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

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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 ….

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.


how to earn avios from credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (June 2021)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

There are two official British Airways American Express cards:

British Airways American Express card

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up, no annual fee and a companion voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

BA Premium Plus American Express card BAPP

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable credit card perk – the 2-4-1 companion voucher Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

We also recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card:

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

The most generous Avios Visa or Mastercard for a limited company Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)

Comments (35)

  • Jamie says:

    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.

    • Rob says:

      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.

  • 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?

    • John says:

      “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!

  • Roger says:

    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.

  • DV says:

    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…

  • Swiss says:

    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…

  • 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

    • Rob says:

      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.

  • 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?

  • Brian says:

    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!

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