DBS has been running a sign-up bonus for its Altitude Visa and American Express cards for a while now, offering 10,000 additional miles for those new to DBS/POSB credit cards in addition to the usual miles earned provided you have S$6,000 spending to do in the first three months from card approval.
Originally due to end on 30th June 2019, this offer has been extended by three months and is now valid until 30th September 2019.
The sign-up bonus
Before we move on to the 50% more miles offer for the American Express card, let’s explain the sign-up bonus, since it applies to both cards.
Apply for the DBS Altitude Visa or American Express card online via the website, DBS iBanking or Digibank between now and 30th September 2019 and spend a minimum of S$6,000 on the card within the first three consecutive months from the date of card approval to be awarded a sign-up gift of 5,000 DBS points (transferable into 10,000 miles).
Applicants must be new to DBS/POSB credit cards, or have not held one in the last 12 months. If you already hold a DBS/POSB credit card, or have held one in the last 12 months, you will be eligible for a smaller sign-up bonus of 2,500 DBS points (transferable into 5,000 miles).
Bonus miles are credited within 180 days of card approval (6 months), subject to the minimum spend being met in the first three months.
50% miles bonus for Amex cards
An additional offer is now available to those signing up for the DBS Altitude American Express card, with the same sign-up bonus but an additional 50% bonus on the regular earn rates for all spend on the card in the first three months, capped at 10,000 additional bonus miles.
Edit: Note that you must also trigger the sign-up bonus (S$6,000+ spend in the first three months) to be eligible for the additional 50% miles associated with this enhanced rate.
- Local spend:
1.2 mpd1.8 mpd
- Overseas spend:
2.0 mpd3.0 mpd
- Online Flight / Hotel Spend*:
3.0 mpd4.5 mpd
* Includes online spend at sites including singaporeair.com, cathaypacific.com, qatarairways.com and expedia.com.sg
In some spend categories that’s worth 4.5 miles per dollar, and means you can relatively easily earn a total of 50,000 miles in the first three months with the American Express card with the sign-up bonus, spend bonus and annual fee bonus combined (though you may want to opt out of the latter).
Remember the enhanced miles bonus is capped at 10,000 miles, to hit that you’ll need to spend the following amounts (assuming all spend is in a single category):
- Local spend (bonus 0.6 mpd): S$16,666
- Overseas spend (bonus 1 mpd): S$10,000
- Online Flight / Hotel Spend (bonus 1.5 mpd): S$6,666
These will count towards (and in all cases exceed) the S$6,000 minimum spend needed to trigger the 10,000-mile sign-up bonus described above; remember you’ll be getting both.
Edit: Remember that you must also trigger the sign-up bonus (S$6,000+ spend in the first three months) to be credited the additional 50% miles associated with this enhanced rate, both bonus amounts are credited later.
Like the sign-up bonus, these additional miles are credited within 180 days of card approval (6 months).
Spending on supplementary cards is considered towards the qualifying spend for the current promotions, but there are some exclusion categories. Click here to view the full terms and conditions for these offers.
Further details for this offer can be found on the DBS promotional landing page.
Annual fee bonus
Additionally, successful applicants will receive 5,000 DBS points (transferable into 10,000 miles) on payment of the annual fee for this card, whether they are new or existing DBS/POSB credit cardholders, on payment of the first year annual fee of S$192.60. To do this you’ll need to enter “ALTAF” in the promo code field in the online application form.
You can opt out of this first year annual fee by leaving the promo code field blank and forgo this additional 10,000 miles.
We would actually recommend skipping this one, as we now value a KrisFlyer mile at 1.9 cents each (our upper limit to buy) and this deal represents buying miles at slightly above that rate (1.93 cents each).
