DBS Altitude Card is the best no-fee air miles credit card to use if your expenditures are spread evenly across different areas. With it, you can earn 1.2 miles for every S$1 of local expenditure and 2 miles for every S$1 of overseas expense. DBS Altitude Card is very similar to one of our favorite cards, Citi Premier Miles Card, but it's different in one important aspect: DBS Altitude provides 3 miles for S$1 spent on online travel bookings, and it waives your annual fee if you spend more than S$2,000 a month (S$25,000 per year). Therefore, if care about getting your annual fee waived than earning bonus awards, DBS Altitude may be the right card for you. In the following review, we'll explain why we like this card so much.
Pros of DBS Altitude
- Annual fee waiver when you spend at least S$25,000 a year (10,000 bonus miles if you spend less than S$25,000 and pay the annual fee)
- 1.2 miles for S$1 of local spend and 2 miles for overseas spend
- 3 miles for S$1 spent on online travel bookings
- Promotion: 2x the miles for above benefits until 31 Jul 2017 (9 miles per S$1 spent on Expedia and 13 miles per S$1 spent on Kaligo)
- Bonus: A free return trip to Krabi (in the form of 13,000 AirAsia BIG Points) with a min. spend of S$500 within the first month from card approval date.
Cons of DBS Altitude
- Lags peers in bonus awards, especially if you spend less than S$25,000 per year
What makes DBS Altitude Visa Card stand out
First, DBS Altitude has pretty much the same eligibility requirements as Citi Premier Miles Card. It requires S$30,000 of salary for both Singaporean locals & S$45,000 for foreigners. They both require the same S$192.6 of annual fee. Just like Citi premier Miles Card, DBS Altitude card awards you 2 miles per S$1 of overseas spend, and 1.2 miles for S$1 of local spend. However, DBS wins out on travel rewards: you can earn 3 miles for S$1 spent on online travel bookings (capped at S$5,000 per month). Other benefits include 2 airport lounge access per year and complimentary travel insurance.
What makes this card even more beneficial for moderate spenders is the annual fee waiver. If you spend S$25,000 a year (about S$2,100 a month), DBS Altitude will waive your S$192.6 of annual fee. As long as you spend enough to meet the minimum requirement, DBS Altitude all of a sudden becomes a unique card that provides rich reward for no charge. It doesn’t come with a rich bonus award, and you receive 10,000 miles only when you fail to meet the S$25,000 a year spend and/or you pay the annual fee to renew.
To convert your DBS points to miles for your designated airline’s programme, you need to pay an administrative fee of S$25 (exclusive of GST) which will be charged to the Card, which is in-line with other cards in the market. The conversion process will take approximately 1 - 2 weeks.
DBS Altitude Visa Card's Features and Benefits:
- Annual Fee: S$192.6, 1st year waiver, and waived each year if spending $25,000 a year, or get 10,000 bonus miles when paying to renew
- APR: 25%
- Salary requirement: S$30,000 for locals (S$45,000 for foreigners)
- 2 miles for overseas spend, 1.2 miles for S$1 of local spend.
- 3 miles for S$1 spent on online travel booking (capped at S$5,000 per month)
- DBS points never expire
- 2 airport lounge access per year
- DBS Altitude Butler service
- Travel accident insurance
- Each conversion of DBS Points to miles by Cardmember to his/her designated airline’s programme will be subjected to an administrative fee of S$25 (exclusive of GST) which will be charged to the Card. The conversion process will take approximately 1 - 2 weeks
How does DBS Altitude Visa Card Compare Against Other Cards?
Learn how DBS Altitude card differs from other cards in the market. We weigh this card's pros and cons against those of comparable cards to help you select the most ideal card for your needs.
Citi PremierMiles is another middle of the road travel card that is quite suitable for people who crave a mix of affordability and rich awards. Both cards require an annual fee of S$192.6, and both provide 1.2 miles for S$1 spent locally and 2 miles for S$1 spent overseas. In our mind, the biggest difference between DBS Altitude and Citi PremierMiles is the tradeoff between annual fee and bonus award. While Citi Premier doesn’t provide a fee waiver, DBS Altitude waives your annual fee if you spend at least S$25,000 a year on the card. Though it does provide 10,000 miles if you choose to pay the annual fee, we think getting the fee waiver of almost S$200 is more valuable than earning 10,000 miles that's worth S$100 for most people (redeeming 1 mile is about S$0.01 for an economy class seat). This contrasts with Citi PremierMiles which awards you up to 30,000 miles as a welcome gift plus a 10,000 bonus when you renew, though it doesn't give you the opportunity to earn a fee waiver. Ultimately, however, the two cards's "bonus" features in miles & fee waiver are worth about the same amount: either save on S$400 of annual fee on DBS Altitude or earn S$400 worth of miles (40,000 miles) from Citi PremierMiles.
