Review: DBS Vantage Card

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Strong earn rates and an Accor Plus membership are good reasons to get a DBS Vantage Card, though it's not without its drawbacks.

The newly-launched DBS Vantage Card marks DBS’s entry into the $120K premium card segment. It comes with a S$588.50 annual fee, and while there’s certainly ways of recouping that value (and then some), you’ll want to think carefully before jumping onboard. 

In this review we’ll go through all the key features of the DBS Vantage Card. For an idea of how it compares to its direct peers, be sure to read the 2022 Edition of the $120K Card Showdown.

DBS Vantage Card
★★★★
Strong earn rates and an Accor Plus membership are good reasons to get a DBS Vantage Card, though it’s not without its drawbacks.
👍 The good👎 The bad
  • Highest earn rates of any $120K card, including 4 mpd on dining & petrol
  • Attractive sign-up bonus
  • Complimentary Accor Plus membership with one free hotel night
  • Points expire after 3 years
  • DiningCity discounts are weak
  • Limited to 10 free lounge visits
  • No airport limo or complimentary travel insurance
Full List of Credit Card Reviews

Overview: DBS Vantage Card

Let’s start this review by looking at the key features of the DBS Vantage Card

Apply Here
Income Req.S$120,000 p.a.Points Validity3 years
Annual FeeS$588.50
Min.
Transfer
5,000 DBS Points
(10,000 miles)
Miles with
Annual Fee
25,000Transfer
Partners
  • SIA
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Qantas
  • Air Asia
FCY Fee3.25%Transfer FeeS$26.75
Local Earn1.5 mpdPoints Pool?Yes
FCY Earn2.2 mpdLounge Access?Yes: 10x Priority Pass
Special Earn4.0 mpd on dining & petrol (till 31 Dec 22)Airport Limo?No
Cardholder Terms and Conditions

The DBS Vantage comes in metal cardstock, and weighs in at 10g. That makes it one of the lighter metal cards on the market, if that sort of thing is important to you.

The card is Paywave-equipped, and can also be added to Apple, Google or Samsung Pay. 

How much must I earn to qualify for a DBS Vantage Card?

The DBS Vantage Card has a S$120,000 p.a. income requirement, and for the moment, it looks like DBS is applying this very strictly. 

How strict? For starters, you won’t even be able to see the DBS Vantage Card on the DBS/POSB ibanking card application portal if your income records with DBS reflect earnings of less than S$120,000. In fact, this caused a lot of confusion during the launch week, so much so that DBS set up a dedicated landing page to address it. 

You will need to update your income records with DBS before you can apply for the DBS Vantage Card. DBS/POSB customers can visit this link to update their income, which will take five working days to process. 

Therefore, if you haven’t hit the magic S$120,000 figure yet, I wouldn’t be too optimistic about getting approved. 

How much is the DBS Vantage Card’s annual fee?

 Principal CardSupp. Card
First YearS$588.50Free
SubsequentS$588.50Free

The DBS Vantage Card has an annual fee of S$588.50 for the principal cardholder, and no fee for supplementary cards. 

The first year’s fee must be paid. Subsequent years’ fees can be waived if cardholders spend at least S$60,000 per membership year. 

Paying the annual fee gets you 25,000 miles in return, which means buying miles at ~2.35 cents each. While that sounds much higher than what a mile should be worth, you need to factor in the other card benefits when coming to a decision. 

❓ What do I get if I qualify for a waiver?
If you qualify for a subsequent year fee waiver, you will not receive the 25,000 miles. However, you will still receive all the other benefits, including a renewal of Accor Plus membership and 10 more lounge visits.

How many miles do I earn?

🇸🇬 SGD Spending🌎 FCY Spending➕ Bonus Spending
1.5 mpd2.2 mpd4.0 mpd on dining & petrol until 31 Dec 22, capped at S$2K per calendar month

Sign-up Bonus

From 28 June to 30 September 2022, new DBS Vantage cardholders who spend S$8,000 within 60 days of approval and pay the first year’s S$588.50 annual fee will receive the following:

 NewExisting
Pay S$588.50 annual fee25,000 miles25,000 miles
Spend S$8,000 within 60 days55,000 miles
35,000 miles
35,000 miles
15,000 miles
Total60,000 miles40,000 miles
Must apply with promo code VANMILES
❓ “New” Definition
New cardmembers are defined as customers who are currently not holding on to any Principal DBS/POSB Credit Card and have not cancelled any Principal DBS/POSB Credit Card within the last 12 months. 

You must enter the promo code VANMILES when applying. No code, no bonus! The promo code field can be found towards the bottom of the application page, under the “DBS Marketing & Promotions Materials” section. 

If you applied but forgot to enter the promo code, do give DBS customer service a call. There’s no guarantee it can be fixed, but anecdotally I’ve seen a few comments from people who managed to get it rectified. 

