Etihad illustrates how Incent is different

Etihad Airlines has devalued its reward points twice already in 2018 – neatly demonstrating everything wrong about the loyalty industry that Incent was created to fix. Frequent-Flyer or rewards points can be changed in value on the whim of the issuer, so are they really worth what they promise?

This just in from Etihad: the terms of your ‘Guest’ frequent flyer points are changing at the end of June. The airline has, as yet, not confirmed full details about their new pricing, but it seems that instead of being able to redeem points for an upgrade on any flight, they will switch to a ‘demand-based’ system that will require customers to pay more points at peak times.

Etihad’s move illustrates everything that is wrong with the conventional loyalty scene. Loyalty points are distributed as IOUs that are worth only what the issuing company is prepared to pay for them, with terms they can change unilaterally and at a moment’s notice. You don’t truly own them at all. Someone else created them, controls them, can devalue them or take them away entirely. There’s practically zero oversight or accountability. The company gets to do what it wants. In an era of unprecedented banking regulation, we still have what is, to all intents and purposes, Wildcat Money.

This is exactly the situation that Incent was developed to address. Conventional rewards points are rarely rewarding – and even if they are today, you can’t guarantee they still will be tomorrow.

Incent looks at loyalty differently. Our philosophy is that if you’re going to give your customers something, it’s only fair to let them keep it. We don’t give with one hand and take away with the other.

In practice, the only way we can guarantee that is by proving we don’t have control over the value of our points. So we created a fixed number of Incent as tokens on the Waves blockchain and distributed them to our community after our crowdfund, back in 2016. Whenever Incent are issued to a customer, they’re actually being bought off the open market – and whenever a customer spends them, they’re sold. Unlike ordinary loyalty points (or ordinary money, for that matter), we can’t create any more. And we can’t just change their value whenever we want.

What we want to give our users is a different, better, more honest form of rewards. One that has real value – that they can spend or hold onto or give away or even sell, if they want – and that should even rise in value with greater adoption as we partner with businesses and their customers in Sydney, Australia and around the world.

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