Back in March this year, DBS launched a promotion for existing DBS Altitude Visa and American Express cardholders to receive up to 4 miles per dollar for online spend until 30th June 2020, based on a ‘personalised spend goal’ for the first 10,000 successful registrations.
From 1st July 2020, the bank has extended the offer by two months (to 31st August 2020), added offline shopping spend as an eligible category and increased the cap on the number cardholders eligible to register for the promotion to 12,000.
New cardholders meanwhile are also eligible for the enhanced earn rates for up to S$600 of monthly online spend and offline shopping spend over the same period, subject to a minimum qualifying spend of S$3,000 per calendar month on their card.
Existing cardholder offer
Existing customers will first have to register for the offer through DBS iBanking or the DBS Lifestyle App, using your usual log in credentials. There’s no harm in doing so. That’s how you’ll find out:
- If you’re still among the first 12,000 registrations (you won’t get an offer otherwise, this isn’t UOB…)
- How your ‘personalised spend goal’ is structured
If you then wish to take part, you’ll have to spend on your DBS Altitude Card and track your progress (if you wish) using the promotion tracker on DBS Lifestyle App, then if you achieve your personalised spend goal, bonus miles will be awarded.
My offer isn’t all that exciting. DBS want me to spend S$1,500 each calendar month between now and 20th August 2020, but I’ll only get up to 4 mpd on the first S$500 of online spend during the same calendar month, assuming I meet that S$1,500 threshold.
Why my promotion period ends 11 days short of the offer’s stated end date I’m not at all sure!
Like the first time this one came around, the offer is based on your average monthly spend made between 1st February 2019 and 31st 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 and offline shopping 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 and offline shopping 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 or at specific shopping merchants in SGD and 4 miles per dollar spent online or at specific shopping merchants in foreign currency.
Note: It’s pretty much impossible at the moment for most of our readers to be using their DBS Altitude credit card for offline shopping in foreign currency, so this more realistically relates to local transactions (Robinsons, TANGS, etc…) at the 2.4 mpd rate.
What spend qualifies?
Your offer, like mine, will be split into a ‘Spend Goal’ (qualifying spend) and a ‘Rewards’ element (online spend and offline shopping spend).
You must meet the spend goal in each of the qualifying periods in order to achieve the bonus points for that period. You can do this for both months if you wish to participate for the remainder of the the campaign, but equally you can do so in just one period – it’s up to you.
Note that the first 4 months of this promotion have now lapsed.
|1||3 – 31 March 2020|
|2||1 – 30 April 2020|
|3||1 – 31 May 2020|
|4||1 – 30 June 2020|
|5||1 – 31 July 2020|
|6||1 – 31 August 2020|
Sticking to my example (remember your offer may be different), I’ll have to clear S$1,500+ in qualifying spend in each of the above periods to achieve the bonus miles rates for online spend or offline shopping spend, capped at S$500 in each period.
For the S$1,500 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:
- Online 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.
What’s ‘offline shopping spend’?
In this new extension to the deal from 1st July 2020, bonus miles will also be awarded for offline shopping spend, which refers to retail transactions made at merchants with the following Merchant Category Codes (MCCs).
These have their main business activity classified as department stores, or retail stores worldwide, or stores that sells clothes, shoes and bags.
- MCC 5311: Department Stores
- MCC 5611: Men’s and Boy’s Clothing and Accessories Stores
- MCC 5621: Women’s Ready to Wear Stores
- MCC 5631: Women’s Accessory and Specialty Stores
- MCC 5641: Children’s and Infant’s Wear Stores
- MCC 5651: Family Clothing Stores
- MCC 5655: Sports and Riding Apparel Stores
- MCC 5661: Shoe Stores
- MCC 5691: Men’s and Women’s Clothing Stores
- MCC 5699: Miscellaneous Apparel and Accessory Shops
- MCC 5948: Luggage and Leather Goods Stores
TUMI, Head Porter and Rimowa are included in MCC 5948, while you’ll find the likes of TANGS and Robinsons coding under MCC 5311.
When will the bonus points be credited?
Within 90 days of the end of the promotional period – i.e. by the end of November 2020.
If you participated in the first promotion, which ended on 30th June 2020, you should still get your bonus points by 30th September 2020.
Until the bonus points arrive you’ll earn the regular rates of 1.2 mpd locally and 2 mpd 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$3,000+ in qualifying transactions in each of the four periods shown above, in order to earn the same 2.4 mpd (SGD transactions) or 4 mpd (FCY transactions) on up to S$600 of online spend and offline shopping 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 July 2020 for those who’ve never had one, or haven’t held one in the last 12 months.
Terms and conditions
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
- 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, now extended to in include offline shopping, sounds like a great deal.
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 look of the deal.
The Citi Rewards card also offers 4 miles per dollar for online spend, capped at S$1,000 per month, including local transactions, while the DBS WWMC has a similar deal with a S$2,000 monthly cap.
For this one, there’s just too much complication and too many exclusions for our liking.
If you’re an existing Altitude customer, feel free to register and let us know what personalised deal DBS has offered you for online spend and offline shopping in the comments section below.
(Cover Photo: Quentin Ray)