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Everything You Need To Consider to Buy the Best Jet Card For Your Needs

Table of Contents:

 

What is a Jet Card?

Questions to Ask Before Buying a Jet Card

Jet Card Comparisons: Determining the Best Jet Card for You

Jet Card vs. Private Charter, Jet Card vs. Fractional Ownership

How Much Does a Jet Card Cost?

Comparing the Best Jet Card Programs

What is a Jet Card?

 

There are many different kinds of Jet Card Programs offered by more than 50 companies. Jet Cards can most easily be defined as an agreement that allows a user (or users) access to a private aircraft. A Jet Card is a productivity tool that allows access to private jets for either a predetermined amount of flight time or with a membership fee and pay-by-the-hour structure. 

Rather than committing to the purchase of a private jet, jet cards allow many of the benefits of private aviation without the long-term financial responsibilities that come with ownership or fractional ownership of private aircraft.  

For example, a jet card may allow one user access to 25 flight hours in a Light Jet. Different jet cards may grant two different users 50 flight hours in Light Jets and Midsize Jets. 

A flexible pay-as-you-fly structure ensures the user pays for only the flight time they need in the private jet category best suited for each mission.

To find the best Jet Card for your needs, you should consider it as an investment into a better lifestyle. While many good options exist, there is no ‘best Jet Card’ on the market. It is important to know what you need from a Jet Card program. The best private Jet Card programs are the ones suited to match your unique travel needs. Jet Card pricing, availability, safety, and service are only a few factors to consider when searching for the best Jet Card Program. 

A Jet Linx Jet Card offers a guaranteed highest standard of safety, guaranteed availability (for all sizes of private jets), and guaranteed round trip rates. Jet membership from Jet Linx also provides access to exclusive member-only events, offers from Elevated Lifestyle partners, a state-of-the-art mobile app, and a community of like-minded individuals.

Questions to Ask Before Buying a Jet Card

 

About the Private Jet Card Provider

 

  • How long has the company been in business?
  • What are the internal safety standards and what third party ratings does the provider have?
  • Does the provider own, manage, or charter their aircraft?
  • Is the provider a member of NBAA (National Business Aviation Association)?
  • What level of training and experience do the pilots have?
  • In what areas of the world are they authorized to fly?
  • What is the clientele base like? Business class, luxury travelers, or high profile individuals?

About the Jet Card Program

 

  • What Jet Card products are offered and what kind of passengers do they cater to?
  • What kind of aircraft are available with the Jet Card?
  • What are the initiation fees and annual renewal fees?
  • Is there an offer of guaranteed availability at the contracted rate?
  • Are rates fixed or dynamic? How long are rates locked in for?
  • How much advance notice is needed to book a trip? What about cancellation policies?
  • How many peak travel days are there per year? What about blackout days per year?
  • Is it possible to access multiple aircraft at the same time?
  • Is there an interchange fee for upgrading or downgrading?
  • Will the Jet Card ever expire? Are flight fund deposits refundable?
  • Is there a minimum flight time per trip? Is taxi time included in daily minimum flight time?
  • What minimum liability and risk coverage is provided?

Traveling with Your Jet Card?

 

  • What is the flight service area?  
  • Does the provider fly internationally?
  • Can I choose my preferred FBO or airport?
  • Is there Wifi and is it included? 
  • Is catering provided at no additional cost?
  • Are flight attendants included in the price?
  • Are pets allowed on flights?
  • What is the policy for unaccompanied minors?
  • What inflight emergency medical support is there?
  • What is customer support like?

Jet Card Comparisons: Determining the Best Jet Card For You

 

It’s important to know that Jet Cards offer flexibility in terms of features and benefits to match your travel needs. While Jet Card pricing is often a differentiator, it should not be your sole determining factor. Consider some of the following factors below when selecting a Jet Card program.

Jet Card Company Profile

From boutique operators to conglomerates, the size and strength of a brand can translate to a vastly different flight experience. Smaller organizations may offer less in terms of aircraft options and you may deal more directly with aircraft owners. Larger organizations offer more variety in aircraft and a more consistent experience in terms of service and delivery. 

