The Air Travel Association has added two partners to its cobranded corporate card program.
National Westminster Bank of London and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines have signed on to offer cards later this year that will show the trade association's Air Travel Card logo as well as that of MasterCard.
The cards will therefore be usable used anywhere MasterCard is accepted to charge business travel costs.
The card will have separate billing procedures for air travel and other travel and entertainment expenses.
The Air Travel Card concept, originally established by American Airlines in 1936, offers to streamline companies' management of travel costs.
More than 100,000 corporations currently use the Air Travel Card. The company estimates global billings for 1996 were $10 billion.
This is the second partnership program for the Air Travel Association. In January 1996 it linked arms with GE Capital Services to issue a corporate MasterCard for American Airlines.
For National Westminster, the announcement represents its third airline industry signing since December.
At that time, the London-based bank launched a cobranded card for Executive Club members of British Airways.
Separately, it announced plans to issue an American Express corporate card to be marketed by United Airlines in the United States.
"The partnership with KLM grew out of the need to supply their corporate customers with a product they could use worldwide," said Joseph P. Horak, spokesman for Washington-based Air Travel.
"KLM wanted to deepen the relationships it had with its corporate clients, and we were able to offer them a corporate program," said Christina Mills, spokeswoman for Natwest.
Natwest will manage all card operations, including the billing of travel and entertainment expenses other than air fares and statement production through its Dutch card subsidiary, Comfort Card.
Some program details have not been completed. The standard Air Travel Card, unlike consumer programs, does not offer air miles or discounts.
"It may be an uphill battle to get the employees to use the card"- even if it is corporate policy to use it-"unless there is a direct benefit to the cardholder for travel purposes," said Stanley Anderson, president, Anderson & Associates, Arvada, Colo.
"There are so many products in the market," said K. Shelly Porges, chief executive of Porges/Hudson Marketing Inc., San Francisco. "This may serve more to bolster KLM's existing customer base instead of attracting new customers."
In a separate development, Beneficial National Bank in Delaware said it would come out next month with a cobranded Visa card for United Airlines. Cardholders would get mileage points for using the card. Fees and rates have not been announced. u