The bitcoin continues to establish itself in the travel industry, with online booking site PointsHound and two Las Vegas casinos joining the growing list of companies utilizing the cryptocurrency this week.
PointsHound, a website which helps travelers book vacations and earn points for their various loyalty programs, will now let users earn their rewards in bitcoins. For example, rather than boosting their AAdvantage points by 3,400 miles, PointsHound users can opt for 0.1093 bitcoins instead when purchasing a night at over 150,000 hotels worldwide. (Those numbers come from booking a $1,124, one-night stay at the T+L World's Best Award winner Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora.)
And after earning a few bitcoins from a PointsHound booking, travelers now have the option of spending them at two Vegas casinos. The D Las Vegas Casino Hotel and the Golden Gate Hotel & Casino, both co-owned by brothers Derek and Greg Stevens, are the first casino properties in the world to accept the digital coin. The Stevens brothers moved to Nevada from Detroit after the recession hit, purchasing the properties in efforts to reinvigorate Sin City's downtown. While guests cannot exchange bitcoins for gambling chips, they can use the bitcoin at check-in, at hotel restaurants, and at the gift shops.
The T+L Take? Virtual currency is here to stay, as we wrote last month, and bitcoin prices have stabilized. It should not take too long for other travel companies to catch up.
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure, and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.