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Taking Flight in the Metaverse: How Airlines are Embracing Web3

Etihad nft

In a world where digital transformation is the name of the game, the airline industry is not one to be left behind. From the United Arab Emirates to Argentina, airlines are embracing the Web3 revolution, leveraging blockchain technology and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to offer unique experiences and rewards to their customers.

Etihad Airways’ Horizon Club: A Web3 Loyalty Program

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is leading the charge with its innovative Web3 loyalty program. The program, dubbed “Horizon Club”, is set to launch in September and promises to offer a unique blend of digital and real-world rewards to its members.

The Horizon Club will introduce a staking-for-miles program, allowing members to stake their NFTs to earn Etihad Guest Miles. These miles can then be redeemed for flights, upgrades, and other perks, adding a new dimension to the concept of airline loyalty programs.

This new collection is taking things to a whole new level. We’re talking a 12-month Etihad Guest Silver Tier Status, a 25% boost when earning Etihad Guest Miles, membership to the Etihad: Virtual Club, a fast-track to go from Silver to Gold Tier status, and a customized Etihad membership card.

The EY-ZERO1 Collection: More Than Just Digital Art

At the heart of Etihad’s Web3 strategy is the EY-ZERO1 collection. This series of NFTs, based on the Polygon blockchain, features 3D models of aircraft. The collection first launched in July 2022 and has been expanding ever since. The latest addition, launching on August 1, is the eleventh 3D aircraft model added to the collection. This new model is designed to look like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which was featured in the “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One” movie.

These NFTs aren’t just for show. Owning one of these digital assets comes with a host of benefits. The original EY-ZERO1 collection granted holders exclusive perks, such as Etihad Silver Tier status for one year and access to an NFT holders’ event at the Yas Marina Circuit Formula 1 race.

The new expansion of the collection takes these benefits even further. Holders of the new NFTs will enjoy a 12-month Etihad Guest Silver Tier Status, priority check-in, a 25% boost when earning Etihad Guest Miles, lounge access at Abu Dhabi International airport, membership to the Etihad: Virtual Club, a fast-track to go from Silver to Gold Tier status, and a customized Etihad membership card.

The creation of these NFTs was made possible through a collaboration with real-world asset tokenization firm Arcube, which is now Etihad Airways’ official Web3 partner. Infrastructure firm Crossmint is handling cryptocurrency or credit card payments for the collection.

So, the EY-ZERO1 collection is not just a series of digital assets, but a gateway to a whole new world of benefits for Etihad Airways passengers.

Other Airlines Soaring in the Web3 Space

Etihad Airways is not the first airline to engage in Web3. The trend of airlines diving into the world of blockchain and NFTs has been on the rise. For instance, the Argentinian low-cost carrier Flybondi expanded its partnership with NFT ticketing company TravelX in March to offer all tickets as NFTs on the Algorand blockchain. TravelX had previously partnered with Spanish airline Air Europa in April 2022 to launch a series of NFT tickets linked to perks and events. Additionally, Japan’s largest airline group, All Nippon Airways (ANA), launched an NFT marketplace as part of its plans to grow its Web3 strategy, which includes a metaverse travel experience that integrates passengers’ flight histories into their digital avatars. So, while Etihad is certainly making waves with its Web3 loyalty program, it’s not the only player in the game!

As the world continues to embrace digital transformation, the airline industry is proving that it’s ready to fly high in the Web3 space. With innovative loyalty programs and unique NFT collections, airlines are offering their customers new ways to engage and reap rewards. As more airlines join the Web3 revolution, the sky’s the limit for what’s possible in this exciting new digital frontier.

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