Credit Cards

How Does Diamond Resorts Work

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 7 minute read

The Diamond Resorts International® Mastercard® from Barclaycard is a travel credit card developed especially for timeshare owners of Diamond Resorts International. We didn’t include this card on our rankings of the top travel rewards credit cards or hotel rewards credit cards because it’s essentially a niche product. 

But that doesn’t mean you can’t put it to good use for your leisure spending and bolster your personal savings. The Diamond Resorts International Mastercard offers perks for making transactions within the Diamond Resorts ecosystem, with the exception of timeshare deposits. 

More than 400 timeshare resorts in exotic locales including Las Vegas, Costa Rica, and Venice are managed by Diamond Resorts International. Diamond Plus points are earned on all transactions and can be redeemed for statement credits for a variety of travel-related expenses.

Need to find ways to save back on the expense of your timeshare vacations? The benefits, drawbacks, and overall acceptability of the Diamond Resorts International Mastercard are outlined below.

Key Characteristics

Sign-Up Bonus

After signing up and making your first purchase, you’ll receive 2,500 bonus Diamond Plus points. You can get a statement credit for up to $25 to use on any travel purchases made during the last 120 days.

Collect Diamond Plus Points

You can earn 2X points on most transactions made at Diamond Resorts with your International Mastercard and spend as much as you like. However, the down payment is not included in the 2x category. 

In all other cases, you can rack up an unlimited number of points for every dollar you spend. Accounts that are active and in good standing will never lose their points, and there is no maximum number of points that can be accumulated.

Use Diamond Plus Points to purchase

All transactions made with your Diamond Resorts International Mastercard are eligible for a statement credit in the amount of your accumulated Diamond Plus points, with the exception of deposits, airfare, and vehicle rentals. In order to participate, you must have spent $50 or more on eligible items within the last 120 days.

Bonus for ongoing purchases

You will earn 500 bonus Diamond Plus points for every $2000 in purchases made on your card. All other purchases, including the down payment, are not eligible and there may be further limitations.

APR introduction

Balance transfers made within the first 15 months of opening your Diamond Resorts International Mastercard account will incur no interest charges. Funds must be transferred within 45 days of account opening. The promotional balance transfer rate is only available for the first 15 months.

Payments made on a Diamond Resorts International Mastercard toward the purchase of a Diamond Vacation Ownership interest qualify for a promotional interest-free period of six months (timeshare). The discounted purchase price is only valid within the specified time frame. The 0% APR offer is only valid for specified purchases.

24/7 Concierge Service

The Barclaycard Concierge Service offers personal help by telephone, including recommendations and reservations for restaurants, travel, hotels, entertainment, and more, and it’s available around the clock.

Significant Fees

The yearly charge for the Diamond Resorts International Mastercard is $0. For cash advances, you should expect to pay either $10 or 5%, whichever is higher. Both $5 and 3% of the transferred amount will be charged as a fee. There is a 3% fee for all transactions made in a foreign currency. There is a $37 fee for all payments that are returned late.

Credit Required

The Diamond Resorts International Mastercard requires exceptional credit. Rejection of your application is possible if there is any recent evidence of credit problems on your part.

