merchandise or certificates for airline travel, dining, hotel, or rail travel, the Diners “Club Rewards” program enables cardholders to convert their points-to-miles on every major airline and points-to-points on all the most popular hotel programs. In addition, the card offers free companion airline tickets and a menu of other amenities that appeal to the affluent or frequent traveler. No wonder, the “Club Rewards” program is consistently voted #1 by frequent travelers. The new MBNA “WorldPoints Platinum Plus VISA” awards points that can be redeemed for travel rewards, merchandise certificates, and cash rewards. However MBNA limits the value of its travel rewards. For example, most credit cards linked to an airline offer a free domestic roundtrip ticket for 25,000 miles, but MBNA limits the ticket to a maximum dollar value of $400. MBNA’s cash rewards are also lower than competitor cash back cards. With MBNA you’ll earn $80 cash back if you charge $10,000, compared to American Express or Discover which will pay you $85 for $10,000 in charge volume. To compare yourself visit www.mbna.com or www.dinersclubnorthamerica.com.

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