|An updated review has been published for the DBS Insignia in 2020. Read it here|
One of the first few articles I ever wrote was about so called ultra-exclusive credit cards, the type which are invite only, carry extremely high income requirements and confer upon the holder a range of uberluxe benefits.
It was a fun article to research, but one of the drawbacks about writing about fight club style credit cards is that details are rather short in supply. Nonetheless, the lack of detail hasn’t stopped the article from going on to become one of the most read on The Milelion, perhaps affirming that we always desire to know a little bit more about how the other half lives.
One of the cards I wrote about was the enigmatic DBS Insignia card, the card that literally has your name on it.
There isn’t an awful lot of information out there- the official DBS website link sends you to this bland looking and uninformative page
And a Google search sends you to an article written on a whacky conspiracy theory peddling blog
Well, thanks to a lovely reader we now have the chance to find out a bit more about the DBS Insignia card. Here’s the welcome letter clients receive along with the invitation to apply. Have a read of it and we’ll discuss the benefits below-
Greetings from DBS Insignia!
We thank you for you for your interest in DBS Insignia. Please allow me to share more information about the DBS Insignia credit card with you.
DBS Insignia Visa Infinite membership is exclusively by-invitation only and the DBS Insignia credit card is the only card in town that offers up to a million dollar credit limit (subject to bank’s discretion).
To qualify for an invitation, there is a minimum annual income of S$500,000 (we have noted your annual income range) and a non-waivable annual membership fee of S$3,000 (before GST).
One of the key features of the DBS Insignia card is the attractive miles conversion rate of S$1 = 1.6 air miles for local spending and S$1 = 2 air miles for overseas spent.
The following are the core welcome privileges for DBS Insignia card members:
- Metal Card first in the world! (Metal plus contactless/pay-wave function)
- Club at the Hyatt membership which gives exclusive dining and accommodation privileges at Grand Hyatt Singapore and other Hyatt properties worldwide.
- Complimentary 100,000 air miles in the form of 50,000 Bonus DBS points (non-expiring) credited into main member’s card account which can be redeemed in exchange for air miles, dining and/or shopping vouchers
- Complimentary 2 nights’ stay for the principal card member at selected premium hotel properties such as Anantara Hotels & Resorts, Six Senses Resorts, COMO Hotels & Resorts, YTL Hotels, Small Luxury Hotels of the World, Taj Hotels, Resorts & Palaces, Alila Hotels & Resorts, and Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts.
- Priority Pass membership that allows card members to enjoy complimentary access to 600 airport VIP lounges in 100 countries
- Speed Pass access for fast-track immigration
- Access to the following club:
- One Degree 15 (Sentosa Cove) – Yachting privileges and club amenities
- Damai Spa (Grand Hyatt) – Relaxation with fitness classes, spa treatment, pool, gym, tennis and badminton court amenities
- Yachting privileges at One Degree 15 (Sentosa Cove) –exclusive yacht access for Insignia card members that charters minimum 4-hours on weekdays for only S$500+gst and weekends at S$800+ gst (weekends: Fri, Sat, Sun, Eve of PH and PH)
- Dedicated team of DBS Insignia Service Ambassadors, available 24 hours through a hotline especially for DBS Insignia card members to serve your lifestyle needs.
We would like to know you more, perhaps you can share with us the updated information that we can include in your profile for the invitation review:
- Name of Company, Length of service and Designation
- Professional achievements/roles (i.e. Chairman of Singapore Chamber of Commerce etc.)
- Premium credit cards, cars, yacht and country club memberships (i.e. Amex Centurion, Porsche, One15 member, Exotic car club member etc.)
Kindly note that all applications are still subjected to bank’s approval.
If there is anything else we may help you with, please do not hesitate to contact me or any of your DBS Insignia Service Ambassadors at 1800 327 8088 (for Singapore) or +65 6327 8088 (from overseas).
Thank you and have a lovely day ahead!
So, a non-waivable annual membership fee of $3,210, after GST. Doesn’t DBS know that as per the GST act it is illegal not to provide GST inclusive prices? Sheesh.
GST-registered businesses must show GST-inclusive prices on all price displays (e.g. price tags, price lists, advertisements, publicity brochures, website). Prices that are quoted, whether written or verbal, must also be GST-inclusive.
That $3,210 fee gives you the distinct benefit of having-
Metal card first in world!
I said it before in my review of the UOB Lady’s Solitaire Rose Gold card promotion that we really need to stop with this whole “metal card as a benefit” trend. I love the feel of cold steel in my hands as much as the next fellow, but I’d rather they take the money spent producing those cards and put it into, I don’t know, actual benefits.
Of course, DBS isn’t saying that this is the first metal card in the world (I believe that distinction might go to the AMEX Centurion). What it is trying to say is that this is the first metal card to have a Paywave function. Presumably something about the nature of Paywave technology made it infeasible to incorporate it into a metal card until now.
