Skift Take

We hope there is no way this could all go horribly, horribly wrong.

As we’ve previously reported, some consider airline miles a form of loosey-goosey variable shadow currency and attractive to hackers.

Recent news continues to prove this is a serious concern. Part of the attraction for the shadier sector of society is that airline miles and loyalty program points can be traded for goods or cash.

But another alternative currency—bitcoin—has joined the fray and its proponents suggest that the best value and safeguard for money is to take money out of the equation entirely.

Bitcoin For Miles, a business unit of Bitcoin Brands Inc., proposes that travelers convert unwanted miles, and other reward points, into bitcoin in what the company describes as a “fast, discreet and now even more private” transaction.

If that sounds a bit dodgy, the site’s FAQ provides answers.

“Is selling miles legal?” Bitcoin For Miles asks. “There is no federal or state law restricting the sale or barter of frequent flyer miles (Utah being the exception), but it is against airline policy,” it replies to itself.

According to a report by Coinfox about Bitcoin For Miles, you can get up to 0.017 bitcoin for each mile. “This is a rare case: usually bitcoin companies do not buy bonus and gift points and sell them instead,” Coinfox states.

Peter Klama, the owner Bitcoin for Miles, says the conversion from miles to bitcoin is quick “once the points leave your account to get your bitcoin. For transactions over a certain amount and we can involve an escrow agent until transfers are complete.”

Bitcoin is taking to the skies in more savory ways too. GuestLogix announced that beginning March 31 it would be adding bitcoin to its retail platform for onboard ancillary sales.

With airlines accepting this alternative currency on board, passengers can use their bitcoin to buy a bit of something to eat, or a drink, or pretty much anything else sold in the skies.

Latvian airline airBaltic was the first carrier bold enough to enter this new financial terrain, but GuestLogix believes others will follow and it’s ready to process bitcoin transactions whenever that becomes the thing.

It might become the thing sooner than you think. The Universal Air Travel Plan, Inc. is partnering with Bitnet to allow more than 260 international airlines to accept bitcoin payments.

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Tags: airlines, bitcoin, guestlogix, in-flight

Photo credit: Bitcoin For Miles proposes that travelers convert unwanted miles, and other reward points, into bitcoin. Bitcoin For Miles

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