DBS changes its mile redemption structure from annual fee to per transfer

DBS has always been a bit of an outlier when it came to conversion fees (i.e. the fees you pay when you want to convert your credit card points to airline miles). While most other banks charged fees on a per transfer basis, DBS would charge $42.80 on an annual basis, with unlimited transfers throughout the year. This fee was paid on a membership year basis, not calendar. In other words if you signed up in November 2015, your next payment would be due in November 2016.

This worked well for you if you were the kind who accumulated and used miles quickly and wanted the additional flexibility to transfer miles as frequently as necessary. It wasn’t so ideal if you preferred to build up miles over a couple of years before cashing out.

DBS has now changed their fees to come in line with other banks. With the revised structure, here’s how they stack up.

BankFeeFee paid
DBS$26.75per transfer
Citibank$25per transfer
UOB$25per transfer
HSBC$42.80per year
American Express (non KF cards)$20/ $40per transfer (Amex Rewards)/ per year (Amex Platinum cards, waived)
ANZ$25per transfer
Maybank$26.75per transfer (waived for World MC and Visa Infinite)

It seems that most of the banks go for a $25 fee, but only some of them include GST in the $25 amount, hence leading to the $26.75 figures you see above.

I personally prefer the annual fee system because I tend to do more than 2 transfers in a year. Also, given that I accumulate miles with both Asiamiles and Krisflyer, it helps that I’m not hit with multiple fees when I transfer. Under the revised system you would pay $26.75 twice even if you redeemed both Krisflyer and Asiamiles in the same transaction.

For those of you who have already paid your $42.80 for the year, you will still enjoy unlimited transfers until your membership year is up. After that, you’ll be levied $26.75 per transfer.

It is possible to get the transfer fee waived by paying 1,700 DBS points, but that’s just dumb. 1,700 DBS points are 3,400 miles, so you’re really accepting a <0.8 cent per mile value if you do that.

There is a proper FAQ here that you can refer to.

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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summer

thanks … didn’t get any notice from DBS about this. i also make multiple transfers a year. guess i’ll cut down now. i love your blog!

C

Urh….. don’t welcome this change at all !

Anonymous

Better check when your membership expires then quickly transfer as many times as you need!

Anonymous

You mean just for this time or all the time? I have never received a sms before.

Peter

It won’t be as bad if the DBS WWMC does not have the shortest expiry period of 1 year of all the various miles cards out there. But with the expiry date of 1 year, this change to the “industry trend” is actually a worse-off game since the other miles cards have much longer expiry dates.

Stephen

Forget dbs, use uob privi miles

Chelsea Kang

Just got off the line and the CSO told me that the Woman’s World points expiry is every quarter – not sure if she’s just misinformed since she also told me that I cannot use my points to pay for the upgrade, but yeah. Every quarter is forcing me to pay S$100 a year.. they better waive my annual fee regardless of spending :<

Tyrhung

I think she meant expiry happened at every quarter, so january and march will expire on next year March instead of January expire on next year January, March on next year March. Some poor explanation by the CSO. Statement also shows by quarter expiry.

Chelsea Kang

I see.. thanks for the clarification! 🙂

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