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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)

  • 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.

  • Simon says:

    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.

  • Sarah says:

    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.

  • Ian says:

    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.


    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!

  • Kathy says:

    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.

  • The Lady says:

    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:

    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.

  • Zoe says:

    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.

    • Louie says:

      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!

  • 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.

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