Last year DBS was offering its Altitude cardholders a couple of 4 miles per dollar bonus miles options for transport related transactions such as bus, train, taxi, Grab and Go-Jek rides. This offer ended on 31st December 2019, with the usual earn rate of 1.2 miles per dollar now in force for spend in these categories.
With UOB PRVI Miles recently extending its 4.4mpd offer on bus and MRT rides, capped at S$80 spend per month, DBS has brought its own 4mpd bus and train ride bonus back – with a couple of catches.
The new SimplyGo deal
This time round the offer is for new DBS Altitude Visa sign-ups only. Existing DBS/POSB cardholders are eligible, but you must be new to the Altitude Visa card.
The DBS Altitude American Express card is not included, since American Express is not supported by SimplyGo.
Another difference this time round is that the cap is more restrictive. Over the five-month period the previous offer was running, the enhanced 4mpd rate was good for up to S$1,200 of spend in the relevant categories, however this time round it’s capped at S$350 spend during your first three months.
That’s equivalent to 1,400 miles total earned, 980 of which are the ‘bonus’ miles over and above this card’s regular earn rate of 1.2 miles per dollar, which does apply to SimplyGo transactions when you tap for rides.
Note that topping up your EZ Link card using your DBS Altitude card as a payment method does not earn the bonus miles. This offer only applies to tapping for your individual journeys.
How it works
Unlike the UOB PRVI Miles offer, where your card must be registered with SimplyGo and you must use your mobile wallet through your phone to tap your journeys, the DBS Altitude option is simpler allowing you to tap the physical card itself.
That doesn’t prevent you from registering your DBS Altitude Visa card with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay and then tapping using your mobile device, if you prefer.
Terms and conditions for this SimplyGo offer for new cardholders have not yet been updated on the offer homepage (only the promotion page itself has been updated), but we assume that SimplyGo spend from rides taken by both main and supplementary cardholders will be consolidated under the main card account.
That was the case during the last offer, though remember the total bonus cap is unchanged in this case, it remains at S$350 in total over the three-month period.
Sign-up as the UOB offer finishes?
If you’re a UOB PRVI Miles cardholder and want to maximise your miles on bus and MRT journeys, this could be a good card to pick up towards the end of February 2020, just as the UOB 4.4mpd promotion is coming to and end.
You’ll then get a fresh three months of 4mpd (capped at S$350 spend) with your new DBS Altitude Visa card for these transactions.
This strategy of course relies on you not currently holding a DBS Altitude Visa card.
When are bonus miles credited?
Again with no detailed terms and conditions document yet published, it’s impossible to say, but based on last year’s offer you’ll get base miles awarded initially for these transactions, then you’ll receive your bonus miles 90 days after the end of the promotion period. That’s approximately at the end of June 2020.
10,000 miles sign-up bonus
The 4 miles per dollar on SimplyGo isn’t the only reason to sign up for a DBS Altitude Visa card. There’s still a 10,000 miles sign-up bonus 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 (six months), subject to the minimum spend being met in the first three months. Do read our full article on the sign-up bonus for details, or see the terms and conditions here.
50% miles bonus for the Altitude Amex
The DBS Altitude American Express card is excluded from the SimplyGo promotion, since Amex cards are not supported by SimplyGo. There’s still an additional offer for this card however, in addition to the 10,000 miles sign-up bonus, which you might even consider more useful.
In this case new cardholders get 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
More details for that offer are available here.
DBS Points transfer into Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles, Qantas Frequent Flyer Points, Asia Miles and AirAsia BIG Points.
Don’t be tempted by AirAsia BIG Points (big name, small value). It’s effectively a cashback scheme giving you only a fraction of the value you should be achieving through the other three programmes.
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.
The fight between DBS and UOB for your bus and MRT spend continues, with the credit card companies no doubt hoping you’ll get used to paying for your journeys this way and therefore continue to do so even once the bonus earn rates expire.
This time round its new DBS Altitude Visa cardholders who can benefit, and if you’re already earning 4.4mpd with your UOB PRVI Miles card on SimplyGo transactions you may wish to consider picking up this card towards the end of February 2020 to give yourself another three months at 4mpd.
(Cover Photo: Public Transport Council)