No matter the size or stature of a Jet Card program, you should look for a company that offers transparency. Responsible operators should be ready and willing to disclose pertinent information upon request.

Fixed Rates vs. Fluctuating Market Competitive Pricing

Jet Linx offers guaranteed fixed hourly rates because they provide a consistent, predictable cost to Jet Card members while remaining competitively priced. At the expense of predictability, other companies offer dynamic market-rate pricing which is more of a gamble for customers, as there’s no way to predict if hourly rates will rise or drop.

Extra Charges

Fixed rates aren’t always fixed rates. Fuel surcharges, surge pricing, deicing fees, access to Wifi, and other hidden fees add up and can be easily hidden inside invoices.

Service Areas and Choice of FBO Locations

Jet Card companies can be regional, national, and global. Jet Linx offers 20 private Base locations nationwide but has the authorization to access 5,000 airports domestically and 180 countries worldwide.

Guaranteed Availability

Not all Jet Card programs offer guaranteed access – especially for all aircraft sizes. Due to a large and varied fleet, Jet Linx can make this promise, but not all operators can say the same.

Aircraft Type and Size

Most Jet Card programs cater to one size category or type of aircraft, but Jet Linx boasts a unique and diversified fleet of Light Jets, Midsize Jets, Super Midsize Jets, and Heavy Jets. When your travel plans inevitably change, it’s comforting to know that you have options.

Reservations and Cancellations

Private aviation appeals to people because of the ease of access and convenience. Policies for reservations and cancellations range from company to company.

Safety, Pilot Quality and Training

Jet Linx boasts industry-best certifications from third-party safety auditors that less than 1% of all private aviation companies worldwide can claim. Our ARGUS Platinum rating, Wyvern Wingman and IS-BAO Certifications place Jet Linx as industry leaders in safety. Some Jet Card providers will not go beyond FAA minimum safety recommendations, but Jet Linx makes significant, recurring investments into safety infrastructure and pilot training to exceed required minimums.

Aircraft Sourcing

Some Jet Card providers own their aircraft, some source them from other operators, and some manage and maintain their own fleets. Jet Linx manages and maintains (but does not own) a fleet of 100+ aircraft, meaning that we have full control over mechanics and maintenance, thus providing a higher level of safety and security. 

Luxury Lifestyle Partnerships

Jet Cards and luxury brands have always played well together, and many companies offer partnerships with clothing brands, hotels, resorts, and other luxury providers of goods and services. Jet Linx’s Elevated Lifestyle program locks in partnerships with the potential to save Jet Card members and clients thousands of dollars when activated.

Additional Considerations:

Corporate Accommodation: Some Jet Card providers limit the number of users able to fly at one time, which can be an issue for business class users. For corporate travelers, Jet Linx offers the Enterprise Jet Card, created intentionally for corporate use.

Daily Flight Minimums: Typically a Jet Card company will enforce a daily flight minimum, meaning that you will be charged for 60 minutes of occupied flight time no matter how short your trip may be. This time limit varies but can cost you in the long run if your trip profile typically includes shorter journeys.

Pets: Policies for animals vary by provider, and even plane to plane. At Jet Linx, pets are welcome on board and we’re happy to make special accommodations for them to fly comfortably. 

Service Recovery: Weather delays, maintenance events, and crewing issues can happen at any time. Because Jet Linx guarantees access to aircraft, we ensure that a jet will be available when you need it. If necessary, we contact vetted off-fleet providers to ensure that you will get where you’re going, every single time. Not all providers are capable of making this promise.

Unaccompanied Minors Policy: Some Jet Card programs don’t allow minors to fly by themselves, and some have no restrictions. At Jet Linx, a passenger must be five years old to fly alone on a day trip but must be accompanied on an overnight trip.

Flexible Upgrading and Downgrading: Because of the variety of aircraft sizes available in our fleet, our private jet card members are free to pick and choose between jets. Our large fleet allows numerous options for aircraft and with enough notice, even last-minute changes can be accommodated. Few operators have a large and varied fleet size, meaning you will be out of luck or subject to cancellation fees.

