If you hold the DBS Altitude Visa card there’s a new offer running, boosting the overseas miles earning rate on this card from 2 miles per dollar to the equivalent of 2.8 miles per dollar for the first S$2,500 spent between now and the end of February 2019.
Firstly note that this offer is only applicable to holders of the DBS Altitude Visa card, if you have the Amex version (which still has a decent 10,000 miles sign-up bonus running), you won’t be eligible.
If you’re interested in the latest miles sign-up bonuses for Singapore credit cards, check out our Top Sign-up Bonuses page. Worth bookmarking, we keep it up to date with all the latest offers.
You’ll also need to register here as a DBS Altitude Visa cardholder to participate in the offer.
If you spend a minimum of S$2,500 in foreign currency between successfully enrolling for this offer and 28th February 2019, you’ll earn a bonus 2,000 miles on top of the base miles you earn.
That’s the equivalent of 2.8 miles per dollar spent if you spend exactly S$2,500 overseas during the promotional period, after that you will revert to the base earn rate for all additional spend.
Importantly of course you will only earn the base rate with no bonus if you spend less than S$2,500 too, so spending that amount exactly is the ‘sweet spot’.
In addition to the bonus miles offer, DBS is also awarding 1,100 additional bonus miles if you spend S$650+ on an online flight or hotel booking via the dedicated DBS/Expedia portal, provided you also achieve the 2,000 miles bonus above during the promotion period.
The regular terms and conditions for the DBS Altitude / Expedia 6 miles per dollar deal apply to this booking. Again as the 1,100 miles bonus is a fixed amount the ‘sweet spot’ is a total spend in this category of exactly S$650 which will generate an equivalent 7.7 miles per dollar for these transactions.
Note that if the flight booking side piques your interest here, options like Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific aren’t included in the DBS / Expedia deal, though there are some airlines on the list you might find useful like Qatar Airways (check out those Qsuites!), Garuda, Thai and Turkish.
12,000 miles promo
DBS are selling this as a “12,000 miles promotion”, but in reality of course you would earn 8,900 of those miles anyway at the standard earn rates, assuming you participated in both of the relevant transactions above (S$2,500 overseas + S$650 eligible Expedia transactions), so the true bonus here is a maximum of 3,100 miles.
This is the DBS illustration for the offer:
Transfer to KrisFlyer and Asia Miles
There are two nice benefits with accruing DBS Points.
Firstly they never expire so you can hold them at the DBS side as long as you like then transfer them into frequent flyer points only when you’re ready to redeem, removing most concerns about miles expiry.
Secondly they convert into KrisFlyer miles and Asia Miles, giving you a wide range of options not just with Singapore Airlines / Star Alliance / SQ partner airlines, but with Cathay Pacific and a host of oneworld carriers too.
Cost per mile
We talk a lot about the cost per mile on overseas credit card transactions, because the foreign currency fee charged by the banks and the card issuing network effectively mean you are ‘buying’ the miles, compared with the more traditional method of using a money changer in Singapore before your trip and using cash overseas.
If we just look at the cost per mile table for November and December 2018 to keep it simple (because there are some fee and earning rate changes for other cards after that), here’s how the DBS Altitude card ranks in cost per mile for your overseas spend during this offer.
For the full methodology on the cost per mile analysis, see our article from February.
Cost per mile on overseas credit card transactions by card
(Best to worst, November & December 2018)
|Card||Fee||Miles per $||Cost per mile|
|BOC Elite Miles
|Maybank Horizon Visa
|BOC Elite Miles
|DBS Altitude Visa
|Standard Chartered Visa Infinite||3.5%||3.0||1.22¢|
|OCBC Voyage Visa||2.8%||2.3||1.31¢|
|Citi PremierMiles / Prestige (bonus rate)||3.0%||2.4||1.32¢|
|AMEX KrisFlyer Ascend*||2.5%||2.0||1.36¢*|
|Maybank Horizon Visa (standard rate)||2.5%||2.0||1.36¢|
|UOB PRVI Miles||3.25%||2.4||1.43¢|
|DBS Altitude Visa
|HSBC Visa Infinite||2.8%||2.0||1.50¢|
|DBS Altitude Amex||3.0%||2.0||1.60¢|
* December only
As you can see, provided you can channel pretty much exactly S$2,500 in overseas spend through the DBS Altitude Visa card during this promotion, it elevates it from one of the most expensive ways to accrue miles with foreign spend (1.50cpm) to a much more competitive method (1.07cpm).
Remember we target a value of at least 2 cents per mile when redeeming KrisFlyer miles, and we actually achieve closer to 2.9 cents per mile, mostly with Business Class redemptions on SIA.
Of course if you spend more than S$2,500 in the overseas spend category with the DBS Altitude card during this promotion you’ll start to lose out again, with each additional mile thereafter back at the 1.50cpm ‘cost’ due to the standard 2.0 miles per dollar earn rate.
Terms and conditions
In addition to the terms we already mentioned, there are a couple of others to watch out for:
- Qualifying Spend is defined as posted card-present transactions made overseas in foreign currencies. That means online transactions in foreign currency aren’t included, you will basically have to be spending while travelling which can be quite restrictive.
- Obviously this is not the case for the separate Expedia promotion, where online spend in any currency is eligible for that S$650+.
- Spend on supplementary cards will be included in the calculation of qualifying spend.
- The bonus miles will be credited up to 3 months (90 days) after the end of the promotion period – i.e. potentially not until late May 2019.
Got your BOC card yet?
If you applied for the BOC Elite Miles card soon after launch, chances are you’ve received yours now. The waiting time was horrendous, but Eddie and I finally got ours too.
While we appreciate some are still waiting, if you do now hold this card, which is still offering 5 miles per dollar on overseas transactions and 2 miles per dollar spent locally, this DBS offer makes no sense for you.
You should be channelling all your overseas spend to BOC until at least 31st December 2018 for the exceptional earn rate.
There are other cards which beat the general overseas earning rate with no upper cap too, like the Standard Chartered Visa Infinite (3 miles per dollar, provided you spend at least S$2,000 in a statement cycle) and the Citi PremierMiles / Prestige cards (2.4 miles per dollar until the end of December 2018).
If the DBS Altitude Visa is the only card in your miles-earning arsenal, this is a decent offer to take advantage of with no additional cost to you, provided you have S$2,500 to spend overseas before the end of February 2019 – quite a generous participation window.
Remember you will actually have to spend overseas to qualify, online transactions in foreign currency don’t count.
The Expedia promotion, which we see as a separate bonus since you must qualify for the S$2,500 spend bonus to even unlock it, won’t actually be useful to many in our view. This is due in part to the limited list of airlines you can book. You aren’t getting a huge bonus from the Expedia part of the offer either, as it already accrues a generous 6mpd.
If like us though you have cards like the BOC Elite Miles (5mpd overseas until 31st December) and Standard Chartered Visa Infinite (3mpd overseas ongoing), then it makes little sense to bother with this one.