Passengers can now buy elite status on airBaltic as part of the company’s efforts to bring NFTs into its loyalty program. Members of the airBaltic Club who acquire 25 of the company’s Planies NFTs will receive the VIP status tier in the program.
They are priced in Ethereum, so the cost to purchase them can vary. At today’s prices it would cost around $3,100 to purchase the NFTs. Qualifying through normal flight activity would require 60 one-way trips.
In addition to granting a year of elite status for purchasing the Planies, the airBaltic Club member will also earn points for holding the NFTs. Late last year the company started issuing 20 points per day to anyone holding the NFTs and linking them to their Club account.
Read more: A blockchain loyalty revolution, spearheaded by airBaltic
While airBaltic is keen to see travelers get into the NFT world, the program does have its limits. The VIP status boost for holding the Planies is a one-time deal and only lasts for one year.
AirBaltic is the most advanced in its use of NFTs within its operations, but it is not the only player. Air Europa was keen to add an NFT-based ticketing option to its offerings, for example. Whether that survives the proposed merger with IAG remains to be seen. Etihad also tried to cash in on the NFT craze, selling Silver elite status via tokens. That offering was far less fungible than the airBaltic play.
Read more: Air Europa adding NFTicket platform
This latest effort to tokenize the loyalty program once again raises a significant question: What problem is the carrier trying to solve with the move?
Selling elite status certainly does not require NFTs. CEO Martin Gauss previously suggested that the status or an account itself could eventually be represented by a token and bought or sold:
You cannot move your frequent flyer card to someone else today. You could in the future do that if it is an NFT. This is not something we’re doing yet, but why not? You have a card. You have earned all of that. It has value. Why not? It is provocative.
But that’s not what is happening here. Minting status NFTs and putting them on to the open market would be a truly innovative development. Under such a plan airBaltic would have control over the number of status tokens issued and the airline could still take its 7.5% cut on any transfer transactions.
Perhaps it is also worth noting that when the Planies program launched, Gauss expected a cost to collectors around $300. That “investment” was supposed to allow holders to earn roughly one free ticket every year, a deal Gauss described as “a fair value” for both parties. With the Planies now approximately 50% cheaper, it may be rather less compelling for the carrier, but a better value for someone keen to collect the airBaltic points. And the 20 points/day earning rate has not changed, despite the lower acquisition cost for the tokens.
More NFT airline fun:
- airBaltic boosts NFT loyalty play
- A blockchain loyalty revolution, spearheaded by airBaltic
- Etihad selling silver elite status via NFTs
- Planies launch airBaltic Club into the NFT loyalty world
- Air Europa adding NFTicket platform
- airBaltic adds elite status option to Planies NFTs
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