Nerfed: DBS Cuts Monthly Spend Cap of DBS Woman’s World Mastercard to S$1,500

We recently dodged a crisis in the game of miles, but another is brewing… sort of. Timothy from the Telegram (through another miles website), has spotted that the DBS Woman’s World Mastercard has scheduled a nerf for 1st March 2024: the monthly spend cap of the popular card will be reduced to S$1,500 from S$2,000 after next month.

While this has not been officially confirmed, there was a block of text that briefly appeared on DBS’s website for the card. It has since been removed, though I still see it cached on my phone: Update: It’s official; nerf incoming

More than 25% on the pain meter

While a S$500 cut or 25% reduction doesn’t seem like much, this nerf is nonetheless pretty painful for those with larger transactions. When almost every 4 miles per dollar card gives its earn rate on a cap of about S$1,000 per month, a S$2,000 monthly cap card is disproportionally more useful when it comes to things like electronics. Be it laptops or modern smartphones, a S$2,000 cap can fit all but the most expensive gadgets. Even then, current-generation iPhones have long broken the S$2,000 barrier, so a S$1,500 cap is probably inadequate.

When it comes to travel, I’m guessing a S$1,500 cap also starts to be inadequate if you’re booking flights and accommodation for more than just yourself. Perhaps well-timed by DBS, the nerf also kicks in just after UOB Lady’s 6 miles per dollar earn rate is set to expire.


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Trade offs begin to sting more

Even at its S$2,000 cap, the DBS Woman’s World Mastercard has always been a little difficult to use for some. Firstly, an online-only card has the severe limitation of, well, being for online purchases only. Not being useful at all for in-store retail transactions limits the card’s usefulness greatly, though apps like ShopBack, Kris+ and XNAP alleviate this somewhat.

The second downside of the card is that the points earned expire in just a year’s time. Most other 4 miles per dollar cards have expiry dates ranging from 2 to 3 or even 5 years, giving you plenty of time to earn a meaningful number of points to transfer to your frequent flyer programme. As someone who uses my DBS Woman’s World Mastercard pretty often in conjunction with my DBS Vantage, transferring points once a year is somewhat bearable because I tend to have an significant number of miles to transfer, but others who collect fewer DBS points would likely find 12 months to be annoyingly short.

Both shortcomings of the card are more easily overlooked when the monthly cap was double of its competitors. With the nerf, the limitations of the card start to become more apparent. It seems like a calculated move by DBS – if they cut the limit to S$1,000, people would probably abandon the card in droves since you can get a S$1,000 online + offline card with the likes of HSBC Revolution, UOB Preferred Platinum Visa, or Citi Rewards + Amaze (phew). Set it at about 50% higher at S$1,500? Ehhhh, there might still be a reason for it existing, and I believe DBS is betting that many would indeed still stick to the card since there are few alternatives.

DBS Woman’s World Mastercard

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Get your S$2,000 purchases in by end of Feb

Again, remember that this isn’t officially confirmed by the bank, though I believe it is all but a done deal. In all likelihood, someone published the change ahead of 1st February 2024. Banks tend to give a month’s notice, and in this case we probably got the news a week before its intended release date.

This extra week can make a difference if you have any upcoming expenses that you could place on your DBS Woman’s World Mastercard. The S$2,000 spend cap is based on the calendar month, so you could still spend S$2,000 this month (January) and another S$2,000 in February 2024 to max out your cap.

Do stay subscribed for more updates, and we’ll explore some alternatives in due course. In the mean time, it’s probably appropriate to let the bank know what you think about the nerf. Make enough noise and the powers that be might just care. Maybe.

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