When Is Private Jet Charter Better Than Buying A Jet Card?

By Doug Gollan, July 1, 2017

Jet Cards And Charter Fulfill Different Private Aviation Needs


Private Jet Card Comparisons is not an advocacy site for jet cards. We are an independent buyer’s guide that compares over 100 jet card programs across 65 variables for you, the consumer. Many jet card users own their own planes, own fractional shares, fly on aircraft their companies own and operate and charter jets as well. Jet cards are part of their private aviation solutions.  However, there is the ongoing question – why not just charter instead of prepaying for a jet card?


Benefits of jet cards are pretty straight forward:


  • You have a guaranteed hourly rate so you can more easily budget costs
  • You aren’t charged for ferry fees associated with one-way flights when you are flying within your service area
  • You get guaranteed availability when you make reservations within a contracted time period
  • You are guaranteed service recovery when there is a mechanical, for example, finding a backup aircraft
  • Programs have guaranteed levels of insurance for all your flights
  • All planes you will be provided meet specified levels of safety
  • All pilots who will fly those planes meet specified levels of experience, overall and in the type of aircraft you are flying
  • Additional charges which are part of on-demand such as de-icing, FBO charges, overnights for crew, landing and other airport fees are usually inclusive of your hourly rate, although not with all programs
  • Most programs have basic catering and some even have fairly generous additional credits, up to $400 per segment
  • When you choose a program from fractional providers and fleet owners like, you get standard configurations
  • With jet card brokers you will sometimes get upgrades to larger jets than your contracted type, a very nice perk, as that is the most efficient way to fulfill your reservation.


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At the same time, on-demand charter could be right for you. The fact that you aren’t charged for ferry fees and much of the above is included, means that at the end of the day, it’s baked into your jet card rate. What this means is for certain types of fliers, if you have a really good broker, you can save money by chartering if:


– You fly mainly roundtrip flights, meaning your return leg can be performed by the same aircraft and crew that flies you on the way out without returning to base. This generally means a same day roundtrip where you return to the same airport you started at.

– You fly from an airport where there are charter-friendly Part 135 planes based that fit your needs. In other words, the plane you will be flying doesn’t have to be ferried any significant distance.

– If you are planning to fly less than 25 hours privately during the validity of the card programs you are looking at, although some jet card programs have rollover provisions

– If you don’t mind shopping brokers with each trip

– If you don’t mind scrutinizing the planes and pilots being proposed for each trip


Most importantly, remember jet cards and on-demand don’t have to be mutually exclusive. If you buy a jet card, that doesn’t mean you can’t shop your trips with a broker to see if you can do better. When you can get a better deal on an aircraft type that meets your needs, charter for that trip, and save your jet card balance for the next trip.

Compare over 100 jet card programs across 65 variables in 1 place by becoming a registered user of Private Jet Card Comparisons

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