DBS Altitude Card Review – All You Need to Know!

DBS Altitude VISA Signature

This DBS Altitude card review is based on using the card for consecutive 3 months. And documenting every point/mile earned from 100+ local and overseas spending. 

Many credit card review websites provide the pros and cons of getting a DBS Altitude card. They based it on the information gathered from marketing materials and terms & conditions.

While it’s good to have an overview, you may find that it tends to raise more questions than answers.

Does my payment to SP Services qualifies for miles?

Is my Amazon.com’s buy considered as overseas spend?

So, I went ahead to apply for a DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card and tested it out for myself.

And here is what I found.

Table of Contents

DBS Altitude VS Citi PremierMiles

Citi PremierMiles

I was deciding between Citi PremierMiles card and DBS Altitude card.

Before I apply for the DBS Altitude Visa card, I found myself caught in a dilemma of deciding between these 2 cards.

This is because they share similar benefits:

  • Annual fee of S$192.60* with 10,000 bonus miles
  • DBS Points and Citi Miles never expire
  • S$1 = 2 miles on overseas spend
  • S$1 = 1.2 miles on local spend
  • Free Priority Pass membership (2 complimentary visits/calendar year)

*DBS will auto waive the annual fee if you spend S$25k per year.

There is NO Best Travel Credit Card or Best Miles Card in Singapore. It all depends on your spending pattern.

The key difference is their latest promotion. So, you need to ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I meet the expenditure type? (e.g. online hotel booking)
  • Can I meet the minimum spend? (e.g. spend at least S$9k in 2 months)
  • Am I willing to pay annual/admin Fee? (e.g. pay S$238 admin fee for bonus miles)
  • Is the upfront cash for miles worth it? (less than S$0.02/mile is acceptable)

In my case, DBS Altitude promotion fits my expenditure type and min. spend.

Which Card is More Popular in Singapore?

DBS is more popular if we compare DBS Altitude and Citi PremierMiles on Google Trends for past 12 months.

Compare DBS Altitude and Citi PremierMiles

I used Google Trends to compare the number of searches for DBS Altitude and Citi PremierMiles in the last 12 months.

 

How to Apply?

For existing DBS/POSB credit card holders

You only need to spend 5 minutes to apply via iBanking. There is no need to submit any supporting documentation.

Here’s what you have to do:

  • Login to DBS Internet Banking
  • Hover mouse over Apply and click Credit Cards
  • Select DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card
  • Click Next
  • Complete Personal and Contact Details
  • Click Next
  • Read Terms and click Next to agree
  • Click Submit

For new DBS/POSB credit card applicants

Here’s what you need to complete:

  • Visit DBS Altitude Card
  • Click on Apply now
  • Complete online application form
  • Verify your details
  • Upload the supporting documents

 

How to Get My DBS Altitude Priority Pass?

The card comes with free Priority Pass membership and 2 complimentary visits/year. The extra visit charge is US$27/visit (3 hours block).

Priority Pass Membership Card

This is the DBS Altitude Priority Pass membership package that I have received.

Summary of Benefits:

  • Member Annual Fee = free
  • Member Visit Fee = free 2 visits/calendar year. Either 2 separate member visits or a concurrent member & guest visit
  • Member Visit Fee = US$27 per extra visit (3 hours block)
  • Your Guest Visit Fee = US$27 per person per visit (3 hours block)

Watch this space as I test out the free visits in November 2017 and share it here.

Steps to Get Your Complimentary Priority Pass

  • Wait for your DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card to arrive
  • Visit Altitude Visa Card Priority Pass
  • Insert first 6-digits of your card
  • Complete your Personal Details
  • Key in your Card Delivery Address
  • Fill up your Billing Details (credit card details) for Extra or Guest Visit charges
  • Wait for Priority Pass card to arrive at your delivery address

 

What Do I Need to Do Before Using the Card?

A. Register for latest promotion

Latest promotions such as 2X or bonus miles usually need you to apply for it via an online form or SMS. If not, you may not receive any points/miles for it.

