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Why Jet Cards aren’t as lucrative as they seem

The advantages of Jet Cards seem obvious. You buy a certain allocation of hours, and thus benefit from a lower price per hour of flight time and the assurance of constant access to the provider’s fleet.

Before a decision look, regardless if Jet Card or another solution, very close at the fine print. Because it’s usually only the contractual details which tell you whether or not Jet Cards are really worth it.

The (supposed) advantages of Jet Cards

With Jet Cards allow you buy a set allocation of flight hours in advance almost like a prepaid credit cards. When you book a flight it is debited from the card’s credit balance.

As you choose a set allocation beforehand, you usually receive a much lower price than when booking individual flights. But you have to know right from the outset how many flying hours you’re going to need.

Depending on the contract, unused flying hours expire at the end of the contractual period or can be used up during a set time frame thereafter.

Another advertised benefit of Jet Cards is the fact that you always have access to the entire fleet, meaning the right aircraft is available to you at all times.

Advantage 1: Lower price

The lower price per hour of flying is probably the most frequently claimed advantage of Jet Cards. But it is worth comparing multiple providers and studying the fine print.

Some providers stipulate exceptions for peak times, for example much higher prices during holidays or major events. Sometimes the so-called taxi time to the runway is added with up to 15 minutes per flight, which quickly results in significantly higher prices. Other exceptions may include additional fees for use of “non-preferred FBOs”.

In any case, it is worth examining the fine print very closely and comparing the average costs with those of an on-demand charter flight or with frequent flyer programs.

Advantage 2: Access to the entire fleet

The thought of having constant access to Jet Cards entire fleet sounds tempting at first but charter providers also have access to a variety of jets and often even find more suitable aircraft than Jet Card providers due to their flexible setup.

Note: Deviations from contractual terms mean additional costs.

With charter flights or frequent flyer programs you know exactly how much you’re paying for every flight and you always can choose the most suitable aircraft.

Jet Cards in direct comparison

Before deciding on a certain model: Get several offers, have a “sharp” look at the contract details and calculate all variants.

And although it may not seem so at first glance, on-demand charters and frequent flyer programs are usually no more expensive than a Jet Card, but very often cheaper and you are even more flexible.

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