DBS Altitude vs HSBC Revolution Card
People drawn to the DBS Altitude for its affordability may want to take a second look at the HSBC Revolution Card, another great travel rewards credit card for those operating with a modest budget. Like the DBS Altitude, it's very easy to avoid paying an annual fee for the HSBC Revolution as not only are the first two years' annual fee waived, as long as you spend S$12,500 on the card annually, you can continue to have that fee waived in the following years. The major point of difference between the DBS Altitude and the HSBC Revolution is how you earn those miles. While, generally speaking, the DBS Altitude offers a consistent, but relatively low flat rate reward for everything you spend your money on (1.2 miles per S$1 spent locally, 2 miles per S$1 spent overseas, 3 miles per S$1 spent on online bookings), the HSBC Revolution particularly rewards those who spend heavily in the categories of dining, entertainment and online shopping. If you have an active night and social life, love to eat out, and like to shop online, you'll find you can earn 3 miles per every S$1 spent in these areas. However, it awards only 0.4 miles per S$1 spent otherwise. Depending on where you spend your money, you may be able to rack up even more miles with the HSBC Revolution.
DBS Altitude vs OCBC Titanium Rewards Card
If you're a shopaholic who likes the sound of the HSBC Revolution but wishes there was an air miles credit card out there that gave you even better rewards for your spending on shopping, the OCBC Titanium Rewards Card could be a great match. This is one of the top shopping rewards cards in Singapore, as it awards you 4 miles for every S$1 spent shopping anywhere at all, be it online, offline or overseas. Like the DBS Altitude, the OCBC Titanium Rewards Card won't break the bank, as after the first two years during which the annual fee is automatically waived, you can waive the S$192.6 annual fee just by spending at least S$10,000 on the card every year. This is a card tailor-made to suit people who shop a lot; as a result, if your spending is more broad-based, we would likely still recommend the DBS Altitude.
DBS Altitude Credit Card vs UOB PRVI Miles Card
UOB PRVI Miles Card is one of the best air miles cards in Singapore, in our view. While it charges S$256.4 of annual fee, it offers mile awards equivalent to those offered by cards that charge S$500 or more. UOB PRVI Miles provides 1.4 miles for S$1 spent locally and 2.4 miles for S$1 spent overseas, significantly higher than DBS Altitude (though not true for online travel bookings). Overall, UOB PRVI Miles card presents an attractive opportunity build miles quickly for a slightly higher annual fee, though it does require a significantly higher income of S$80,000 to be eligible for the card (vs S$30,000 for DBS Altitude)..
DBS Altitude vs ANZ travel
ANZ Travel Visa Signature Card is great for people who frequent Australia or New Zealand, but not for others. As long as most of your air travel is between Singapore and Australia/Singapore, It’s almost impossible to beat the 2.8 miles spent in Australia or New Zealand, or on Qantas Airways and Jetstar Airways, combined with 1.4 miles for every S$1 everywhere else. As with most other mile programs, every mile is transferrable 1 for 1 to Asia Miles or Krisflyer Miles, with small fee of S$25.
However, if you don’t travel to Australia or New Zealand frequently (or if you also frequent other countries), there may be better cards out there for you. DBS Altitude Card awards you 2 miles for S$1 spent anywhere overseas (not just in Australia or New Zealand), and 3 miles for online travel bookings (not just with Qantas or Jetstar). While ANZ Travel card still earns you a great flat rate of 1.4 miles on your local spend, it doesn’t make sense to use ANZ Travel card over other travel cards if you go to Hong Kong or Bali more frequently than Australia. Furthermore, DBS is cheaper to use because you can get all of your annual fees waived, whereas ANZ travel costs S$200 every year.
DBS Altitude vs Amex KrisFlyer
American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Card is a very popular card in Singapore, and we think this card accommodates new credit card users who are looking for a combination of value, reward and convenience. Because its award miles are directly credited to your KrisFlyer account, there are no additional fees or delays in redeeming your miles like the way you do for essentially every other card in the market, including DBS Altitude. Amex KrisFlyer’s awards a tad bit lower at 1.1 miles for every S$1 spent locally compared to DBS’s 1.2 miles, but makes up for it with a bonus mile of up to 8,000 miles when you spend S$700 in the first 6 months of approval. Amex KrisFlyer’s 2 miles for S$1 spent on travel booking is limited to Singapore Air and Silk Air, which limits your redemption options. We don’t think this will be a huge problem since Singapore Air’s dominant market share, but it’s still a handicap nevertheless. Overall, we think American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyeer Card wins in convenience, especially for Singapore Air loyalists, but DBS Altitude wins in flexibility & reward. Also of note: miles for Amex KrisFlyer will expire after three years, while miles for Altitude has no expiry when kept in DBS Points & only starts expiring once customers convert it to miles.
*ValuePenguin calculates the dollar value of rewards based on S$2,000 of monthly spending. We sum the value of points, miles and cashback in dollar terms and subtract the annual fee over a 24-month period. The estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.