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Private jets: The pros and cons of buying, Jet Cards, and chartering

Want to travel by private jet? Then you can either charter one, use a Jet Card, or buy your own aircraft. Each of these options has pros and cons which need to be carefully weighed up. This overview will help you:


Owning your own private jet has many advantages: You choose the plane yourself, adapt it to your needs and specifications down to the tiniest detail, and it’s available around the clock. But that also comes at a cost, both in terms of purchase price and running expenses. Those for whom full ownership is out of reach can opt for fractional ownership, allowing the costs to be shared with other owners, but also meaning compromises in terms of details and usage.

As a rule of thumb: It’s worth owning a private jet if you fly more than 400 hours a year. Five purchase tips can be found [here](Link 1).

Jet Card

Jet Cards work on the prepaid principle: You pay for a desired number of flight hours in advance, and these are then deducted from your “credit balance” when you fly. You typically need to use up your hours within one year.

One advantage: As you pay for all your flight hours together beforehand, you don’t incur any additional administrative expense for further payments. Bookings can also be made quickly and efficiently, as your data is stored right from the outset.

The more hours you book, the cheaper the price per hour usually becomes. This can be attractive if you know exactly how many hours you’ll be flying. If you don’t, or if you end up flying less than expected, you may be in for a rude shock when the hours are forfeited.

Jet Cards often also involve [hidden costs](Link 2): For example, many providers reserve the right to modify prices in the event of rising fuel prices, major events at the destination, etc. The taxi time is frequently also added to the flight time. This can quickly add up and put a strain on your flight-hours account.

It is similarly important to know that people who only fly “one ways” using a Jet Card can expect lower pro-rata positioning costs than those doing a return flight. So Jet Cards generally tend to be more worthwhile for one-way flights.

On-demand charter

On-demand charters require you to pay flight by flight. In comparison the administrative expense is a little higher than for Jet Cards. Bookings can also take longer, though if you stay with one charter provider who has your details stored, that ceases to be a problem. Many providers also offer [frequent flyer programs](Link 3), in which you also pay for hours in advance and thus reduce accounting expense.

The big advantage of on-demand charter flights is the much greater flexibility. Because you’re not bound to one provider; you can instead freely choose the plane and provider every time, and as such go for the most suitable service, regardless of whether you’re traveling alone or with others. Providers of on-demand charters are normally also better equipped to handle last-minute changes of plan.

When it comes to price, individual flights may be more expensive than with a Jet Card, but not necessarily. In any case, you will receive binding pricing information beforehand; there are no hidden costs. And prepaid flight hours can never be forfeited.


In general, it can be said that Jet Card are only worthwhile if you’re flying more than 50 hours a year. For passengers who place great emphasis on flexibility, on-demand charters are typically best. You can of course also combine the two, e.g. use a Jet Card for one-way flights and charter a private jet for return flights.

Or maybe you would still prefer to buy your own plane? In the end, there are no blanket solutions – it’s always determined by your personal flying activities. The Premium Jet experts will be glad to advise you.

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Further information is also available in our On-Demand Charter vs. Jet Cards e-book:

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