Back in June DBS launched the new Vantage credit card, its first foray into the S$120k income segment, with an attractive sign-up bonus worth up to 80,000 miles for new-to-bank applicants, provided you made a minimum spend of S$8,000 in the first 60 days.
That short-term offer has long since closed, but the bank later launched a new deal with a reduced bonus of up to 60,000 miles on offer, originally running until 31st July 2022, then until 30th September 2022, but now extended for applications right through to 31st January 2023.
This is now starting to look like it may become the de factor year-round sign-up offer for the card, given that it will have been running for seven months continuously by the time this one expires, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see further extensions to this deal.
Despite not living up to the original sign-up bonus, the 60,000 miles bonus is still a solid offer worth considering, especially for new-to-bank customers.
DBS Vantage: Key facts
Here are the headline stats for the DBS Vantage card.
Annual fee: $588.50/yr
Sign-up bonus: 60,000 miles*
Local earn rate: 1.5 mpd
Overseas earn rate: 2.2 mpd
Dining / Petrol earn rate: 4 mpd**
FCY transaction fee: 3.25%
Minimum Age: 21
Minimum income: S$120,000/yr
* Min. S$8k spend in the first 60 days
** Until 31 Dec 2022, capped at S$2k/mo
Other card benefits include:
- Priority Pass membership with up to 10 free lounge visits per year (US$32 per visit thereafter)
- Accor Plus Explorer membership, including Elite Silver status and one complimentary Asia-Pacific hotel night per year at selected brands
- Up to 50% off local dining at over 80 Singapore restaurants (though most are ~15%)
- The ability to switch between miles and cashback, if you wish
- Free supplementary card
Up to 60,000 miles sign-up bonus
The extended sign-up offer for the DBS Vantage Visa Infinite Card is worth up to 60,000 miles if you apply by 31st January 2023, and spend S$8,000 in the first 60 days of card membership. It is subject to payment of the (non-waivable) annual fee of S$588.50.
You must enter the promo code ‘VANMILES’ when you apply, and your card must be approved by 14th February 2023, in order to qualify.
The bonus miles structure is outlined in the following table, based on whether you are an existing DBS / POSB primary cardholder or not.
|New to DBS/POSB||Existing DBS/POSB|
|Payment of Annual Fee||25,000 miles||25,000 miles|
|Meet S$8,000 Spend Criteria||35,000 miles||15,000 miles|
|Total award||60,000 miles||40,000 miles|
DBS defines ‘new-to-bank’ customers as those who:
- do not currently hold any principal DBS/POSB credit card; and
- have not cancelled any principal DBS/POSB credit card(s) within the last 12 months.
If you are a supplementary DBS/POSB cardholder, but not a primary cardholder on any such account, you will qualify as a new-to-bank customer.
Regular earn rates are in addition
These bonus miles will be awarded in addition to the regular miles you will accrue anyway to meet the S$8,000 spend as part of the sign-up bonus.
Your total earning (including the sign-up bonus) during this promotion, will be at least 52,000 miles as an existing customer or 72,000 miles as a new customer, assuming local spend.
Total promotion earning
|New to DBS/POSB||Existing DBS/POSB|
|Sign-up bonus||60,000 miles||40,000 miles|
|Miles for S$8,000 local spend
|12,000 miles||12,000 miles|
|Total||72,000 miles||52,000 miles|
You’ll do even better than this by tapping into the card’s overseas (2.2 mpd) and petrol / dining (4 mpd) earn rates during the first 60 days of card membership.
For example as a new-to-bank cardholder with S$2,500 of petrol and dining spend, S$1,500 of local retail spend and S$4,000 of FCY retail spend in the first 60 days, you’re looking at 21,050 miles for the spend itself, for a grand total of 81,050 miles.
That’s enough for a return saver Business Class award from Singapore to Perth, even at the devalued KrisFlyer rates which took effect on 5th July 2022.
However, do bear in mind that the 4 mpd rate for specific spend categories on this card is capped at S$2,000 worth of transactions per calendar month and is only applicable through to 31st December 2022.
That means it may not even apply during your 60-day spend window, depending on when your card is approved, since this sign-up bonus offer now runs through to 31st January 2023.
Cost per mile
Here’s how the cost per mile stacks up for simply signing up for the card (no spend requirement), or for meeting the S$8,000 spend requirement in the first 60 days as either an existing or new DBS credit card customer.
Cost per mile
|Total bonus||Cost per mile|
|Annual fee only
(no spend requirement)
|25,000 miles||2.35 cents|
|With S$8,000 spend
(existing DBS cardholder)
|40,000 miles||1.47 cents|
|With S$8,000 spend
|60,000 miles||0.98 cents|
This is based on payment of the (non-waivable) first year annual fee of S$588.50.
It’s clearly not worth signing up for this card if you aren’t going to participate in the bonus miles for S$8,000+ spend promotion, since the 25,000 miles you’ll receive for payment of the annual fee means buying miles at 2.35 cents each (assuming you don’t place any value on the other perks).
