As we mentioned earlier this week, DBS has extended its 10,000 miles sign-up bonus for new DBS Altitude Visa and American Express card applications, now valid for applications until 31st March 2020.
Another recent promo run by the bank is a 50% bonus on the regular miles earning rates specifically for new applicants for the DBS Altitude American Express card. Originally due to end on 30th September 2019, this offer has also been extended to 31st March 2020, meaning if you are a new DBS/POSB credit card holder in the last 12 months you can still get both the sign-up bonus and the spend bonus if you opt for the Amex version.
The deal is good not only for 1.8 miles per dollar spent locally (usually 1.2 miles per dollar), but also up to 4.5 miles per dollar in the enhanced online flight and hotel spend category (usually 3 miles per dollar). The bonus is capped at 10,000 additional bonus miles.
The sign-up bonus
Our full article on the current DBS Altitude cards sign-up bonus has all the details, but in summary you can earn 10,000 bonus miles provided you:
- are new to DBS/POSB credit cards, or have not held one in the last 12 months
- apply online for the DBS Altitude card by 31st March 2020
- spend a minimum of S$6,000 on the card in the first three consecutive months from the date of approval.
Bonus miles are credited within 180 days of card approval (6 months), subject to the minimum spend being met in the first three months. Again, do read our full article on the sign-up bonus for details, or see the terms and conditions here.
50% miles bonus for Amex cards
An additional offer is still 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.
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.
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.
Further details for this offer can be found on the DBS promotional landing page.
Let’s take a look at an example using the DBS Altitude Amex 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, as this also unlocks eligibility of the 50% bonus.
The DBS Altitude Amex card has an annual fee of S$192.60 (waived for the first year if you wish, as explained above). It also has 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.
See our full review for more details.
KrisFlyer plus others
These bonus points 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
- 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 25% bonus for transfers to Qantas Points, ending on 31st October 2019. Do bear in mind though there were some scheme changes at Qantas recently including increases in Premium award seat rates that took effect in September 2019.
You can now also transfer miles instantly from DBS Points into KrisFlyer miles via the KrisPay app, though there is a 15% hit on the transfer rate if you do this. See our article here for some examples of when this can be useful.
With a large spend taking advantage of some bonus categories, new DBS Altitude American Express credit cardholders can relatively easily net 40,000 miles+ in three months under this deal, 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.
There’s also the option to earn 4 miles per dollar (before bonus) on Singapore Airlines flights booked through DBS Marketplace until the end of 2019, and the card now offers a potentially useful immediate transfer to KrisFlyer miles, with a small sacrifice on the rate but ideal for instant small top-ups.