Wheels Up is adding large cabin fixed rates and a no-fee membership tier for on-demand charter

Wheels up

With the move, Wheels Up will offer members fixed rates from the King Air 350i through light, midsize, super-midsize and large cabin private jets

Following its acquisition of TMC Jets and Avianis, plus the launch of its Connect membership earlier this year, and flush with $128 million in new funding, Wheels Up continues its aggressive moves.

During the National Business Aviation Association’s annual conference being held in Las Vegas, founder and CEO Kenny Dichter said in the next year the company will launch a no-cost membership enabling users to book on-demand charters using dynamic pricing the from its Wheels Up Marketplace launched in February.

Wheels Up “incredible flight credit” on $2,950 Connect memberships via The Wall Street Journal

The jet card provider is expanding its push on jet sharing via a partnership with WSJ+

Subscribers to the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ+ are being offered a significant flight credit with the purchase of a Wheels Up Connect Membership for $2,995. Wheels Up introduced the new entry-level price point earlier this year to increase the pool of members who want to share flights with its existing base who charter flights using fixed one-way rates and guaranteed availability.

Wheels Up completes $128 million Class D equity capital raise with $1.1 billion + valuation

The jet card membership company said it will use the money for accelerating membership growth and possible acquisitions

Wheels Up said that it has completed its Class D equity capital raise of $128 million, according to a press release received by Private Jet Card Comparisons. The funds will be used to accelerate membership growth, fund technology investment, and perhaps even more acquisitions. In 2017, it raised $117.5 million in equity capital and $90 million in debt financing via KKR.

Earlier this year it had said it had hired Bank of America and Goldman Sachs to advise it on strategic initiatives.

New to the company’s roster of institutional investors from this round are funds managed by Franklin Templeton, which co-led the round with funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price and Fidelity Management & Research, along with other institutional and private investors.

The company’s post-money enterprise valuation is north of $1.1 billion, according to the release.

Jet Card Insider: Wheels Up is no longer a two-trick pony

Wheels up

After bringing turboprops mainstream by championing the King Air 350i, Wheels Up is now filling out its product offerings

There are probably few privately held companies that get as much airtime on the business cable networks as Kenny Dichter and Wheels Up, his entry second entry into the world of jet cards. His debut in 2001 was an exclusive agreement with NetJets to sell jet cards onto its fractionally owned fleet. Instead of having to buy at least 50 hours per year with a five-year commitment, Marquis Jet Partners offered the opportunity to buy in 25 hours at a time.

Aircraft sourcing for jet cards from NetJets to boutique brokers

There are multiple ways jet card companies source aircraft. Here’s your guide to the differences and how they matter

Where does your jet card get the airplanes that will fly you?

There are over 50 companies that offer jet cards and while some buyers care only about price, as in the lowest hourly rate, at least at the beginning of their search, I find most subscribers end up taking a more holistic view. For one reason, just looking at the hourly rate can be misleading. Some jet cards quote rates inclusive of the 7.5% Federal Excise Tax while others aren’t. Some programs also have surcharges for fuel, CPI escalators, extra fees for using busy airports, and many have varying peak-day surcharges. If you fly out of your primary service area, your fixed rate may no longer apply, and you may have to pay ferry fees and extra charges, so while some programs have global service areas, others are regional or national. 

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