Spanish airline Vueling has partnered with BitPay and the Universal Air Travel Program (UTAP) to accept cryptocurrencies as a new form of payment. As of 2023, customers will be able to purchase tickets online with a choice of 13 cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH).
13 cryptocurrency options
Vueling and BitPay have reached an agreement allowing the airline’s customers to pay with cryptocurrencies until 2023.
According to a PRNewswire report dated June 16, 2022, the Spanish airline will use technology provided by UTAP, the airline industry’s global payment network, which will enable a fast check-in process.
Thanks to this partnership, Vueling will be the first low-cost airline in Europe to accept cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) or Ethereum (ETH) as a means of payment.
“With this agreement, Vueling once again confirms its position as a digital airline. We are very happy that we have found in BitPay the best partner to offer our customers the possibility to transact with cryptocurrencies with the greatest security and reliability. †
Crypto payment options can be made in 13 cryptocurrencies including: Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Dogecoin (DOGE), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Shiba Inu (SHIB), and Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC). Rachel Morowitz, Vice President of Partner Processing at UTAP, added:
“Offering cryptocurrencies as a means of payment to the buying public is a necessity in this digital payment era. UATP and BitPay are teaming up to bring this option to the airline industry. In addition, this service responds to the growing demand from Vueling customers to pay with cryptocurrencies. †
For example, Vueling takes the initiative and is at the forefront of innovation in its payment services.
The opportunity to grow the market
Some may find this possibility anecdotal, but they would be wrong. Travala or XcelTrip Travel already offer this option, Vueling just wants to “follow” and attract a wider customer base. The prices are indicated in euros.
It’s a huge market opening up to Vueling through UnionPay. UnionPay is little known in Europe, where Visa and Mastercard have a presence in the European market, but at the end of 2021, the Asian giant is the number one card in circulation in the world with 9.4 billion bank cards. Visa has $3.7 billion and Mastercard has $2.5 billion in circulation.
UnionPay is benefiting greatly from the increased purchasing power of Chinese buyers at home and abroad. In 2020, about 40% of all credit card purchases worldwide were made via Visa, but UnionPay trailed just behind at 32% and Mastercard followed with 24% (Statista – The Nilson Report 2021).
The Russian market is also opening up to Vueling since Mastercard, Visa and American Express withdrew from the market following international sanctions. Russia has issued more than 4 million UnionPay cards.
Following on from this example, Emirates also plans to accept Bitcoin as a new payment method. In addition, the company plans to turn to Web 3, especially in terms of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and Metaverse.
The adoption of cryptocurrencies by luxury brands and broader traders has been increasing for quite some time.
In fact, a study published by Deloitte and Paypal on June 9 confirmed that 75% of US merchants plan to accept cryptocurrencies as a means of payment within the next 2 years.
In a slow market, it’s worth noting that big companies don’t care much about the price of cryptocurrencies. By offering this payment option, they predict that cryptocurrencies will still be on the rise – both a great marketing stunt and a way to attract new customers. In a competitive market, this cannot be ignored.