The best news for existing members is their current flying terms are being protected – rates, call-outs, and daily minimums.
What’s more, they can continue to enjoy those legacy rates and rules by making additional deposits before the end of November.
Legacy rules and rates will apply to those funds until they are used or through their locks which range from 12 to 24 months.
So the big news is Wheels Up is not putting a stop to accepting new members.
NetJets, Sentient, Executive Jet Management, Flexjet, Jet Linx, and Priester Aviation have all stopped accepting new members as the industry faces a capacity crunch.
Last week NetJets said it would no longer provide immediate flight access for new share and fractional customers. They would have to wait until their tails were delivered.
Other providers have also been hitting members with caps on accepting bookings, blackout dates, and even sliding departures by as much as 24 hours.
Wheels Up new members – and old – will find its revisions, being communicated to members this evening, a breath of fresh air far as the program changes go.
The big news is that new Connect and Core members who deposit $100,000 or less will have to wait 90 days to fly.
They can join – and book flights – but future bookings must be at least 91 days out.
For Core members who deposit $200,000, they can fly immediately – but not on peak days.
For Core members who deposit $400,000, they can fly as usual.
Connect, and Core pay-as-you-go members and those Core members depositing $100,000 or $200,000 get 15 months of membership instead of 12 months.
They have access to empty legs, joining shared flights, and all member benefits right away. The only thing they can’t do is book full aircraft charters for flights in the first 90 days.
There are also price increases – the first for Wheels Up since 2019.
King Air rates now start at $5,295, plus 7.5% (from $4,695) for pay-as-you members. Light jets start at $6,495 (from $5,995), while mids go from $7,695 to $7,795.
Super mid and large cabin rates stay the same.
|Aircraft Category||Capped Hourly Rate Pay-As-You-Fly||Capped Hourly Rate $100k Fund||Capped Hourly Rate $200k Fund||Capped Hourly Rate $400k Fund|
|King Air 350i||$5,295||$4,995||$4,995||$4,995|
There are a couple of significant changes to the program. The most notable is a singular guarantee of either a light jet or a King Air turboprop if you deposit less than $200,000.
You are guaranteed one or the other. In other words, if you request a turboprop, you may be assigned a light jet – and vice versa.
If you are turboprop averse, you can reserve a midsize jet if your light jet request can’t be accommodated.
Since the King Air accommodates eight passengers and the light only guarantees six and midsize jets seven passengers if you have a group of eight passengers, you may need to move to a super mid.
Likewise, if you are averse to turboprops, you may need to go to a mid. Those are the only changes that can be viewed as negatives.
Legacy members still keep their existing terms of selecting one or the other.
Wheels Up is making no changes to peak days. Yes, you heard that right. There are no extra peak days, and at $400,000, there are just 10 peak days. With a $200,000 deposit, there are only 20 days.
There is a matrix similar to the existing program in the new program – which goes into effect on Dec. 1. Based on cabin category and deposit, non-peak call-outs range from 48 to 72 hours.
There are changes. They will be updated by tomorrow in our comparisons for paid subscribers. Frankly, they are not significant.
However, there are incentives for making deposits if you are doing shorter flights. Minimums are going up in a number of cases.
While not contractual, Wheels Up is continuing to offer its $29,950, plus FET rate cap on super mids between Atlantic Coast states and Western states with seven days’ notice.
Wheels Up’s sales head Ken Napolitano tells Private Jet Card Comparisons the decision to protect existing members and give them the opportunity to lock in their current terms with additional funds is designed to maintain loyalty.
Of course, the challenge for Wheels Up and the entire industry is to minimize delays and improve communications with customers.