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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Does airBaltic’s NFT program actually work? (Planies)

The Latvian national airline airBaltic has released a collection of 10,000 NFTs called Planies in October 2022.

The Planies allow their owners to passively earn airBaltic Club points daily, without having to actually fly.

Sounds too good to be true?

Let’s see how this actually works.

airBaltic and Its Loyalty Program

Established in 1995, airBaltic has grown to become one of the key players in the aviation industry in the Baltic region and beyond.

airBaltic fascinatingly operates all its flights with a single aircraft type: the Airbus A220-300.

This my favorite aircraft when flying in economy cabin.

Just look at the wide seats and simplicity of the cabin!

airBaltic mainly operates within Europe but also has 23 codeshare agreements with numerous airlines around the globe, coordinating over 300 destinations.

airBaltic offers a frequent flyer program called airBaltic Club.

There are many ways to earn airBaltic Club points such as flying with airBaltic (obviously).

However in this post, we will focus on their digital collectible loyalty program called Planies NFT.

What is a Planies NFT?

Planies are a digital collection of 10,000 unique airplane characters stored on the Ethereum Blockchain. (also known as non-fungible tokens)

Photo credt: airBaltic

By holding one or more planies, you can expect additional benefits to your airBaltic Club account.

But here’s the real kicker…

You can passively earn airBaltic points EVERY DAY, just buy holding a Planie.

Keep reading…

PlaniesNFT Benefits

Earn airBaltic points without even flying.

That’s the promise of holding one or more Planies. (at least as of now, and hope it stays that way)

Here are some of the key benefits as a Planies holder:

  1. A welcome bonus of 100 airBaltic Club points when you purchase a Planies.
  2. 20 airBaltic Club points per day per Planies.
  3. Business class upgrade voucher after 10 flights.
  4. airBaltic Club VIP status if you own 25 or more Planies.
  5. Monthly airdrops such as extra loyalty points, travel vouchers, and more.
  6. Complimentary tickets to various events including Planies holders party.

Click here to see the complete roadmap of Planies that was released in Sept 2023.

So the benefits being a Planies holder is quite compelling.

However, there’s a caveat.

According to Planies terms & conditions, these perks are subject to change at their sole discretion.

Hence the above benefits aren’t guaranteed for life.

Nonetheless, they recently assured that these benefits will remain unchanged until December 2024, which I greatly appreciate for its transparency.

So, how can you buy a Planie?

At the time of this writing, there are about 3,700 Planies left in stock,

and you can purchase(mint) directly from airBaltic’s Planiesnft website.

This is where it gets interesting.

The price of a Planie is tied to the value of a cryptocurrency known as Ethereum.

Currently, each Planie is being sold at 0.075 ETH plus a transaction fee (also known as Ethereum gas fee) which is roughly 118 € ($125 USD)

You might be wondering…

“What if I don’t want to deal with cryptocurrency?”

Luckily, Planies got you covered.

You can simply use a credit card to buy a Planie, without requiring any crypto knowledge.

So don’t worry if you want to ask your grandma to get you a Planie for your Christmas gift. 😆

Do you really earn airBaltic Club points?

Indeed affirmative – I tried myself.

The perks were so fascinating that I couldn’t resist myself from buying one.

In fact, I bought two.

Thanks to the guide written by the Planies team,

The process buying and staking a Planie was very straight forward.

I simply had to link the Planies to my airBaltic Club account, then I started earning points the next day.

You can see my Planies and the points I’ve earned so far down below.

Planies staking dashboard
airBaltic Club account dashboard

I’ve managed to accumulate 1,000 points after 3 weeks of staking.

While this might not appear to be a substantial amount, considering I did NOTHING to earn these points, it’s actually quite impressive.

Moreover, waking up daily with a points earning notification is incredibly satisfying 😛

Daily notification on my phone

How do you redeem airBaltic Club points?

There are multiple ways to spend your points:

  • Buying airBaltic gift cards from 1,667 points.
  • Buying baggage vouchers from 2,000 points.
  • Mixing points & cash payments for airBaltic flights.
  • Booking airBaltic reward flights from 4,500 points.
  • Booking KLM and Air France reward flights from 15,000 points.

The easiest way to use airBaltic Club points would be using redeeming directly towards your flight fare, where 100 points equate to a value of 0.60 €. (or 0.6 Euro cents per point)

1,000 points covering 6.00 € portion of the fare

You can simply adjust the slider to decide the amount of points you wish to redeem during a regular flight booking process.

However, for those who are savvy about miles and points, our objective is to maximize the redemption value, isn’t it?

And usually the easiest redemption method means the worst value.

Let’s see if we can do better.

airBaltic also allows you to redeem points based on their fixed points redemption chart.

The number of points required is categorized by regions (based on flight distance).

For instance, a flight from Riga to Prague would cost 7,500 points + taxes and fees. (Czechia falls under Region 3)

We can see that this flight typically falls within the price range of 47 € – 140 €.

I currently don’t have enough points to verify, but lets assume that we can redeem for the dates showing 69.99 Euros (Which I think is very reasonable).

As the fixed points redemptions will only cover the Fare and Fuel surcharge portion, we’d be redeeming our 7,500 points for 59.00 €. (0.78 Euro cents per point)

if we were to use the 7,500 points towards directly towards the cash fare from previous redemption method, it would’ve only covered 45.00 €. (7,500 points x 0.06 Euro Cents/point = 4,500 Euro cents = 45 Euros)

So we can clearly get more value out of the points by utilizing their fixed redemption chart.

in this case, we got roughly 30% more value out of it.

But it gets better…

airBaltic often runs promotions on certain flight routes.

Current flight e-voucher promotions (Sep 2023)

As you can see from the screenshot, the exact same route we’re looking at previously, a Riga-Prague flight voucher can be purchased for 5,000 points.

This now makes our 5,000 points worth 59.00 €, an incredible value of 1.12 Euro Cent per point.

Final thoughts

So one time purchase valued at around 118 € will earn 20 points per day.

If you were to purchase one today (Sep 2023), you would accrue points for the next 15 months at least, totalling up to 9,300 points.

That’s 56 € worth of points at minimum, or could be worth up to 104€ depending on how you redeem it.

So, whether acquiring a Planie is justifiable remains a matter of debate.

Nevertheless, I’d like to give credit to airBaltic for venturing into something new that other conventional airlines have yet to explore.

Anyhow, what are your thoughts on PlaniesNFT?

Would you consider buying one?

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment!

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