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As the first groups of Olympic athletes make their way to London this week, the tourists are soon to follow.

According to the official site for the London Olympics, 11 million ticketholders will be at the 2012 games. But while they’re not enjoying their events of choice, there are plenty of other activities to keep them busy.

While Visa is the official sponsor of the London Olympics, and only Visa-issued debit and credit cards can be used at Olympic venues (besides cash and checks, of course), many issuers have London experiences available to cardholders. Here are a few of the fun London activities you can enjoy if you’re visiting Great Britain in a few weeks.


Even though it’s not going to be an experience you can reward yourself with this year, Visa is in the midst of its “Go World” campaign. From now until Aug. 31, Visa cardholders in the U.S. and Canada will be automatically entered to win a trip for two people to attend every Summer Olympics for the rest of their lives, starting with the 2016 Rio de Janeiro games.

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Priceless London is the place to find all of the details on London offerings for MasterCard customers. Here are a few highlights.

  • Several Starwood Hotels & Resorts in London offer a free night if you book a two-night stay over the weekend.
  • Meet the cast of “Abigail’s Party,” a popular London theater piece, after the show as well as get a free glass of champagne.
  • Access for yourself and one guest to some of the hottest nightclubs in London, exclusive to World Elite MasterCard customers.
  • Half-priced tickets to see “The Wizard of Oz” at the London Palladium until July 31.

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American Express

American Express also has some great experiences for cardholders headed to London for the games.

    • If you stay at the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel, you can get two £20 theater vouchers, luxury accommodations and 25% off hotel dining.
    • 10% discount on several outdoor theater experiences around Great Britain.
    • Platinum and Centurion cardholders have access to Michelin-starred pop-up restaurants during the games, as well as a riverside “oasis.”


According to spokeswoman Kathryn Henry, Discover is giving cardholders 2% cash back on all purchases made in the United Kingdom until Aug. 31, in addition to no foreign transaction fees.

Another great perk for cardholders is that there will be no fees for any cash advances taken out and the cash advance APR will instead be replaced with a standard purchase APR, which tends to be lower. This can be a great perk if you need any cash for Olympic souvenirs.
Image: Craig Deakin, via Flickr

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