DBS has extended its sign-up bonus for the DBS Altitude Visa and DBS Altitude American Express cards by a month. The 10,000 miles bonus deal was previously due to end on 30th June 2020, but is now valid for approvals through 31st July 2020.
Better still, if you pick up the American Express version you’ll also be eligible for 50% bonus miles – up to 4.5 mpd – on your transactions in the first three months, including a market-leading 1.8 mpd on general local spend.
DBS hasn’t made this the most straightforward sign-up offer on the market, with four primary options depending on your preference; miles, more miles, welcome gift or cashback.
or S$200 cash
in 3 months
in 2 months
|Fee waiver||Annual Fee:
As you can see you’ll get the highest level of bonus miles, 20,000 in total, by opting to pay the annual card fee in year one (S$192.60) and spending S$6k+ in the first three months of card membership.
If you don’t pay the annual fee you’ll instead get a 10,000 miles bonus, which is probably a better deal as we value the difference (i.e. those extra 10,000 miles) at around S$190. In other words it’s probably not worth paying S$192.60 for 10,000 miles unless you really need them.
Apple AirPods with a charging case are ‘worth’ S$239, but only if you would ordinarily pay that for them. ‘Gifts’ like this are only true value if your finger was practically hovering over the mouse to purchase them anyway, then the offer came along!
Fun fact: The banks aren’t paying anything like S$239 for these devices at the moment, which is why there are so many deals around. Don’t be duped into thinking you want them – this is by far the best value deal for the bank.
S$200 in cash isn’t a bad deal instead of 10,000 miles (which we value at S$190 against a KrisFlyer redemption), but you’re not really gaining or losing here in our view so you’d actually have to want the Altitude card as a long-term proposition.
The S$200 cash offer comes in the form of a statement credit to your card account within 150 days (5 months) after your card approval date.
10,000 bonus miles: DBSALT
Apply and be approved for the DBS Altitude Visa or American Express card online via the website, DBS iBanking or Digibank (mobile app) between now and 31st July 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. You must also enter promo code “DBSALT” in the promo code field in the online application form.
Existing DBS/POSB credit card holders, or those who had held one in the last 12 months, are not eligible for the current sign-up bonus offer.
Pro Tip: If you recently cancelled your DBS credit card, check if the anniversary date of cancellation falls into this offer window (i.e. between now and 31st July 2020). If it does, wait until the 12 months has expired, then you can apply and be eligible for the sign-up bonus, even if you’ve had one before.
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 minimum.
20,000 bonus miles: ALTAF
The DBS Altitude card comes with first year fee waiver, however if you wish to pay the annual fee of S$192.60 in year one you’ll also be eligible to receive an additional 5,000 DBS points (transferable into 10,000 miles).
To apply for this you’ll instead need to enter “ALTAF” in the promo code field in the online application form, instead of the “DBSALT” code referred to above.
This will then trigger the 10,000 miles sign-up bonus (for S$6,000 spend in the first three months) and the 10,000 miles annual fee bonus, for a total of 20,000 miles. If you are an existing DBS/POSB credit card holder, or have held one in the last 12 months, you will still be eligible for the 10,000 miles on payment of the annual fee, but not the sign-up bonus offer.
For those opting to pay the annual fee, it will be posted to the card account within 180 days from the date of card approval, at which time the additional 10,000 miles will also be credited.
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).
The annual fee for DBS Altitude cards is waived each year at renewal, provided you spent at least S$25,000 in the previous membership year.
If you prefer either the Apple AirPods with a charging case or the S$200 cash welcome gift instead of miles, apply and be approved in the same way for the DBS Altitude Visa or American Express card online between now and 31st July 2020 and spend a minimum of S$1,200 on the card within the first two consecutive months from the date of card approval.
To be eligible you must be new to DBS/POSB credit cards, or have not held one in the last 12 months. You must also enter promo code “DBSAIRPODS” in the promo code field in the online application form (for the AirPods) or “DBS200CASH” for the S$200 cash credit.
If you opt for the Apple AirPods with charging case, the gift will be fulfilled via the DBS LifeStyle App. You’ll need to download the app to receive the redemption coupon to redeem, which will be sent to you within 45 days from the minimum spend being met.
You must remember to redeem within 30 days of receiving the coupon, via the DBS Apple Rewards store
The full steps to redeem your promo code at the DBS Apple Rewards store are shown here.
If you opt for the S$200 cashback, this will be credited to your card account within 150 days from the date of card approval, subject to the same S$1,200 minimum qualifying spend being made in the first two months.
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
50% miles bonus for Amex cards
An additional offer is still available to those signing up for the DBS Altitude American Express card with 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 apply under one of the miles sign-up bonuses (DBSALT or ALTAF) and 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 UOB PRVI Miles (1.4 mpd) and 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 as noted above 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.
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 what we’d call ‘entry-level’ (but by no means terrible) 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)
Now that the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard, which earned 1.5 miles per S$1 locally (25% more) and 3 miles per S$1 overseas (50% more) has slashed its rates by a third from June 2020, there aren’t many better options available for general spend in Singapore.
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, even if you don’t take the Amex card for the additional bonus miles.
Some additional category-based earning rates with the DBS Altitude cards can be quite useful, and include:
- 3 miles per $1 spent on online flight and hotel bookings, including at singaporeair.com, cathaypacific.com, qatarairways.com, and expedia.com.sg
- 7 miles per $1 spent on hotel bookings at Agoda until 30th September 2020. See our article for full details.
- 10 miles per $1 spent on hotel stays with Kaligo (this can work very well – see our article here)
These bonus rates are collectively capped at $5,000 spend per calendar month, with one ‘shared’ limit for all of them.
The DBS 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.
Frequent flyer programme partners
DBS Points can be transferred into your choice of four different frequent flyer programmes. Blocks of 5,000 DBS Points transfer 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. 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 option to transfer your DBS Points into KrisFlyer miles instantly via KrisPay, though you’ll take a 15% hit on the conversion ratio so it’s probably 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.
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 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.
10,000 miles won’t set your KrisFlyer, Asia Miles or Qantas accounts on fire, but it’s a relatively straightforward way to achieve a decent top-up to your balance, with a few extra features you may find useful, plus it’s fee-free in year one.
If you’re eligible for the sign-up bonus we’d recommend considering the Amex version for its 50% bonus miles in the first three months.
Annual fee: $192.60/yr (first year free)
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(Cover Photo: Quentin Ray)