An accidental success, Wise Bread has ranked Private Jet Card Comparisons as #8 on its list of “15 Crazy Money-Making Ideas That Actually Worked”.
Yes, Private Jet Card Comparisons was an accident. It came as a result of research we were doing for a Forbes.com story on jet cards. Not content to just cover the first five or six companies we found, we were intrigued as we found more and more jet card sellers. We were intrigued because the private aviation segment was still in a funk. Deliveries of new jets were stagnant. Inventory of old aircraft was at a record high. The number of fractional share sellers was declining to less than a handful, and here we were finding the number of jet card providers had more than doubled since the Great Recession. Today there are more than 250 jet card programs for consumers to choose from.
As we talked to the various companies to understand the differences, we learned that the basics such as how they sourced their aircraft – from fleets they owned, private jets they managed, fractional jet cards sold from fleets of the fractional share providers and brokers who went to charter operators was really just a starting point. In trying to find independent third-party research, we could only find two other websites, both of which covertly worked as lead generators for select providers and obviously limited the information they provided to mainly their paymasters. Vendors put out buyer’s guide too, but the basic formula was pretty much, “Let’s compare ourselves to NetJets, Sentient Jet and Wheels Up,” three of the category leaders.
As we delved into what separates one provider from another, we found it wasn’t just how they sold their cards – by hours, dollars and even days or mileage. Private jet price was really just a starting point. Each had different standards for sourcing the aircraft they used. Each had different minimum requirements for the pilots that will fly you, both pretty important in our estimation. There were all sorts of variations in what was included and what was charged extra. We learned about CPI escalators which in some cases included a mandatory increase. We saw that not all hourly rates were equal. Some included the 7.5% Federal Excise Tax and some didn’t. Then there were peak days which by program ranged from under 10 days to over 100. On those peak days, surcharges can be as high as 40% and lead time for reservations and cancelations can be as much as a week in advance. In all, we were able to find over 65 points where programs varied, including if WiFi could be guaranteed And in fact, some programs didn’t have either guaranteed availability or fixed one-way pricing, two of the core tenets on what jet cards were originally based. Soon we realized, we had compiled so much information unless we did a hostile takeover of Forbes.com, we probably needed to create our own website to house everything. Now all of our material – over 250 programs compared by more than 65 variables is accessible to paid subscribers in an easy-to-use spreadsheet format.
Anyway, after 14 months we were happy to learn that Wise Bread, a website with tips for savvy consumers ranked Private Jet Card Comparisons #8 on its list of “15 Crazy Money-Making Ideas That Actually Worked.” One company is even worth $300 million – not us, or we would likely be on a private jet.
Wise Bread wrote:
If you can’t afford a private jet of your own (or just don’t want the responsibility of owning one), you can purchase flying time on a luxury airliner via a jet card that essentially acts as a debit card with increments on average of 25 to 100 hours. To capitalize on this niche but profitable market, Forbes.com contributor Doug Gollan created the website PrivateJetCardComparisons.com by using the information he compiled on an article he was writing on the trend. Access fee to the service is $250 a year (chump change for his target demographic), which saves subscribers dozens of hours of research and money in comparing the more than 65 variables on how jet-card programs differ. Fourteen months from launch, Gollan reports five-figure monthly sales that are growing steadily.
In case you were wondering the other winners, here they are:
Thanks to everyone who has made Private Jet Card Comparisons enough of a success to make this list. We’re not sure if creating the only independent buyer’s guide to over 250 jet card programs is crazy, but we definitely love what we do and hope we can help you if you are searching for a jet card!