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Airlines Leveraging Digital Assets for Loyalty and Engagement


Shaan Kooner

Shaan is the Community Manager at ethos. He has a passion for building community and has been interested in blockchain technology from an early age.

Shaan is the Community Manager at ethos. He has a passion for building community and has been interested in blockchain technology from an early age.

In recent months, a variety of airlines have all begun leveraging digital assets. From blockchain-powered ticketing systems to NFT loyalty programs,  travel-related use cases for digital assets have seemingly been endless. In this article, we’ll dive into the use cases from3 major airlines and explore how they used this emerging technology to their advantage.

1. Lufthansa

In August of 2023, Lufthansa announced the launch of a blockchain-powered loyalty program that will feature an NFT offering. All Lufthansa-owned airlines will be participating, including Austrian Airlines, Swiss International Airlines, and others. The program will allow customers to collect digital trading cards with each flight they take on a participating airline, and the collectibles will each belong to a specific theme. Customers who manage to collect all of the cards within a certain theme will unlock special and exclusive benefits such as free in-flight WiFi, access to lounges, and more. Although Lufthansa’s campaign is quite new and many features have yet to be rolled out, it’s clear that the airline giant has taken a benefit and customer-centric approach to their first digital asset campaign - a simple yet effective strategy that all brands should focus on when working with digital assets.

2. Etihad

In July of 2023, Etihad Airways announced a utility-focused expansion to its existing EY-ZERO1 digital asset campaign. The expansion, which saw the release of 300 limited-edition digital assets, was an addition to a web3 activation that was first launched by the airline in July of 2022. The original set of digital assets granted customers access to perks such as Etihad Silver Tier status for one year and access to the Yas Marina Formula 1 event, and Etihad’s most recent expansion adds to this growing list of utility. Customers who purchased one of the limited-edition digital assets from the summer drop will now be granted priority check-in, a 25% boost in collecting Etihad Guest Miles, a complimentary membership to Etihad’s virtual community, lounge access at Abu Dhabi International Airport, a personalized membership card, and more. Etihad also has plans on following Lufthansa’s lead, with the announcement of a blockchain-powered loyalty program expected sometime in Q3 2023.

3. Flybondi

Argentina-based airline Flybondi made headlines in March of 2023 with the announcement of NFT-based tickets. In a worldwide first, the airline announced that they would be offering electronic tickets as digital assets, citing increased flexibility for customers as one of the reasons for the decision. The NFT ticketing system, built on the Algorand blockchain, gives passengers the freedom to change the name on their ticket, as well as sell and transfer their ticket independently. Customers who choose to use Flybondi can even purchase tickets in advance, without having definite travel plans or even knowing who will be using the tickets. The airline has also created a new stream of revenue for itself, as they collect a fee every time that an NFT ticket is sold or transferred, effectively creating and benefitting from a secondary market whilst giving their customers an option to recoup the value of their tickets if plans don’t work out.

How Airlines Could Take Their Digital Asset Campaigns To The Next Level

The web3 activations that we’ve seen emerge from the travel industry have been great so far, but in order to take future campaigns to the next level, there has to be a further focus on simplicity and accessibility.

At ethos, we believe that in order for the mass adoption of digital assets to happen, brand campaigns have to be simple, easy-to-understand, and familiar. Little things, such as eliminating a focus on cryptocurrency wallets or incorporating a one-step sign up within your campaign, can ensure that your activation is accessible to your entire customer base . A simplicity-based approach isn’t a novel idea within the web3 space - with brands such as Starbucks, Reddit, and others all having taken a customer-first approach to their campaigns by removing unnecessary jargon and extra hoops to jump through. As digital assets continue to grow both technologically and in popularity, it’s only a matter of time until airlines begin to take this approach too.

Connect with us today to explore how digital assets can be best used by your brand.