There are so many choices available in today’s private aviation world. Fliers are comparing enrolling in a membership program vs. fractional ownership, on-demand charter vs. jet card, and with countless other options to weigh, they have a big decision to make.

For many, the choice comes down to an on-demand charter vs. jet card program. Before we get into why on-demand charters are the best way to fly privately for most people, let’s break down how each model works.

Jet cards allow private fliers to pre-pay for their flights and lock in hourly rates on a specific airplane or aircraft class. And what does on-demand charter mean? On-demand simply means paying as you go. When you fly on-demand, you’ll typically work with a charter broker like Stratos to coordinate your flight. You receive an invoice for your charter and that’s it—no membership fees, long-term commitments or financial risk.

But how charter flights protect your capital and why should you consider paying as you go instead of purchasing a jet card? Here are the three things you should know.

1. Soar higher without risky upfront capital investments

While jet cards can help businesses and frequent fliers budget better by locking in rates, the steep initial investment can be risky. Typically sold in 25-hour increments, jet card pricing ranges from $150,000 to $200,000 for 25 hours of flight time on a light jet and up to $300,000 to $400,000 on a heavy jet.

If the jet card provider goes bankrupt, anyone with remaining flight hours risks losing their deposit.

2. On-demand is the cheapest way to fly private

Jet cards may reduce the turbulence of paying as you go, but on-demand charters actually cost less. The fixed cost of a jet card program typically runs five-to-10 percent higher than on-demand charter rates.

How much does an on-demand charter cost?

The cost of an on-demand flight varies. Smaller aircraft like turboprop planes and light jets typically see lower hourly rates than larger private jets. Your route, the type of aircraft and the aircraft’s location before your flight are all factored into the charter cost.

When you book a private jet charter, prices typically range from $2,000 and $18,000. With such a wide range in costs, the best way to get an accurate estimate is with our online calculator, which pulls from all of the historical data we’ve collected from our carriers over the years.

3. Always get the right aircraft for the job

Jet cards with pre-determined aircraft classes can work for people who always fly the same route, but what happens when your plans change and you need an ultra-long-range jet for the family trip to France or a more economical turbo-prop plane to cross the state for a business meeting?

When you fly on-demand, you unlock endless aircraft options. Our private flight advisors work with you to select the most suitable aircraft type and carrier for every single trip. The added versatility of on-demand also gives you full control over your itinerary.

So, are jet cards worth it? While they may be right for some people, we always advocate for on-demand charters so you never risk your capital to fly privately.

If you’re a frequent flier and crave the predictable spending of a jet card, consider a private jet membership instead. Membership programs come with a lower initial fee and unlock fixed rates on multiple aircraft categories. After your initial investment, you’re free to pay-as-you-go with all the benefits of an on-demand charter. 

Want to learn more about chartering a private jet or our Soar Higher membership? Call us at (888) 593-9066 to get started.