American Express says it isn't trying to "ambush" Olympic sponsors, but it will offer a promotional program in Atlanta that may make Visa feel threatened.
From June 1 through Aug. 31, American Express customers enrolled in the Membership Rewards program will be eligible to earn two points instead of one for using their American Express cards at Atlanta-area restaurants.
"This is not an Olympic promotion," said American Express spokesman, Marcos Rada. "We are not using Olympic imagery or language, and the offer is good through the summer, not just the two weeks of the Olympics."
At the end of this month, American Express will launch a media blitz of radio, television, and print ads. Restaurants also will promote the program.
Some cardholders have been notified of the program in their quarterly Membership Rewards statements.
Mr. Rada said the impetus for the program came from the Georgia Hospitality and Travel Association, which was concerned that Atlanta residents would feel overwhelmed by tourists in town for the Olympics, and would neglect local restaurants.