DBS Altitude Amex example
Since the best bonus here is for the DBS Altitude Amex card due to the 50% enhanced miles rate, let’s take a look at an example using that card:
If you successfully apply for the DBS Altitude Amex card and in the first three months spend S$2,000 on online flight / hotel transactions, S$4,000 on overseas transactions and S$5,000 on local spend, you’ll earn:
- S$2,000 x 4.5 = 9,000 miles (3,000 bonus)
- S$4,000 x 3.0 = 12,000 miles (4,000 bonus)
- S$5,000 x 1.8 = 9,000 miles (3,000 bonus)
- Total 30,000 miles earned (10,000 bonus, so you’ve exactly capped out the bonus miles offered)
In addition you’ll have successfully triggered the 10,000-mile sign-up bonus (total 40,000 miles) and depending on your preference you may also have opted to pay the first year annual fee for another 10,000 miles (total 50,000 miles).
The total of course will depend on your personal spend profile, and you are under no obligation to hit the 10,000-mile bonus limit on the enhanced spend rates if you don’t want to. Just remember to spend S$6,000+ on eligible transactions in the first three months to trigger the sign-up bonus. Edit: this also unlocks eligibility of the 50% bonus.
The DBS Altitude cards have an annual fee of S$192.60 (waived for the first year if you wish, as explained above). They also have a year-round local earn rate of 1.2 miles per S$1 spent and 2.0 miles per S$1 spent overseas. Selected online flight and hotel transactions earn at 3.0 miles per S$1.
The annual fee is waived at renewal if you spent at least $25,000 on the card in the last membership year.
If you don’t meet the spend threshold in your membership year however, and therefore have to pay the annual fee, you’ll also receive a 10,000 miles bonus on renewal (i.e. paying 1.93 cents per mile). You can also voluntarily pay the annual fee, even if you spend over $25,000 in a membership year, and receive the 10,000 miles bonus.
Is it just for KrisFlyer miles?
No. As these bonus points will be credited as DBS Points you can transfer them into your choice of four different frequent flyer programs. For example 5,000 DBS Points transfers into:
- 10,000 KrisFlyer miles
- 10,000 Asia Miles
- 10,000 Qantas Points
- 15,000 AirAsia BIG Points
Our advice, forget AirAsia BIG Points (worth about 0.34 Singapore cents each as mentioned in our full review of this card) and stick with KrisFlyer miles, Qantas Points or Asia Miles, all worth closer to the 1.9 Singapore cents per mile / point mark.
DBS Points never expire, so there’s no rush to transfer to your preferred program.
Remember DBS is still running its 20% bonus for transfers to Qantas Points for the next five days, ending on 30th June 2019. Do bear in mind though there were some scheme changes at Qantas recently including increases in Premium award seat rates starting from September this year.
Instant free transfer to KrisFlyer miles via KrisPay
You’ll probably recall that we wrote last week about a new method to link your DBS Points and KrisPay accounts and instantly transfer as little as 100 points into KrisPay miles.
The transfer ratio is 1:1.7 (e.g. 100 DBS Points = 170 KrisPay miles).
You won’t want to be using them there due to the awful value against purchases of 0.67 cents per mile, but you can transfer them 1:1 into KrisFlyer miles.
As you’ll notice this is a 15% hit on the usual DBS Points to KrisFlyer transaction rate, so it’s only of interest if you need a small amount to meet a specific redemption threshold, or have a small balance ‘stuck’ in DBS Points (less than 5,000) which you aren’t going to be adding to in future. You shouldn’t be using it as your regular DBS Points to KrisFlyer transfer method, but it’s a useful option in some cases.
Remember to transfer your KrisPay miles straight into KrisFlyer if you do this, as spending any of the miles in that (poor value) program locks the rest of them in there forever.
At the top end here new DBS Altitude American Express credit cardholders can relatively easily net 40,000 miles+ in three months provided they have a reasonable spend to make, while still having the first year annual fee waived.
There are better cards out there for your long-term spending strategy but the DBS Altitude is still good for those spending online at sites like singaporeair.com, cathaypacific.com, qatarairways.com and expedia.com.sg with a year-round 3 miles per dollar rate.
It also now offers a potentially useful immediate transfer to KrisFlyer miles, with a small sacrifice on the rate but ideal for instant small top-ups.
We’ve updated our Top Credit Card Sign-up Bonuses page today to reflect this latest offer.