Jet card buyers value the ability to upgrade or downgrade the size of aircraft based on need. According to The Jet Card Report 2021, 60% of consumers in the process of buying into a private aviation program say they want the feature. However, seating guarantees could be even more critical.
Among the over 65 variables Private Jet Card Comparisons enable subscribers to compare, the ability to upgrade and downgrade is a common ask.
Policies include when you can upgrade or downgrade, and specific programs restrict upgrades or both on peak days.
Other programs allow you to switch categories, but at an interchange rate, typically a premium of 10%-to-25% over published rates.
While some programs allow you to upgrade or downgrade at published rates, there is more to consider, name seat guarantees.
Jet card programs have minimum seat guarantees for different aircraft categories and types.
This can be one of the most important data points in your contract. It’s part of our comparisons data you can access.
While brochures often state the maximum number of passengers that will be accommodated in a category, contracts have the minimum.
On light jet programs, the minimum seat guarantee can vary between four and eight seats, excluding belted lavs. It can range from five to eight seats for midsize programs and super-midsize jets from seven to nine passengers.
If you have eight passengers and want a midsize jet, but your program only guarantees seven seats, you may need to upgrade to a super mid.
The average hourly rate for a midsize jet is $7,681 compared to $10,075 on super mid. For a two-and-half-hour flight, that equates to around a $12,500 roundtrip difference.
It can add up if you are making that trip several times a year!
Keep in mind that eight seats in a midsize jet often means a two-seat divan, while there are usually eight club seats in a super mid.
Having eight passengers also reduces range, and super mids will have more baggage capacity than most midsize jets, so that you may need a larger aircraft for operational reasons.
If you fly with just two or three passengers but need to upgrade for larger groups several times a year, don’t forget to compare the minimum seat guarantees. It could save you quite a bit of money.