Travel with Bitcoin: How much airfare can you buy?

It’s a striking question, but an ever more relevant one as cryptocurrencies become more validated around the world. If you want to travel with Bitcoin, how much airfare can you buy?

One of the interesting similarities between points and miles currencies and cryptocurrencies is the amount of arbitrage they fuel.

Reward ticket flyers look at the miles they are spending related to how many cents each mile translates to when compared to a ticket bought with cash. In a similar way, cryptocurrency buyers are watching how much cash each is worth as they consider a potential value target.

So let’s take a look: We’ll begin with how many U.S. Dollars 1 Bitcoin is worth.

What is 1 Bitcoin worth?

You can buy a lot of travel with Bitcoin.
A snapshot of the price of Bitcoin on 12/17/2017, courtesy of Coinbase.

At the time of this writing, 1 Bitcoin is worth about $19,430. That’s a lot. From January to December 2017, Bitcoin’s value has increased more than 2,000%. January’s Bitcoin value was about $784.

Travel with Bitcoin: How much airfare can you buy?

If you’re going for the most flights, you’ll certainly want to travel in economy to achieve the lowest price per flight. Right now most air carriers do not directly accept Bitcoin, so you would need to convert it to gift cards or U.S. dollars first (or your local fiat currency).

You can, however buy airfare with Bitcoin at certain airlines such as AirBaltic and Polish Airlines LOT. American Airlines does not accept Bitcoin currently, but you can buy AA gift cards on Gyft with Bitcoin. You can also buy hotel gift cards from Hyatt on Gyft using Bitcoin, so at least there are some options. Finally, Expedia does accept Bitcoin for travel purchases.

Back to the flight examples. First up is economy.

JFK to LAX in economy

You can book a lot of economy travel with Bitcoin.

This is a transcontinental flight between New York and Los Angeles. Roundtrip flights in January are just under $300, so we’ll use that as a reference cost.

So, using 1 Bitcoin of value, you could fly 64 of those roundtrip flights.

JFK to LAX in JetBlue Mint First Class

Even at peak prices in JetBlue's Mint service, you can still get a decent amount of travel with Bitcoin.


But let’s say you wanted to fly in style with JetBlue’s Mint Class. January roundtrip flights in Mint Class are pretty high, coming in at about $1,900.

That translates to about 10 flights.

JFK to SIN in Emirates First Class

But what if you wanted to fly in first on one of the best international carriers? Let’s take a look. If you fly Emirates first class suites from New York to Singapore, January roundtrip flights run about $17,100.

That would effectively allow you to complete one roundtrip flight in first class with 1 Bitcoin of value, and still have $2,000 left over.

Of course, there are many cryptocurrencies around the world, just like there are many loyalty programs for airlines. Just don’t get the two mixed up.

It’s very interesting that the airlines accepting Bitcoin have been doing it for more than two years at this point.

As a note, this article is written to showcase some of the similarities between points and miles currencies and cryptocurrencies, as well as to provide a light-hearted look at the value of flights when compared to Bitcoin.

Southern Points does not offer financial advice and this article should not be treated as such.

What do you think about the Bitcoin boom and cryptocurrencies? Would you travel with Bitcoin? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Featured image courtesy of Bitcoin and Pexels.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here