DBS has launched a new promotion today for existing Altitude Visa Signature and American Express cardholders to receive up to 4 miles per dollar for online spend between now and 30th June 2020, based on a ‘personalised spend goal’ for the first 10,000 successful registrations.
New cardholders meanwhile can also enjoy the enhanced earn rates for up to S$1,000 of monthly online spend over the same period, subject to a minimum qualifying spend of S$4,500 per calendar month on their card.
DBS clearly doesn’t want to feel left out here. Standard Chartered recently jumped on the back of the closing days of OCBC’s 90°N 4mpd overseas spend promotion with its own 3mpd offer through the end of June 2020.
Existing cardholder offer
Existing customers will first have to register for the offer through DBS iBanking. There’s no harm in doing so. That’s how you’ll find out:
- If you’re still among the first 10,000 registrations (you won’t get an offer otherwise, this isn’t UOB…)
- How your ‘personalised spend goal’ is structured
My offer isn’t all that exciting. DBS want me to spend S$2,000 each calendar month between now and 30th June 2020, but I’ll only get up to 4mpd on the first S$500 of online spend during the same calendar month, if I meet that S$2k threshold.
The offer is apparently based on your average monthly spend made between 1 February 2019 to 31 January 2020 using your DBS / POSB credit cards. I don’t use my DBS Altitude card extensively, so that may have made an impact on the goal they have set in this case.
Do let us know in the comments section below what offer you’ve received – hopefully there are some better ones out there than mine.
DBS is advertising this offer as “up to” 4 miles per dollar for the bonus category, but don’t get too excited. In fact it’s structured as follows:
- Online spend charged in Singapore dollars: 1.2 miles per S$1 (regular) + 1.2 miles per S$1 (bonus) = 2.4 miles per S$1
- Online spend charged in foreign currency: 2 miles per S$1 (regular) + 2 miles per S$1 (bonus) = 4 miles per S$1
Effectively it’s a double miles promotion (for the bonus amount), which means you’ll get 2.4 miles per dollar spent online in SGD and 4 miles per dollar spent online in foreign currency.
What spend qualifies?
Your offer, like mine, will be split into a ‘Spend Goal’ (qualifying spend) and a ‘Rewards’ element (online spend).
You must meet the spend goal in each of the four qualifying periods in order to achieve the bonus points for that period. You can do this for all four months if you wish to participate throughout the campaign, but equally you can do so in just one, two or three of the periods – it’s up to you.
|1||3 – 31 March 2020|
|2||1 – 30 April 2020|
|3||1 – 31 May 2020|
|4||1 – 30 June 2020|
Sticking to my example (remember yours may be different), I’ll have to clear S$2,000+ in qualifying spend in each of the above periods to achieve the bonus miles rates for online spend, capped at S$500 in each period.
For the S$2,000 qualifying spend, this must be a retail transaction charged to the card, including recurring bill payments, but excluding:
- 0% interest-free instalment plan monthly transactions
- My Preferred Payment instalment plan monthly transactions
- Finance charges
- Cash withdrawal
- Cash Advance
- Balance transfer
- AXS payments
- SAM online bill payments
- Bill payments via internet banking
- Fees charged by DBS
What’s ‘online spend’?
Once you’ve wrapped your head around how you’ll qualify each month, you’ll also want to know which online transactions will be eligible to receive the bonus miles rates of 2.4mpd or 4mpd.
These are “retail transactions for goods and services made via the Internet and
processed by the respective merchants/acquirers as an online transaction through
Visa/MasterCard Worldwide networks”
The all-important exclusions list:
- iOnline flight and hotel transactions made at merchants with main business activity
classified as flights and/or hotels;
- Bill payments and all transactions via AXS, SAM, NETs, eNETS;
- Payments to educational institutions;
- Payments to financial institutions (including banks, online trading platforms and
- 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 hospitals;
- Payments to insurance companies (sales, underwriting, and premiums);
- Payments to non-profit organisations, charities and donations;
- Payments made via online banking;
- Payments to professional service providers (including but not limited to accounting,
auditing, bookkeeping services, advertising services, funeral service and legal services and attorneys);
- Payments made via telephone or mail order;
- Payments to utility bill companies;
- Any top-ups or payment of funds to prepaid cards, any prepaid accounts and merchants who are categorized as “payment service providers” and/or “online payment gateway”, (e.g: MoneySend, Skrill.com, Matchmove.com, SmoovPay, CardUp, iPaymy, GrabPay, Youtrip; payment service providers, EZ-Link, NETS FlashPay and Singtel Dash;
- Payments made to CardUp, iPaymy, Mileslife and SmoovPay;
- Any betting transactions (including Levy Payments to Local Casinos, Lottery Tickets,
Casino Gaming Chips, Off-track Betting and Wagers);
- Any transactions related to crypto currencies;
- Instalment payment plan purchases, preferred payment plans, balance transfer, fundtransfer, cash withdrawal, cash advances, annual fees, interest, late payment charges, bill payments via internet banking and all fees charged by DBS, miscellaneous charges imposed by DBS (unless otherwise stated in writing by DBS); and
- Any other transactions determined by DBS from time to time
The most important ones to note here are:
- Flight and hotel bookings are excluded.
- CardUp, iPaymy and GrabPay are excluded.
When will the bonus points be credited?
Within 90 days of the end of the promotional period – i.e. by mid-August 2020.
Before that you’ll earn the regular rates of 1.2mpd locally and 2mpd on FCY transactions using your DBS Altitude card.
New cardholder offer
Provided you’re new to DBS Altitude cards, or have not cancelled one in the last 12 months, you can apply and take part in an alternative online spend promotion.
In this case the offer is not personalised, but instead you’ll have to spend S$4,500+ in qualifying transactions in each of the four periods shown above, in order to earn the same 2.4mpd (SGD transactions) or 4mpd (FCY transactions) on up to S$1,000 of online spend in the same period.
The qualifying spend and online transaction exclusion categories are identical to those for existing cardholders listed above.
DBS is currently running a 10,000 miles sign-up bonus for its Altitude cards, valid for applications until 31st March 2020 for those who’ve never had one, or haven’t held one in the last 12 months.
Terms and conditions
Full terms and conditions for this offer, covering both existing cardholders and new cardholders, are available here.
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)
- 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.
4 miles per dollar for online spend sounds like a great deal, but unfortunately it’s not as sweet as ‘advertised’ in this case – with the higher level only applying to foreign currency transactions, a low-ish cap in force and a relatively large qualifying spend needed to trigger it, which might be costing you miles if you’d usually use a better general earning card.
That said, there’s no harm in registering for this DBS offer if you have an Altitude card and seeing what spend goal and miles reward they will give you, since of course you are not obliged to participate if you don’t like the deal.
I don’t think I’ll be using mine, since I can achieve an unlimited 3mpd on practically all non-SGD spend using the BOC Elite Miles card, even the SCVI or (between now and the end of June 2020) the X Card if I hit S$2k+ per month.
The Citi Rewards card also offers 4 miles per dollar for online spend, capped at S$1,000 per month including local transactions.
For this one, there’s just too much complication and too many exclusions for our liking.
If you’re an existing Altitude customer, register and let us know what personalised deal DBS has offered you for online spend in the comments section below.
(Cover Photo: Quentin Ray)