Launch of the Krispay digital wallet highlights just how blockchain technology is being used to change the customer experience

It is almost six months since the Singapore Airlines Group (SIA Group) revealed that its KrisFlyer frequent-flyer programme was to launch a world-first blockchain-based airline loyalty digital wallet capability to help unlock the value of KrisFlyer miles to enable everyday spending at retail partners. Now, the Asian carrier has outlined how it is utilising this innovative technology to allow the extensive KrisFlyer membership base to use ‘digital KrisFlyer miles’ for point-of-sale transactions at participating retail merchants.


Summary:

  • SIA Group’s KrisFlyer frequent flyer programme has launched a new digital currency, KrisPay, which turns loyalty miles into a bona fide digital currency now accepted by retailers for point-of-sale transactions;
  • From its launch, KrisPay miles will be accepted at 18 merchants within Singapore that span different categories of beauty services, food and beverage, petrol and retail
  • KrisPay is the world’s first blockchain-based airline loyalty digital wallet. The technology was developed in collaboration with KPMG Digital Village and Microsoft;
  • As well as growing in Singapore, SIA Group says merchants outside Singapore will be progressively added to KrisPay.

The new KrisPay miles-based digital wallet is the world’s first blockchain-based airline loyalty digital wallet and has been developed in collaboration with KPMG Digital Village and Microsoft. It enables KrisFlyer members to convert KrisFlyer miles into KrisPay miles instantly for everyday spending at partner merchants island-wide. The innovative platform will allow members to choose from using as little as 15 KrisPay miles (equivalent to about SGD0.10) to pay for their purchases at partner merchants, either partially or in full.

“We are excited to be introducing KrisPay, a novel way for our KrisFlyer members to digitally access their miles at their fingertips, at any time. By creating a miles-based digital wallet which integrates the use of miles into their daily lives, KrisFlyer members have yet another way to use miles instantly on everyday transactions,” says Singapore Airlines CEO, Mr Goh Choon Phong.

From the start, KrisPay miles will be accepted at 18 merchants spanning different categories of beauty services, food and beverage, petrol and retail. Selected partners will also offer discounts during the launch period. More merchants will be progressively added to the platform, and members can expect frequent in-app promotions and more app features to be delivered in the coming months.

KrisPay is available for download now on the Apple and Google Play Store. Once it has been downloaded, members can turn their KrisFlyer miles into KrisPay miles using the app’s instant top-up function. Once transferred, KrisPay miles have a validity of six months. To pay for purchases, members simply need to scan the KrisPay QR code at the merchant, and key in the amount they wish to pay with their KrisPay miles.

The launch of KrisPay is a major development and SIA Group has taken first mover status, but it is clear that a wider range of options to spend miles will be required for it to deliver on its potential. While there is some variety among the initial merchants accepting the technology, not all brands are accepting payments nation-wide. For example KrisPay functionality is only available initially at 11 out of 25 Cedele outlets island-wide, 3 out of the 11 TWG Tea outlets, 11 out of 14 Gong Cha outlets and 23 out of 62 Esso service stations.

As well as growing in Singapore, SIA Group confirms “merchants outside Singapore will be progressively added to KrisPay”. The airline group certainly deserves recognition for taking these steps down the technological path. If successful, others will certainly follow with a more refined offer.

Ultimately this is all about adding more flexibility for frequent flyers to redeem rewards from flying with SIA Group carriers and partners. As long as it doesn’t dilute existing redemption offers, it could deliver a complementary way for frequent flyers to spend their loyalty rewards… and that should be rewarded!