The 25,000 miles for paying the S$588.50 annual fee will be awarded immediately (in the form of 12,500 DBS points) when the annual fee is charged. This happens at the time of card approval.

The 15,000/35,000 miles for the sign-up bonus will be credited within 120-150 days from the date of fulfilling the qualifying spend (in the form of 7,500/17,500 DBS points). 

SGD/FCY Spending

DBS Vantage Card cardholders earn 3.75 DBS Points for every S$5 spent in Singapore Dollars, and 5.5 DBS Points for every S$5 spent in foreign currency(FCY).

1 DBS point is worth 2 miles, so that’s an equivalent earn rate of 1.5 mpd for local spending, and 2.2 mpd for FCY spending.

This makes the DBS Vantage among the highest-earning cards in the $120K segment; the highest, if you consider the fact it has no minimum spend requirement. 

CardSGDFCY
SCB VIUp to 1.4 mpd*Up to 3 mpd*
DBS Vantage
1.5 mpd2.2 mpd
OCBC VOYAGE1.3 mpd
2.2 mpd
HSBC VIUp to 1.25 mpd^Up to 2.25 mpd^
UOB VI Metal Card1.4 mpd2 mpd
Citi Prestige1.3 mpd2 mpd
Maybank VI1.2 mpd2 mpd
AMEX Plat. Reserve0.69 mpd0.69 mpd
*Min. S$2,000 spend per statement month, otherwise 1 mpd for both SGD and FCY
^Min S$50,000 spend in the previous membership year, otherwise 1 mpd (SGD) and 2 mpd (FCY)

All foreign currency transactions are subject to a 3.25% fee, so using your DBS Vantage Card overseas represents buying miles at 1.48 cents each (3.25%/2.2 mpd).

The DBS Vantage allows cardholders to switch between earning DBS Points or cashback, but I’m ignoring the latter because it values your miles at an awful 1 cent each. Seriously, there’s no need to ever dabble in that. 

Bonus Spending

From now till 31 December 2022, DBS Vantage Card cardholders will earn an additional 6.25 DBS Points for every S$5 spent on local dining and petrol spend, or an additional 4.5 DBS Points for every S$5 spent on foreign currency dining and petrol spend.

This works out to an overall earn rate of 4 mpd on local and overseas dining and petrol, capped at S$2,000 per calendar month. 

🍽️ Dining⛽ Petrol
  • MCC 5811 (Caterers)
  • MCC 5812 (Eating Places & Restaurants)
  • MCC 5813 (Drinking Places)
  • MCC 5172 (Petroleum)
  • MCC 5541 (Service Stations)
  • MCC 5542 (Automated Fuel Dispenser)

Examples (non-exhaustive)

  • Caterers: HappyMamaPapa Catering, Stamford Catering, Tian Wei Signature
  • Eating Places & Restaurants: Chope, Deliveroo, foodpanda, Lei Garden Les Amis, Sen-ryo, Shinji by Kanesaka, Wooloomooloo Steakhouse
  • Drinking Places: 1-Altitude, Brewerkz, Gibson Bar, Penicillin Bar, Zouk

Do note the exclusion of MCC 5814 (Fast Food), so this isn’t the card to use if the KFC craving hits. MCC 5462 (Bakeries) and MCC 5451 (Dairy Products Stores) are also excluded, so you’ll need to be careful if you’re grabbing a bite at a place that doesn’t have a waiter. 

When are DBS Points credited?

Base DBS Points (1.5 mpd for local spend, 2.2 mpd for FCY spend) are credited when your transaction posts, which generally takes 1-3 working days. 

Bonus DBS Points (an additional 2.5 mpd for local spend on dining & petrol, or 1.8 mpd for FCY spend on dining & petrol) will be credited by the 11th of the following calendar month, or the next working day if the 11th is not a working day. 

How are DBS Points calculated?

Some people get concerned when they read in the T&Cs that DBS Points are awarded in S$5 blocks. That’s understandable, given how OCBC and UOB’s S$5 earning blocks result in lost miles from rounding, especially for small transactions (spend S$4.99? No points for you!). 

The good news is that DBS’s calculations aren’t nearly as punitive. Here’s how you can work out the DBS Points earned on your DBS Vantage Card.

Local SpendDivide transaction by 5 and multiply by 3.75. Round down to the nearest whole number
FCY Spend
Divide transaction by 5 and multiply by 5.5. Round down to the nearest whole number

Notice how the transaction is not rounded down to the nearest S$5; instead, it’s divided by 5 straight away. This means the minimum spend to earn points is:

  • S$1.34, if spending in SGD
  • S$0.91, if spending in FCY

If you’re an excel geek, here’s the formulas you need to calculate: 

Local Spend=ROUNDDOWN ((X/5)*3.75,0)
FCY Spend
=ROUNDDOWN ((X/5)*5.5,0)
Where X= Amount Spent

For the full list of formulas that banks use to calculate credit card points, do refer to these articles:

What transactions aren’t eligible for DBS Points?

