Lufthansa, one of Europe’s largest airlines, has partnered with Polygon to launch ‘Uptrip,’ a loyalty rewards program built on NFT technology. Uptrip allows passengers to collect digital trading cards in exchange for rewards, the latest sign of innovation in the Web3 space.
— Polygon (Labs) (@0xPolygonLabs) August 31, 2023
Some of the rewards listed in the Uptrip app are free in-flight WiFi, access to airport lounges, and redeemable airline miles. To qualify for a reward, users need to collect a certain number of NFT trading cards to create a ‘set,’ which then can be redeemed for the reward. The trading cards can only be used once.
Lufthansa originally tested its new NFT loyalty program with over 20,000 users before rolling it out to all rewards program members. As a representative of the airline remarked, there is a lot of curiosity towards Web3 but there are a lot of questions and hesitation as well. The representative added, “But that’s where [we] hit a nerve.” The company makes this technology accessible to all.
The NFTs in the rewards program are not soulbound, meaning that users can trade them on secondary marketplaces. Lufthansa plans to roll out its own marketplace in the second half of 2023 so that users have a dedicated place to trade the NFTs.
One of the more interesting aspects of the program is its partnerships with blue-chip NFT collections. As Wale, a prominent influencer on X, showed on August 22nd, there are specific rewards available related to Doodles, PROOF, RTFKT, and Bored Ape Yacht Club collections. It remains to be seen if the program will become popular, but it is certainly an interesting development in the space.
Airlines Adopt Web3 Technology
While airlines might be the last industry you might expect to adopt Web3 technology, they have taken to NFTs and the metaverse in droves. The reason may be simple: Web3 tech allows for innovation in rewards programs and ticketing, which can be complicated processes. Here are some stories involving airlines and the next iteration of the internet.
First, a month ago, Etihad Airways began to offer NFT staking for frequent flier miles. The program is based on its EY-ZERO1 collection, which gives holders several rewards, including Guest Silver Tier status, a 25% boost in guest miles, and lounge access at the Abu Dhabi International Airport. In September, staking will be rolled out. Holders who lock up their NFTs will receive additional perks.
Next, five months ago, Argentinian airline Flybondi and TravelX partnered for an NFT ticketing program. Now, Flybondi issues their tickets as NFTs, which can be bought and sold on secondary marketplaces. This innovation allows for a more flexible travel experience, as users will be able to transfer their tickets to other parties.
Nine months ago, Air Miles, which runs loyalty programs for different airlines, announced a partnership with Tokens.com and Metaverse Group. The goal: To create experiences in the metaverse that will allow the company’s partners to tap into the power of Web3 branding, which includes building communities around a company. This may set the stage for a Web3 royalty program that ties metaverse purchases to IRL rewards.
Lastly, about a year ago, Emirates announced it would release a set of NFTs in the metaverse. Although it didn’t give many details at that time, the company said it would align its collection with the goals for Web3 in the UAE, which has ambition in this nascent technology space.
As these stories show, airlines are not shy about entering the space and tend to do so with innovation. Rarity Sniper will look for more stories like these and keep you up to date.
Polygon: The Onboarding Blockchain for Web2 Companies
During the bear market, most Web3 companies have suffered under depressed market conditions. Many top NFT collections are down 80% of more from their all-time highs, a sign of lack of confidence in the market. But even amidst all the negative news, a bright spot has emerged: Polygon, a scaling solution for Ethereum.
The sidechain has become the onboarding blockchain for Web2 companies. It counts among its partners Starbucks, DraftKings, Meta, and more. Its low transaction fees and fast speeds make it idea for mass movement of NFTs, ideal for big companies with large customer bases. This include Lufthansa, the airline that is the subject of this article.
Another important aspect is this: Polygon is one of the few carbon-neutral blockchains in existence. Due to its low environmental impact and the purchase of carbon credits, Polygon has moved from causing slight environmental damage to being a positive. It is, in essence, a blockchain and company with a social mission.
We are likely to see more companies using Polygon to bridge to Web3 in the coming months, especially if those companies continue to see the next iteration of the internet as an intriguing place to build. Rarity Sniper will keep you up to date on developments with this blockchain and report back if needed.