While the number of jet cards providers and programs has doubled since the Great Recession, comparing pricing head-to-head used to be difficult…until now

Jet cards are soaring literally with the number of providers and programs more than doubling since the Great Recession. A key tool in the portfolio of private aviation users, jet card membership programs fit snuggly between full and fractional ownership on one side and on-demand charter on the other.

The popularity of jet cards is being driven for multiple reasons. For aircraft owners, including companies, jet cards provide supplemental lift and access to additional aircraft types. They are a flight department in your pocket. For fractional owners, jet cards provide extra hours when they need them. For those folks who want a near fractional or full ownership experience, but don’t want the long-term commitment, many card offerings give you fixed rates and guaranteed availability without the long-term commitment. While you can buy 100 hours of flight time, there are now a number of programs starting at just 10 hours. You use the time, and when you’re done, you either buy again or not. It’s also an incentive for the vendor to keep you happy.

On the other side, while charter brokers will insist they can beat jet card pricing, and sometimes that’s true, unless you can find a great broker you trust, for each trip it requires work sorting through quotes, looking at who the operator is, researching their safety record, and checking the policies that vary with each quote. Unless you want to wing it, on-demand charter takes about an hour of planning for each trip, and if something goes wrong, you need to get a last minute re-quote which can eat up any savings from the previous three or four trips.

Of course with over 50 jet card providers and more than 250 programs, comparing them has always been time-consuming, and frankly before Private Jet Card Comparisons impossible. Each year it takes us over five months and hundreds of hours to gather and compile the updated information (which we then update throughout the year) from the companies.

The excel spreadsheets from Private Jet Card Comparisons enable subscribers to quickly compare programs across more than 65 variables from who owns them and whether or not they offer escrow accounts, lead time to book and cancel, Wifi availability, service areas, standards for sourcing aircraft and pilots, terms of each program, including how long you have to use your deposit, CPI escalators, insurance, pet policies, minimum age for unaccompanied minors, even features like whether or not their light jets have enclosed lavatories.

We also provide extensive information beyond just hourly rates to include extra fees for taxi time, daily and segment minimums, whether or not the rates being quoted include the 7.5% Federal Excise Tax for U.S. flights, whether prices include deicing or if you have to pay per incidence – something that can run up to $10,000 or more. We also provide peak-day surcharges and other factors that impact what you will actually pay.

Welcome to Quick Compare Flight Pricing for Jet Cards

Still, we always knew we could do better and make it even easier for you! Welcome to Quick Compare Flight Pricing. For nearly 150 U.S. nationwide programs that offer fixed pricing and guaranteed availability, we have now created the first ever apples to apple pricing comparison. For each offering we have calculated the marketed hourly rate, then factored in fuel surcharges as applicable, Federal Excise Tax (which some programs feature in their rates and others don’t), peak day surcharges, taxi time charges and we even amortized membership fees and dues into the hourly rate for those programs that charge them.

The result is Private Jet Card Comparisons now enables to you to do a quick compare on pricing by program sorted by company and aircraft category that offers baked in pricing so you can get a fast look at what you will actually pay. For example, if you are making a 90-minute flight, a program with a $6,000 hourly rate and a 60-minute minimum would actually be cheaper ($9,000) than one with a $5,000 hourly price and a 120-minute minimum ($10,000).

Quick Compare Flight Pricing for Jet Cards provides eight common flight scenarios, including two that are often charged as short legs

– Flight under 48 minutes

– 60-minute flights

– 120-minute flights

– 180-minute flights

– Peak Day 120-minute flights

– All of the above scenarios for flights that would require deicing

Adjacent to the pricing is a quick reference of aircraft used for each program, and the provider’s sourcing standards, including internal protocols, use of third-party ratings such as Wyvern, Argus, and IS-BAO as well as minimum experience for pilots so subscribers can compare safety and pricing at the same time. Lead time for reservations for both regular and peak day travel, plus number of peak days are also on the same charter.

Each of the calculations is based on formulas that take into account the rules of various programs, for example, whether or not taxi time is included in minimums or additional. The result is paid subscribers who want to find the most cost-effect light jet programs as an example can do so in seconds while having safety and sourcing information at the same time. You can start comparing faster than ever here.

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