Lloyds TSB and their obscure rules to stop you getting your credit card bonus

The Lloyds TSB Duo Avios credit cards have often been painful cards to own, entirely due to Lloyds TSB and their lax customer service. We had the cards for a period last year (during which, admittedly, I did earn 1.1 million Avios!) and at no point did we ever manage to get access to their online statements.

At one point I was forced to go into a branch to prove that the money I had paid my bill with came from my own bank account. As my normal statement had not yet arrived and Lloyds TSB did not accept online prints, I was forced to go to HSBC and get them to print me a statement on their headed paper ….

Lloyds Avios

The latest problems revolve around the rules for getting the bonus Avios on the Duo and Premier Duo cards.

On the face of it, the bonuses are impressive:

You get 15,000 Avios when you spend £500 per month – for the first three months – on the American Express which comes with the free Duo cards

You get 20,000 Avios when you spend £500 per month – for the first three months – on the American Express which comes with the £50 fee Premier Duo cards

With Lloyds TSB, though, nothing is that simple.

As far as they are concerned ‘per month’ does NOT relate to your statement month. It relates to separate monthly periods FROM THE DATE YOU WERE APPROVED FOR THE CARD.

And here is the interesting bit. It is impossible for you to know what day you were approved for the card.

It could be the day you apply, if instantly approved. It is certainly NOT the day you receive your card – as you are already approved on the day they authorise your card to be manufactured. It is NOT the day from which your statement months run.

I have been contacted by two people in recent weeks who have been refused the bonus by Lloyds TSB. Both had spent £500 on the American Express card in each of their first three statement months. However, Lloyds has declared in both cases that they failed to spend £500 during each of their first three months counting from the approval date.

One person even appealed against this decision to the banking ombudsman. Amazingly, they found in favour of Lloyds TSB. This is despite the fact that Lloyds TSB does not tell you the date you were approved!

To be fair to Lloyds, once I had got my own cards up and running last year, they were fine – my Avios posted promptly.  They certainly have customer service issues, though.

If you DO intend to apply for these cards and try to earn the 15,000 Avios or 20,000 Avios sign-up bonuses, all I can suggest is:

Make a note of the date you apply and the date your card arrives. Let’s assume you apply on the 10th July and the card arrives on the 20th July.

In Month 1, make sure you spend £500 within 1 month of the date you applied, ie July 10th to August 10th (in case they approved you immediately and started counting from that date)

In Month 2 and Month 3, make sure you spend £500 between the anniversary of the day the card arrived and the day you applied, ie between August 20th and September 10th, and between September 20th and October 10th. This is the only way of guaranteeing that your spend will fall between your ‘card approval’ anniversaries.

Are the Lloyds TSB cards worth the trouble? The bonus is certainly worth having.  More importantly, the Lloyds TSB Premier Duo Avios American Express offers the best rate on the market for foreign currency spending – a whopping 2.5 Avios points per £1.

Please post below if you’ve had any interesting experiences with Lloyds TSB over these cards …

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Comments

  1. I’m in the middle of my second month at the moment and I hate Lloyds with a passion.

    Still can’t access my account online, despite going into a branch to prove my identity they are now telling me I have to go back into another branch again because I forgot my password, the security is way over the top.

    In terms of the bonus I was told that as I applied via the avios.com website then my first 3 months are broken down as

    40 days (from date of acceptance) as it takes a while for activation
    30 days
    30 days

    I’ll hit the spend but have zero confidence in getting the bonus, can’t wait to cancel.

    • This is what I was told as well (40 days / 30 days / 30 days). For me, my acceptance date was the date appearing on the letter to which my credit cards were attached, when they arrived.

  2. Alison says:

    So glad to hear that it’s not me, it’s them !
    I’ve had 2 unsavoury experiences with Lloyds credit cards. The first was many years ago when they offered a uselessly low credit limit because I was new to the UK. The second was this year. Even after almost a decade of unblemished credit history, Lloyds wavered on whether or not it could offer the product for which I’d applied (a long interest-free period card).
    A mailed-in credit report, 5 trips to the branch and 5 calls to credit card services later – with each saying that the card was possible but that only the other could help finalise the process, I walked away with no card and £100 from the branch in recognition of how painful the process with card services had been. Is Lloyds actively seeking customers with poor credit for higher returns?

    • “The first was many years ago when they offered a uselessly low credit limit because I was new to the UK.”

      I don’t think you can blame them for that one…

      With the second, unless that was at the time of every high street bank offering 6% interest, the £100 probably beat any profit you would have made from the long interest free period!

  3. I have the fee-free cards and have long since given up on Lloyds TSB because of their pathetic IT systems, presumably part of the reason for their hopelessness in monitoring expenditure. . My cards are successors to the old Air Miles cards, and unlike respected colleagues, I earnt precisely 0.0 million Avios with the Avios cards as they refused my offer to upgrade to the fee-payable card. D)

    You ask ‘Are the Lloyds TSB cards really worth such trouble?’ I’d say certainly not. At 1 Avios per £ for me for the AmEx, the earnings pale into insignificance compared with double that on the Diamond Club MC (OK, not available to new applicants), not-quite-so good earnings on the Tesco MC (at the grandfathered rate) and various AmEx options.

