Depending on which market study you believe, DBS is either the largest or one of the largest credit card issuers in Singapore.
In a way, it’s somewhat unsurprising. Most of us still keep our POSB Savings accounts from when we were kids, and out of convenience, many will graduate to DBS cards when the time comes to get our first piece of plastic.
Suppose you’re an aspiring miles chaser who wants to use DBS cards (perhaps to earn bonus interest on the DBS Multiplier). What cards should you pick, and which should you ignore?
Although DBS has about 15 cards available on its website, only five are relevant to miles chasers as the rest earn cashback.
Here’s how DBS’s points earning cards measure up. Just for fun, I’ve also thrown in the invitation-only DBS Insignia card, an ultra-premium credit card with an income requirement of $500,000 and a non-waivable annual fee of $3,210. Hey, it’s good to dream.
DBS Altitude Visa/AMEX
The DBS Altitude is a good starting point for miles chasers, earning 1.2 and 2.0 mpd on local and overseas spending respectively. You’ll also earn 3.0 mpd on online hotel and airfare bookings, up to a maximum of $5,000 per month. Until 31 December 2019, using the DBS Altitude card will also earn you 4.0 mpd on your bus, train and taxi rides, capped at $1,200 for the period.
The only substantial difference between the Visa and AMEX versions is that the Visa comes with a complimentary Priority Pass and two free visits a year. This and the relatively wider acceptance of Visa cards, may tilt the balance in the Visa version’s favour.
Although DBS points normally expire after one year, they never expire for Altitude cards.
DBS Woman’s Card/Woman’s World Card
The DBS Altitude is a good place to start, but there’s no reason why miles chasers shouldn’t optimise their strategy with the addition of a specialised spending card like the DBS Woman’s/Woman’s World Card.
The Woman’s Card earns 2 mpd on all online transactions, capped at $1,000 per month. The higher-income Woman’s World Card earns 4 mpd on all online transactions, capped at $2,000 per month. It also earns 1.2 mpd on overseas spending, but you could do better with the DBS Altitude instead.
When you step back and think of how many online transactions you have per month, including shopping on Lazada/Qoo10, buying groceries on Redmart/Fairprice, buying movie tickets, booking airfares, taking Grab/Gojek rides, it becomes clear why you need a card that gives you bonuses on these transactions.
DBS Black Visa/AMEX
Despite their flashy marketing, there’s really no compelling reason for miles chasers to own either the DBS Black Visa or AMEX cards. The DBS Black AMEX earns a paltry 0.4 mpd everywhere, and while the DBS Black Visa earns 1.2 mpd on contactless transactions, you could already match that with the DBS Altitude cards.
Although the landing page for the DBS Black card advertises some exciting deals like 15% off Aquamarine or 8% off Hotels.com, do note that these are generic DBS discounts, which can be enjoyed with any DBS card.
DBS NUSS Card
The DBS NUSS Card is another one to avoid, even if you’re an NUSS member. You earn 0.4 mpd everywhere, except at NUSS where you’ll earn 0.8 mpd. I suppose if you regularly hosted guests and events at NUSS, this might be a chance to pick up some additional miles, but that’s a very narrow use case and not worth the hassle of applying.
Recommended strategy and points to note
My recommended strategy for aspiring miles chasers who want DBS cards would be to pair the DBS Altitude (either the Visa or AMEX) with the DBS Woman’s World Card. This gives you one good card for day-to-day spending, and another for all your online transactions.
If you’re going to do this, remember that DBS points earned on the Altitude card will never expire, but those earned on the Woman’s cards expire after a year. It’s wise to monitor your points balance to make sure you don’t get caught out.
DBS pools points, so you can combine the points earned on separate cards in a single conversion. There is a $26.75 fee for each points-to-miles conversion, although you can opt to pay an annual fee of $42.80 for unlimited conversions.
DBS may not have the widest range of points earning cards, but there’s still a viable strategy here for miles chasers. Be sure to check the promotions page for all the latest DBS deals and offers.
Looking to sign-up for a DBS credit card? Click on the link below to compare and find out which ones would suit your spending habits best!
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