Wifi and Communication: If an aircraft does not have Wifi-capability, it’s communicated to a client far in advance of takeoff. Some providers charge extra for Wifi and in-flight communication. Make sure to inquire on Wifi availability and any other charges related to in-flight communications. Wifi is available on aircraft throughout the Jet Linx fleet – simply inquire with your Jet Linx Flight Concierge.

How do Jet Cards Compare to Other Private Aviation Solutions?

 

There are many private aviation solutions available with pros and cons to each. Major differences in cost, commitment and service remain important when weighing options.

 

Jet Card vs. Private Jet Charter: Consistent Service vs Unknown

 

With private jet charter, a customer calls an operator, communicates an itinerary (destination, passenger count, and type of aircraft), receives a quoted price and then accepts or rejects the offer. With charter, there’s no commitment involved on behalf of the customer, but this often goes both ways, as charter operators don’t know their customers well, and thus do not go above and beyond to provide consistent and reliable service. Private jet charters offer convenience and there’s no commitment involved, but flying with unknown operators and crews can be a gamble when it comes to safety and consistency of service.

No Guaranteed Availability 

  • When a customer calls a private jet charter operator, there’s no guarantee that an aircraft (of any specific type, on any given date) will be available. Even when a jet is available, a maintenance event or weather event may put a flight on hold. This means you must begin from scratch and search for more flight options, chipping away at your valuable time. 
  • With a Jet Linx Jet Card, access to a plane of any size is guaranteed when you call at least 48 hours in advance (24 hours with the Enterprise Card). Our guaranteed availability provides peace of mind, especially for executives that may need to disembark at a moment’s notice. Relying on charter is a constant gamble, but Jet Linx offers certainty when you need it most.

Guaranteed Pricing vs. Varying Cost

  • When it comes to charter, the hourly rates can fluctuate wildly. Sometimes you’ll receive a good deal, and other times you may end up paying more. Furthermore, private charter operators often charge for additional flight time, pilot wait time, landing fees, and other hidden costs. Another disadvantage is that even when flying one-way, charter operators may incorporate the price of the return trip into your quote. 
  • With Jet Linx, you only pay for occupied flight time, and you never have to worry about the hourly rate going up or down. Our guaranteed hourly rates provide certainty and predictability
Jet Linx Jet CardCharter
Guaranteed AvailabilityWith a Jet Linx Jet Card, there are no unwelcome surprises. Even when weather or maintenance events occur, our large, national fleet size ensures a recovery aircraft will be available. Our local teams can deliver service within 48 hours, but have provided aircraft in as little as three hours.Private jet charters deliver on-demand service but provide no guarantee that a jet of any type or size will be there when you need it. Even when a jet is secured, a weather or maintenance event could put the mission in jeopardy, forcing you to source another aircraft.
Fixed Flight CostJet Linx guarantees the most competitive hourly rates for all aircraft sizes. With no charges for additional flight time, pilot wait time, or landing fees, you will always know what to expect. Jet Card customers are only charged for occupied flight time.Private charter offers no guaranteed hourly rates. Market volatility affects daily pricing. Charter operators commonly charge extra for pilot wait time, landing fees and other hidden costs. One-way pricing typically includes the cost of repositioning the aircraft.
Guaranteed Highest Standard of SafetyWhen you fly with Jet Linx, you are guaranteed the highest standard of safety. Our industry-leading safety certifications require major investments of time, training and capital. Small operators typically cannot make substantial investments to ensure passenger safety.Charter operators rarely exceed FAA-minimum safety standards. Charter operators often source aircraft externally, meaning quality control and safety aren’t directly monitored. Charter operators typically often do not make investments into strong safety programs.
Enhanced Convenience and Luxury ServiceJet Linx offers 20 private, secure terminals across the country, managed by Forbes Five-Star trained team members that offer anticipatory service to Jet Card members and guests. Jet Linx private terminals come stocked with premium snacks and beverages – all complimentary. Our local teams can arrange grand transportation and accommodations post-flight, and when you return, your vehicle will be washed and parked planeside.Charter operators seldom offer private terminals and high-end customer service is rarely part of the flight experience. You will book your own ground transportation and overnight accommodations. You likely dial a 1-800 number to request service, dealing with different personnel each time.
Consistent Service DeliveryWith guaranteed availability, guaranteed hourly rates, and guaranteed highest standard of safety, our local teams seek to provide consistent Forbes Five- Star service. Predictability and stability are crucial when traveling, and we effort to provide that to our Jet Card members.Flying charter is always a gamble in terms of availability, safety, price and service. Operators don’t know personal preferences, and don’t have the infrastructure to provide personalized service to each passenger.