A full list of transactions that do not earn DBS Points can be found in the T&C.

I’ve highlighted a few noteworthy categories below:

  • Amaze transactions
  • Charitable donations
  • Education
  • Government institutions and services (court cases, fines, bail and bonds, tax payment, postal services, parking lots and garages)
  • Hospitals 
  • Insurance
  • Top-ups of prepaid accounts e.g. GrabPay and YouTrip
  • Utilities bills

For avoidance of doubt, CardUp and RentHero transactions are eligible to earn DBS Points. 

What do I need to know about DBS Points?

❌ Expiry↔️ Pooling✈️ Transfer Fee
3 yearsYesS$26.75 per conversion 

DBS Points expiry can be a confusing matter, because different cards apply different policies. DBS Points earned on the DBS Vantage Card expire in 3 years. This is rather disappointing, since DBS Points earned on the entry-level DBS Altitude Card never expire.

DBS Points pool across cards for the purposes of redemption. If you have 10,000 DBS Points on the DBS Vantage Card and 5,000 DBS Points on the DBS Woman’s World Card, you can redeem 15,000 DBS Points at one shot and pay a single conversion fee.

However, DBS Points are not pooled when it comes to card cancellations. If I have a DBS Vantage Card and DBS Woman’s World Card and decide to cancel the former, I’ll need to transfer my points out before cancelling or forfeit them. 

DBS partners with the following frequent flyer programmes. 

Frequent Flyer ProgrammeConversion Ratio
(DBS Points: Miles)
5,000: 10,000
5,000: 10,000
5,000: 10,000
500: 1,500

Transfers cost S$26.75 per programme, regardless of how many points are transferred.

Other card perks

10 free lounge visits

Registration

DBS Vantage Card cardholders are entitled to 10 free lounge visits per membership year, via Priority Pass. These lounge visits can be shared with guests; for example, the cardholder could bring his wife and two children and use four visits at one go. 

Only the principal cardholder is entitled to this benefit. Once free visits are exhausted, you’ll be charged US$32 per additional visit. 

10 passes may be more than sufficient for the casual traveller who doesn’t have kids, but everyone else may want to consider a $120K card that has unlimited lounge access.

CardLounge NetworkFree Visits
(Per Year)
MainSupp.
HSBC VILoungeKey
Citi PrestigePriority Pass∞ + 1 guestN/A
OCBC VOYAGEPlaza Premium
Maybank VIPriority PassN/A
DBS VantagePriority Pass10N/A
SCB VIPriority Pass6N/A
UOB VI Metal CardDragon Pass4N/A
AMEX Plat. ReserveN/AN/AN/A

Accor Plus

Registration

DBS Vantage Card cardholders receive a complimentary Accor Plus Explorer membership with one complimentary hotel night each year. This membership will be automatically renewed each year you retain the card.

This normally retails for S$408, and includes benefits such as:

  • Up to 50% off dining at participating Accor hotels across Asia Pacific
  • 15% off drinks bill in Asia
  • 10% off the best available public rate
  • Access to Red Hot Room sales with up to 50% off
  • Accor Live Limitless Silver status

The full list of benefits can be found below.

The free hotel night can be redeemed at participating Accor properties across the Asia Pacific region, including the Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa, Mondarin Seoul Itaewon, and Sofitel Darling Harbour Sydney. Sadly, Raffles Hotel is excluded!

DiningCity

DiningCity

DBS Vantage cardholders can enjoy “members-only discounts at over 80 of Singapore’s finest dining establishments”, through a partnership with DiningCity.

Discounts range from 15-50% off, though most of them are around the 15% mark. What’s more, the two restaurants which offering 50% off (Cali at Ascott Raffles Place and Park Avenue Rochester) can also be booked at 50% off through eatigo- no expensive credit card required.

Summary Review: DBS Vantage Card

Apply Here

The DBS Vantage Card packs the best earn rates of any card in its category, and its 60,000 miles sign-up bonus is particularly attractive for new-to-bank customers (though they’ll be kicking themselves for missing the 80,000 miles offer when the card first launched!).

An Accor Plus membership with up to 50% off dining and one free hotel night can help recoup a good chunk of the S$588.50 annual fee too, provided you redeem that night judiciously- no ibis hotels, please.

Key misses are the lack of airport limo transfers, complimentary travel insurance, or unlimited lounge access. DiningCity discounts also look underwhelming, and certainly not a competitor to AMEX Love Dining. And it’s annoying that DBS couldn’t give evergreen points on this card, although truth be told, you should be clearing out your points every three years to avoid the inevitable devaluations. 

