What Is A Jet Membership Card, And How Does It Work?

Private and business travelers appreciate the privacy, convenience, and time savings that jet cards and private aviation allow.

The first jet membership card was created in 1997 by the founder of Sentient Jet, a charter broker located near Boston. The jet membership card was developed in response to the top-rated fractional ownership programs offered by NetJets and Flight Options. The appeal of fractional ownership and ultimately the jet membership card was the consistency in pricing over charter flights and the reduced complexity of owning a jet, which was the only other option before NetJets.

A jet membership card is a marketing product specific to private aviation that allows cardholders to use different aircraft at agreed fixed hourly rates. A jet membership card is offered by large and small fleet operators and charter brokers. There are more than 250 jet membership card programs on the market, with up to 65 variables among jet card companies, and the number of providers has doubled in recent years.

Traditional jet membership card programs are prepaid hours of flight time spent on a particular aircraft or size of aircraft. Some programs include not only jets but also turboprops. The term “jet membership card” can also refer to prepaid private jet charter programs with similar attributes.

Jet membership cards are prepaid hours of occupied flight time. The significant benefit is that they establish a fixed hourly rate for a particular type of aircraft. There are two broad types:

  1. specific hours of a particular aircraft or size of aircraft. These are usually sold as 25-hour options and start at around $120,000 for light aircraft. However, some suppliers offer unique cards for as little as 5 hours.
  2. Specific deposit, where you deposit a sum, usually starting at $100,000, sets the rates on different aircraft sizes. The higher the initial deposit, the lower the hourly rates you can lock-in.

Jet cards are a simplified and cost-effective way to experience the most luxurious and time-saving experience in private aviation today.

If you want to schedule a flight with less than 24 hours, you’ll pay more than if you could give seven or even 14 days’ notice. The more information you give suppliers, the more inventory you can take advantage of and the better the rate they can provide, so if you can live with one-week or even two-week notice periods, the benefits will not be long in coming.

On the other hand, if you want to travel aboard specific aircraft and with pilots with different qualities, rather than using the most popular models, you should get used to the idea that you will end up paying more. Of course, it’s the same if you specify that you only want aircraft less than ten years old, with a Wi-Fi connection is mandatory, catering, flight attendants, travel with pets, and so on. But, again, the more must-have specifications you require, the higher your flat rate will be.

Customization can include almost anything you want to be included in your inclusive price. For these types of features, companies usually require a minimum commitment of at least 50 hours per year and a three-year commitment.