June saw the debut of the DBS Vantage, DBS’s first foray into the $120K card space. As far as first attempts go, it’s respectable enough- strong earn rates and solid benefits ensure it’s not just there to make up the numbers.
But what really caught the eye was the sign-up bonus of up to 80,000 miles. That was only available for a mere five days, after which DBS reduced the bonus to up to 60,000 miles. It’s still attractive, but obviously less so than before.
The 60,000 miles sign-up bonus was scheduled to lapse on 31 July 2022, but DBS has now extended the offer for all applications submitted by 30 September 2022.
DBS Vantage 60,000 miles sign-up bonus
|Sign-Up Bonus T&Cs|
|Income Req.||Annual Fee||FCY Fee|
|Regular Earn||Bonus Earn||Miles with AF|
|1.5 mpd (SGD)|
2.2 mpd (FCY)
|4 mpd on dining & petrol|
(cap at S$2K per c. month)
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:
|Pay S$588.50 annual fee||25,000 miles||25,000 miles|
|Spend S$8,000 within 60 days||35,000 miles||15,000 miles|
|Total||60,000 miles||40,000 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.|
This bonus is on top of whatever base miles you normally earn with the DBS Vantage:
- 1.5 mpd on local spend
- 2.2 mpd on FCY spend
- 4 mpd on local or FCY dining or petrol spend (capped at S$2,000 per calendar month)
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.
What counts as qualifying spend?
You will have 60 days from the date of card approval to clock at least S$8,000 of qualifying spend.
Qualifying spend includes both local and foreign retail sales and posted recurring bill payments, excluding the following:
|a. posted 0% Interest Instalment Payment Plan monthly transactions;|
b. posted My Preferred Payment Plan monthly transactions;
c. interest, finance charges, cash withdrawal, balance transfer, smart cash, AXS payments, SAM online bill
payments, bill payments via internet banking and all fees charged by DBS;
d. payments to educational institutions;
e. payments to financial institutions (including banks, online trading platforms and brokerages);
f. payments to government institutions and services (court cases, fines, bail and bonds, tax payment, postal services, parking lots and garages, intra-government purchases and any other government services not classified here);
g. payments to hospitals;
h. payments to insurance companies (sales, underwriting and premiums);
i. payments to non-profit organisations;
j. payments to utility bill companies;
k. payments to professional service providers (including but not limited to accounting, auditing, bookkeeping services, advertising services, funeral service and legal services and attorneys);
l. any top-ups or payment of funds to payment service providers, any prepaid accounts or purchase of prepaid cards/credits (including but not limited to EZ-Link, GrabPay, NETS FlashPay, Transit Link, Razer Pay, ShopeePay, Singtel Dash);
m. any betting transactions (including levy payments to local casinos, lottery tickets, casino gaming chips, off-track betting and wagers);
n. any transactions related to crypto currencies;
o. any transaction with transaction description “AMAZE*”; and
p. any other transactions determined by DBS from time to time.
For the avoidance of doubt, supplementary and principal cardholder spending will pool when calculating whether the minimum qualifying spend has been met.
|⚠️ Clarification on CardUp spending|
After some back and forth between DBS and CardUp, I can confirm the following:
The thing is, MCC 7399 (Business Services Not Elsewhere Classified) is not mentioned as an exclusion category in the sign-up bonus T&Cs (60K offer | 80K offer). I can only surmise this is the operation of catchall clause that allows the exclusion of “any other transactions determined by DBS from time to time”.
Until further notice, CardUp transactions (except rent) will be excluded from sign-up bonus spending.
If you’re just shy of hitting the sign-up bonus, some “stored value facilities” which will still count towards qualifying spend are:
- NTUC or Cold Storage vouchers
- Amazon, Lazada or Qoo10 gift cards
- Chope gift cards or vouchers (this has the added advantage of coding as restaurant spend for 4 mpd!)
- Hotel points or airline miles (check out the latest offers in the Weekly Deal Summary)
When will the miles be credited?
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).
DBS Points earned on the DBS Vantage expire in three years, and can be converted to any of the following frequent flyer programmes with a S$26.75 admin fee.
|Frequent Flyer Programme||Conversion Ratio |
(DBS Points: Miles)
How to maximise your sign-up bonus
The thing about sign-up bonuses on most general spending cards that they usually entail some form of opportunity cost.
For example, if a 1.2 mpd card offers 10,000 bonus miles for spending S$3,000, the “real bonus” is much less, to the extent that the S$3,000 could have been spent on a 4 mpd card.
But the beauty of the DBS Vantage is that it’s offering 4 mpd on dining and petrol till 31 December 2022, capped at S$2,000 per calendar month (the cap is shared between dining and petrol). Therefore, you can minimise the opportunity cost by concentrating as much spend on these two categories as possible.
For example, if you get approved on 30 July 2022, your 60-day qualifying spend period covers July, August, and part of September. Then split your S$8,000 spending like so:
- July 2022: S$2,000 on dining/petrol
- August 2022: S$2,000 on dining/petrol
- September 2022: S$2,000 on dining/petrol + S$2,000 on general spend in FCY (or do it in July/August, it really doesn’t matter)
|💡 Alternative Option|
|if you’d rather apply later, then aim to get approved towards the end of August, so that your 60 day period can cover August, September and October.|
That would yield a total of 88,400 miles, split into:
- 25,000 miles from paying the S$588.50 annual fee
- 35,000 miles for meeting the S$8,000 minimum spend (assuming new customer)
- 24,000 miles from spending S$6,000 on dining/petrol
- 4,400 miles from spending S$2,000 in FCY
Of course, you need to weigh for yourself whether it’s worth paying the 3.25% FCY fee to clock overseas spending, but even if you did it all in SGD, your total haul as a new customer would be 87,000 miles– not all that different.
Is the DBS Vantage’s 60,000 miles sign-up bonus a good deal? It’s always hard to take up an offer when you know a better one just passed you by, but in the cold light of day, it’s still a good-sized bonus for a new-to-bank customer.
The key issue is spending S$8,000 in 60 days. I certainly wouldn’t condone spending for the sake of spending, but if you just so happen to have a big ticket expenditure coming up, this is something to consider.
Don’t forget to read my full review of the DBS Vantage Card, and apply by 30 September 2022 with the promo code VANMILES.