The price of a jet card is more than your hourly rate. Here are some of the extra charges you should ask about

 

Since their origins in the late 1990s jet cards have evolved and you can now find a jet card program to suit virtually anyone’s flying needs. In addition to typical aircraft categories such as light jet, midsize jet, super midsize and heavy jets, you can find jet cards that give you access to pistons and turboprops and even airliners. Beyond categories of aircraft, you can select specific airplane types, and there are card membership programs that range from $25,000 to $1,000,000, each with published rules and policies. 

 

The big benefit of a jet card is once you select the program that fits your flying needs or the flying needs of your company, you get a near fractional ownership experience without the long-term commitment and upfront costs. You also save the time on-demand charter typically takes. You buy into the service recovery policies of your jet card provider, as well as the standards for sourcing aircraft and flight crew so you don’t have to scrutinize options for every trip. Many programs also provide guaranteed availability and jet card policies are typically much more generous than on-demand charter.

 

Jet Card Pricing

 

The biggest mistake I find jet card buyers make is stopping at the hourly rate. The surprise usually doesn’t come until they start seeing their monthly statements. I am not sure hidden charges is the right description but for sure they are additional charges. Since I don’t drive, it has been a long time since I bought a car, however, I still remember those papers with numerous charges for this or that on the dealer invoice. To a degree, jet cards, which are a form of private jet charter, are the same.

 

Private Jet Cost

 

Beyond the hourly rate you are quoted or is provided on the website or marketing materials, the following fees and charges may or may not be in that hourly price. All of the below come from the comparisons available to paid subscribers that I pulled from the more than 250 programs we’ve analyzed by over 65 variables:

  • 7.5% Federal Excise Tax
  • International Destination Surcharges
  • International Fees
  • Initiation Fees
  • Monthly Membership Dues
  • Annual Membership Dues
  • Consumer Price Index (CPI) Escalator
  • Fuel Surcharges
  • Foreign Fuel Taxes
  • State Taxes
  • Airport Taxes and Fees
  • Customs Fees
  • Peak Day Surcharges
  • De-icing Charges
  • High-Density Airport Surcharges
  • Special Events (Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby) Surcharges
  • Diversion Costs
  • Overnight Fees
  • Catering
  • WiFi
  • Pet Cleaning
  • Pet Surcharges
  • Hanger Fees
  • Taxi Time
  • Preferred FBO Surcharges
  • Interchange Fee to upgrade or downgrade the size of aircraft
  • Flight Attendant
  • Administrative Fees
  • Ferry Fees
  • Redeye Flight Surcharges

About the Author Doug Gollan

I am Founder and Editor of Private Jet Card Comparisons, the only independent buyer's guide to jet card membership programs, and DG Amazing Experiences, a weekly luxury travel e-newsletter for private jet owners. I am also a contributor to Forbes.com