Last week DBS extended the sign-up bonus for its Altitude Visa and American Express cards, offering 10,000 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.
This offer has been progressively extended over the last year or so and is now valid for applications until 30th June 2020.
The sign-up bonus
Before we move on to the 50% more miles offer for the American Express card, let’s recap on 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 June 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).
In the promo code field, enter “DBSALT” for first year fee waiver
Alternatively if you want to voluntarily pay the first year annual fee, enter “ALTAF” for an additional 10,000 miles (though note these will come at a cost of S$192.60).
Pro Tip: 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).
Applicants must be new to DBS/POSB credit cards, or have not held one in the last 12 months. Bonus miles are credited within 180 days of card approval (6 months), subject to the minimum spend being met in the first three months.
For full details of the sign-up bonus, including the important spend category exclusions, see our article here.
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.
Important: 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 offer.
|Spend category||Regular Rate||50% Bonus Rate|
|Online Flight / Hotel*||4.5 mpd|
* Includes online spend at sites including singaporeair.com, cathaypacific.com, qatarairways.com and expedia.com.sg
This elevates the DBS Altitude Amex card to the best local earn rate for general spending of any credit card on the market during this promotion, eclipsing the BOC Elite Miles card (1.5 mpd) or even the premium DBS Insignia, Citi ULTIMA and UOB Reserve cards (all 1.6 mpd).
In some spend categories the 50% bonus is 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 Amex card including the sign-up bonus, spend bonus and annual fee bonus combined (though you may want to opt out of the latter, which will cost you S$192.60).
Remember the enhanced miles bonus is capped at 10,000 miles, to hit that you’ll need to spend the following amounts (assuming all your 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.
Both bonus amounts are credited later, with these additional miles coming through to your account 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.
Even though DBS didn’t do a great job of mentioning this 50% spend bonus in its extended sign-up offer last week, do note that if you applied for a new DBS Altitude Amex card on or after 1st April 2020 you will be eligible to take part as per the terms and conditions.
Further details for this offer can be found on the DBS promotional landing page.
DBS Altitude Amex example
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 both the sign-up bonus and the 50% earn rate 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 membership year.
If you don’t meet the spend threshold in your membership year however, and therefore have to pay the second year annual fee, you’ll also receive a 10,000 miles bonus on renewal (i.e. paying 1.93 cents per mile). There’s also the option to 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. 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. The bank also offers automatic quarterly transfers to KrisFlyer (i.e. 4 times per year) if you prefer, for an annual fee of $42.83.
There’s also the ability to make an instant transfer of DBS Points to KrisFlyer miles via KrisPay, though this is only good for small amounts for urgent top-ups or to cash out orphan points as there’s an unattractive 15% hit on the conversion ratio.
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.
Even if you stick to the local earn rate under the 50% promotion, the ability to earn 1.8 miles per dollar on up to S$16,666 of general spend in Singapore Dollars is a market-beating rate.
There are better cards out there for your long-term spending strategy but the DBS Altitude remains a good option 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.
Annual fee: $192.60/yr (first year free)
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