Lead Time for reservations and cancellations, hourly rate, and even availability to get a private jet can vary on Peak Days
A common way private jet companies get new customers is a referral. Some provide incentives, but most of the time it’s more birds of a feather flock together. Whether you already have your own aircraft and are looking for supplemental lift, fly the company jet on business but need a personal solution, are looking for a business travel solution or just want a better option than flying commercially to your vacation home, Jet Cards are many times the perfect solution.
Cancellation policies between jet card companies vary, but either way, provide a more flexible approach to canceling than on-demand charter brokers
While most people think about flying when they think of private jets, plans change. With on-demand charter, your full payment may be taken as a cancellation fee, particularly during peak periods. In browsing an online broker’s website recently, virtually all of the best offers came with cancellation fees of 50% to 100% from the time of booking, even though the proposed trip was more than 30 days away.
Safety standards, pilot qualifications, service recovery guarantees, medical assistance, service area and other items can often be more important than hourly rate in finding the right jet card provider
As I’ve written before, figuring out your true hourly rate isn’t necessarily straightforward. You need to factor in whether your quote includes the 7.5% Federal Excise Tax (FET), fuel surcharges, membership fees, CPI escalators, how much time is charged for taxing per segment, daily and segment minimums and even whether or not de-icing is included. Depending on when you are flying, you also need to look at peak day surcharges. Then you need to figure out which of your trips if any will qualify for roundtrip discounts. If you have a CFO, it’s probably a good project to involved his department. Excel spreadsheets are your best friend, which is one reason we have put in the more than 10,000 points of data we’ve captured into spreadsheets located on Google you can download into Excel as a subscriber (example below).
Peak Day policies vary widely across the over 100 programs Private Jet Card Comparisons analyzes. Choosing the wrong program can cost tens of thousands of dollars more!
When shopping for a private jet card, many people focus on hourly rate, as in which program has the lowest price, and while the quoted rate is important, that’s really just the starting point. Does the quoted hourly rate include the 7.5% Federal Excise Tax? Is there a CPI escalator? Are there fuel surcharges? Is de-icing included? What about catering? Are there cleaning charges for bringing pets? Are there roundtrip discounts? They can save you as much 40%. Another place jet card shoppers often forget to compare is Peak Days, where there are big variances between the programs, both in terms of lead time to make your reservations, cancellation policies and surcharges, which can rise as high as 40%. Over a year, you can easily spend $30,000 to $50,000 more than you need to by not doing the research before you buy. One consultant who used to sell fractional shares said he was always surprised how many buyers didn’t take the time to look at all of the variables.
This private jet card membership program has the hometown touch
There are over 25 different providers of jet card programs we track in Private Jet Card Comparisons, and each supplier we’ve found has a varied approach to the market, which makes it very interesting for you as a consumer. In some cases the differences are significant. In other cases, they are more nuanced, which means you owe it to yourself to spend a bit of time doing some due diligence, but by selecting a program that fits your needs you are likely to find a happy home.
Many savvy private aviation users assume all jet cards are pretty much the same. I can tell you they are not, and while there are many good choices, the right choice depends on your needs.