The $0-annual-fee Sony Visa® Credit Card, issued by Comenity Bank, offers bonus rewards on entertainment purchases, qualifying Sony products and dining. But even the biggest Sony enthusiasts can do far better.
That's because in some cases you'll need to jump through additional hoops — like providing proof of purchase and filling out forms — to earn or redeem your rewards. This is highly unusual.
Few if any other rewards credit cards require such cumbersome steps and instead allow much more seamless earning and redemption.
Here are five things to know about the Sony Visa® Credit Card.
Nerd tip: Comenity also issues the PlayStation® Visa® Credit Card, which is a separate product with a different rewards structure.
1. Prepare to work for certain rewards
The Sony Visa® Credit Card offers the following rewards:
5 points per $1 spent on entertainment purchases. (See below for what qualifies as "entertainment.")
5 points per $1 spent on Sony purchases made with authorized retailers (purchase confirmation is required).
2 points per $1 spent at restaurants, including takeout and delivery.
1 point per $1 on all other purchases.
Point values vary, but generally they're worth close to 0.9 cent each, slightly below the industry standard of a full penny per point.
The card's rewards rate on entertainment purchases is attractive. But to earn that 5x rewards rate on Sony purchases, you’ll have to buy from a qualifying retailer and access the Sony Rewards Purchase Confirmation Form in the Sony Rewards app to upload a photo of your receipt. Otherwise, you’ll get only 1 point per $1 spent on that purchase. That's a lot of work.
If you prefer a simpler rewards-earning process, a flat-rate credit card like the $0-annual-fee Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer can offer decent rewards on all purchases, and without the legwork. It earns 2% cash back on everything: 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay it off.
Nerd tip: You must be a Sony Rewards program member to earn points. Membership is free and you’re automatically enrolled when you open the card. The program allows you to earn rewards independent of (or in addition to) the credit card, on things like video games, movie tickets, and eligible DVDs and Blu-ray Discs — but again, not without some work. For DVD and Blu-ray purchases, you'll have to register the disc by entering its code into the Sony Rewards app. For movie tickets, you must upload a photo of your ticket stubs.
2. Redemptions are similarly cumbersome and limited
In some cases, you may be able to redeem points for a general statement credit — for example, if the points were earned from an eligible sign-up offer or Sony product purchase. But typically, redemptions are mostly limited to Sony products.
To get a statement credit toward a Sony product purchase, you have to shop with an authorized retailer and fill out a purchase credit form. It involves taking a picture of your receipt and electing to use all or some of your points to cover the purchase. As noted, points are valued at about 0.9 cent apiece with this option.
You can also redeem points for Sony products featured as "Deals and Steals," insider specials and power sales on Sony’s website. Or you can shop Sony’s catalog to redeem points for merchandise, movies and TV shows, PlayStation video games or gift cards. You may also use points to bid on select merchandise through Sony’s ShowStoppers auctions.
You'll want to redeem rewards within five years of earning them, or else they expire.
3. The card defines 'entertainment' broadly
The Sony Visa® Credit Card features a broad definition of entertainment that includes record stores, movie theaters, subscription services for products sent through direct mail, digital goods (including games, books, movies or music), transactions at sports arenas, theatrical productions, concerts and arcades, among others.
Still, other credit cards may be more lucrative or simply easier to manage overall.
The U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card doesn’t have as broad a definition of entertainment, but it can offer 5% cash back on up to $2,000 in combined quarterly spending in two categories of your choice (among a list of 12 options). In Q3 2020, those categories included electronics stores and TV, internet and streaming services. You don't have to provide any proof of purchase, though you will have to remember to activate your bonus categories each quarter.
4. The APR is high, so don't carry a balance
Cardholders get a variable APR of 13.99%, 19.99% or 22.74% (as of September 2020), depending on their creditworthiness. That's a steep rate to pay if you're carrying a balance, especially a large one, and any points you earn would easily be canceled out by those interest charges.
Aim to pay off your balance in full every month.
5. You can use it instantly after approval
You don’t have to wait for the Sony Visa® Credit Card to come in the mail to start using it. If you’re approved, you can request that a digital shopping pass be sent to your mobile device.
The pass is valid for 14 days, and you can use it to make online purchases while you’re waiting for your card to arrive.
Some limitations apply. For example, the pass has a temporary credit limit of up to $1,500, and you can only charge up to four transactions. Once you receive the card in the mail, you can spend as often as you’d like within your assigned credit limit.