Magazine article American Banker

Visa, Marriott in Multimillion-Dollar Promotion Deal

Magazine article American Banker

Visa, Marriott in Multimillion-Dollar Promotion Deal

Article excerpt

Visa U.S.A. and Marriott Hotels Resorts and Suites have signed what they said is a multimillion-dollar agreement to promote each other's brands.

The alliance is meant to further solidify Visa's image as a travel and entertainment card as well as strengthen the association's relationship with Marriott.

Visa has offered occasional discounts for stays at Marriott properties, but this strategic alliance moves beyond that. Thomas C. Edwards, Visa's senior vice president for travel and entertainment marketing, described the alliance as Visa's "most expansive relationship."

"The opportunity to create programs with Marriott's other lodging brands is out there," he added.

Partnerships in the hotel industry are common for card companies. First Chicago Corp. was the first to come out with a cobranded Visa card with Marriott in 1988. Others followed, including American Express' cobranded ventures with Hilton and ITT Sheraton.

In this most recent deal, Visa and Marriott plan to develop a number of loyalty programs designed to prompt consumers to use their Visa cards at Marriott hotels and resorts.

The partners also plan to collaborate on smart card technology. Smart card applications could include, for example, developing a chip- and PIN based card for employees of Marriott who don't have checking accounts, said Mr. Edwards.

The card could serve as a direct deposit account, allowing the employee to receive paychecks without going to check-cashing businesses.

For the general public, Visa is considering a prepaid stored value card that could be purchased as a gift for someone who planned to vacation at a Marriott property. …

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