Record volumes in the domestic travel and entertainment category helped propel both MasterCard and Visa to strong performances last year.

Visa U.S.A. registered $49.4 billion in card volume for such services as air travel, car rental, dining, and lodging, an increase of almost 19% over its 1993 figures. MasterCard reported $27.1 billion in U.S. travel and entertainment volume for 1994, a gain of just under 20% from the previous year.

Thomas C. Edwards, Visa U.S.A.'s senior vice president of travel and entertainment marketing, attributed its gains to alliances with members' travel industry entities, favorable merchant discount rates, and general cardholder activity.

A MasterCard spokesman cited the New York-based association's sponsorship of the World Cup soccer championship, which attracted many visitors to the United States, and the MasterGuest program, which offers discounts on a variety of travel and vacation options.

Visa, based in San Francisco, saw its greatest advance in restaurant volume, which jumped by 21%, from $10.7 billion to $12.9 billion. Airline volume for Visa went up 19%, from $11.3 billion to $13.4 billion, while lodging activity was up 15%, to $13.9 billion.

MasterCard also achieved big gains in the dining sector, improving from $6.4 billion in 1993 to $7.7 billion last year, an increase of 20%. Airline volume increased 19%, from $6.1 billion to $7.2 billion.

Lodging volume for MasterCard totaled $8.34 billion last year, up 15% from $7.25 billion in 1993.

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