Directional Aviation’s PrivateFly has launched a Bitcoin Jet Account. The move comes as it reveals more than one in 10 of its private jet flights were paid for in Bitcoin last month. The bookings represented 19% of its sales.
The popularity of buying flights with cryptocurrencies has soared for the company in the last few months, rising from typically 1-2% of flights per month in recent years to 12% in December and 13% in January, according to a press release. It turns out Bitcoin users spend more. In terms of revenue, those cryptocurrency bookings made up19% of PrivateFly’s sales during the period.
PrivateFly has been accepting Bitcoin since 2014, when digital currencies were in their infancy. It has since offered clients the ability to pay in cryptocurrencies via BitPay for one-off flights or memberships. However, those funds have immediately converted the payment to euros, pounds, or dollars to remove the company’s volatility risk.
Its new Bitcoin Jet Account allows clients to hold onto their Bitcoin, keeping their account funds in the cryptocurrency.
Adam Twidell, PrivateFly CEO, said, “While we have accepted Bitcoin payments for many years now, cryptocurrency transactions have really taken off in recent months. These are in line with Bitcoin’s climb in value.”
The value of Bitcoin increased 400% during 2020.
The PrivateFly Bitcoin Jet Account allows members to place funds on account in Bitcoin. It then charges them for future flights according to the cryptocurrency’s value at the booking time – much like any other currency.
Alternatively, those who want to leave their Bitcoin untouched can opt to pay for each flight in another currency. The Bitcoin account funds act gives them membership benefits, including faster booking and preferred cancelation terms.
“Some of these are clients who are looking to realize their gains, while others want to hold onto their cryptocurrency, in expectation of future increases. So, in addition to taking out a membership with us in Bitcoin and converting the account funds into traditional currency, we now offer a membership program that allows the account funds to stay in Bitcoin,” Twidell said.
PrivateFly’s history of accepting Bitcoin goes back nearly a decade. Seven years ago, Belgian tech entrepreneur Olivier Janssens became PrivateFly’s first-ever Bitcoin client. He flew from Brussels to Nice Cote D’Azur. He booked and paid with the cryptocurrency on the same day.
At the time, Janssens said, “I am a firm supporter of Bitcoin and the efficiency it offers compared to other currencies – as a payment method and an investment. The flight was the biggest Bitcoin payment transaction I have made, but it was very easy and efficient, particularly as I wanted to fly at very short notice. It was the perfect way to pay.”
Alongside Bitcoin, PrivateFly also accepts a range of other cryptocurrencies via BitPay. Included are Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and four USD-pegged stable coins (GUSD, USDC, PAX, and BUSD).
Some brokers have offered cryptocurrency payment options with more joining. Last week, Los Angeles-based start-up charter and jet card broker Amalfi Jets said it would accept Bitcoin. It adds a 20% transaction fee.