In the following article, Doug Gollan, founder and editor-in-chief of Private Jet Card Comparisons, explains why choosing the wrong private jet card programme can cost you tens of thousands of dollars in extra charges.
When shopping for a private jet card, many people focus on hourly rate, as in which programme has the lowest price. While the rate you find in a brochure 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, which can shave up to 40% off your hourly rate?
Another place jet card shoppers often forget to compare is Peak Days, where there are big variances between the programmes 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.
With the holidays upon us, let’s look at Peak Days, which are designed to cover high demand periods when the inventory of planes is under pressure. In terms of jet card membership programmes, the number of designated Peak Days varies from under ten to as many as 58 days. It’s one reason smart buyers map out their expected travel plans before they buy.
Peak Days also mean longer lead times to reserve private flights. Whereas programmes typically require between eight and 24 hours for reservations, during Peak Days it varies from 24 hours to seven days. Cancellation of international flights also varies during Peak Days.
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.
When it comes to hourly rates, some programmes don’t have Peak Day surcharges while others can range as high as 40%. For eight hours of peak flying at an $8,000 hourly rate, a 10% surcharge means $6,400 in extra charges.
So where to start? Look at the actual peak dates for the programmes and match them against your projected flying. The more detailed you can be the better. It will save you money and guide you to programmes where you can have the most favourable rates and least restrictive policies for the majority of your flights. From there, you can figure out how many of your flights will be impacted and decide how flexible you want to be. After that, you can figure out the programmes that will fit your needs the best.
Private Jet Card Comparisons is an independent buyer’s guide analyzing programmes from Air Partner, Airstream Jets, Clay Lacy Aviation, Concord Private Jet, Delta Private Jets, Ecojets, ExpertJet, Flexjet, Jet Aviation, Jet Linx, JetSet Group, JetSuite, Magellan Jets, Marquis Jet, NetJets, Nicholas Air, Paramount Business Jets, Private Jet Services Group, PrivateFly, Prive Jets, Sentient Jet, Silverhawk Aviation, Solairus, Star Jets International, StraightLine Private Air, VistaJet, Wheels Up, Wholesale Jet Club, and XOJET.