Here's how to view jet card membership fees

Some subscribers tell me they don’t want to pay membership fees. Here’s why they could be missing out.

By Doug Gollan, May 14, 2023

Some subscribers tell me they don’t want to pay jet card membership fees. Here’s why they could be missing out

The idea of paying membership fees to join a jet card or private jet membership program is a non-starter for some flyers. It’s easy to understand folks would feel that way!

Flying privately is already expensive.

You are likely spending tens of thousands of dollars in the coming months or years.

Why should you pay a membership fee to pay a provider even more money?

Some providers compare it to the country club model.

Membership fees, I believe, are a cost that needs to be factored into your calculus as you decide which program best fits your needs.

Assuming a program with a membership fee does fit your needs, it’s simple math.

Take the non-flying membership and joining costs and divide them by how many hours you expect to fly during the membership period, generally 12 months.

A $10,000 fee divided by 12 is $833.

Add $833 to the hourly rate, and you can now decide if it makes sense to join the program from a flight cost perspective.


Even easier, as a paid subscriber, use the QUICK COMPARE FLIGHT PRICING in the excel based Jet Card Comparisons spreadsheet (It’s best used on a laptop or desktop).

In Cell AE 1, enter the number of hours you expect to fly in the next 12 months.

In Cell AF 1, enter the flight minutes for your domestic one-way flight.

Scanning down Column AF will estimate flight costs, including taxi time, fuel surcharges, FET as applicable, and amortized membership.

Column AH does the same taking into account Peak Day Surcharges.

If you see #VALUE!, the program only offers dynamic pricing.

Remember, by using the filters in Row 3, you can also filter by:

  • Companies (Column A)
  • Where you will be flying (Column J)
  • Aircraft Size (Column N)
  • Number of hours you want to buy (Column S)
  • Non-Peak and Peak Callout (Column CE and CF)
  • Number of Peak Days (CG)
  • Guaranteed WiFi (CX)
  • and other columns – over 65 different variables in all

Membership Fees

Regarding the membership fees, I take an average of any applicable joining and membership fees in Year 1 and renewal fees in Year 2 and divide by two so the number being applied is an average of being in the program for the first two years.

Some programs, like Wheels Up, have a lower joining fee if you put down a deposit, which is also factored in.

Columns BG and BH include the membership and renewal fees.

If you can negotiate lower fees, put that number into the applicable cell, and the formulas will recalculate.

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