DBS has extended its sign-up bonus for the DBS Altitude Visa and DBS Altitude American Express cards by a full six months. The 10,000 miles bonus deal was previously due to end on 30th September 2019, but is now valid for applications through 31st March 2020.
Apply for the DBS Altitude Visa or American Express card online via the website, DBS iBanking or Digibank (mobile app) between now and 31st March 2020 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).
Note that the offer is strictly limited to online applications only.
To be eligible you 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 instead be eligible for a smaller sign-up bonus of 2,500 DBS points (transferable into 5,000 miles).
Tip: If you recently cancelled your DBS credit card, check if the anniversary date of cancellation falls into this offer window (between now and 31st March 2020). If it does, wait until the 12 months has expired, then you can apply and ‘churn’ the full 10,000 miles bonus again.
Bonus miles are credited within 180 days of card approval (quite a long wait of 6 months), subject to the minimum spend being met in the first three months.
Supplementary cardholders are not eligible to participate in the promotion, however spend made on supplementary cards is considered towards the S$6,000 spend.
Full terms and conditions for the offer are available here.
Like most sign-up bonus offers, the qualifying spend excludes certain categories. In this case the exclusions cover the following:
- 0% Interest Instalment Payment Plan monthly transactions
- My Preferred Payment Plan monthly transactions
- Interest, finance charges, cash withdrawal, balance transfer, smart cash, AXS payments, SAM online bill payments, bill payments via internet banking and all fees charged by DBS
- Payments to educational institutions
- Payments to financial institutions (including banks, online trading platforms and brokerages)
- Payments to government institutions and services (court cases, fines, bail and bonds, tax payment, postal services, parking lots and garages, intra-government purchases and any other government services not classified here)
- Payments to insurance companies (sales, underwriting and premiums)
- Payments to non-profit organisations
- Top-ups or payment of funds to payment service providers, prepaid accounts and any pre-paid accounts (e.g. EZ-Link, NETS FlashPay, Transit Link, Singtel Dash)
- Betting transactions (including levy payments to local casinos, lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, off-track betting and wagers)
- Transactions related to crypto currencies
The DBS Altitude cards have what we’d call ‘entry-level’ miles earning rates for general spend.
- 1.2 miles for every S$1 spent locally (i.e. transacted in SGD)
- 2 miles for every S$1 spent overseas (i.e. transacted in foreign currency)
These aren’t terrible rates, but there are better on the market including the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard (see our review), which earns 1.5 miles per S$1 locally (25% more) and 3 miles per S$1 overseas (50% more).
Nonetheless if you have S$6,000 of spending coming up over the next three months, this offer will net you:
1.2 x 6,000 = 7,200 miles (assuming local spend)
+ 10,000 miles sign-up bonus
= 17,200 miles
That’s the equivalent of 2.9 miles per dollar (17,200 / S$6,000) on local transactions.
Some additional category-based earning rates with the DBS Altitude cards can be quite useful, and include:
- 10 miles per dollar spent at Kaligo.com (capped at S$5,000 spend per month)
- 6 miles per dollar spent at Expedia with airlines such as Qatar Airways, Finnair, Turkish Airlines, China Eastern, Garuda Indonesia, Korean Air and Thai Airways (capped at S$5,000 spend per month)
- 4 miles for every S$1 spent on bus, train and taxi rides until the end of 2019 (see our article here)
- 3 miles for every S$1 spent on online flight & hotel transactions including at Singapore Airlines, Agoda, Cathay Pacific, Expedia (SG), Airbnb (SG) and Qatar Airways (capped at S$5,000 per month)
The Altitude Visa card also comes with two complimentary Priority Pass visits per year. For details of all the benefits, see our separate full review of the Altitude cards.
Annual fee bonus
Successful applicants will also be eligible to receive an additional 5,000 DBS points (transferable into 10,000 miles) on payment of the first year annual fee for this card (S$192.60), whether they are new or existing DBS/POSB credit cardholders.
To apply for 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 simply forgo these additional 10,000 miles.
You’ll still get the 10,000-mile sign up bonus describes above provided you meet the minimum spend in the first three months, whether you opt to pay the first year annual fee payment or not.
We would actually recommend skipping this one, as we 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).
Is it just for KrisFlyer miles?
No. These bonus miles will be credited as DBS Points, so 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 (occasional bonus promotions, including a 25% one currently running)
- 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. Do be aware however that DBS Points typically take up to four days to credit into KrisFlyer upon each transfer request, and we expect Asia Miles and Qantas transfers are probably no different.
Whichever frequent flyer programme you choose, there’s a S$26.75 fee (including GST) each time you transfer DBS Points into an airline scheme.
Instant free transfer to KrisFlyer miles via KrisPay
You may recall that in June 2019 we wrote 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 the miles in KrisPay of course, due to the awful value against purchases of 0.67 cents each, but you can transfer them 1:1 without restriction 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, need the redemption instantly (there are other ways to consider first), 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 this 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.
How the offer compares
This isn’t the best credit card sign-up bonus on the market, and over the next month or two there are likely to be some additional changes as offers expire with some renewing and some not.
See our continually updated page for the latest comparison.
Not a long-term spending card for most, but the DBS Altitude is still good for those with regular travel transactions 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 via KrisPay, with a small sacrifice on the rate but ideal for instant small top-ups.
In the year we saw a 100,000 miles sign-up bonus in Singapore, this one looks modest in comparison. Nevertheless it’s a relatively straightforward way to achieve a decent top-up to your miles balance, with a few extra features you may find useful, plus it’s fee-free in year one.
(Cover Photo: Quentin Ray)