One More Way to Charge Up a Walkman

For years, credit cards have allowed people to earn points toward air travel and automobiles, so earning credits for audio and video gear seems a no-brainer. Last week, Sony Electronics and Citibank launched the Sony Citibank Card, a co-branded credit card that allows consumers to earn points toward the purchase of a variety of Sony entertainment and merchandise.

The new card, dubbed by the two companies the "official currency of playtime," was developed to combine spending and entertainment by offering everything from movie tickets at Sony theaters and music CDs, to DVD players and MiniDisc machines.

"The card provides Sony with new opportunities to better service our customers, develop new revenue streams, and link our electronics and entertainment operations," said John Briesch, President of Sony Electronics' Business Systems Group and head of the company's Card Business Division. "We see the card as a virtual passport to the world of Sony entertainment."

Each buck you spend with the card translates to one point, worth one penny toward Sony merchandise. Sony has put a limit of 250,000 points that can be earned in a consecutive 12-month period (that's $250,000 for you big spenders), meaning that you'll max out at $2500 toward Sony stuff each year. If you buy Sony items with the card, you'll get double points, with triple points available at some stores.

In addition to the music CDs, movie tickets, DVD players, and MiniDisc players/recorders, points from the card can also be redeemed for video and DVD movies, cassettes, PlayStation games and hardware, TVs, WebTV terminals, Handycams, Discman and Walkman portables, VAIO notebook computers, and blank recording media.