Cathay Pacific, the flag carrier of Hong Kong and an airlines giant, will use blockchain technology for rolling out their new rewards program for their flyers. They have worked with technology giant Accenture for this new reward program, named ‘Unlock More Miles‘.
Airlines reward programs currently rely on technology solutions that use multiple data sources, and require significant back-office effort. The airline has chosen blockchain to improve on this count.
Blockchain ensures decentralization by design, where computers on the network, also called ‘nodes’, maintain a shared version of the truth. There’s no dependence on any central server, and all nodes have complete ledger of all transactions recorded in the blockchain, hence blockchain is also called ‘distributed ledger technology’ (DLT).
No existing block records, or ‘blocks’ can be deleted or updated in blockchain, and the only way to update it so add a new block. The consensus mechanism of blockchain requires majority of participating nodes to validate the transaction, and the process requires significant number-crunching at high-speed. This makes hacking blockchain economically non-viable, and hence blockchain is secure.
Cathay Pacific‘s new system will first roll-out a new mobile app and platform, which has been developed by Accenture, and called ‘Unlock More Miles‘. There is a marketing campaign which integrates this with a dining promotion in Hong Kong. Members of Cathay Pacific’s rewards program ‘Asia Miles‘ will find their miles credited within a day.
The system will automate several data management procedures. Using blockchains promise of immutable record, it will also enable a transparent transaction history between Cathay Pacific and the dining partners. The company expects significant reduction in back-office administration, and thereby improved efficiency.
Cathay Pacific‘s effort to implement blockchain technology isn’t new in the aviation industry. Singapore Airlines has announced their blockchain-powered ‘loyalty wallet application‘ recently, and this was developed with their technology partner Microsoft. Air Asia, another southeast Asia airline will develop their cryptocurrency BigCoin and migrate their rewards program into that platform. German airline Lufthansa plans to launch a business-to-business (B2B) marketplace powered by public Ethereum blockchain.