corporate team leave private jet

The Ultimate Guide to Private Jet Memberships and Charter Options

Nothing compares to flying privately. The privacy, efficiency, and sheer convenience of traveling via private jet can’t be beat by other methods of transportation. When you arrive at the airport, you simply check-in at the uncrowded FBO. Your shoes stay on. You don’t have to stand in a line-up with strangers. Your personal items remain private, including your phone and laptop. Then you board. It’s simple, straight-forward flying.

But there’s something that’s even better than an on-demand private jet flight, and that’s private jet memberships.

Here’s everything you need to know about private jet memberships, including cost, fees, and the fine print.

The origins of private jet memberships

Private jet memberships were originally created to attract more travelers to the private aviation industry. For travelers that don’t frequently fly privately, these memberships were an attractive lower-cost entry into the market without the hassle of aircraft leases or the costs of ownership.

As more charter providers entered the scene, several different types of memberships began to surface. From more traditional memberships with annual fees to jet cards with hourly maximums and minimums, there were several options available to those looking for easy access to private jet charters.

man on private jet

Hourly jet cards: Is it worth the risk?

In 2020, just a few months after the COVID-19 pandemic began and aircraft around the world were grounded, some jet card holders found themselves in an impossible situation. They had put down a deposit on a jet card only to find that the provider they purchased the jet card through had declared bankruptcy. After taking millions of dollars of prepaid jet card deposits with them, the ideals around jet cards came crashing down in much the same way the providers did.

How much does a private jet card cost?

The cost of a jet card can be as low as $25,000 and extend up to $500,000 or more every year. The cost you pay will depend entirely on how much you want to fly.

So how much is a 100-hour jet card worth? That depends on the provider and the volatility of the private aviation market, but you can most likely expect to pay in the seven-digits for 100 hours—or more—of flight time.

So if you’re still wondering how much does a 25-hour Netjet card cost, you’d have to head to their website and see as that cost can fluctuate depending on the market. Each jet-card provider sets their card prices, so they can fluctuate drastically between providers too.

In today’s market, however, several of the providers that once provided hourly jet cards are now backing down from such offerings as demand for private aviation far exceeds supply. Jet cards are now considered a risky gamble for travelers.

We’ve covered this topic in-depth in a previous blog article: Jet Cards Exposed: Everything You Need to Know.

woman boarding private plane

Other Private Jet Charter Programs

In addition to private jet cards, other private jet memberships exist in many different forms. However, the most common model usually has an annual membership fee with a locked in hourly rate for a certain sized aircraft. Let’s take a look at some of the most common membership models.

Private jet memberships

This type of charter service requires an annual membership fee upfront, but with that private jet membership cost, the traveler is afforded many benefits.

Members can then take advantage of:

  • Locked-in hourly rates
  • Priority access to aircraft
  • Flexible flight cancellations
  • No fuel surcharge surprises
  • Access to thousands of aircraft
  • No surprise fees or charges

A membership with this kind of structure can be invaluable when the market is in high-demand, like it is currently. With demand surging and the cost of jet fuel and maintenance at an all-time high, the best private jet membership is one with a locked-in price structure can save travelers thousands of dollars each flight.

Locked-in prices and aircraft

If you enroll in a membership with a private jet provider who owns their own fleet, your aircraft options will likely be reduced to their fleet. This can be problematic if the fleet is small or if the provider is trying to meet their own internal quotas.

If you work with a provider not tied to a fleet, your aircraft options will open up significantly. Without the burden of ownership, these types of providers can choose from a pool of thousands of aircraft. At Stratos, we don’t own any aircraft which frees us up to vet every aircraft and operator we hire so that every flight we book is one of the safest in the skies.

bed on private jet

On-demand charters

Flying on-demand is great for flyers that charter jets occasionally on an irregular basis and still undecided on enrolling in private jet memberships. This type of charter typically offers a variety of aircraft spanning across all categories and come with a fluctuating hourly rate. The best part about this charter option is that there are no upcoming commitment fees, membership fees or monthly dues. You simply ring up your private jet provider, request a charter, finalize the details and pay the invoice.

Fractional ownership

This jet charter option is better suited to those that fly quite a bit. The biggest benefit to this option is the tax benefits, as they are like those that come with full ownership without the burden of hiring crew, scheduling maintenance, sourcing a hangar, and more. Shares can come as small as 1/16th of an aircraft up to the entire plane. Some fractional ownership plans can even include shares in more than one aircraft in case a smaller or larger aircraft is needed.

business professionals boarding private jet charter

 

Private jet ownership

Of course, if you plan on traveling quite a bit each year, owning your own personal aircraft may be the best option. This means you can fly whenever you choose. However, there are a few drawbacks. Owning an aircraft comes with plenty of responsibility, like:

  • The upfront cost of investment, which can range from $3 million to $90 million
  • Operating costs, including maintenance, fuel, crew expenses, insurance, etc.
  • Hiring crew and managing staff
  • Scheduling flights, and more

Of course, there are companies that will manage these details on your behalf, but it’s important to know that service will add to your financial commitment.

couple smiling on private jet

 

The Soar and Soar Higher memberships

In response to soaring demand for private jet charters, here at Stratos, we’ve recently launched an innovative private jet membership to lock in the price our clients pay for private aviation. Due to unusually strong demand, aircraft availability has become scarce and that’s been driving the pricing for private aviation to new heights.

Through our new Soar private jet membership program, Stratos clients can lock in pricing for up to a year. Our members also gain access to the world’s most reliable air carriers at fixed rates.

See Membership Details

 

Ready to soar higher than ever before with our new membership program? Reach out to a private flight advisor today to get started at (888) 593-9066 or online through our website.

Are you ready to book your best charter flight yet?

Our friendly, expert private flight advisors are here to answer questions or start your quote today. Don`t wait, call right now and we can get you on your way to the destination of your choice!

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