Time is precious. Finding ways to make the most of your time, especially while traveling, can make a huge difference in the way you feel when you make it to your destination. That’s reason enough to consider a private jet charter, offering the luxury, convenience, and flexibility you crave while getting from Point A to Point B.

And if you like private jet travel enough, you may even consider a card membership with a private jet charter service. Finding the best one for your specific wants and needs, however, takes time and research to help you make the most informed decision and investment.

Many consider private jet card programs risky business, especially after private jet membership providers reported significant losses that influenced them to change the entire program. This makes it more important than ever to do your due diligence and understand the risks involved with private jet memberships.

When it comes to private jet membership comparison, which takes the cake? At Stratos, we’re confident in our program and how it can help you meet your travel goals and expectations. But before you make the decision to Soar Higher, let’s take a closer look at the details you need to know about private jet card programs.

What is a Jet Card Program?

A jet card program is designed to provide guaranteed access to a private aircraft without committing to ownership or another long-term obligation. In most cases, it’s a debit card-style private jet travel program. This means you’ll use the card to prepay for flights when you need them.

You’ll start by purchasing a membership, which gets you enrolled in the system and allocates you a specific number of flight hours. Private jet card program costs will vary from one charter service provider to another, but initial upfront membership fees per month typically start around $370. Some private jet membership providers will also require a deposit for the program

Keep in mind that there are other fees associated with private jet card programs, such as landing fees, overnight fees, fuel charges, and other expenses related to requested amenities.

Once you’ve paid your membership fees, you’ll get your allotment of flight hours per year. From there, you get to pick the aircraft type to best suit your travel wants and needs. Remember: availability can vary based on the size and style of the aircraft, as well as your location.

Whenever you’re ready to travel via private jet, all you have to do is get in touch with your private aircraft charter provider. An agent will guide you through potential travel arrangements, from travel dates and destinations to departure and arrival times and optional amenities.

How Much Does a Private Jet Card Cost?

The price of a private jet card is based on your flying requirements. Although you can find entry-level jet cards for as low as $25,000, most buyers usually allocate between $50,000 and $500,000 for their annual flight costs.

Certain providers offer jet cards with 100-hour options, requiring significant deposits that can reach seven figures. These are designed for individuals with extensive travel needs.

On the other hand, there are also 25-hour jet cards available, specifically tailored for those who anticipate flying 25 hours or fewer annually. NetJet is known for its 25-hour card that starts at $280,000.

Alternatively, pay-as-you-go jet cards (like Stratos Jet Charters, Inc.) operate on a flight-by-flight payment structure. With this option, you pay an initial joining fee and settle expenses on a per-flight basis.

What are the Risks Involved with Private Jet Programs?

A private jet membership program sounds like the ideal route for a business person who’s always on the go, or a family that’s always traveling. Unfortunately, it’s not always clear skies. There are still risks associated with putting too much capital into a membership:

  • A QuickPay deposit structure. Providing a large amount of upfront capital always comes with risk, especially if they won’t offer a refund.
  • High minimum payments. Some private jet membership programs may require purchasing a minimum amount of flight hours, which can be problematic if you don’t get to fly as often as you’d like.
  • Poor customer experience. Even a private jet membership program, with all of the bells and whistles, can be considered risky if the organization prioritizes profit over the appropriateness of the aircraft assigned to fly your trip.

What are the General Perks of a Private Jet Card Program?

While traveling via private aviation comes with a slew of benefits, investing in a membership with a private aircraft charter company can make it that much more rewarding and enjoyable.

The best private jet card program will offer immediate access to the convenience and flexibility that’s available when you choose a private jet charter.

Time savings become another major advantage of joining a private jet card program; when you purchase flight hours, you don’t have to worry about booking flights months in advance to get the flight you want.

Instead, you can make arrangements, days in advance, with your private jet charter agent. And when the day of your flight arrives, you don’t have to arrive hours in advance like you would with a commercial flight. Instead, you’ll experience the streamlined nature of a private jet charter and arrive shortly before your flight is scheduled to take off.

Dedicated customer service is another perk of getting a jet card membership. When you work with a private jet charter broker, you’ll be connected with a booking agent and other professionals who are committed to making the most of your private jet card membership experience.

