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Bally MC Activated

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Metris Companies and its banking subsidiary Direct Merchants Credit Card Bank began processing pre-approved applications yesterday for its new Bally Rewards MasterCard and Bally Rewards Gold MasterCard. The companies just completed a one million piece mail drop to Bally members.. Bally Rewards MasterCard cardholders will earn points that can be redeemed for rewards such as free round-trip airline tickets on any airline with no blackout dates. 25,000 points can be redeemed for a free round-trip ticket anywhere in the continental United States, 40,000 points for Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean and 60,000 points to Europe. For 3,000 points, cardholders can earn a three-month Bally Total Fitness membership renewal. Metris will use individualized risk-based pricing for the program.

FULL STORY:
Benefits featuring national and international travel, plus free membership renewals at Bally Total Fitness are available to users of the new co-branded Bally Rewards MasterCard and Gold MasterCard. The first applications are being received and processed as a result of a pre-approved mailing to nearly one million Bally members.

The Bally Rewards MasterCard is issued by Direct Merchants Credit Card Bank, NA, of Salt Lake City, Utah, a subsidiary of Metris Companies, Inc., St. Louis Park, Minn. Metris is also handling marketing.

Bally Rewards MasterCard cardholders will earn points for every purchase they make using the card, with additional points earned for Bally renewal membership dues charged to the card. Points can be redeemed for rewards such as free round-trip airline tickets on any airline, with no blackout dates. 25,000 points can be redeemed for a free round-trip ticket anywhere in the continental United States, 40,000 points can be redeemed for a free round-trip ticket to Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean and 60,000 points can be redeemed for a free round-trip ticket to Europe. Cardholders may book and pay for any additional travel needs through the Bally Rewards Redemption Center.

For just 3,000 points, cardholders can earn a three-month Bally Total Fitness membership renewal, and 10,000 points can earn a free nights stay at selected hotels and motels. Standard cardholders will receive 1,000 bonus points and gold cardholders will receive 2,500 bonus points upon enrollment.

“We are excited about offering our members benefits that fit perfectly with their active lifestyle. The Bally Rewards MasterCard and our relationship with Metris should help us significantly broaden our relationship with our customers,” said Lee Hillman, president and chief executive officer of Bally Total Fitness.

“We believe that both the travel benefits and the option to renew memberships with Bally at no additional cost are benefits that our current members will find compelling. We anticipate testing these benefits to attract new members as well.”

To support the travel redemption for the program, Metris Travel Services Inc. has been established at Metris headquarters. In the near future, Metris Travel Services will also offer consumer travel services to its 1.8 million credit card customers.

“We are one of the nations fastest-growing financial services firms, and we are very excited about the Bally Rewards MasterCard program,” said Ronald N. Zebeck, Metris president and chief executive officer.

“Like other Metris cards, the annual fee and APR are tailored to the individual cardholder, but were thrilled about the travel and Bally membership renewal component,” he continued. “The consumer truly has a choice of which benefit he or she wants to take advantage of. We also see that the Bally Rewards MasterCard may attract new members for Bally Total Fitness, and thats a win-win for both companies.”

Bally Total Fitness is the largest and only nationwide commercial operator of fitness centers in the United States with approximately four million members and 320 facilities in 27 states and Canada.

Metris Companies, Inc. is an information-based direct marketer of consumer credit products, extended service plans and fee-based products and services. Based in St. Louis Park, Minn., Metris also has operations in Tulsa, Okla., Salt Lake City, Utah, and Baltimore, and employs more than 800 people. Fingerhut Companies, Inc., a data-base marketing company based in Minnetonka, Minn., owns 83 percent of the outstanding shares of Metris.

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