CheapAir.com, the first online travel agency to accept Bitcoin, announced today that they have processed over $1.5 million in Bitcoin transactions since first implementing the option in November 2013.
The payment option was implemented in partnership with Coinbase, a Bitcoin processing firm that has targeted merchants like CheapAir.com to offer the service of converting bitcoins to U.S. dollars instantly for Bitcoin transactions. Likewise, Coinbase offers normal end users the ability to buy bitcoins with U.S. dollars.
CheapAir.com, a veteran of online travel booking, first hit the Internet back in 2000. Long before, starting in 1989, CheapAir.com was known as 1-800-Cheap-Air. Using new technology to make travel easier and less expensive has long been a hallmark of the company. Adopting Bitcoin before the rest of the industry seems to be part of a larger pattern of innovation for the company.
CEO Jeff Klee says, “if our customers have a need, we’ll go to great lengths to come up with a solution.” This time, that meant finding a way to allow end users to pay for flights and hotels with Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is a digital currency that offers several advantages over traditional currency and payment methods. For travellers, it can be particularly useful. Bitcoin payments complete almost instantly and, while fees are lower than domestic transactions too, the fees associated with Bitcoin transactions are far lower than those that come along with international transactions with fiat currencies.
Recognizing these perks, others have followed in CheapAir.com’s footsteps, like Expedia. CheapAir.com figures to be a step ahead with so much time and investment in the platform. Others in the industry may feel pressure to adopt Bitcoin and move it towards a de facto standard choice for travel purchases.
To commemorate their great start with Bitcoin, CheapAir.com is offering a free trip to London for Inside Bitcoin: The Business of the Cryptocurrency World, a conference centered around the potential of the new currency. The winner of this promotion will receive free airfare, hotel accommodations, and a ticket to the conference.
The trip is valued at over $2,000. To win, tweet to @CheapAir with an explanation of why you would like to win along with #LondonBTC. On July 23, CheapAir.com will review all entries and choose a winner. More details are available here.