DBS seems to be making a renewed push for Altitude card sign ups, and although some efforts have been more miss than hit, the bank is trying yet again with a new offer for DBS Altitude Visa cardholders.
From now till 28 Feburary 2019, you can get up to 3,100 bonus miles by spending a minimum of S$2.5K in foreign currency and making an online flight or hotel transaction of at least S$650 via the Altitude’s dedicated Expedia website. Registration is required and can be done so here.
As the table below shows, there are two ways of unlocking this bonus:
Spend S$2.5K overseas
If you spend S$2.5K overseas, you earn a bonus of 2,000 miles on top of the usual 5,000 (2,500 * 2.0) base miles. This yields a total of 7,000 miles or 2.8 mpd.
That’s not terrible, although it’s worth remembering you could get:
- 2.4 mpd with no minimum spend and no cap with the UOB PRVI Miles
- 3.0 mpd without cap by spending a minimum of S$2K in a statement period with the SCB Visa Infinite
- 4.0 mpd by spending a minimum S$1K and maximum of S$2K in a statement period with the UOB Visa Signature
- 5.0 mpd with no minimum spend and no cap with the BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard (provided it arrives during the current geological epoch, which is not guaranteed)
This isn’t even considering the possibility of using specialized-spend cards like the Citibank Rewards Visa for shopping overseas (4.0 mpd, capped at S$1K per month).
An important point to note about foreign currency spending- the T&Cs of the promotion exclude card-not-present transactions such as online transactions, mail and phone orders. Therefore you won’t be able to unlock the bonus by using your DBS Altitude Visa card online during the upcoming Black Friday deals.
Spend S$2.5K overseas AND S$650 on Expedia
If you spend $2.5K overseas and an additional S$650 on Expedia bookings made through the Altitude portal, you’ll get a bonus of 3,100 miles on top of the usual 8,900 base miles (2,500*2.0 + 650*6.0). This yields a total of 12,000 miles for S$3,150 of spending, or 3.81 mpd.
DBS Altitude earns 6 mpd on bookings made through the Expedia Altitude portal, but it’s worth noting that this doesn’t apply to all airlines. Currently, the participating airline list includes: Air Macau Company, Air Mauritius, Air Niugini, Cambodia Angkor Air, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Finnair, Garuda Indonesia, Hawaiian Air, Korean Air, Lao Airlines, Myanmar International Airways, Qatar Airways, Saudi Arabian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Thai Airways International, Turkish Airlines, Xiamen Airlines.
No prizes for noticing that Singapore Airlines, Silk Air and Cathay Pacific do not feature on this list.
The Altitude’s base earning rate with Expedia (6 mpd) is pretty good, but the problem is that the base rate for foreign currency (2 mpd) is relatively low, which means you incur a big opportunity cost by putting all S$3,150 of spending on your Altitude. Moreover, this promotion is weighted towards spending overseas, so the opportunity cost increases- a BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard holder would be giving up 5,500 miles by spending S$2,500 on the Altitude, for example.
Although it’s certainly better than buying miles at 2.2 cents each, this promotion isn’t something you need to drop everything and register for. It’s probably the most beneficial for those who put all their spending on just one card. Those who use card portfolio strategies, will find better mileage in continuing with their “best card, best situation” approach.