DBS Altitude Card Review: The Ideal Entry-Level Miles Card

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Getting into the air miles game isn’t only for those who travel many times in a year. Average Singaporeans like you and me have the option of accumulating air miles through our credit cards, even if we’re not earning that much. One such entry-level credit card that rewards our spending with air miles is the DBS Altitude Visa Signature Card. Cards like that help you achieve a goal of flying business class for free, possibly within 1-2 years!

There are air miles travel cards for different uses and with varying benefits, so how does this travel credit card stack up? We’ll get into our DBS Altitude Card review to find out. 

DBS Altitude Card Review - a great entry-level travel credit card

DBS Altitude Card Review: Top reasons to choose the DBS Altitude Card

  • 3 miles/dollar on online travel bookings (hotel and flights), up to S$5,000 a month
  • 2 miles/dollar on overseas spend
  • 1.2 miles/dollar on local spend
  • Up to 10 miles/dollar when you book with Kaligo or Expedia
  • Travel accident insurance package worth S$1 million for you and your family members
  • DBS Altitude Butler Services
  • 2 complimentary Priority Pass lounge visits a year
  • 10,000 bonus miles when you renew your credit card and pay the annual fee of S$192.60
  • Miles are earned in a form of DBS Points, which never expire. 1 DBS point = 2 miles.

Related: 7 Credit Card Privileges You Need to Start Using When You Travel

If you ask us, the DBS Altitude Card looks good, but how do you decide if this is the right card for you?

Let’s first take a look at the income requirements.

If your annual income is around S$30,000:

The other miles cards that come to mind is the American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card and the UOB PRVI Miles Card and Citi PremierMiles Visa Card

American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Credit Card

Source: American Express

With the AMEX KrisFlyer Credit Card

You can earn 1.1 KrisFlyer miles/dollar on local spend, 2 KrisFlyer miles/dollar on foreign currency overseas spends made in June and December, 2 KrisFlyer miles/dollar for online or mobile bookings on Singapore Airlines, SilkAir or KrisShop. The KrisFlyer miles are only valid for 3 years, though. None of this is better than the DBS Altitude Card (except for the KrisShop spend).

The good part is that there is no cap on the miles you can earn. There are also no fees to convert your miles since you earn KrisFlyer miles directly. There are often attractive sign-up bonuses, and you can earn 3.1 miles/dollar on Grab and Uber rides.

Having considered this, we feel that the DBS Altitude Card is a superior card because of the better miles-earning rate. But there’s no harm getting the Amex SQ KrisFlyer Card for the sign-up bonus and bonus miles on Grab/Uber rides. After all, the first-year fee is waived.

Related: The KrisFlyer UOB Account: Here’s a Group of People Who Will Find It Useful

With the UOB PRVI Miles Card

The income requirement for the UOB PRVI Miles Card has recently been revised downward, to become an entry-level card like the DBS Altitude Card. That’s absolutely fantastic news because the UOB PRVI Miles Card has one of the highest miles earn rate among travel cards.

You’ll be looking at 1.4 miles/dollar on local spends, and 2.4 miles/dollar on overseas spends. You’ll also earn  6 miles/dollar when you make travel bookings through selected travel partners.

UOB PRVI Miles 6 miles/dollar

Opportunities to earn 6 miles/dollar. Singapore Airlines isn’t part of this!

The UOB PRVI Miles Card is a great card if you’re primarily looking at miles. Nonetheless, the areas that the DBS Altitude Card does better are the following:

  1. DBS Points never expire
  2. More flexibility in getting bonus miles for travel bookings, whereby you don’t have to only use Expedia, Agoda and UOB Travel. You might also notice that Singapore Airlines is not among the partner airlines to earn 6 miles/dollar from the UOB PRVI Miles Card.
  3. 10,000 bonus miles when you renew your credit card and pay the annual fee of S$192.60
  4. DBS points are pro-rated and awarded for every S$1.67 spent. UOB PRVI Miles Card awards UNI$ in blocks of S$5 spent.

Citi PremierMiles Visa Credit Card

With the Citi PremierMiles Visa Card…

It’s actually very similar in terms of local and overseas spend. The key differences are that the Citi PremierMiles Visa Card doesn’t have bonus miles for online hotel and flight bookings; unless you book with partner sites. That’s just a little bit more restrictive, like the UOB PRVI Miles Card. For example, if you prefer to book your flights directly with Singapore Airlines, the Citi PMV card only gives you 1.2 miles/dollar, whereas the DBS Altitude card gives you 3 miles/dollar (up to S$5,000).

What we really like about the Citi PremierMiles Visa Card over the DBS Altitude Card, is that you earn miles from the first dollar spent. DBS awards 3 DBS Points for every S$5, and your spends are prorated to the nearest 1 DBS point, which is roughly around S$1.67. There are also more Frequent Flyer Programmes for you to redeem your Citi Miles from, as opposed to just KrisFlyer, AsiaMiles or AirAsia Big Points with DBS Points.

And if you tend to use travel insurance offered by your credit card company, you’ll be happy to know that the Citi PMV card offers travel insurance coverage for not just personal accident, but also for medical assistance and travel inconvenience. 

Related: Citi PremierMiles Visa Card Review: A Must-Have to Fuel Your Wanderlust

If your annual income is around S$50,000 or more:

With more income, you are now eligible for the American Express Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Ascend Card.

AMEX Ascend_Travel Credit Card

With the Amex KrisFlyer Ascend Card…

Your local spend is matched with the DBS Altitude Card at 1.2 miles/dollar. However, the overseas foreign currency spends and spends on SQ/SilkAir are still not better.

That being said, since the local spend miles earning rate is matched, you may feel that the Amex Ascend card could be your ‘everyday’ card as there are no conversion fees. Another interesting perk of this card is the accelerated upgrade to the KrisFlyer Elite Gold membership tier when you spend more than S$15,000 on singaporeair.com in the first year. So, if you’re thinking of a big family holiday to the U.S., this could be a clever choice.

So, should you get the DBS Altitude Card or not?

The DBS Altitude Card is a wonderful entry-level card for young working adults. It’s got a good mile-earning rate, and the points don’t expire–you can really save up for that amazing flight redemption. The card costs S$192.60 but you don’t have to pay the annual fee for the first year.

One of the most important tips about getting into the miles game is that you shouldn’t just rely on one miles card. A combination of a few awesome miles cards will get you to your desired destination much faster.

Until then, here’s a bit of inspiration for you. 🙂

Round Trip Business Saver on Singapore Airlines, as of Dec 2017

Round Trip Business Saver on Singapore Airlines, as of Dec 2017

Round Trip Business Saver on Singapore Airlines, as of Dec 2017


DBS Altitude Card Summary

DBS Altitude Card Review: Features and benefits Details
Annual Fee Principal card: S$192.60 (1-year waiver)

Supplementary card: S$96.30 (1-year waiver)

Subsequent years waived with an annual spend of S$25,000, or receive 10,000 bonus miles when you pay the annual membership fee

Effective interest rate 25.90% p.a
Eligibility 21 years old and above

Annual income requirement:

  • S$30,000 and above for Singaporeans and PR
  • S$45,000 and above for foreigners
Card features
  • 3 miles/dollar on online travel bookings (hotel and flights), up to S$5,000 a month
  • 2 miles/dollar on overseas spend
  • 1.2 miles/dollar on local spend
  • Miles (DBS Points) never expire
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