Singapore Airlines (SIA) plans to launch a blockchain-based loyalty scheme for frequent fliers in a bid to deepen retail relationships.
On Monday, the airline announced the changes to the KrisFlyer frequent flyer programme, which will bring blockchain technologies to the digital wallet, already established on mobile devices.
The new scheme, due be rolled out within the next six months, will include the development of a mobile app which connects users to their point hoards, gained through purchasing flights and services from SIA.
According to the firm, the blockchain-based app will allow KrisFlyer members to "use digital KrisFlyer miles for point-of-sale transactions at participating retail merchants."
By underpinning frequent flyer points and spending with distributed ledger technologies, SIA will be able to expand retail partnerships and offer users more ways to spend their points. This, in turn, may encourage customers to participate in the scheme and increase customer loyalty.
The blockchain-based solution was originally tested as a proof-of-concept exercise with KPMG Digital Village and Microsoft.
"We are very excited about this world-first initiative, which will bring even more benefits to members of our KrisFlyer programme," said Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong. "This groundbreaking development in which we will be using blockchain technology to 'digitalize' KrisFlyer miles is a demonstration of the investment we are making to significantly enhance the digital side of our business for the benefit of our customers."
Retail partners will initially be sought in the Singapore market but should the program prove to be a success, this may expand to other areas in SIA's reach. The blockchain will be private and only include merchants and partners in the chain.
Singapore Airline may be the first airline to explore blockchain technologies in relation to frequent flyer programs, but it is not the first carrier or travel company looking to harness the technology in the industry.