In November 2016, DBS revamped the way they levied conversion fees for DBS points to mileage programs. Up till that point, DBS levied a $42.80 annual fee for their “frequent flyer program” which enabled cardmembers to do as many transfers as they wanted within a year, subject to a minimum transfer block of 5,000 points/10,000 miles.
With the change, DBS now charges $26.75 per transfer, subject to the same minimum transfer block.
Obviously, whether or not this worked out better for you depended on your usage patterns- were you the kind who squirreled up miles and did a conversion maybe once every two or three years, or were you more the earn and burn type?
Well, DBS has a new conversion scheme for holders of certain cards…
New Krisflyer Auto Conversion Program
DBS has quietly made a change to its conversion program yet again with the launch of what’s called the “Krisflyer Miles Auto Conversion Program“. This program is available to holders of the following cards only:
- DBS Insignia
- DBS Black Treasures Elite Card
- DBS Altitude (Visa and AMEX)
How it works is that you pay a $42.80 annual fee, and at the start of each quarter (Jan, April, July, Oct), your DBS points are automatically converted into Krisflyer miles (this program only appears to be available for Krisflyer members, not Asiamiles) in blocks of 500 points/1,000 miles. You’ll get an email notification from DBS telling you how many points were converted.
Is it a benefit?
DBS points on the Insignia, Treasures Black Elite and Altitude cards do not expire, whereas once they’re converted to Krisflyer miles they’re valid for 3 years. If you’re not confident about accumulating sufficient points within 3 years to travel somewhere, this might not be for you (but really, if in 3 years you aren’t able to accumulate sufficient critical mass to do at least one trip then the miles game may not be for you).
Fortunately, the program is opt-in, so you’re free to stay on the old $26.75 per conversion scheme if you wish.
No DBS Woman’s World Card?
The big exclusion from the list of cards included under the conversion scheme is the WWMC. Points earned on this card expire after a year, so having it as part of the auto conversion scheme would have arguably been more useful than three cards which points don’t expire anyway.
One confusing thing for me, however, is how the system works with pooling. I have 3 active DBS cards- a Woman’s World Card (24,087 balance), an Altitude Visa (32,194 balance) and an Altitude AMEX (3,445 balance).
Suppose I sign up for the auto conversion with my Altitude Visa. Is the system smart enough to know that it’s only allowed to touch the 32,194 point balance? Or will it auto-convert based on my pooled total of 59,726? I’m inclined to believe it’s the former, but if it’s the latter then it’s sort of backdoor way to getting the WWMC included in the auto-conversion scheme.
Given my individual miles usage habits, I lean towards wanting unlimited conversions for a flat fee rather than paying each time. I do want to confirm whether the conversion only touches points earned by the DBS Altitude, or whether you simply need a DBS Altitude to participate in this scheme, and then all your DBS points are fair game for auto-conversion.