Questions to ask when buying a jet card

By Doug Gollan, August 3, 2018

The number of jet card programs has more than doubled in the past decade means more choices for you. Before you buy, here are some of the questions to ask


With jet card programs that staring at just five hours as well as cards for 100 hours of flight time, an area that used to be reserved for fractional ownership, there is more choice than ever. Some programs don’t even require you to buy hours in advance, although they may have a nonrefundable membership fee. We’ve identified 65 variables that can influence which program is best for you. 

So what are the questions you should ask to make sure you are buying into the right jet card program for your needs?


  • Who owns the company history?
  • What’s the ownership structure?
  • How big is the company?
  • Which aircraft are applicable to which programs?
  • How the program is structured, hours, dollars or mileage?
  • Do the hourly rates being provided include the 7.5% Federal Excise Tax (FET)?
  • What is the program service area?
  • What additional areas are served by the program?
  • What’s the seating capacity of the aircraft in the program?
  • How aircraft are sourced?
  • What are the standards for sourcing aircraft, including ratings from third-party safety programs such as ARGUS, Wyvern Wingman and IS-BAO?
  • Does the provider have its own internal safety standards programs, and what are they?
  • What’s the minimum pilot experience, including total hours and hours in aircraft type you will be flying?
  • Are hourly rates guaranteed or are flights priced based on market charter rates?
  • Do your hours expire?
  • Can you get a refund of unused hours?
  • Can you refill your card at current rates or do you have to buy a new card?
  • What happens to your money before you fly? Is there an escrow account?
  • How much liability and risk coverage is provided?
  • Are there initiation and membership fees?
  • Do membership and initiation fees apply towards flight hours?
  • Is there a CPI (Consumer Price Index) escalator? How much is it? How often is it applied?
  • Are there fuel surcharges?
  • Is de-icing included or an extra charge?
  • How are diversions charged?
  • How much taxi time is billed per segment?
  • What’s the minimum flying time billed per day and per segment?
  • Are there one-way surcharges or ferry fees?
  • How many peak days are there?
  • How much is the peak day surcharge?
  • Are there blackout dates?
  • Are there destinations in your service area subject to surcharges?
  • Are there roundtrip discounts and how much?
  • What qualifies for a roundtrip discount? Hint: It’s different than commercial airlines.
  • What’s the lead-time for reservations and cancellations for both peak and regular days?
  • What’s the lead-time for reservations and cancellations when you go outside your service area?
  • Can you access multiple aircraft at the same time?
  • Can you upgrade or downgrade the size of aircraft? Are there interchange fees?
  • Is there a charge to select a non-preferred FBO?
  • What catering is included?
  • Is WiFi guaranteed?
  • Is in-flight phone service guaranteed?
  • Is a flight attendant included on large-cabin jets?
  • Is there a fully enclosed toilet on light jet programs?
  • What are the policies and surcharges for transporting pets?
  • What’s the minimum age when sending unaccompanied minors?
  • What’s the service recovery policy for non-weather related delays?
  • What are customer service hours of operation?
  • Are there any lifestyle and luxury perks, such as VIP hospitality at events such as the Super Bowl, The Masters, The Kentucky Derby or Art Basel? Are there discounts and freebies for luxury hotels and lifestyle products, such as watches and jewelry?

To compare over 250 jet card programs by 65 variables, subscribe to Private Jet Card Comparisons. Learn more here.

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