Jet Card vs. Fractional Ownership

 

Fractional Jet ownership eases the financial burden of owning and maintaining an aircraft, but fractional owners are still locked into a long-term commitment with a large up-front investment. Another downside to fractional is that you have access to one type of aircraft, which doesn’t provide flexibility when your mission profiles change.

Short Term vs. Long Term Commitment

On average, fractional jet ownership contracts run for five years. To buy even 1/16 of a private jet means putting down a significant initial investment, plus recurring costs of maintenance, staffing, and more. When depreciation and remarketing fees come into play, the expenses can add up quickly.

Pay for Hours Flown vs Hours + Ownership Costs

With a Jet Linx Jet Card, you only pay for the hours you choose to fly. In a fractional ownership model, you still pay for the hours you fly on top of costs to maintain your asset. When flying fractional, there is comfort in knowing you will always fly the same jet with the same pilots, but you’re also using a shared asset, so access isn’t guaranteed.

Jet Linx Jet CardFractional Ownership
Financial CommitmentA Jet Card requires either a small initial fee and a flexible annual agreement with yearly renewal fees, or a deposit for flight hours.Fractional typically involves a hefty initial investment. Contracts typically last for five years. Aircraft depreciation and remarketing fees should be considered prior to purchase.
PricingJet Card members pay only for the hours that they fly. Jet Linx offers guaranteed hourly rates.On top of hourly flight time, fractional owners must pay their share for maintenance, inspections, staffing and more.
Access to AircraftJet Linx Jet Cards offer access to aircraft of all size. With a national fleet of more than 100 aircraft and 20 private terminals, access to a jet when you need it is guaranteed. With access to multiple categories of aircraft, a variety of different mission profiles can be accomplished.With fractional ownership, you have access to one category of aircraft, limiting the scope of potential mission profiles. Fractional owners share access to a private aircraft, meaning the jet may not be available when it is needed. Maintenance events, weather, or owner trips mean less availability.

Considerations for Other Jet Card Programs

 

Like any other product, Jet Cards come with unique benefits and features that may or may not be well-suited to you. The best Jet Card program for you is the one that matches your needs most closely. Some important considerations to make from the beginning are:

  • Safety standards and crew training
  • Your expected time to fly and number of users
  • Your typical mission profile
  • Level of service and privacy you desire
  • Guaranteed access to aircraft and private terminals
  • Length of commitment and Jet Card Pricing

How Much Does a Jet Card Cost?

 

Jet Card pricing can be misleading. Even when a clear price or quote is provided, there can be numerous hidden fees involved. As a prospective Jet Card user, you should search for a transparent operator, willing to explain all costs upfront.

Federal Excise Tax (FET)

FET adds 7.5% to your overall trip price. Sometimes this tax is not included in the price of a quote, and each operator handles this expense differently.

Annual Membership or Imitation Fees

Jet Card providers typically charge a membership fee, plus annual renewal fees. However, some operators allow customers to make larger initial deposits which are then used as credit for future flights. 

Jet Linx requires a $25,000 initiation fee for Executive Card members, and a $50,000 initiation fee for Enterprise Card members. 

Jet Linx​ also offers a Flight Funds ​(deposit) program which waives the membership fee and includes between 3% and 10% discount depending on the size of deposit.

Fuel Surcharges

Fuel surcharges, when applied, can increase the price of a flight. Not all operators apply a fuel surcharge, and this fee cannot typically be predicted before departure.

Jet Linx communicates current Fuel Surcharge rates when flight quotes are provided.

