Airstream Jets has discounted its Gold and Silver Distance Cards through Sept. 2, 2019, in a short-term sale representing savings up to 3%.
The Distance Card is unique in using a mileage-based formula instead of the traditional hours-based approach meaning it’s possible to accurately budget your flying time.
The jet card deal offers two options to choose from: The Silver Jet Card with $25,000 of prepaid flying and Gold Jet Card with $100,000. Silver buyers save $500 while purchasing a Gold Distance Card means a $3,000 discount.
We like the mileage-based approach for several reasons. First of all, it’s easy to figure out precisely what you will pay.
The way it works is Airstream Jets publishes a chart with five cabin class categories – small jet, light jet, mid jet, super-mid jet, and heavy jet. Pricing is based on distance traveled with the rate per mile decreasing the longer the flight. Pricing breaks are at 1,000 miles, 2,000 miles, and 3,000 miles.
As an example, a midsize jet for flights between 1,000 and 1,999 miles is $15 per mile, so if you were making a 1,500-mile flight, simply multiple the mileage by cost per mile, in this case, $15. Cost for the flight would be $22,500, excluding 7.5% Federal Excise Tax which is collected additionally to your $25,000 or $100,000 deposit when you buy.
While a big benefit of jet cards is a fixed hourly rate, which like Airstream’s mileage formula, is inclusive of any repositioning flights, the way the actual flight price is calculated can vary quite a bit.
Jet card providers either use estimated flight time, which is a bit like Uber. Before you go you know how much flight time you are going to be billed. In the case of actual flight time, you might pay less on one flight on the same route if you have tailwinds, or more if you need to fly around weather or get stuck in a holding pattern.
With the typical jet card, you fly more going westbound when you are flying against the wind and the flight time is longer and less going eastbound when you have tailwinds and the flight is shorter. With the Airstream mileage-based approach you pay the same in either direction.
With other card memberships, you then need to add in taxi time if applicable. Airstream builds taxi time into its mileage-based rates.
Airstream has some other things to like. There is a 5% discount if you book at least 14 days in advance, another 5% for qualifying same-day roundtrips, 5% if you are willing to be flexible by a day either way from your preferred departure date, and 5% more if your flight begins and ends at its hubs.
The current hub lists includes: California – (VNY) Van Nuys Airport, Van Nuys, CA; Florida – (FXE) Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, Fort Lauderdale, FL, (OPF) Opa-Locka Executive Airport, Miami, FL, (PBI) Palm Beach International, West Palm Beach, FL, (BCT) Boca Raton Airport, Boca Raton, FL; Illinois – (PWK) Chicago Executive Airport, Chicago, IL, (DPA) Dupage Airport, Chicago, IL, (MDW) Chicago Midway International, Chicago, IL; New Jersey – (TEB) Teterboro Airport, Teterboro, NJ; New York – (HPN) Westchester County Airport, White Plains, NY, (FRG) Republic Long Island Airport, Farmingdale, NY; Texas – (DAL) Dallas Love Field, Dallas, TX, (AUS) Austin Bergstrom International, Austin, TX, and (HOU) William P Hobby Airport, Houston, TX.
Airstream Jets also includes deicing and as a small boutique broker has an escrow account option, something we highly recommend. There is also a rate lock until funds are exhausted, although, with $25,000 and $100,000 deposit levels, it’s not as if you can load up and wait.
So if it sounds too good to be true, Airstream Jets is probably not for everyone. There is a 20% surcharge on 40 peak days, and while peak day lead time for reservations is only 72 hours, peak day cancelations are subject to a 100% cancelation fee. In other words, before you book on a peak day, make sure you know you are going.
Also, at 48 hours lead-time for non-peak reservations, Airstream is not going to be for those of you who need to book at the last minute. We do also like that there is a fixed 5% upcharge if you want to guarantee Wifi on midsize, super-midsize and heavy jets.
If you are not ready to pull the trigger, history shows Airstream may offer a similar deal again soon. This year it has offered like discounts in March, May, and July. You can also read our full analysis of the Distance Card here.
To find out who you can compare Airstream with over 50 jet card providers, click here.