Visa International

Visa and Accor Announce Worldwide Strategic Partnership Providing Global Benefits to Visa Cardholders

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA (ots) - Visa International, the world's leading payment brand, and Accor, the European leader and one of the world's largest groups in hotels, travel, tourism and corporate services, today announced a major international partnership agreement to maximize value and promotional exposure through marketing programs and Visa cardholder incentives.

    "Accor's wide range of travel industry services will provide Visa cardholders with exceptional values at Accor properties," said Tom Shepard, executive vice president, Global Marketing Partnerships and Sponsorship, Visa International. "We were particularly impressed with Accor's depth of products, including its exceptional global hotel network complemented by its travel agency, tour operating, and business services. Our partnership will enhance the travel experience for Visa cardholders while building business opportunities for our Visa members."

    With 147'000 associates in 140 countries, Accor is the European leader and one of the world's largest groups in Hotels and Services. Every day in 32 countries, nearly 13 million people use services designed, developed and managed by Accor Services. These include food vouchers, personal assistance and services, business expense management, public sector services, incentives and loyalty programs. Travel and restaurant activities complement Accor's unique line of leisure and tourism products. Accor's offerings in the travel area include Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Accor Vacances, Frantour, Go voyages, Lenotre, and Compagnie des Wagons-Lits. Accor also offers hotel packages specially-tailored to customer preferences and budgets at more than 3'700 hotels - from economy to upscale - in 90 countries.

    Accor will provide value-added offers to Visa cardholders for seasonal promotional rates in the Mercure, Novotel and Sofitel hotels, as well as complimentary breakfasts or other special advantages in newly opened hotels. Sofitel, the flagship luxury hotel brand of Accor, currently participates in Visa's premium card programs - Visa Infinite, Visa Platinum and US Signature Visa cards - providing special enhancements to those cardholders. Under the new agreement, these Visa cardholders will be offered the new Sofitel Privileged Guest loyalty card, providing exclusive services such as late check out, upgrades, access to the hotel's health club, as well as unbeatable promotional rates.

    Visa currently promotes a number of Accor offers through its online travel, retail and entertainment site "Visa Destinations" at www.visadestinations.com and through programs in conjunction with its Member financial institutions. Current offers include upgrades, room discounts, access to health and fitness facilities, and other special offers when you pay with your Visa card. Terms and conditions as well as redemption information may be found at the Visa Destinations website.

    Visa and Accor also will collaborate in sponsorship marketing activities for the Rugby World Cup 2003 in Australia and the ATHENS 2004 the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

    About Visa

    Visa is the world's leading payment brand. Visa-branded cards generate US$ 2.4 trillion in annual volume and are accepted at 30 million physical locations around the world, including 810'000 ATMs in more than 150 countries. The Visa organization plays a pivotal role in developing innovative payment products and technologies to benefit its 21'000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa is a leader in Internet based payments and is pioneering thecreation of u-commerce, or universal commerce - the ability to conduct commerce anywhere, anytime, and any way. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.

    About Accor

    With 147'000 associates in 140 countries, Accor is the European leader and one of the world's largest groups in travel, tourism and services, with two major international activities:

    - Hotels: a unique position with 3'800 hotels (425'000 rooms) in
        90 countries, from budget to luxury, and travel agencies,  
        restaurants and casinos;

    - Services to corporate clients and public institutions: each day,
        13 million people in 32 countries use a broad range of services
        (Food Vouchers, People's Care, Expenses Management, Social
         services, Incentive / Events) engineered and managed by Accor.

    More information on Accor can be found at www.accor.com

ots Originaltext: Visa International
Internet: www.newsaktuell.ch

Contact:
Michael Sherman
Visa International
Phone  +1/650/432-3923
mailto: sherman@visa.com

Norbert Beatty
GCI Group
Phone    +1/212/537-8131
mailto: nbeatty@gcigroup.com