Vueling, a Spanish carrier and a member of the International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG) alongside Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, and LEVEL, has announced a partnership with BitPay to accept cryptocurrency as a payment method.
Here’s a look at the details of the partnership, how payments will work, and which cryptocurrencies will be eligible for payments with Vueling.
Vueling and BitPay Partnership Details
For those unfamiliar, BitPay is the world’s largest provider of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency payment services. To facilitate crypto payments, Vueling will use UATP — the global payment network for the airline industry — which allows for a fast integration process.
Vueling will become the first low-cost airline in Europe to accept cryptocurrencies as a payment method and will be one of just 3 airlines worldwide that accept crypto for direct payments.
Ticket prices won’t be denominated in crypto, though. They’ll be listed in Euros, meaning the amount of crypto you’ll need to pay for your flight will depend on the exchange rate of the currency you choose to pay with against the Euro on that given day and time.
Customers will be able to pay for their flight from more than 100 wallets and can choose between 13 different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Dogecoin (DOGE), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Shiba Inu (SHIB), and Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC).
If you’re curious about the thought process behind this decision, Jesús Monzó, Manager of Distribution Strategy and Alliances at Vueling, says: “With this agreement, Vueling once again reaffirms its position as a digital airline. We are very pleased to have found in BitPay the best partner to offer our customers the possibility of making transactions with cryptocurrencies with the greatest security and reliability.”
Meanwhile, Merrick Theobald, Vice President of Marketing at BitPay, says: “Vueling recognizes the potential of cryptocurrencies to transform the airline industry, making payments faster, more secure, and less expensive on a global scale. Our goal at BitPay is to make the acceptance of cryptocurrencies a seamless process and increase its adoption, as we believe that cryptocurrencies are the future of payments.”
Should You Purchase Airline Tickets With Crypto?
The ability to pay for airline tickets with cryptocurrencies is a welcome addition, especially for crypto enthusiasts. However, at least in the U.S., paying for items with crypto is considered a taxable event.
Let’s say you purchase $100 worth of Bitcoin and the value of that Bitcoin then rises to $200. If you use that Bitcoin to purchase a $200 flight, you’d be subject to $100 in capital gains taxes.
As you can imagine, these tax implications would likely make purchasing flights with your crypto prohibitively expensive compared to fiat alternatives. That said, the exact requirements for tax reporting can vary greatly based on your jurisdiction, so you should speak to a tax expert, CPA, or tax attorney to discuss your situation.
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This is another move that increases the usability of crypto, and we continue to see more and more merchants that accept crypto as a payment method.
However, since crypto in the U.S. is categorized as property (not legal tender), we still have a ways to go before spending crypto will be a viable alternative to the U.S. dollar.
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