SIA's KrisFlyer to launch blockchain-based digital loyalty wallet

The SIA Group’s KrisFlyer frequent-flyer programme is to launch blockchain-based airline loyalty digital wallet. According to a release from the airline, this is to help unlock the value of KrisFlyer miles to enable everyday spending at retail partners.

A new KrisFlyer digital wallet app utilising the technology is expected to be rolled out in about six months. It will allow the extensive KrisFlyer membership base to use digital KrisFlyer miles for point-of-sale transactions at participating retail merchants. Following a proof-of-concept exercise carried out in collaboration with KPMG Digital Village and Microsoft, KrisFlyer will now be signing up retail merchant partners, initially in the Singapore market.

The first-of-its-kind lifestyle digital wallet app for an airline loyalty programme will be enabled through blockchain technology, using an SIA-owned private blockchain involving only merchants and partners.

“Innovation has been a key contributor to the success of Singapore Airlines since Day 1 and 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 ‘digitalise’ 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. It is in line with our recently unveiled Digital Innovation Blueprint, under which we aim to be the world’s leading digital airline.”

Last year, Singapore Airlines unveiled new benefits and rewards to its PPS Club programme, the most exclusive tier within Singapore Airlines’ frequent flyer programme, KrisFlyer. According to the airline, the introduction of the new features were made in response to feedback from PPS Club members. It also rolled out PPS Rewards in June, which was a selection of benefits which will give members additional incentives the more they travel in premium classes with Singapore Airlines and SilkAir. This included double KrisFlyer miles, redemption discounts as well as one-class cabin upgrades for flights, will be awarded to members when they reach various levels of spend.

The airline also recently made headlines for numerous reasons. Most recently, it was due to it backtracking on its decisions to automatically include travel insurance.  This was the second time SIA u-turned on customer-related decisions, an earlier incident being the imposition of credit card service fees for selected classes of fare types – namely its Economy Lite fare type. The airline faced criticism as credit was regarded a common payment method for consumers.