As cryptocurrency continues to rise in popularity, more and more consumers are investing in cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and Ethereum to pay for a wide array of goods and services. Among the industries increasingly accepting cryptocurrency as a form of payment are travel companies. Although paying with cryptocurrency has its pros and cons, more and more consumers seem eager to spend their crypto on airline tickets and hotel rooms.
Which Companies Accept Cryptocurrency?
Several online travel agencies, including Travala, Destinia, CheapAir, BTCtrip, Abitsky, and Berkley Travel, accept Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency. Through these agencies, travelers can book airline tickets and hotel rooms. If you prefer to book your flights directly through the airline, you’re in luck. AirBaltic became the first airline to accept crypto back in 2014, followed by LOT Polish Airlines and Virgin Galactic.
In 2021, the global payment network known as Universal Air Travel Plan (UATP) announced that they will begin accepting payments in 10 popular cryptocurrencies. Thousands of travel merchants, including many major airlines and travel agencies, accept UATP. The luxury hotel brand, Kessler Collection has also announced its acceptance of Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and Ether as valid payment methods.
As the number of consumers looking to pay for travel with crypto increases, it is likely that we will see more and more companies accepting the digital currency going forward. According to a survey conducted by Travala.com, 22 percent of American travelers intend to pay for part of their upcoming trip with cryptocurrency.
How to Book Your Next Trip With Cryptocurrency
If you’re interested in booking your next trip with crypto but you haven’t yet acquired any, there are several online exchanges where you can quickly and easily do so. Interested consumers can create an account with a reputable exchange website such as Binance, Coinbase, or Gemini and transfer real money to add cryptocurrency to an online wallet. When you’re ready to make a purchase through a valid agency or airline, select crypto as the payment option, and you’ll be redirected to one of the aforementioned sites. PayPal also allows customers to purchase digital currency directly.
What Are the Pros of Booking Travel With Cryptocurrency?
Booking flights and hotel rooms online with cryptocurrency is a fairly simple process similar to paying with a credit or debit card.
Many consumers are also drawn to the security offered by cryptocurrency, which is managed through a decentralized technology known as blockchain. Since the goods and services associated with travel are relatively high-value purchases, safe and trusted transactions are highly desirable.
Travelers can also use cryptocurrency to save money by avoiding hefty foreign exchange fees. Bitcoin ATMs can be used to convert your local currency into BTC, which can then be converted into a different national currency for a very small or nonexistent fee. If you’re traveling to a nation where the currency is particularly unstable, paying with crypto instead of converting your money to the local currency may also save you some headache.
Loyalty rewards programs can be very lucrative for repeat customers, especially in the travel space. Luckily, if you choose to book your travel with cryptocurrency, you will still be able to receive these rewards, which will be tokenized as digital currency.
What Are the Cons of Booking Travel With Cryptocurrency?
Unfortunately, cryptocurrencies are known to be pretty unstable themselves. So, depending on where you’re traveling, crypto may not be the best way to protect yourself from potential volatility.
Although some travelers prefer the security offered by crypto transactions, others are sticking with their credit cards. Credit card companies allow their customers to dispute potentially fraudulent charges under the Fair Credit Billing Act, a benefit not afforded to crypto owners.
Perhaps the most notable disadvantages to paying with cryptocurrency are its limitations. While it has become increasingly common for online travel agencies and other companies to accept payments with crypto, there are many major players who have not yet followed suit. If your favorite site doesn’t accept cryptocurrency or you prefer to search around for the best price, you may not be able to cash in your Bitcoin.
There are also several countries that have banned the use of crypto for purchases, including Algeria, Bolivia, China, Egypt, Nepal, and Vietnam, and you won’t find any businesses in Russia or Pakistan accepting the digital currency.
There’s no denying that cryptocurrency has become an increasingly popular payment method across industries, and the travel space is no exception. Whether the pros outweigh the cons is largely dependent on your personal preferences and the nature of your trip.