With the bonus miles in play, however, it’s worth it in our book if you’re a new DBS customer, buying 60,000 miles at 0.98 cents each.
For existing DBS or POSB credit card holders, it’s a bit marginal with a cost per mile of 1.47 cents each, so you’d probably have to be placing some value on the card’s other perks in order to bite in this case.
When the bonus miles are credited
The first tranche of 12,500 DBS Points, which transfer into 25,000 frequent flyer miles like KrisFlyer, will be credited as soon as your annual fee is charged.
The bonus, equivalent to an extra 35,000 miles for new-to-bank cardholders or an extra 15,000 miles for existing DBS credit card customers, will be credited within 120 to 150 days of you meeting the S$8,000 spend criteria.
For example if you apply on 31st January 2023, are approved on 14th February 2023, and meet the minimum spend criteria right at the end of your 60-day window on 15th April 2023, you could be waiting until 12th September 2023 to see this major element of the bonus.
DBS is excluding transactions which fall under its usual list of excluded spend categories when it comes to qualifying spend for the S$8,000 minimum within 60 days to trigger the bonus miles, as shown below (click to expand).
Annual fee bonus
If you keep the DBS Vantage Card into your second card membership year and beyond, do note that a 25,000 miles bonus is credited each year on payment of the annual fee of S$588.50 (cost per mile 2.35 cents).
The annual fee is waived if your retail spend in the previous card membership year was S$60,000+, however in this case the 25,000 bonus miles will not be awarded.
You can transfer DBS Points into Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and Qantas Frequent Flyer Points.
The minimum volume of miles you can transfer into KrisFlyer is 10,000 (i.e. 5,000 DBS Points). Thereafter they must then be transferred in blocks of 10,000 miles.
The same earning rate, transfer cost, and minimum transfer ‘blocks’ apply if you choose to credit to Asia Miles or Qantas.
You can also transfer your DBS Points to Air Asia BIG Points, here 500 DBS Points will transfer into 1,500 BIG Points (a 3:1 ratio), though it won’t be much interest to our readers – BIG Points are worth only about $0.0034 each (0.34 cents), or about a fifth of the value of a KrisFlyer mile / Asia Mile.
It’ll cost $26.75 (including GST) each time you transfer DBS Points to frequent flyer miles, regardless of the total quantity.
DBS Points to miles transfers take between 5 and 10 working days according to the bank, but in our experience when converting to both KrisFlyer and Asia Miles you’ll see the miles in your account within 2 days.
Card details and benefits
Here’s a summary of the DBS Vantage card benefits, including 10 Priority Pass lounge visits and a free hotel night perk each year (click to expand).
DBS Vantage cardholders will earn 3.75 DBS Points (7.5 miles) for every S$5 in local currency spend, and 5.5 DBS Points (11 miles) for every S$5 equivalent on foreign currency transactions. That works out as:
With an FCY fee of 3.25%, earning 2.2 mpd on overseas transactions is the equivalent of buying miles for around 1.56 cents each, compared to using cash, including a 0.3% 'spread' over money changer rates.
Between now and 31st December 2022, DBS Vantage cardholders will earn an additional 6.25 DBS Points (12.5 miles) for every S$5 spend on local dining and petrol spend, or an additional 4.5 DBS Points (9 miles) for every S$5 equivalent on dining and petrol spend transacted in foreign currency.
That works out as:
This bonus is applicable only on the first S$2,000 aggregate spend across these two categories per calendar month, based on the transaction date (even if the charge is posted on your statement the following month).
Here are the eligible MCC categories.
Petrol Spend MCCs
The bonus DBS Points, making up the difference between the regular local or overseas earn rate (as applicable) and the total 4 mpd level, will be awarded on the 11th day of the next calendar month.
As an example, for bonus category spend in July, the bonus will post on 11th August (or the next working day).
DBS Vantage cardholders can earn 6 mpd on the first S$5,000 spend each calendar month on flight tickets or hotel stays booked on Expedia, at participating hotel and airline partners.
Bookings must be made through the dedicated microsite at www.expedia.com.sg/dbsmiles.
Bookings can be made for any future travel date, but must be charged to your DBS Vantage card by 31st March 2023.
Eligible hotel bookings are those where you make payment to Expedia at the time of booking (not applicable if you choose a rate to pay later at the hotel).
Eligible flight bookings are those made with one of the following airlines:
Obviously some popular carriers including Singapore Airlines are missing from the list, but there are still potentially some useful options including Thai Airways, Finnair, Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways.
Package bookings comprising an eligible hotel and an eligible flight, as defined individually above, booked in a single transaction on the dedicated microsite, will also be eligible.
DBS Vantage cardholders will benefit from a Priority Pass membership, entitling them to 10 free lounge visits per year. Access is then charged at US$32 (~S$45) per visit thereafter.
While this is a decent number of lounge visits, unfortunately it falls short of the unlimited Priority Pass benefit you get with cards like the Citi Prestige.
Nonetheless with travel very much back on the agenda there's some value to be had here, even if it does only cover a couple of trips when travelling with your partner.