Visa U.S.A. has a number of marketing initiatives in the works.

Those using Visa cards at more than 100 merchants in Napa, Sonoma, and Mendocino counties in California through April 30 are eligible for discounts at hotels, restaurants, retailers, art galleries, tours, and wineries.

The arrangement, California Wine Country Prefers Visa, was timed to the fourth annual Napa Valley Mustard Festival, which began in February and continues through April 5.

Also, the San Francisco-based association has partnered with Colavita Olive Oil to offer consumers a chance to win a trip for two to San Francisco.

Shoppers will be entered automatically in the sweepstakes each time they use their Visa cards at participating supermarkets in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C.

Winners of the 10 grand prizes will receive air fare on United Air Lines, accommodations at the Nikko Hotel in San Francisco, and an Avis Car Rental.

Separately, Visa has joined forces with the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. to reduce the cost of winter getaways.

In the first stage of a multiyear deal, Visa cardholders will be eligible for discounts and upgrades.

Through March, cardholders staying at Ritz-Carlton Hotels Friday to Sunday and certain Ritz-Carlton Resorts Sunday through Thursday will pay as little as $95 a night.

Visa Gold cardholders staying at Ritz-Carlton city hotels Friday and Saturday nights through April will be upgraded to a suite when paying the corporate rate.

Finally, Visa U.S.A. is teaming up with Pebble Beach Resorts in a four- year marketing agreement, culminating in the U.S. Open golf championship in 2000.

Banners saying "Pebble Beach Resorts Prefers Visa" will hang at vendor booths.

The ad campaign tees off with a national Visa Gold television spot, shot at the Pebble Beach Golf Links.

The partnership stretches Visa's golf reach. MBNA America Bank launched a Pebble Beach Visa card in 1995 and Visa has preferred rights for sponsorships at Pebble Beach special events.

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