DBS doesn’t offer any special perks for Paywave spending, so I’m kind of confused why DBS chose to lead with this in their list of benefits. The next few are a lot more interesting in my opinion
Club at the Hyatt Membership
This program is the Insignia’s answer to the Feed at Raffles program that AMEX cards have (I know it’s since been renamed to something else). Club at the Hyatt gives you 50% off your dining bill with 2 adult diners (the way the program is structured is that it really encourages you to dine with a partner, no one more, no one less)
- 1 adult diner 15% discount
- 2 adult diners 50% discount
- 3 adult diners 33% discount
- 4 adult diners 25% discount
- 5 adult diners 20% discount
- 6 adult diners and above 15% discount
This discount can be obtained at any of the restaurants in the Grand Hyatt Singapore- mezza9, Oasis, Pete’s Place, StraitsKitchen and 10SCOTTS. This membership usually retails at S$298, and comes with a few additional benefits detailed here. Some other highlights include discounts on laundry service (people bring their clothes to hotels for laundry service, really?) and reciprocal dining discounts at participating Club at the Hyatt hotels overseas.
These miles cost you 3.21 cents each (if you ignore the monetary value of all the other benefits the Insignia card has). Obviously this is a much higher rate than buying miles through other credit card annual fees (heck, even the OCBC Voyage which I malign so much was offering 150,00 Krisflyer miles for a similar $3,210 annual fee), but presumably they need to cover the cost of the other benefits somehow.
100,00 miles would be enough to get a one way Suites saver class ticket to any SQ destination with some spare change leftover. Or you could fly two people to Hong Kong on Suites and still have about 36,000 miles leftover.
Complimentary 2 night stay at selected premium hotels
DBS Insignia cardholders get 2 free nights at selected premium hotel properties including Anantara, Six Senses, COMO, YTL, SLH (more of a marketing initiative than a chain per se), Taj, Alila and Banyan Tree.
Now, without the full T&C I can’t tell if this benefit allows you to access any property in the aforementioned chains, but assuming it does that’s quite a good benefit to have! Assuming (again) that there are no black out dates, you could opt to take those 2 nights at the Taj Exotica Resort and Spa Maldives, which would run you upwards of US$900 a night.
Or maybe you’d prefer the Banyan Tree Samui, where rooms start upwards of US$800?
This is probably my second favourite benefit of all (after the air miles). Depending on how strict the T&C are regarding the consumption of this benefit, this + the air miles could make it worth paying the annual fee.
Priority Pass Membership
Every self-respecting top tier credit card must now give complimentary lounge access (ahem UOB PRVI Miles ahem). The Insignia provides this via Priority Pass membership. I am assuming that since they say complimentary access they’re providing you with the unlimited version of the Priority Pass. It would be very small and petty not to do so.
The unlimited visits version of the Priority Pass normally retails at US$399, and although I certainly wouldn’t take that benefit at face value, it’s good to have nonetheless.
I’ve written more about getting lounge access through credit cards in this separate post.
Speed Pass access for fast track immigration
YQ (get it? Y queue…) provides fast track arrival and departure immigration services at over 500 airports worldwide. You probably don’t need this at Changi, but such services can be lifesavers in, shall we say, less enlightened places.
There is no mention as to how often this benefit can be used, but if you travel frequently to countries which are not renowned for immigration efficiency, I’d certainly place some value on this access. If anything, it can allow you to cut it a bit closer when departing.
Private club access
Insignia cardholders get access to One Degree 15 which is basically a country club with a yachting berth instead of a golf course.
Cardholders also get access to the Damai Spa at the Hyatt. Treatments aren’t free, of course, but you can use the pool, gym, tennis and badminton court amenities for free.
Again, it’s a nice feature to have but certainly not a game changer for me. I find the facilities at the NUSS more than sufficient for me (if anyone is thinking of signing up please let me know so we can get some F&B vouchers out of it), and I can’t find where I left my yacht keys so I have no use for berthing facilities.
What I am surprised is that Tower Club access is not included with the Insigna, given how it’s a pretty standard feature on other ultraluxe credit cards. I mean, not that the Tower Club is a much more superior club than others (I’ve visited it a couple of times and found the environment to be invariably stuffy), it’s just curious.
There are a handful of other benefits like discounted yacht rental and having the Insignia team at your beck and call that I’m too lazy to write about (and are pretty much self explanatory).
Now, whether or not all of the above justifies paying a $3,210 annual fee really depends on you. I am mighty tempted by the 100,000 miles + 2 night hotel stay, but it’s purely a thought exercise for me because I’m nowhere close to the income requirement (but still very eligible otherwise, ladies).
Nonetheless, I hope this sheds some light on one of the most exclusive credit cards in Singapore, if only for your personal interest. I certainly will never own such a card, but it’s good to remember that “life does not consist in an abundance of possessions“.