JEWEL TIES CO-BRANDED CREDIT CARD, LOYALTY PLAN

MELROSE PARK, Ill. (FNS) -- Jewel-Osco here has introduced a co-branded credit card offering many of the same benefits as its customer-loyalty program, including discounts on selected products and check-cashing privileges.In addition, customers using the Visa card to charge purchases at Jewel and other retailers earn points toward rewards, including discounts on airline tickets, movie tickets and

MELROSE PARK, Ill. (FNS) -- Jewel-Osco here has introduced a co-branded credit card offering many of the same benefits as its customer-loyalty program, including discounts on selected products and check-cashing privileges.

In addition, customers using the Visa card to charge purchases at Jewel and other retailers earn points toward rewards, including discounts on airline tickets, movie tickets and admissions to local attractions.

"This is a great value-added service for our customers and I think they will be pleased to see how fast the points add up," said Larry Stablein, senior vice president of marketing for Jewel-Osco.

Cardholders earn two points for each dollar charged at Jewel-Osco and one point for purchases made at other retailers. Prizes range from $100 off vacation packages (1,500 points) to free round-trip airline tickets, (25,000 points). Point totals are reported on customers' monthly credit-card statements.

One of the key selling points for the Jewel-Osco Preferred Visa card is that there is no annual fee for consumers who use the card at least three times during a 12-month period. The retailer is working with US Bancorp, Minneapolis, and Visa U.S.A., San Mateo, Calif. The card was introduced in November.

In addition to display and in-store advertising highlighting the credit-card introduction, members of Jewel's frequent-shopper program were alerted to the new card through the chain's monthly mailer.

To apply, customers can obtain an application at one of the 187 Jewel-Osco units in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin as well as 79 freestanding Osco Drug Store locations in the Chicago and Milwaukee metropolitan areas. Jewel is a division of American Stores, Salt Lake City.