Registration procedures:

  • Visit DBS Altitude Card
  • Look for latest promotion. E.g. Enjoy up to 13 miles/S$1 spend with our online travel partners, Expedia & Kaligo!
  • Locate and click register link or button. E.g. Double Miles Promotion Registration
  • Complete the registration and do a print screen (in the event you need to prove that you have registered)

Note: To enjoy the 6miles/S$1 spend at Expedia promotion, you must book through the Book Now button found on at this page.

B. Switch Recurring Bill Payments to Altitude Card

Using the DBS Recurring Bill Payment form, you can switch recurring bill payments to the card.

Note: Some of the recurring bill payments no longer earn you DBS Points. Please refer to “What Qualify for DBS Points?” section below.

C. Edit PayPal Currency Conversion Option

PayPal Currency Conversion Option

This is the PayPal currency conversion option which is very difficult to locate on your own.

If you make payment via PayPal (using your credit card linked to it), you may want to take note of the following.

By default, PayPal converts foreign currency to SGD before charging it to your card. And the PayPal conversion fee is usually much higher than the banks.

Furthermore, since it’s charged in SGD, you may lose the 2 miles on overseas spend (that must be in foreign currency). And get 1.2 miles instead.

So, it is advisable to switch from auto converting to SGD to bill in invoice currency.

Examples of Before and After the Switch

BY DEFAULT (Use PayPal Conversion Process)

  • If you opt to pay via PayPal for a USD 10 item from an overseas website
  • After login, it will display e.g. SGD 14.5 (inclusive of PayPal conversion fee) 
  • Upon clicking confirm, you charge SGD 14.5 to your card
  • The bank will not apply any foreign exchange fee since it’s in SGD

AFTER THE SWITCH (Bill Me in Invoice Currency):

  • If you opt to pay via PayPal for a USD 10 item from an overseas website
  • After login, it will display USD 10 (no PayPal conversion fee)
  • Upon clicking confirm, you charge USD 10 to your card
  • The bank will apply the foreign exchange fee when converting it to SGD

How to edit the PayPal currency conversion option:

  • Visit PayPal Manage Funding Sources
  • Log in to your PayPal account
  • Click Conversion Options (next to your card)
  • Select Bill me in the currency listed on the seller’s invoice
  • Click Submit

 

How to Calculate the DBS Miles/Points?

Calculating the miles/points on local and overseas spend are pretty straight forward.

For 1.2 miles on local spend

If you spend S$A, it will be $A x 1.2/2 = round down to nearest whole number

E.g. I spent S$69.50 at Coca Restaurant (Takashimaya). 

So, it will be S$69.50 x 1.2/2 = 41.70. And it will round down to 41 DBS Points.

For S$1 = 2 miles on overseas spend

If you spent US$B x 2/2 = round down to nearest whole number

E.g. I spent US$152.00 at Amazon.com.

So, it will be US$152.60 x 2/2 = 152.60. And it will round down to 152 DBS Points.

How to Convert DBS Points to Miles?

  • 1 DBS Point = 2 KrisFlyer Miles or Asia Miles
  • Transfer must be in blocks of 5,000 DBS Points
  • Transfer process will take approximately 1-2 weeks
  • Conversion subjected to S$25 admin fee (excludes GST)
  • Asia/KrisFlyer Miles redemption through DBS Rewards;
  • Or call DBS Customer Service Hotline at 1800-221-1111

Can I Request for a DBS Points Breakdown?

DBS used to provide a breakdown upon request. But, they no longer provide it as indicated by this recent templated reply:

I would like to seek your understanding that we will not be able to provide such breakdowns moving forward unless if you have a particular transaction to be clarifying on. If you would like to indicate any transaction(s) that was missed out, kindly attach us the relevant e-receipts.

 

What Qualify for DBS Points? (Updated on 6 Oct 2017)

2 most likely questions you may have is: Does this transaction qualifies for points/miles? And if yes, is it considered a local spend or overseas spend?

To help answer these 2 questions, I have tracked DBS points awarded for over 100 transactions. And here is what I found:

Watch this list as I will continue to update/add to it.

