Credit Cards

No, you shouldn’t participate in DBS Altitude’s “More miles to Fly in Style” promotion

DBS is allowing you to buy miles at 2.2 cents each via the Altitude card. Should you take advantage of it? Short answer: no. Long answer: nooooooooooooo.

I wasn’t even intending to write about DBS Altitude’s “More miles to Fly in Style” promotion (that name’s quite a mouthful) at first, but what the heck, it’s a slow weekend and I’m procrastinating putting together my Houston Polaris lounge review.

So here’s the short version of why this isn’t something to jump on.

The offer

From now till 31 December, holders of a DBS Altitude Card (Visa or AMEX) can register to earn (here’s where I’d normally provide a helpful link to the registration page, but I think I’m doing a public service by refraining) an additional 1 mpd on their spending. This means you’ll earn:

  • 2.2 mpd on local spending
  • 3 mpd on overseas spending
  • 4 mpd on online flight and hotel transactions

The catch

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So far so good. What’s the catch?

The catch is that you pay a 2.2% admin fee in order to enjoy the additional 1 mpd. Here’s the illustration given from the T&Cs

The math by now should be abundantly clear- you’re paying 2.2 cents per mile, which is an abysmally poor rate to buy them at.

The alternatives

For comparison’s sake, here’s the other ways you could be buying miles

MethodIncome RequiredCPMAnnual Miles Limit
SCB Visa Infinite Tax Payment (Spend >$2K p.m) $150K1.14Tax bill
UOB Reserve/DBS Insignia with RentHero Invitation1.14Rental amount
HSBC Visa Infinite Tax Payment (Spend >$50K p.a in prev year) $120K1.2Tax bill
BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard with RentHero $30K1.21Rental amount
HSBC Premier MC Tax PaymentAUM: $200K1.25Tax bill
Citi PayAll with Citi Ultima Invitation1.25Bill amount
UOB PRVI Miles/SCB Visa Infinite (>$2K p.m)/UOB Visa Infinite Metal with RentHero UOB PRVI Miles: $30K
SCB Visa Infinite/ UOB Reserve: $150K
1.30Bill amount
HSBC Visa Infinite Welcome Gift- Premier customer $120K + AUM $200K1.3935K
SC EasyBill with SCB Visa Infinite (Spend >$2K p.m) $150K1.43Bill amount
CardUp with BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard$30K1.47Bill amount
HSBC Visa Infinite Tax Payment (Spend <$50K p.a in prev year) $120K1.5Tax bill
DBS Altitude with RentHero$30K1.51Rental amount
Citi PayAll with Citi Prestige/Citi PremierMiles AMEXCiti Prestige: $120K
Citi PremierMiles AMEX: $80K
1.54Bill amount
Cardup with UOB PRVI Miles$30K1.57Bill amount
SCB Visa Infinite Tax Payment (Spend <$2K p.m)$150K1.6Tax bill
Citi PayAll with Citi PremierMiles Visa $30K1.67Bill amount
SCB Visa Infinite Welcome Gift$150K1.6835K
HSBC Visa Plat/Revolution Tax Payment $30K1.75Tax bill
Citibank PremierMiles AMEX Annual Fee$80K1.7815K
Cardup with DBS Altitude/Citibank PM Visa $30K1.83Bill amount
HSBC Visa Infinite Welcome Gift- Regular Customer $120K1.8635K
OCBC VOYAGE Tax Payment$120K1.9Tax bill
UOB Reserve VI Payment FacilityInvitation1.9Unlimited
Citibank PremierMiles Visa, DBS Altitude, KrisFlyer UOB Card, OCBC 90N Annual Fee$30K1.9310K
OCBC VOYAGE Payment Facility $120K1.9 or 1.95Unlimited
UOB PRVI Pay Facility $30K2.0Unlimited
UOB VI Metal Payment Facility $150K2.0Unlimited
SC EasyBill with SCB Visa Infinite (Spend <$2K p.m) $150K2.0Bill amount
OCBC VOYAGE Annual Fee- Option 2$120K2.14150K
Citi Prestige Annual Fee$120K2.1425K
DBS Altitude Tax Payment $30K2.5Tax bill
OCBC VOYAGE Annual Fee- Option 1$120K3.2515K

(1) The HSBC website says that $1=0.4 miles for tax payment facility, but I have received reports that VI holders have received 1/1.25 mpd as per their relationship bonus
(2)  The income requirement to get a HSBC Premier MC is $30,000, but you need $200K in deposits to open a HSBC Premier account
 (3) SQ charges US$40 per 1,000 miles purchased. Price shown here is reflective of current exchange rates. The only way I could justify paying this is if I needed the miles right this minute, as SQ will credit them instantly

Look, if you’re really in need of miles, why don’t you just get them using the UOB PRVI Pay facility? That lets you buy unlimited miles at 2 cents each- the only cap is your credit limit. Or perhaps pay a bill via Cardup with your UOB PRVI miles card- at a 2.6% admin fee that’s 1.81 cents per mile, still way cheaper than the 2.2 that DBS is asking for.

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If you’re rolling in the dough, why not apply for a Standard Chartered Visa Infinite card and get 35,000 welcome miles when you pay the annual fee of $588.50 (1.68 cents per mile)?

There’s just so many ways of buying miles at cheaper than 2.2 cents that I can’t think of any situation where you’d take advantage of this “deal”.

Conclusion

The price you’ll be willing to pay for miles depends on how you value them, so be sure to bone up on the topic here. What I find a bit silly is that the T&C of this promotion cap participation to 10,000 registered cardmembers. I mean, good to have caps and all, but I hardly think people will be breaking down the door to take part in this one (and if they are, I’ve probably failed as a person).

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All things considered, the DBS Altitude is a useful card to have, and the current sign up bonus on the AMEX version (that was offered, capped, and then uncapped) is well worth taking advantage of. But this promotion? Better to put put it in your ignore pile.


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Hansen
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Hansen

I participated in the Suite Life campaign, but this new campaign is ridiculous

Ying
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Ying

Your google ad banner is displaying this promo though, but I guess you don’t have much control over what’s served.

Katarzyna
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Katarzyna

Hey Aaron, DBS seems to have lost the plot completely or have resorted to “let’s try and fool the customer and see if we can get away with it.” They had a bonus miles promo with Expedia and haven’t awarded the mileage multiple. They now claim that it was not booked through their link which is total BS (and I have the browser history to prove it. Have written to Expedia to see what they have to say about it. Not sure what the commercials are but with promos like this being so tedious, they are going to chase everyone… Read more »

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