Credit Cards KrisFlyer

Why DBS’s latest ‘more miles’ promotion isn’t worth it

Buying KrisFlyer miles for 2.2 cents each isn't sensible. Moreover, it isn't necessary.

DBS Altitude Backround 2 (DBS)

An interesting new promotion popped up on the DBS Altitude homepage last night, the ability to register and earn up to 4 miles per dollar spent on the card. It’s their way of replicating the Maybank offer (which ended on Sunday) of 1 extra mile per dollar over your usual earning rates between now and the end of 2018.

So that’s 2.2 miles per dollar earned locally, 3 miles per dollar overseas and 4 miles per dollar for online hotel and flight transactions. On the face of it, all good news.

Read in a little more detail though and you’ll soon find the catch.

The cost

All DBS asks for you to be eligible for this additional mile per dollar compared with your usual rate on the Altitude card is a 2.2% ‘administrative fee’. It won’t take you long to work out what they’re actually asking is for you to pay them 2.2 cents each for the extra miles.

Here’s their worked example of how you can pay S$154 for 7,000 extra miles with this ‘promotion’:

More Miles Example.jpg
(Image: DBS)

Our regular readers will know we don’t endorse ‘buying’ KrisFlyer miles at anything above our upper limit of 2 cents each. That’s not to say a KrisFlyer mile is worth exactly 2 cents, if you’re redeeming sensibly you should be achieving much better than that. If you’re having a bad day and not thinking straight while blindly booking an award ticket, you could well be achieving a lot less than that.

The point is we maintain an upper limit to buy of 2 cents per mile for good reasons – read our ‘what’s a mile worth’ page to find out why.

The details of the DBS Altitude ‘more miles’ offer, including full terms and conditions, are available here.

Why should DBS be generous?

But hang on – DBS don’t have to sell miles to us at a cost we feel is reasonable, right? Right! They are a business and can sell them at whatever rate they want, it’s up to the consumer to decide if it’s a price worth paying. I think many will do so and DBS clearly feel they have settled on a rate whereby sufficient customers will take them up on the offer to make it worth their while.

DBS Building (DBS)
(Photo: DBS)

We aren’t here to police the banks, and they most certainly won’t amend the rate just because we don’t like it, but we are here to highlight a bad deal to our readers when there are quite simply…

Cheaper alternatives

If you’re a DBS Altitude cardholder and are tempted by this offer to boost your miles balance, hold fire. Here are 6 current credit card sign-up offers alone you can consider to ‘buy’ a decent stash of miles at a much lower cost between now and the end of 2018.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer American Express card

  • Fee-free for the first year
  • 5,000 miles welcome bonus (you must be a brand new applicant for a co-branded American Express Singapore Airlines credit card)
  • 7,500 miles bonus for spending S$3,000 in the first 3 months from card approval.

Cost per bonus mile: 0.00 cents (no annual fee in year one)

American Express Rewards card

  • Annual fee S$53.50
  • 11,666 miles bonus if you spend S$500 per month for the first 3 months.

Cost per bonus mile: 0.46 cents

Citi PremierMiles Visa card

  • Annual fee S$192.60.
  • 21,000 miles bonus if you spend S$7,500 in the first 3 months.

Cost per bonus mile: 0.92 cents

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer American Express Ascend card

  • Annual fee $337.05.
  • 5,000 miles welcome bonus (you must be a brand new applicant for a co-branded American Express Singapore Airlines credit card)
  • 26,000 miles bonus for spending S$10,000 in the first 3 months from card approval.

Cost per bonus mile: 1.09 cents

Standard Chartered Visa Infinite card

  • Annual fee $588.50.
  • 35,000 miles welcome bonus with no minimum spend.

Cost per bonus mile: 1.68 cents

HSBC Visa Infinite card

  • Annual fee $650.00.
  • 35,000 miles welcome bonus with no minimum spend.

Cost per bonus mile: 1.86 cents

UOB’s ‘PRVI Pay’

If you hold (or successfully apply for) the UOB PRVI Miles card you have access to their ‘PRVI Pay’ facility. We talk in detail about it in our full review of the card, however in summary you can buy ‘unlimited’ miles (subject to your credit limit) for exactly 2 cents each using this scheme.

PRVI3.png

Better still, unlike the DBS Altitude deal, you don’t actually have to have any significant spend to make in order to generate a healthy number of miles through ‘PRVI Pay’. Your only outgoing is the 2% fee itself.

The UOB PRVI Miles card is fee-free in the first year and with a S$30,000/yr income requirement should be accessible to DBS Altitude cardholders.

Given that this is a straightforward method to generate KrisFlyer miles for 2 cents each, there is really no practical advantage to the DBS Altitude ‘more miles’ offer.

Is the DBS Altitude offer any use?

In our opinion – not really. 2.2 cents per mile is too high a price to pay for KrisFlyer miles and as we’ve shown there is a raft of cheaper options out there.

For the sake of simplicity however if you hold a DBS Altitude card, don’t have a UOB PRVI Miles card (nor wish to apply for one), need extra miles relatively quickly and are willing to pay a rate we would label ‘a little over the odds’ at best, you can perhaps justify this.

Never say never but that’s a lot of conditions to satisfy and we’d urge you to consider the cheaper options carefully first.

(Cover Image: DBS)

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