Metris Cos. unveiled the perks of its cobranded Bally Rewards MasterCard this week.
The pairing of the card marketer and the health club chain was announced in April, but the details have just come to light: Cardholders will be able to redeem points toward Bally membership dues and travel.
The Bally clubs have about four million members, and about a quarter of them were sent solicitations for the cobranded credit card.
The product is available in both gold and standard versions, with tiered prices. Interest rates range from 17.9% to 19.9% and annual fees from $39 to $55.
The Bally program is the first in which Metris, a 1996 spinoff from catalogue marketer Fingerhut Cos., has issued a gold card. That represents a change in direction for a marketer whose core customers typically make $15,000 to $35,000 a year.
"We are diversifying a bit with the gold card," said Douglas Scaliti, Metris' senior vice president of marketing. "But our core competencies are still the low to middle market."
Some industry experts expect Metris to go after the higher end of the card market, but Ronald N. Zebeck, president and chief executive officer of the St. Louis Park, Minn., company, said that is not so.
"The higher-end market is very competitive," Mr. Zebeck said. "Metris is not going in that direction."
Metris said it is handling the marketing of the Bally's MasterCard and has established a subsidiary, Metris Travel Services Inc., to manage the travel benefits associated with the card. Metris also plans to offer travel benefits to its other 1.8 million card customers.
The travel benefits for Bally cardholders mirror those offered by companies like CUC International that sell fee-based products to cardholders, allowing them to redeem points for tickets on any airline.
Bally customers will earn one point for every dollar spent with the MasterCard; the points will redeemable for rewards like airline tickets and hotel stays.
To whet customers' appetites, Metris is offering 1,000 bonus points for signing up for the standard card and 2,500 points for the gold card. For 3,000 points Bally will give cardholders a three-month membership renewal.
Other rewards include a free night's stay in selected hotels and motels in exchange for 10,000 points, a domestic airline ticket for 25,000 points, and a ticket to Europe for 60,000 points.