When Mr Agius of Melbourne, Australia got a letter from the National Australia Bank (NAB) in January, offering him 100 additional points for each eligible purchase made on a NAB Qantas credit card, he went into action.
He made 7000 purchases of one cent each – mostly between January 6 and January 9. Most of the purchases were used to top up his CityLink Tollway pass. For the bank had made a fatal error in that they didn’t specify how much you had to spend on each purchase to get the 100 points. I calculate that if each transaction took 30 seconds then that was 60 hours work to get 700 000 points.
Agius told BRW magazine that he was contacted by the road company Citylink: “they were mainly concerned that my credit card may have been stolen, or that their billing system went crazy,” “Once I told them I was doing it on purpose to get points, they were relieved and didn’t say anything after that.”
This contact was followed by a letter from the bank on January 15: “It was NAB’s intention that ‘eligible purchases’ would be the usual everyday purchases however there was no minimum spend noted in the letter of offer and I’m sorry if this has caused any misunderstanding”. The bank said it would not honour any one cent transactions made between January 6 and 9. Mr Agius wants NAB to award him the points he says are still outstanding.
NAB has said it won’t give him any more: “We have agreed to award 380,000 points he had accrued to that point, but have also made it clear the offer would be withdrawn for the rest of the January-February period for that customer.” 380 000 points would give Mr Agius two business class return tickets on Qantas from Melbourne to Los Angeles worth around $14,000 each. Not bad for 60 hours of button pressing.
Good thing the bank nipped it in the bud. 100 000 customers doing the same thing could have been an expensive promotion for the bank. Anyone want to lose $3billion dollars on a Credit Card Promotion? I remember the Adam Sandler film: Punch Drunk Love where the character finds a frequent flyer loop hole through buying meals.