Qualify for DBS Points (Local Spend)

  • Airbnb (via https://www.airbnb.com.sg)
  • A-One Claypot House (Restaurant)
  • BHG (Departmental Store)
  • BreadTalk
  • Central (Restaurant)
  • Challenger (IT Store)
  • Coca Restaurant
  • Cold Storage
  • Collin’s (Restaurant)
  • Daikokuya (Restaurant)
  • Dian Xiao Er (Restaurant)
  • Expedia (via https://www.expedia.com.sg)
  • Facebook Ads
  • Fish & Co (Restaurant)
  • Fruit Paradise (Restaurant)
  • Guardian Pharmacy
  • Golden Village (GV) Suntec
  • Ichiban Boshi (Restaurant)
  • Imperial Treasure (Restaurant)
  • Ipuddo Ramen (Restaurant)
  • Johan Paris Bread Shop (inside Isetan Supermarket)
  • Maccha House (Restaurant)
  • Meidi-Ya (Supermarket)
  • M1 (via https://onelogin.m1.com.sg)
  • MUJI
  • Nam Nam Noodle Bar (Restaurant)
  • NTUC Fairprice
  • Owndays
  • PappaRich (Restaurant)
  • Ramen Play (Restaurant)
  • Raspura (MBS Foodcourt)
  • Shaw Theatres
  • Singapore Airlines (via http://www.singaporeair.com)
  • Singtel Prepaid Card Top-up (via https://hi.singtel.com/gotoTopUp.do)
  • Singapore National Eye Centre
  • Sony Store
  • StarHub Mobile (via the recurring bill payment form)
  • Sun with Moon (Restaurant)
  • SP Services (via the recurring bill payment form)
  • Tai Cheong Bakery (Restaurant)
  • Tanuki Raw (Restaurant)
  • Tampopo (Restaurant)
  • The North Face
  • vPost USA
  • Watami (Restaurant)
  • Yamakawa (Snack Store)
  • Yoshinoya (Fast food)

Qualify for DBS Points (Overseas Spend)

  • AirAsia.com (BKK to CEI return in Thai Baht)
  • Amazon.com (in USD)
  • Amazon AWS (in USD)
  • Google Suite (in USD)
  • PayPal Money Transfer (in USD)
  • Taobao.com (in CNY)

Does NOT Qualify for DBS Points

  • Community Chest (via the recurring bill payment form)
  • MSIG (via the recurring bill payment form)
  • Prudential (via the recurring bill payment form)
  • Town councils and HDB charges (via the recurring bill payment form)

With effect from 1 October 2017,

a) DBS Points are not awarded for:

  • Bill payments and all transactions via AXS, SAM, eNETS;
  • Payments to educational institutions;
  • Payment 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);
  • Payment to insurance companies (sales, underwriting, and premiums);
  • Payments to financial institutions (including banks and brokerages);
  • Payment to non-profit organisations;
  • Any top-ups or payment of funds to payment service providers, prepaid cards and any
  • Prepaid accounts (including EZ-Link, NETS FlashPay and Transit Link);
  • Installment payment plan purchases, preferred payment plans, balance transfer, fund
  • Transfer, cash advances, annual fees, interest, late payment charges, all fees charged by
  • DBS, miscellaneous charges imposed by DBS (unless otherwise stated in writing by DBS).

b) DBS Points are not awarded for purchases made with DBS Takashimaya Card at the following:

  • Takashimaya Department Store
  • Takashimaya Square, B2

c) DBS Points will not be awarded for betting. This includes the following (through any channel):

  • Lottery tickets
  • Casino gaming chips
  • Off-track betting
  • Wagers at race tracks
  •  

    Other Common Questions Asked

    If I use PayPal to transfer money to someone, will I still earn the points?

    Yes.

    What do online transactions (such as on Amazon and Taobao) consider as? Local or overseas spending? Do I still earn miles/points from these?

    It depends on the currency charged. Amazon.com and Taobao.com charge in foreign currency. So, you will earn points under overseas spend.

    If I made online purchases from unknown websites, will I earn miles/points?

    Yes.

    Do all payments made through PayPal qualify for points?

    Yes except for items excluded under “Does Not Qualify for DBS Points” section.

    Let me know if you have any questions about my DBS Altitude card review (in the comments section below). And I do my best to answer them!

    Reviewer: Kugean
    Reviewed Item: DBS Altitude Card
    Author Rating: 5

     

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