Coins For Your Loyalty? Airlines Racing To Launch Crypto Loyalty Programs

  • AirAsia is set to launch its own cryptocurrency, BigCoin, to improve its loyalty program
  • Singapore Airlines has reportedly been develping its own private blockchain

Loyalty programs have come a long way since ticked or stamped cards, even going beyond barcodes. Going cardless, even cashless has become the new norm for loyalty programs. Cryptocurrencies have since entered this realm, from startup companies and now within major airlines.

It's been reported that AirAsia has taken another step in its digitalization process. To accelerate its loyalty program and provide revenue for its foray into fintech and remittance projects the company's founder, Tony Fernandes, has announced that its new cryptocurrency, called 'BigCoin' will be rolled out this year.

AirAsia Bets On BigCoin

The news comes shortly after Fernandes announced the company planned on conducting an initial coin offering (ICO). BigCoin has been announced as a method to increase the number of clients the airline has, and to alleviate currency fluctuation risks. To Fernandes, issuing a cryptocurrency is only natural, as the airline already has a “Big Points” system.

AirAsia has been known to use profits to improve user experience, as evidenced by its implementation of facial recognition passes in Johor. While the ICO/Cryptocurrency scheme remains grey on its roll-out date, Fernandes stated that the program could be introduced over as short a time-frame of three to six months.

Passengers will be able to accrue BigCoin by buying tickets, upgrades and services onboard an AirAsia flight. Already existing members of the company's loyalty scheme will also be able to use BigCoins as an alternative currency for their next flights.

Singapore To Launch Private Blockchain

Far from alone in its initiative, Singapore Airlines is also looking to incorporate blockchain into its underperforming loyalty program. In February 2018, the airline announced that it’s looking to use the technology accompanied with a digital wallet service after successful trials.

It's unknown to what extent blockchain technology would be incorporated; whether from an existing Ethereum setup, or wholly new. Partnerships with companies are reportedly already being formed within Singapore, specifically between the airline and retail merchants.