American Express selects Wheels Up as Premium Private Jet Program partner

By Doug Gollan, July 2, 2021

Wheels Up replaces Delta Private Jets as the exclusive American Express Premium Private Jet Program provider for U.S. Centurion and Platinum cardmembers

Wheels Up is the new American Express Premium Private Jet Program partner. It replaces Delta Private Jets, the Amex partner since 2016. Wheels Up, of course, purchased Delta Private Jets in a deal that closed a year ago in January. In other words, Wheels Up essentially renewed the existing DPJ partnership. However, that analysis ignores that the terms of the new relationship are significantly different.

According to a press release, the American Express Premium Private Jet Program provides exclusive discounts and flight credits. U.S. Platinum and Centurion cardholders who join at the Core level get access to the Wheels Up lifestyle partner offerings.

Earlier this week, the private aviation company added top-tier loyalty benefits at Landry’s restaurants, including VIP reservations. Achieving that level would normally take $7,500 in spending across Landry’s portfolio, including The Chart House, Palm, Morton’s, and other fine dining venues. It’s one of many lifestyle partnerships Wheels Up has forged.

Wheels Up American Express benefits

For eligiblbe Amex Platinum Card holders oining fee and first-year dues for Wheels Up’s Core membership are reduced 40% to $10,000 from $17,500. You also receive a $2,000 first-flight credit and up to $4,500 in additional credits based on their deposit.

For the entry-level Connect membership, there is a reduced initiation fee. You pay $2,396, a 20% savings. There’s a $500 credit for your first flight. You can then choose capped hourly rates on one round-trip one-way flight on a Wheels Up King Air 350i within the Continental U.S.

[ Should you spend the $695 for American Express Platinum if you are buying into Wheels Up? Our analysis… ]

There are limited benefits for the Wheels Up Marketplace app if you don’t want to buy a membership. You get a one-time waiver of the $495 transaction fee. There’s also capped pricing on select aircraft for a single round-trip flight within the Continental U.S.

“American Express is deeply committed to delivering exceptional service to its cardmembers, and we share that commitment. We are thrilled our two brands are working together to welcome Platinum Card Members to Wheels Up,” said Kenny Dichter, Founder and CEO at Wheels Up. “

He added, “We set a high bar for our members by delivering world-class safety and service on board our diverse fleet. We look forward to providing unparalleled travel and lifestyle experiences to American Express Platinum Card Members.”

“With our mutual dedication to outstanding services and innovation, Wheels Up is a natural fit for our Platinum Cardmembers,” said Rafael Mason, Senior Vice President of Global Premium Products at American Express.

He added, “We know our cardmembers will appreciate the level or safety and service of the Wheels Up private jet experience.”

Wheels Up’s IPO

Wheels Up is expected to be publicly traded by mid-month. The SPAC merger between Wheels Up and Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle is expected to close on July 13th.

Blue light special. Discount shoppers don’t dismay! Separately, Dichter confirmed to Private Jet Card Comparisons that Wheels Up’s seasonal partnership with Costco would return with added “content.”

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