The first partnerships in credit card programs were initiated by Credicard (card issuer and administrator) which promoted the profit sharing model for the big banks in the 80`s. At that time banks did not issue their own credit cards with their brands.
Loyalty programs started with the flight companies at early 80’s in the US. Western Airlines, American Airlines, United, Delta and Pan AM were the pioneer companies in loyalty programs built to strengthen relationship with the customers.
The survey about global retail by A.T. Kearney shows good perspectives for foreign investments in the Brazilian retail segment. Brazil ranked #9 in terms of attractiveness.
There has been a lot a discussion about credit card profitability. An account can generate ebit superior to R$100 / year or even cause losses. The timing to reach break even point and payback is highly dependant on various variables.