Deicing/Weather Rerouting Charges

When necessary, deicing can be time-consuming and costly. Likewise, re-routing and diversion charges can be unwelcome surprises. Depending on the Jet Card provider, these charges may or may not be included in the cost of a flight.

Jet Linx does not include de-icing charges in hourly rates, but diversion costs are included in the price of a trip. De-icing charges are provided at the trip quote level.

Peak Day Surcharges

Peak travel day surcharges can rise as high as 50%, making travel during holidays and other busy times far more expensive than usual. Operators charge a wide range when it comes to peak day surcharges.

There are no peak travel fees for Jet Linx Executive or Enterprise card members, providing the notice required per the Jet Card agreement is observed.

FBO and Airport Fees

Landing fees and hangaring costs are all additional charges that Jet Card users must consider on top of the hourly rate.

Jet Linx includes these fees in the ​fixed hourly rates. The only exceptions may come from events like the Super Bowl, Masters, or Kentucky Derby.

Cost of Taxi Time

Some operators count taxi time toward the daily flight minimum. This typically adds 12-15 minutes to the hourly rate. 

Jet Linx applies a standard 12-minute taxi time to all flights and this is included in the minimum daily flight time.

Minimum Daily Flight Times

Just because a flight is only 20 minutes does not mean you will only be charged for 20 minutes. Most operators apply a minimum of 60-120 minutes of flight time, making short trips financially unfeasible. Some operators count taxi time towards daily flight minimums. 

For Light Jets and Midsize Jets, a 60-minute minimum flight time is imposed by Jet Linx. For Super Midsize Jets and Heavy Jets, a 90-minute minimum flight time is imposed by Jet Linx.

Reservation Lead Time & Cancellation Fee

Jet Card operators typically require different reservation lead times based on Peak and Non-Peak travel days. These lead times can vary from 0 to 72 hours of advance notice, with cancellation times varying from 10 to 120 hours.

Jet Linx requires 48 hours of lead time (24 hours for Enterprise Card members). Cancellation deadlines range from 24 to 48 hours ahead of scheduled departure depending on the level of membership.

Expiration and Refunds

Some Jet Card programs promise no expiration date for funds deposited toward flight hours, but a majority of Jet Card providers place a 12 to 36-month expiration date on purchased hours.

For Flight Funds deposits, Jet Linx flight hours expire after 12 months, but Flight Fund deposits are refundable at any time.

Lifestyle Partnerships

Luxury brands pair well with private aviation, and as such, many Jet Cards come with exclusive access to luxury products, events and experiences. 

The Jet Linx Elevated Lifestyle program partners with over 30 luxury providers in travel, health and wellness, libations and fare, leisure, fashion, and more. Jet Linx also offers the Elevated Lifestyle Preferred Hotels Program, a collection of more than 70 star-rated properties worldwide. 

How Does Jet Linx Compare to Other Jet Card Companies?

 

Jet Linx offers local, personalized service but comes with the power of a national provider. With 20 private terminals and a fleet of more than 105 aircraft, our Jet Card program is made for those who seek flexibility and guaranteed access while receiving Forbes Five-Star customer service.

 

Three Guarantees with Every Jet Card Membership

 

Guaranteed Availability of Any Size Jet

  • With a large fleet of different size jets, there will always be an aircraft suited to your mission profile. No matter where you are, our team will create solutions to get you from point A to point B  safely.

Guaranteed Fixed Hourly Rates

  • Our guaranteed rates are designed to be as competitive as possible, even compared to the charter market or dynamic pricing models. With our guaranteed rates, there are no unwelcome surprises or volatility – that’s great for your peace of mind and your bottom line.

Guaranteed Highest Standard of Safety

  • Jet Linx remains an industry leader when it comes to safety and security. Smaller operators simply don’t have the time or resources necessary to invest in effective Safety Management Systems. We go above and beyond FAA-required minimums to set the gold standard of safety in the private aviation industry. 

Local Service on a National Scale

 

Our Jet Card program is the most cost-effective guaranteed program in the private aviation industry. With a national backbone supporting nineteen local Base locations, we offer intimate, personalized service combined with the power of a national aviation provider.

Contact Us Today to Learn More and Take Flight with Your Personal Jet Company