    The old option of using LTSB AmEx to secure Air Miles flights without a surcharge disappeared when Avios were launched. I now retain the card as a ‘just in case’ card and benefit from occasional targeted bonuses.

  4. Lloyds is hopeless. The Avios credit cards required a trip to a branch in person. Having used Lloyds for the first time I begin to understand how it agreed to buy HBOS. 25 Avios/£ was worth it however. 1 million Avios later…

  5. What about bombarding them with emails of complaint. And all copy in the banking ombudsman. I was fairly confident I would get the points until I read this post – now I’ll have to wait and see…

  6. Wozza2404 says:

    I was later to their “Millions of Avios for everyone” promotion last year, meaning I only had time to apply for myself and not my wife as well. I did still manage to rack up over half a million miles (even with a ridiculous £2k limit), but with another 3 months I could have done serious damage.

    Because of that, I’m waiting for another promo along those lines. I know we won’t ever see anything as generous, but as you can only ever have 1 promo bonus, 20k miles doesn’t cut it for me.

    As for overseas spend, my Gold Card earns 2MR/£ which is worth 3 Avios during a transfer bonus. Plus MRs are worth more to me than straight Avios due to their flexibility.

    All in all, Lloyds will need to do MUCH better than 20k for Mrs W to take the plunge and apply for her one and only sign up bonus.

    As always, YMMV

    • Agreed – although its hard to believe they will bring back that promo from last year!

      (But, then again, they DID extend the closing date – even though they would have seen the damage being done by that point!)

      • Wozza2404 says:

        Yes, I doubt they’d be that daft, but even 5x would be enough to bring me back.

        I think my figure here would be the opportunity to earn a minimum of 75k Avios before I’d make her apply.

  7. Worzel says:

    Further to Roger’s post (July 3 7:37 am):

    I had a battle with Lloyds during the Airmiles to Avios transition-whilst trying to secure a companion ticket Nov/Dec 2011.

    Lloyds were still advertising “Free Flights” (Airmiles) at the time of my writing.These free flights were impossible to obtain(apply and then spend) so close to transition-and I pointed this out to them.

    Go to the Lloyds website today and you’ll see:

    “Fly to Barcelona on us” .

    Has anything changed?

  8. Personally, I’ve had no problems with my cards. I’ve found the online banking easy to deal with, and I like the fact that Lloyds provide a landline number to call, rather than trying to force customers to call premium rate numbers. I called them soon after getting the card to find out about the dates they were using to calculate the monthly spend. Like many people on this site, I found that the date was NOT the same as the statement date or the day I received the card, but since I learned this in good time, I was able to adjust my spending habits accordingly.

    Of course, I haven’t yet received the bonus, but hope that I will soon!

  9. vindaloo says:

    Interested that the ombudsman has ruled in favour of Lloyds TSB. Raffles: was that someone you know or was it in the media? I have just taken a dispute with MBNA (over the bmi credit cards) to the ombudsman and am awaiting their verdict, but I’m less optimistic having read this.

  10. It took me 4 phone calls to Lloyds until I finally spoke to someone who could tell me what my dates were for the £500 spend a month, the person I spoke to told me it was the calculated based on my statement dates, he even checked with a colleague who said the same thing!

    Anyone getting this card allow plenty of time for Lloyd’s to post the transaction to your account, £50 worth of 3V cards I bought on Thursday last week at Tesco only appeared when I logged into my account on Tuesday morning.

  11. Just applying for the card was a nightmare. I had to visit a branch to confirm my identity. The paperwork was then lost in their internal mail system (apparently a frequent occurrence) so I had to go through the whole rigmarole again. Trying to access on-line banking has been a complete pain – they had better give me my bonus avios or I will be completely ticked off with them. The whole process has certainly put me off ever wanting to bank with them.

  12. I had exactly the same problem a few months back (caught the tail end of the 18,000 avios voucher incentive).

    Took me ages to speak to someone who could clarify my start dates and the rules. Eventually got told the 6th of the month was my deadline – and this was the day before.

    They also told me it’s not when the transaction was made that counts, it’s when it shows up on your statement. So even if I had gone out on the 5th and spent the remainder of my £500 for that month, it wouldn’t have shown up for a few days, so wouldn’t have counted.

    HOWEVER……

    What I did was complain to Lloyds TSB on twitter about the rules being unclear and how it was unfair. Someone replied asking me to DM my phone number and postcode and someone from customer relations would be in touch.

    I was then called, and explained my complaint in more detail. They apologised, said they would look at making the conditions for the bonus more clear, and offered me £50 credit onto my card.

    Definitely helped soften the blow. Definitely worth trying if you’re in a similar situation.

    PS. Love the site. Keep up the good work!

  13. I’ve had the basic Lloyds Duo card for years, and so naturally missed out on the promo that earnt Raffles over a million Avios. I am wondering, though, about cancelling the basic cards I have after I apply for the Starwood PG this month and then applying for the fee Lloyds card at some point in the future when a good sign-up bonus comes around. Does anyone know if that will be possible? I understand that Lloyds TSB cards only generally allow you to claim one bonus offer, so you can’t churn them, but does that apply if you’ve had any Lloyds card, not just the type you’re applying for?