And of course, consistent service is an advantage of getting a jet card membership. Your fourth private jet flight of the year should be just as pleasant as your first. Gaining a membership with a charter service exposes you to a team of professionals who are passionate about making your private jet a safe and satisfying one.

Business man on a private jet with a laptop

Private Jet Card Comparison: Factors to Consider

If you’re interested in pursuing a private jet membership but you’re not sure where to start, we can assist. Here are the most important factors to consider when comparing private jet charter membership providers:

  • Pricing structure and transparency. Get an idea of what to expect when it comes to the pricing structure of your potential private jet membership. You’ll also want to know what’s involved with the immediate costs, fixed costs, and other fees so you can determine if it aligns with your budget. A pay-as-you-go structure should protect you and your investment; if you pursue a jet card with exponential upfront costs, you may have to restructure your budget and reconsider your chosen jet card program.
  • Aircraft availability and fleet size. What type of aircraft can you choose from? Your ideal private jet card program should offer a fleet that meets your specific needs. If you’re flying with a large group of colleagues, for example, you’ll need access to more mid-size and large jets.
  • Coverage area and international access. Does the private jet membership program offer services to your desired destination? If you’re looking for international access, make sure the program of your choice operates across the globe.
  • Flexibility and cancellation policies. Before committing to a program, gain a firm understanding of their cancellation policies. The best private jet card program offers flexibility in scheduling and can modify dates and times to meet your needs.
  • Additional services and amenities. One of the biggest perks of flying by private jet is the amenities involved, so make sure the membership program offers additional services beyond the transportation.
  • Safety and regulatory compliance. The best private jet card membership program involves a high priority on safety and regulatory compliance. Get to know the safety standards behind the program and talk with the agents about how regularly they maintain the aircraft to meet these high-quality standards.

Compare and Contrast: Worst vs. Best Jet Card Programs of 2023

Ready to find the best private jet card provider for your specific travel needs? Here are a few names to keep in mind during the decision-making process:

Stratos Jet Charters, Inc.

Our new private jet membership options are designed to offer access to the world’s most reliable air carriers at fixed rates while offering flexible cancellation terms, mechanical recovery, and more.

With our private jet card membership programs, there is no upfront deposit required, no fuel surcharge after flights, and no restrictions on your aircraft category options. With a Stratos pay-as-you-go private jet membership, you can lock in certainty while maintaining the flexibility of changing your flight at a moment’s notice.

The Other Options

One of the major advantages of the Stratos Jet Charters, Inc. membership is the convenient pay-as-you-go model. In comparison, these private jet cards expect more monetary commitment before you can fly.

Sentient Jet also offers two private jet card options, seamless booking, and flights that never expire. However, you’re required to put down a deposit to enter the program.

Magellan Jets offers fixed rates on all aircraft, guaranteed backup and recovery options, as well as zero blackout dates. Membership holders are expected to invest at least $11,500 at the start of the membership – this is the amount expected to be on your card to lock in the rates for the year.

Jets.com offers membership holders fixed hourly rates, guaranteed availability, and 24/7 personal service. However, this program also requires a deposit.

Nicholas Air is another membership provider offering fixed hourly rates, and they also offer no long-term commitment and an exclusive fleet for members – though this could present limitations in terms of aircraft options. They offer three flexible private jet card programs: One that allows you to pre-purchase hours, and two others that are deposit-based.

WheelsUp boasts travel flexibility, a dedicated account management team, concierge services, and more. However, members are expected to pay a one-time initiation fee of $2,995 with annual dues starting in year two. Additionally, during the 2023 annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting, CEO Warren Buffett shared his insight on the presumed wellness of WheelsUp:

“(Wheels Up has) 12,600 people who have given them over a billion dollars on prepaid cards…and I think there’s a good chance some people are going to be disappointed later on,”

he shared with the audience.

As of May 2023, Wheels Up’s Founder and CEO Kenny Dichter stepped down. George N. Mattson is the new CEO, bringing nearly 30 years of industry expertise to the company.

Why Choose Stratos?

You have many options to choose from when it comes to private jet memberships. In a slowing economy, putting money in an account with asset-heavy firms can be an incredibly risky move to make, especially if your business is involved. Don’t risk your capital to enjoy the comfort and splendor of private jet travel. Pay as you go with a Stratos Jet Charters, Inc. membership instead!

Book your flight in advance, risk-free. Get your Stratos Jet Charters, Inc. membership today.