The phrase is common—there is no such thing as a free lunch. A free lunch might not exist, but apparently there is such a thing as free dinner and unlimited drinks, if you have a Visa Chase card that is. Last Thursday night I was in London. The guys I went to visit had heard about a VIP lounge for Visa Chase Card holders. One Visa Chase card provided entry for the holder and five guests. One of the boys I was with is a Visa Chase card holder so we all walked toward Trafalgar Square to the hotel hosting the lounge. Inside this VIP lounge, one had access to wifi, multiple TV screens airing the Olympics, an open bar and a gourmet style dinner. We all kept asking each other, “what is the catch?” But there was no catch! What surprised me the most was the fact that this was not a one night deal. This VIP lounge was open July 27 to August 12. In other words, it was open for the entire duration of the 2012 London Olympics. On their website Visa says, “Join us at Visa's VIP Lounge, exclusively for Visa Chase cardmembers. It's your private retreat during the London 2012 Olympic Games.” Visa suggests that this VIP lounge is set up as an appreciation for their customers, but this lounge serves another purpose as well. By allowing the cardholder to bring five guests, Visa is ensuring that people outside of their current clientele are exposed to Visa in a very positive light. Attending this VIP lounge definitely made me want to be a Visa Chase cardmember! However, Visa is spending A LOT of money to sustain this VIP lounge. Seventeen days of free food and unlimited drinks for a couple hundred people a night is worth a very large sum of money. By hosting this type of reception during the Olympics, Visa is able to promote their product very positively to a global audience; however, I would be curious to know if this positive advertising offsets the extreme cost incurred over the course of those seventeen days.
Picture obtained from: http://www.nipahutgardens.com/cardchase.asp