Skip to content

A cryptocurrency for frequent flyers: Earning FlyCoin with Ravn Alaska

Feb. 23, 2022
5 min read
Ravn Alaska Dash 8
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and Cardano are just some of the major cryptocurrencies on the market. Now, there's yet another cryptocurrency on the scene, FlyCoin, that aims to replace the traditional frequent flyer program.

Ravn Alaska, which is owned by the same parent company as the highly anticipated Northern Pacific Airways, is now rewarding its travelers with FlyCoin digital tokens (denoted as FLY) for the flights they take.

Ravn Alaska has a 75-year history; it started operations in 1948 as Economy Helicopters. The airline operates a fleet of about a dozen De Havilland Canada Dash 8-100 and Dash 8-300 turboprops to a variety of destinations in Alaska.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Unfortunately, Ravn Alaska had to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2020 as a consequence of the pandemic but has since resumed operations. Since then, the airline has undergone several changes, including the launch of FlyCoin.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

What is flycoin?

(Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images)

Flycoin is a cryptocurrency that awards you with a blockchain currency for your air travel. Within 24 hours of arrival of your flight, your frequent flyer Ravn Alaska account will be credited with FlyCoin.

According to the FlyCoin website, "Unlike the loyalty programs of today, where rewards are increasingly harder to redeem and constantly devalued, rewards earned through FlyCoin actually appreciate over time, offering members an opportunity to make a low-risk investment in the future of money. Our goal is to provide a program that untethers you from the constraints of today’s loyalty programs and is actually loyal to you, the customer, instead of airlines or credit card companies."

Of course, who wouldn't want to profit on their airline miles?

Right now, you can redeem FlyCoin toward Ravn Alaska flights at a rate of 2 cents per FlyCoin. Plus, you'll never earn less than $10 worth of FlyCoin per flight.

Later this year, FlyCoin — which is developed by a third party — will launch wallets. This means, in theory, you will soon be able to send FlyCoin to other travelers or convert them to cash or other cryptocurrencies, assuming there's a market to do so.

This also means that FlyCoin could be adopted by other airlines and entities in the future. Right now, the only confirmed airlines are Ravn Alaska and upcoming Northern Pacific Airways, which, again, are owned by the same company.

Related: Is earning bitcoin the credit card reward of the future? These cards think so

Is it better to credit Ravn flights to Alaska Mileage Plan?

You will often come out ahead earning FlyCoin instead of Alaska miles on Ravn flights. (Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

This is where you can really begin to see the value of FlyCoin. On flights with Ravn Alaska, you can credit your awards to either FlyCoin or Alaska Mileage Plan.

On all intra-Alaska trips, you earn 7 cents' worth of FlyCoin per mile flown. For example, a flight from Anchorage to Dutch Harbor that clocks in at 789 miles one-way would earn 2,761 FLY. Since a FLY token is worth 2 cents toward Ravn Alaska flights, 2,671 FLY are worth $55.23

On this same flight, you could earn 789 Mileage Plan miles, worth $14.20 per our latest valuations.

(Screenshot from alaskaair.com)

In this case, you get nearly four times the value with FlyCoin. It's also always nice getting "cash" value toward your flights. This way, there are no award charts to worry about or the need to find award space — just apply the FlyCoin to the flight you'd like to book.

Related: You can now redeem points for crypto — but you may not want to

What's next for FlyCoin?

Later this year, Northern Pacific Airways will be joining FlyCoin.

The airline will operate a fleet of Boeing 757-200s between the United States and Asia using Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) as a transit stop. Given its long-haul network, it probably will not be matching Ravn Alaska's seven times earning rates, but even at an earning rate of 1 cent (0.5 FLY) per mile flown, there's a lot to be excited about.

For example, here's what you might expect to earn on a flight from Fort Lauderdale to Seoul, South Korea:

  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) to Anchorage (ANC): 3,992 miles (1,996 FLY, worth $39.92).
  • Anchorage (ANC) to Incheon Airport (ICN): 3,799 miles (1,900 FLY, worth $38).

Related: New US airline Northern Pacific Airways unveils its first Boeing 757 — and big ambitions

Northern Pacific Airways revealed its livery on the outfit’s first Boeing 757 aircraft in California on Jan. 18. (Photo by Ethan Klapper/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

Since incorporating FlyCoin in June 2021, Ravn Alaska has issued FlyCoin to some 200,000 frequent traveler accounts. Flycoin hasn't provided a clear indication of how its value might increase or decrease with the market, and we're still awaiting wallets so FlyCoin can be exchanged with others.

However, it's still great to see a creative, contemporary take on rewarding travelers with potentially impressive returns.

Featured image by Photo courtesy of Ravn Alaska/Twitter
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases