The best private jet card providers offer exceptional service-area coverage and fixed hourly rates for on-demand charters with short notice. When performing private jet card comparisons, look for cheap upgrades to super midsize jets or large-cabin jets too, and how prices compare to available fractional ownership options.
What is a Jet Card?
Many private aviation companies have membership programs that allow travelers to prepay their private jet travel with a debit-style prepaid card. Depending on the private jet card program you choose, they may have fixed rate jet cards or a base membership fee and pay-as-you-go rates to ensure you get guaranteed availability.
Whether your jet card has a fixed hourly rate or not, pricing is usually based on available aircraft types and occupied flight time. When using private jet cards for short travel, you’ll generally need to provide at least 6 hours notice before takeoff. When booking private flights with longer legs, you may require notifying your jet card program booking service several days in advance.
Private air travel for jet card users is usually much cheaper than aircraft ownership and it does not require a long-term commitment. Jet card sellers also offer the same personalized service and luxury as other private jet charter flights.
The prices included by these jet card programs are in most cases determined as prices per fixed number of hours. For example, you may have to pay $150,000 for just 25 hours of flying on private jets. However, keep in mind that these programs usually require you to make an initially bigger deposit, varying from $15,000 up to $1,000,000 which differ greatly from normal private jet costs.
Recently many private jet programs have introduced more dynamic terms, that will vary the prices according to the market rates that apply to a specific flying route, and they will be determined at the right quota whenever you book your flight. They are more similar to the on-demand and ad hoc charter pricing system.
When doing your jet comparison, try to find those with a fixed rate service area that fits within your budget. Be sure you also read the fine print for blackout dates, or additional fees for taxi time using specific aircraft. Also, be wary of card stipulations that allow them to use easily use different aircraft like turboprops when guaranteeing availability.
Fixed Hourly Rates
Private Jet cards that have fixed rate programs for a certain amount of flight hours usually have easy booking procedures, and guaranteed pricing during the contract period. At times they have better terms for last-minute cancelation too.
When jet cards have dynamic pricing programs, however, you should expect to pay a fluctuating price based on market demand each time you fly.
Prices used for jet card programs vary also depending on the type of jet you want to book. Many light jet programs offer prices ranging from $150,000 to $200,000 for a standard period of 25 hours.
Here are a couple of examples of light jet rates. The Air Partner program offers you 25 hours for $160,000, which includes fuel and FET (Federal Excise Tax). Some extra discounts are applied if you choose a return trip.
NetJets requests $205,000 for the same amount of hours, yet the light jet is the luxurious Phenom 300, it includes fuel, but not the FET nor other extra charges for fuel and FET.
As the jets grow in size, so do the prices for the same number of flying hours.
With a midsized jet like the Citation Latitude, NetJets and Flexjet charge around $250,000 for 25 flight hours, to which you must add also fuel extra charges and FET. Whereas, Air Partner’s program will charge $192,000 for 25 hours, with aircraft models from 2000 or even newer. Their price includes all fuel charges and the FET.
The prices and additional fees of large jet card companies can vary significantly. Before signing with a certain private jet company you have to check if they include fuel surcharges or not if it includes FET and other expenses.
Then you have to see if they have a special schedule for flights during peak days all over the year. Many times to book flights on the busiest days you have to make it earlier than usual, maybe with a minimum of 10-24 hours in advance or even earlier, as the demand goes up.
Then you will find variations of the contract term. Many include 12-month commitments, but there are also longer options, like 18 months or so. There are also different options about what you want to do with the unused flight hours at the end of the contracted period. Some will let you use this amount as a starting base for a contract renewal, others will reset the hourly price for each type of jet.
You can also opt for one jet card or another depending on the catering offer. The total charge usually includes basic catering and beverages, and if you want more you have to pay extra. Another element that can ease your comparison between jet cards, is the type of aircraft, and the size.
Founded in 1999, and based in Braintree, Massachusetts, Sentient Jet is often credited as the company that invented private jet cards. In 2012, they also became part of Kenn Ricci’s Directional Aviation group.
Sentient’s sister companies include the private jet company Flexjet, the helicopter rental company, Halo, as well as the charter programs FixAir and PrivateFly. You can also book their private flights to Europe with fixed rates via PrivateFly.
Sentient Jet cards are sold in increments of 25 hours with programs available for light jets, as well as, midsize, super-midsize, and large cabin jets. You can also upgrade or downgrade your cabin category on a trip-by-trip basis based on published rates.
As a Sentient Jet cardholder, you can enjoy their exclusive benefits that include over $175,000 in travel perks and discounts. Some examples include free stays at luxurious hotels, complimentary wine, and Virtuoso benefits. They also have some jewelry and ski package discounts.
Being the 7th largest operator in the North American private jet rental market, Jet Link has bases all over the continent with private lounges for jet card members and aircraft owners. Here you can enjoy valet service and an open bar with snacks, as well as, make use of their business facilities.
Jet Link offers several private jet card membership options that have a $25,000 initiation fee for the first year and a $10,000 annual fee thereafter. Jet Linx also has an Enterprise Jet Card membership program for corporations which allows up to 7 users. Enterprise members can also get one-way specials starting at $500 per flight hour and have no extra charges when flying during peak times.
Their elevated lifestyle partnerships include hotels, transportation, health and wellness, wine and food, golfing, and more.
Below you’ll find answers to our most frequently asked questions about private jet card programs and aviation memberships.
There is no fixed price for private jet card memberships, but they start at around $25,000 with average flight hour costs ranging from $5,000 per. Some companies like Jet Aviation and Magellan Jets provide packages with 100 hours that are in the $100,000 range for non-peak travel.
Pay-as-you-go memberships tend to add the repositioning fee into the price and charge hourly one-way rates starting at $5,000/hr for light jets and $20,000 per for ultra long-hauls. Many of these pay-per-use jet card sellers also have a joining fee to get started.