Pros

  1. There is not an annual charge. There is no yearly charge for the Diamond Resorts International Mastercard. If you solely use this card for financing purchases made at Diamond Resorts, this feature will allow you to get the most out of your rewards program.
  2. The promo period to transfer a balance is unusually long. From account opening, you get 15 months to take advantage of this card’s introductory 0% APR on balance transfers. That’s a great APR for a rewards travel card, and it’s on par with the best balance transfer cards, like the Chase Slate.
  3. Money for Down Payments on Timeshares from Diamond Resorts International for a Whole Year with Zero Interest! Additionally, for the first six months after account activation, you won’t have to pay interest on any down payments made to Diamond Vacation Ownership interest (timeshares) using your new card. This is a great bonus for potential Diamond timeshare buyers who may not have the funds for the full down payment at once. Interest-free financing isn’t available on purchases with most other Barclaycard credit cards for travel.
  4. Simple Sign-Up Bonus to Obtain. The sign-up bonus for this card can be earned with minimal effort. Making a single transaction after signing up for an account is all that is required.
  5. Bonus for Ongoing Spending. You will receive 500 bonus Diamond Plus points for every $2000 you spend on eligible purchases with your card. Be aware that there are limitations to this offer, such as not being able to use a down payment.
  6. You can use your points to pay for airfare, car rentals, or a timeshare. In addition to timeshare purchases, the Diamond Resorts International Mastercard’s adaptable and straightforward rewards program can be put to use for a wide variety of other forms of travel as well. This is helpful for people who own a Diamond Vacation Ownership stake but whose regular trips take them outside of the Diamond universe, or who just want to save money on transportation to and from their timeshare.
  7. There won’t be any extra fees added to your interest rate. There is no penalty interest rate with this card. Unlike with certain loans, your personal finances won’t be put at risk by skyrocketing interest rates if you periodically fall behind on payments owing to cash flow problems or unforeseen costs.

Cons

  1. Just Right for Owners of Diamond Weeks in Timeshares Only. The Diamond Resorts International Mastercard is designed specifically for timeshare owners who also happen to be Diamond Vacation Ownership interest holders. The application process is unnecessary for nonowners because they are unlikely to spend enough money at Diamond properties to make it worthwhile. The Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card is just one example of the many general-purpose travel rewards cards that don’t push timeshare purchases on their applicants.
  2. Income Levels Below the Average. This card’s base point-earning rate is minimal, at only 1 point per $1 spent on most transactions outside of Diamond travel. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (2x miles on all transactions) and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card are both excellent all-around premium credit cards that may be used for travel (3x points on dining – a great way to save money at restaurants – and up to 5x points on eligible travel purchases made through Chase Ultimate Rewards).
  3. Minimal in scope. The number of categories is doubled. Like the Diamond Resorts International Mastercard, the 2x bonus categories are extremely constrained: only Diamond Resorts timeshare transactions (excluding down payments) qualify. However, the Citi ThankYou Premier card offers triple the points on all travel-related expenditures.
  4. A fee of 3% will be applied to all transactions that originate from outside the United States. This card carries a 3% fee for all purchases made abroad. Owning a piece of one of Diamond Resorts’ many properties in a foreign country will cost you a pretty penny, and this fee will more than wipe out any profits you might have made. The Hilton Honors American Express Surpass Card is just one example of a hotel credit card that does not charge an international transaction fee.
  5. There aren’t many other benefits worth it. There isn’t much more value to be achieved from using this card. The only other benefit offered by Barclaycard beyond the normal issue perks (EMV chip technology, fraud liability protection) is a 24/7 concierge service. Branded hotel or airline credit cards, such as the Marriott Bonvoy BrilliantTM American Express® Card, typically offer a more extensive set of benefits tailored toward travelers.
  6. Redeemable for Travel Expenses Over $50 Only; Under $50 Travel Purchases Not Accepted. Diamond Plus points cannot be redeemed for any trip transaction that is less than $50. That’s an issue for cardholders who frequently use their cards to hire cars for shorter periods of time, though it probably won’t have much of an effect on the vast majority of vehicle rental customers.
  7. The Welcome Bonus is just slight. Although the sign-up bonus for this card is little and very simple to earn, it is still worth considering for those who want a low-cost option. When applied as a statement credit against a travel transaction, its value drops to $25. However, there are premium cards that provide sign-up incentives that are ten- or twenty times as potent.

Bottom Line

While I am well-versed in the concept of timeshares, I must admit that I had never heard of Diamond Resorts International until sitting down to write this review. That’s not meant as an attack on DRI or Barclaycard; it’s merely an observation.

There’s no question in my mind why a devoted customer of Diamond Resorts would want to have this card after I started looking into it. Although purchasing a fraction of a vacation house is a perfectly legal option, that doesn’t make it a bargain. 

If you’re planning a domestic trip related to your timeshare, you can save two percent on all of your expenses with this card. Many timeshare owners can realistically expect to spend around $3,000 per year on their property. That is certainly not a minor accomplishment.

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