    • Wozza2404 says:

      Some people slipped through the net on the last promo, but a lot of people were told they weren’t eligible as they’d previously held a LTSB credit card. Even if it was over 5 years ago some people were being refused.

  14. If others have had problems getting the bonus because LTSB could not tell you the date on which you were approved, it’s worth others making a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman:

    http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/

    Although the original complaint was apparently upheld, we do not know the precise circumstances of that scenario, nor the reasons for denying the complaint. The more people who complain, the more they will have to make transparent what the T&Cs actually are.

  15. I’m pretty sure any complaint that exhausts Lloyds complaints procedure and goes to the ombudsman means Lloyds incur a charge of several hundred pounds from the ombudsman, so eventually they might get the message.

    • Hubby took Lloyds to the Ombudsman over the dates for their offer last year (the one Raffles earned 1m+ Avios from), having asked Avios twice in writing for the relevant dates and been told they couldn’t tell him, despite them having told me the relevant dates when I applied a couple of months earlier. He thus relied on what I was told but Lloyds refused to award Avios for a fairly large foreign transaction on the last (as we believed it was) day. The interim finding from the Ombudsman was that as long as their T&Cs show the offer runs from the date of acceptance, it doesn’t matter that they wouldn’t tell him what date that was, and that it’s not OK to rely on information provided to someone else in identical circumstances which may have been wrong. He has appealed, but I have to say I am disappointed with the service the Ombudsman has provided so far.
      The daftest thing from Lloyds point of view though is that, as Zoe comments, they get charged £500 each time someone complains to the Ombudsman. That alone, never mind their costs in terms of staff time and the damage to their reputation, means it would have been cheaper just to pay up gracefully. What a way to run a business.
      So I too would encourage those who can to take Lloyds to the Ombudsman. It takes no time to fill in the forms and if nothing else, you can comfort yourself you’ve just cost Lloyds £500!

  16. gnarlyoldgoatdude says:

    This was the only HFP message that has fallen foul of my junk mail filter! I guess Raffles’s anger was too much for Outlook to take.

  17. James67 says:

    Seems to be more ill feeling on this than any topic so far on HfP. Any possibility we could have an online petition as part of the blog and forward to BA to highlight pur dissatisfaction with Lloyds? I’m so hoping Lloyds will get dumped in favour of MBNA sometime soon. Also nothing seems to be happening at Barclays despite their now being able to market amex. Somewhat disappointing given their aggressive strategy in the States.

    • This has nothing to do with BA, it’s Avios.com

    • I agree. I simply cannot see Lloyds surviving long-term as the avios.com card partner. You may be right in that, despite MBNA’s best efforts, they cannot dislodge Amex as the main UK card provider but get the avios.com contract as consolation.

      Given Barclays p*ss-poor admin of the Hilton and Priority Club cards, where points often don’t appear for months on end, you really don’t want those idiots getting involved either. Although they aren’t as bad as Lloyds (just).

      • James67 says:

        I just love those idiots Raffles. They have creditex a card I am not even using with first £40 about 9 months ago and unbrlievsbly a further £50 last month for being a good customer :) For whatever reason they love me as much as amex appears to hate me!

  18. Tim Rogers says:

    I had pretty much exactly the same problem – and I suspect pretty much everyone who tries to claim these promotions from Lloyds does. I made a formal complaint and they found in favour of themselves. Perhaps I should have gone to the Ombudsman too…

  19. danksy says:

    I thought I was special!!!

    I’ve had exactly the same problems as listed here, No access to online statements, my card wasn’t activated until 1 week before the end of the 1st month, so to be honest I didn’t even bother with the other two months!

    Mrs Danksy applied and was accepted but with a pathetic £1,500 limit, which means that to achieve her companion voucher by spending £15k a year she would need to max out the credit limit nearly every month! So far she has ‘exceeded’ her credit limit by no more than £5 on each occasion and been charged £12 each time, all because of the poor access to online statements etc.

    When I have rung up to pay the bill (on her behalf) they wont accept my debit card (even though she authenticates her personal details – and I’m a credit card customer) due to security details.

    It’s just rotten through and through, we wait with baited breath if we get the signup bonus, but it was a pointless waste of £50 each IMHO!

    • Why would you ring up to pay a bill?

      • I’m guessing because he can’t get access to the account online.

        I got my statement the other day and as i can’t access my account I’ve actually sent a cheque off to pay my bill. It’s like going back in time !

  20. ggg1970 says:

    I phoned Lloyds today to find out deadlines due to the bizarre 40 day month decision. They said it was an Avios decision and Avios said it was a Lloyds decision!! Despite hitting the spend on each of the three months (not knowing about the 40 day rule) I now find that I’ve actually got another month to satisfy the threshold before I quaify. Spoke to Avios again and they are raising a query and will look at the circumstances – not hopeful but at least its not Lloyds making the decisions…….will see what happens.