10 Things to Consider When Buying a Jet Card
Jet cards are not created equal. With more than 50 companies selling Jet Card programs, you’ll find a crowded marketplace offering hundreds of program types aimed at suiting different private jet needs. Many prospective buyers consider price as the number one concern, but there are many other factors at play. For example, a less expensive card may be more appealing at first blush, but it will likely not fit all of your needs, souring your investment from the start.
With so many options available, the process of buying a Jet Card can be daunting. Consider a few important aspects from our Jet Linx Jet Card experts.
1. Company Profile
Jet Card providers range in size from boutique vendors to multi-brand conglomerates offering service worldwide. With smaller organizations, you will deal with owners more directly and get a more personalized experience, which can offer a sense of comfort. On the other hand, larger organizations offer more options for aircraft type, destinations, personnel, and resources. One way or the other, you will want to do business with a transparent company with your best interests in mind.
2. Fixed Rates vs. Competitive Pricing
Nearly all private Jet Card providers offer guaranteed rates, but dynamic pricing based on current market rates are now beginning to become more common. Some clients are comforted by fixed rates, but others are willing to pay a little more in the hopes that in the long run the market will play in their favor.
3. Extra Charges
Unfortunately, a fixed rate is not always a fixed rate. Daily minimum flight times, fuel surcharges, taxes, deicing fees, catering, access to Wifi, and other hidden fees can add up. Every Jet Card company handles these charges differently, so read the fine print. All in all, you’re likely never just going to pay for flight time. One thing to beware is that programs often have daily minimums, meaning even if your flight was only 45 minutes, you will be charged for the daily segment minimum of 120 minutes. This varies across the industry, so you must do your homework.
4. Service Areas and Choice of FBO Locations
Some private Jet Card companies are more regional, and others can be national or global. If you are only doing business along the eastern seaboard, a regional program might be best. However, an impulsive trip to the west coast for some personal time could create surcharges due to ferry fees and crew overnights. Jet Card companies manage these situations differently – while some don’t charge extra to fly outside of their service area, others impose additional costs.
5. Guaranteed Availability
The guarantee that a private jet is waiting at any time and in any location is a powerful promise to a prospective buyer. Not all Jet Cards offer guaranteed availability, so the promise of such security is often too great to pass up for buyers. There can always be caveats, such as the aircraft type or size, which can put limitations on a guarantee. Business travelers will want to take a good look at guaranteed programs to ensure that business can carry on as usual.
6. Aircraft Type and Size
Certain Jet Cards offer one type of jet for a given price bracket, and with other cards, you gain access to all sizes of jets in that category for the same price. Anticipating your travel needs can help to determine whether you will need access to a range of aircraft. Travel plans change often, and buyers find comfort in the fact that private jet providers can cater to specific needs when they arise unexpectedly.
7. Reservations and Cancellations
Policies for reservations and cancellations vary. Some Jet Cards allow you to reserve flights only six hours in advance, and others require 72 hours of notice ahead of time. The same goes for cancellations. Business customers may need a flexible cancellation policy, as some jet cards require anywhere from four to twelve hours of notice to avoid a fee.
8. Safety, Pilot Quality and Training
Safety is always of the utmost importance, especially in aviation, but safety standards vary from company to company. Certain Jet Card companies pride themselves on safety standards and certifications, recurrent pilot training, and the amount of flight hours their pilots have in regard to the type of aircraft they fly. Almost all companies will go beyond government-imposed minimums that are required under FAR Part 135. At the very least, a reputable company should have earned one of the following certifications: ARGUS Platinum, Wyvern Wingman, and IS-BAO Certification.
9. Aircraft Sourcing
Not all private jet companies own all (or any) of their aircraft, which comes with certain advantages and disadvantages. Some organizations source aircraft from operators, which means you’ll likely never fly in the same plane. Other companies manage and maintain their own fleets, which means you will travel on the same planes with the same crew. Depending on how a company sources their aircraft, safety can be an issue, as well as your personal comfort in-flight.
10. Lifestyle Partnerships
Jet Cards and luxury lifestyle brands blend well, and some companies offer partnerships that enable discounts or even free merchandise. Partnerships with clothing brands, hotels and resorts, wine and spirits distributors, jewelers, and more can be appealing depending upon why you are flying. While this may not be enough to sway your choice, such partnership programs can offer thousands and thousands of dollars in savings if you do choose to participate.
As you explore the pros and cons of different Jet Cards, prioritize what you consider your most important needs. Do you need guaranteed access on certain days? Do you seek the highest standards of safety? Will your pets and family fly with you? Will you be traveling on holidays? Is communication and customer service a priority?
For specific details on the benefits of the Jet Linx Jet Card, contact your local Jet Linx Jet Card Sales Director, and review our program highlights here.