Citigroup Inc. and Travelocity.com announced an exclusive agreement Wednesday to develop a cobranded credit card.
The new Travelocity.com MasterCard card, which will be available in the fourth quarter, is a sign of the New York banking giant's deepening commitment to the Internet. Though many of its peers have flocked to Internet companies to develop cobranding and marketing programs in the last couple of years, Citigroup has been more cautious.
Now it appears that Citi has started bulking up its online offerings in general. Citi already issues a cobranded card with both Intuit, the owner of Quicken, and Netscape, the search engine. Last month it announced it was teaming up with America Online Inc. to build a set of payment products, and with Yodlee.com to start an account aggregation service. And in another announcement this week, it introduced a free downloadable toolbar, an upgrade of its electronic wallet, that is meant to make it easier to surf and shop the Internet.
The new credit card will allow consumers to earn rewards redeemable as payment for airline tickets, hotel rooms, cruises, and other Travelocity offerings. Travelocity.com members will be able to apply for a card online and receive a response in less than one minute.
"We partnered with Travelocity because we see an outstanding business opportunity with one of the premier name brands on the Internet," said Gene Oaksmith, senior vice president of alliance relations at Citibank. The bank's Internet strategy is to work "with those organizations that we have the confidence will be market leaders and will be able to support our relationship and product for many years," he said.
Citibank has signed on as the exclusive credit card issuer for Travelocity for the next five years.
A Citibank spokeswoman said the bank has recently increased its focus on the Internet and that there will be many more announcements in the coming weeks.
Citibank and Travelocity are planning a joint marketing campaign, online and off, for the card. The terms of the card were not disclosed, nor were details of the rewards program.