DBS’s foray into the $120,000 card space, the DBS Vantage, is offering a sign-up bonus until 30th June 2023: new to POSB/DBS cardholders get 60,000 miles, while existing cardholders can get 40,000 miles. Worth it? Let’s find out.
No promo code required
New and existing cardholders
New and existing cardmembers will be credited up to 60,000 miles and 40,000 miles respectively in the form of DBS Points, within 90 to 120 days from the Card approval date.
- Apply for a DBS Vantage Card
- Make payment for non-waivable annual fee of S$594.00 (inclusive of GST); and
- Charge a minimum spend of S$4,000 within 30 days from card approval date
Until 31st January 2024
See terms and conditions and save a copy for your future reference.
You can watch the review, and/or read on for analysis of the current promo.
Annual fees for miles: decent value (if you can hit minimum spend)
The normal amount of miles given with the annual fee payment is 25,000 miles, and this is also given upon each subsequent year when you renew the card and pay the annual fee. The promo’s 60,000 and 40,000 miles include this 25,000 miles figure, which means that the bonus miles given are 35,000 and 15,000 for new and existing cardholders respectively.
By paying $588.50 for these miles, a new to DBS/POSB cardholder is essentially paying 0.98 cents per mile, which is a pretty okay rate. An existing DBS/POSB cardholder would pay 1.18 cents per mile, which isn’t too expensive, even though I normally wouldn’t pay more than 1 to 1.1 cents per mile when it comes to acquiring miles.
You can see how I value miles in this video, and I would say that the DBS Vantage promo is pretty decent value when we consider that the card offers other perks to go with its annual fee.
The issue here is that $8,000 of minimum spend may be a rather steep figure to meet for quite a few people, and it’s made worse by the fact that DBS and CardUp have both put on record to say that CardUp transactions (and ipaymy too, owing to the similar MCC) wouldn’t count towards the spend requirement.
Free Accor Plus membership: great value
The complimentary Accord Plus membership given as part of DBS Vantage’s perks is great value, although its value proposition is quite subjective. A room at Sofitel Sentosa can go for anywhere between $350 to $500+, but unless you are already paying these rates to indulge in staycations, you can’t just put a price of $500 on this perk and see the $588.50 fee as only $88.50.
For someone who doesn’t spend money on staycations, this might as well be $0 value. It may seem quite ridiculous to say that there is no value to a hotel stay, but if a person who normally wouldn’t spend on hotel stays pays even $10 for a room, he/she is being upsold $10 to get something he/she wouldn’t normally buy.
Of course, there is also a reasonable going rate for things, especially when it’s entirely possible to sell the night’s stay to someone else. If you ask me, I would jump at the chance to book a room for $100+, and my enthusiasm would probably wane after the $200 mark. $200 is thus the value I’d put on this perk (and I’ll definitely try to see if I can sell it for $300), and it knocks a significant amount off the annual fee.
10 lounge visits: cherry on top
When you can get lounge visits for free, 10 lounge visits probably isn’t going to be worth much, and indeed I’m not going to place much value here. Nonetheless, having 10 free visits can be very useful to bring larger groups into a lounge at once. As good as an unlimited lounge pass is, it does poorly in bringing a family of four or a group of six friends to a lounge. The use case of this depends on your own travel circumstances of course, so place an appropriate value that suits your.
Conclusion (and comparison to Citi Prestige)
For new DBS/POSB cardholders, I think this is a decent deal. Buying miles at 0.98 cents is pretty fair, and if you used it for Spontaneous Escapes redemptions it’s good value even for economy flights. Existing cardholders might have to plan their travels a little more to see if purchasing miles at 1.18 cents is a good deal.
The hotel stay sweetens the deal significantly, and can easily tilt the promo from decent to no-brainer for those who are already paying for nicer hotel rooms. At a $200 valuation, new cardholders would be buying their miles at 0.65 cents per mile, and existing cardholders 0.97 cents.
A big issue here is whether or not one can reach the rather sizeable $8,000 spend requirement easily, especially considering it cannot be achieved easily with services like CardUp.
Another Citi-sized elephant in the room would be the Citi Prestige promo which has a more expensive cost per mile, but with a far lower minimum spend requirement of $800 and the easy way to clock spend by means of Citi PayAll.
I am choosing to go with both promos, and have indeed applied for both, but if you really had to choose one I think it’d boil down to whether you can hit the minimum spend of the DBS Vantage. If – and it’s a $8,000 if – the minimum spend doesn’t pose a problem, the DBS Vantage offers a cheaper mile acquisition rate and a free hotel stay without having to book a 4-night stay. If you can’t hit $8,000 spend, and/or plan to travel more frequently over the next year, Citi Prestige is a good choice with its unlimited lounge visits and repeat usage of 4th night free.
Regardless, both promos end soon on 31st July 2022 so you have little time left to decide.
Will you be getting the DBS Vantage card? Why or why not? See you in the comments or my Telegram group!
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