DBS Altitude card review 2021: The air miles card for fresh grads and young working adults

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Yet another DBS credit card? You’ll want to pay attention to this one though. The DBS Altitude Card is one of the most popular air miles credit cards for fresh grads and young working adults. You earn air miles at a standard rate of $1 = 1.2 miles (local) and $1 = 2 miles (overseas), plus $1 = 3 miles (or more) on online travel bookings.

The minimum income criteria of $30,000 p.a. is easily within reach if you’ve just started working, while the fact that DBS points don’t expire means you can slowly and steadily accumulate your miles.

DBS Altitude Card terms & conditions

                                        DBS Altitude Card
Annual fee & waiver $192.60 (waived for 1 year)
Supplementary annual fee $96.30
Interest free period 25 days
Annual interest rate 26.80 per cent
Late payment fee $100
Minimum monthly repayment 3 per cent or $50, whichever is higher
Foreign currency transaction fee 3.25 per cent
Cash advance transaction fee 8 per cent or $15, whichever is higher
Overlimit fee $40
Minimum income $30,000 (Singaporean) / $45,000 (non-Singaporean)
Card association Visa
Wireless payment Visa Contactless, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay

The annual fee is waived for the first year. From the second year onwards, the annual fee will be automatically waived if you spend $25,000 within the card year.

But if you decide to renew and pay your annual fee, you get a renewal bonus of 10,000 miles. That’s less than 2 cents a mile, which isn’t a bad deal.

How the DBS Altitude Card works

The DBS Altitude Card doesn’t give you very good earn rates on your everyday expenses, but when it comes to travel bookings, it has some of the best bonus miles on the market.

$1 = 1.2 miles on local spending and $1 = 2 miles on overseas spending is the ‘market rate’ for miles cards, so that’s nothing to shout about. The true selling point of the DBS Altitude Card is the bonus $1 = 3 miles earn rate for online hotel and flight bookings.

If you book through Expedia, you earn $1 = 6 miles. Make bookings on Agoda and Kaligo and earn $1 = 10 miles each. The expenditure cap for this category is $5,000, but I think that’s reasonable for most budget-conscious young travellers.

The DBS points you earn on this credit card never expire, which is good news if you don’t really spend all that much. You can take your time to accumulate your miles for that Business Class ticket to London or whatever. (Be warned though — it WILL take a long time if you’re not a big spender!)

Beginner miles collectors should note that each conversion to KrisFlyer miles or Asia miles will cost $25, so only convert after you’ve accumulated a significant amount of miles.

What’s more, you can also use the card to pay for public transport and earn 1.2 miles for every $1 spent on rides.

Who should use the DBS Altitude Card?

The DBS Altitude Card has a low minimum income requirement of $30,000 p.a., which makes it perfect for students and young working adults.

If you graduated not too long ago and have only just started working, you’re probably dying to start travelling as soon as you can. (The whole reason you even go to work is so you can travel, right?)

Although the everyday earn rates are average, the bonus earn rates on travel-related bookings make up for it. Plus, the DBS Altitude Card has quite a few travel perks, like 2 complimentary global airport lounge access visits and travel insurance coverage for you and your family.

Put together, the DBS Altitude Card is a pretty solid entry level air miles card for young working adults who don’t have massive expenses.

DBS Altitude Card promotions

If you’re not a current DBS or POSB cardholder, sign up for a DBS Altitude Visa Signature card using the promo code ‘DBSLAZ’ to get $200 worth of Lazada vouchers. Available through Oct 31, 2021.

Alternatives to the DBS Altitude Card

The DBS Altitude card isn’t the only credit card for beginner air miles collectors. There are a couple of other notable mentions that we should cover as well:

American Express KrisFlyer Credit Card — another entry level credit card, but with poorer earn rates at 1.1 miles (local) and 2 miles (overseas in Jun & Dec) per dollar spent.

But if you have $2,000 or $5,000 of expenses coming up, there’s a great welcome bonus you can take advantage of. Plus, it’s terribly convenient – miles are credited straight into your KrisFlyer account with no conversion fee.

UOB PRVI Miles Card — the UOB PRVI Miles Card has much better earn rates than the DBS Altitude, at $1 = 1.4 miles (local) and 2.4 miles (overseas), and it even has a similar travel booking promotion with $1 = 6 miles (Agoda, Expedia, UOB Travel).

The drawback is that miles expire within two years, so if you don’t spend all that much, you may find your points insufficient for that dream holiday at the end of the period.

This article was first published in MoneySmart.

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