So that’s my review of the DBS Vantage Card. What do you think?

Overall Score
★★★★
Ratings Guide
5 Stars
★★★★★
An essential card for miles chasers, with few viable alternatives 
4 Stars
★★★★
A very good card, although other equally good alternatives may exist
3 Stars
★★★
A decent card to round out your collection, but not absolutely essential
2 Stars
★★
Very limited use cases, and outperformed by most other cards
1 Star

Paperweight. Use for picking teeth or ninja stars
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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F K

Can the Priority Pass allowances all be used in one go? Might come in handy at the PP restaurants/bars in places like SYD or MEL where a normal PP+Guest allowance ends at $72 (or zero for AmEx PP). Even handier if they did takeaway bottles…

Last edited 1 month ago by F K
Frederic

PP T&C are not very clear when it comes to guests: they kind of say that it’s a lounge-based approach but then I could not spot the guest logo for the lounges I’ve looked up on PP website. Do you have more clarity on that, as in, 1 guest is always 1 additional swipe and, as long as I have not exhausted my credit card-sponsored PP allowance, I am good to go?

J T

Hi Aaron

Thanks a lot for this, very helpful as always! Just to check on the below statement under “SGD/FCY Spending“, should it be “1 DBS point is worth 2 miles…” instead?
“5 DBS points are worth 2 miles, so that’s an equivalent earn rate of 1.5 mpd for local spending, and 2.2 mpd for FCY spending.”

Sean

Having just used the Citi Payall for my tax and also paid the annual fee, I’m struggling to see a reason to get this card as well.

C H

Updated my income records (~100k) when applying for Woman’s World recently, was able to see the Vantage Card in the portal and received instant approval…so just a data point for reference.

kelwin

hi aaron, do you know if the yearly renewal comes with the accor plus membership too?

try reading

the answer is in the article

CSS

Already spent all my AF budget on AMEX Plat Charge lol

Jer

Do u think it makes sense to apply for AMEX Plat Charge just for benefits (And fringe usage like card of last resort for hospitals etc, 10x accelerator purchases). And use DBS Vantage for everything else.
Not the most efficient of course but lazy to track across too many cards.

Tax facility

Anyone knows if DBS tax facility qualifies for the 8K? Not direct to IRAS.

Jason

Got a similar query too. The expenses exclusion applies for DBS points that’s something we all established.

But how about the $8k spending for the bonus miles. Can this be in any category?
Meaning to say, lets ignore the fact that it’s not economical miles wise to do so, but can you just spend $8k on hospital bills, don’t get the DBS points but meet the spending requirement for the bonus miles?

Gina

Hi, can I n ow of the Accor free night is only available for Asia hotel? Can I use it in Europe?

kelwin

By the way what’s the mpd of this card?

lol

literally the first few things mentioned at the top of the article

lol

lol

Jason Boh

Looks like this is a close fight with OCBC Voyage. Could you please share just between Vantage vs Voyage which one is better? TIA

gois

Vantage is better, cos DBS is sponsoring these…

J A

Understand insurance doesnt earn miles but can it qualify for the 8k spending for bonus miles?

R G

Got the card. Got my Accor Plus membership. It’s impossible to find any availability for the free 1 night (Accor Plus Stay Plus) anywhere. If you thought SQ Saver miles redemption is difficult, this looks like 10x more difficult. Strange why they make it so difficult as they charge 420 SGD for this.

wilson

Is the VTMILES code still applicable if I’ve submitted the income update earlier?

wilson

Think I have found the answer in TnC on 8 July 2022 10am. Weird that bank doesn’t proceed my income update request but adjusted based on my credit limit review request. I updated my income to apply for the DBS Vantage Card. However, I have missed the Up to 80,000 Miles Sign-Up Promotion. Do I have to call in for an extension? The promotion will be automatically extended to you if you have updated your income between 23 June to 27 June 2022 to apply for the DBS Vantage Card. You need not contact us to register. This promotion extension… Read more »

Colin

I applied under the original offer for 80k miles which stated I had to be approved by July 11th. I was only approved today. Do you know if I’m still eligible?

Phone

Can confirm that it is shown on ibanking for 100k-ish annual income as well. Instant approval.

Boon

Understand Cardup (non rent) is being confirmed with DBS whether it will be considered as part of the 8k spending. What about rent via Cardup? Also ipaymy.com?

Stan

Hi Aaron, Since DBS Altitude has a auto conversion annual programme for flat fee and since vantage card points pools, does it mean the miles we earn on vantage card will auto convert to KF if we are on the Altitude auto conversion programme?

E L

Will miles be accumulated if I use the DBS Vantage Card to make a payment through the Kris+ app? I see that only Amaze transactions have been excluded?

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