Jet Card Cost Unveiled: What You Need to Know
Aug 19, 2023
15 min read
What if you could enjoy the luxuries afforded by private jets without the need to purchase one? Jet cards offer the benefits of flying privately but without the hassle of jet ownership. With no management fees or hidden costs, jet card costs cover exclusive benefits but at a more affordable and predictable price point.
But how much does a jet card cost, and what perks do they come with? Find the complete breakdown of jet card program benefits and how to compare costs below.
What Are Private Jet Cards, and How Do They Work?
Charter operators offer private jet cards as an affordable way to prepay for flights at a fixed hourly price. Instead of buying private charters one flight at a time, you purchase a block of hours or put down a deposit to secure a discounted hourly rate. The funds are then applied to future bookings at a locked-in rate.
A typical jet card membership is sold in time blocks of 10 to 100 hours, with each card linked to a specific jet class.
For example, Volato’s Stretch™ Jet Card is exclusive to our fleet of best-in-class HondaJets and gives you credits toward future flights in return for schedule flexibility. Volato Insider, on the other hand, offers capped charter rates based on three distinct city zones.
While every program is structured slightly differently, they are all designed to offer the luxury of private jet travel without the burden of private jet ownership.
Understanding Jet Card Costs
Out of all the different models of private jet pricing, jet card costs are the simplest. Purchased as a bulk block of flight hours or as a deposit, the card locks in a fixed per-hour rate for future flights.
Most programs are built around an aircraft class or specific model (at Volato, our program works with our fleet of HondaJets). There are usually no membership fees, variables for fuel, or other additional charges for airport services, like deicing. Everything gets rolled into the cost of the card.
Unlike traditional charters, whose price structure varies depending on demand, timing, fuel costs, and any number of additional variables — with a jet card, prices are set at the time of purchase. There are no hidden costs.
The Added Benefits of Private Jet Card Programs
All jet card program benefits revolve around locking in predictable prices for private jet travel. But beyond capped hourly rates, what are the other benefits of these programs?
Lower Hourly Price
After purchasing your jet card, you’ll get access to lower hourly prices than if you were to charter flights on a one-off basis.
When booking a traditional charter flight, you often have to go through a broker or call several providers for quotes. A jet card makes booking faster and easier because the provider, aircraft, payment, and contract are already in place.
No Hidden Fees
With the hourly rate locked into the card, under most circumstances, you can expect no additional fees related to fuel, in-flight catering, or airport charges. As Forbes highlighted, if you travel during the winter months, you will save thousands of dollars in deicing charges alone.
Jet cards are more affordable, but they provide the same level of discretion as other private flights. Quieter airports, no security lines, and the exclusive use of the aircraft all ensure your privacy.
What Should You Consider When Choosing A Jet Card?
If you are flying private, you’re doing so for a reason. You may appreciate the ease of travel from your LA home base to the Aspen slopes. Or maybe you prefer the exclusivity of traveling via quieter terminals like Teterboro Airport or Napa County Airport.
Whatever the motivation for your private flying habits, the best value jet card options will likely cater to those needs. Most private carriers have one or more jet card options, each with a specialized set of benefits. Consider what elements are most important to you, and then explore your options.
Here are a few questions to ask to better inform your final decision:
- Does the jet card have restrictions and blackout dates around peak travel times?
- Does the jet card offer service to all airports or only a select few?
- Will you be responsible for any repositioning fees?
- Does the operator participate in internationally recognized safety programs, like ARGUS?
- What private jet model is included in the program?
- Does the jet card have an expiration date?
- Is the jet card refundable if your circumstances and travel needs change?
- Are there any other program Jet Card membership fees you should be aware of?
Comparing Jet Card vs. Fractional Ownership
There is a substantial difference in price between the cost of a jet card vs. fractional ownership — all because you are buying flight time on a private jet rather than buying the jet itself. The jet card model is akin to a prepaid credit card, whereas fractional ownership is akin to a vacation timeshare model.
At Volato, the cost of fractional jet ownership for the smallest portion of a HondaJet is $549,000, plus ongoing monthly management fees of $5,950. Yet, with our Stretch™ Jet Card, the only cost you’ll incur is the initial card purchase. The jet card costs are based on time purchased but start at $60,000 for a 10-hour block.
|Jet Card*||Fractional Ownership**|
|Management Costs||$0||$5,950* / month|
|Occupied Hourly Fees||$0||$4,200 / hr + fuel|
* Based on Volato Stretch™ Jet Card 10-Hour Block
** Based on a 1/16th share of a HondaJet
Comparing jet card costs to ownership on an hourly basis, it does appear more expensive than fractional ownership — at least at first glance.
|Volato Stretch™ Jet Card*||Volato Insider Program**||Fractional Jet Ownership***|
|Initial Investment and Management Fees||$60,000||$50,000||$620,400|
|Cost per Hour||$6,000||$7,000||$4,200 / hr + fuel|
* Based on Volato Stretch™ Jet Card 10-Hour Block
** Based on Volato Insider Program Base Zone
*** Based on a 1/16th share of a HondaJet with Volato
But, of course, this doesn’t take into consideration the management fees, fuel costs, and cost of jet ownership itself. These costs push the price of ownership significantly above that of a jet card purchase.
Tips for Reducing Jet Card Costs
The best value jet card options offer elite travelers an affordable way to fly in luxury without compromising privacy. But are there ways to maximize the value?
- Private Jet Class: As most jet cards are structured around the class of aircraft, you’ll want to choose the smallest feasible craft for your needs. The smaller the aircraft, the more affordable the card costs.
- Program Perks: Look for additional perks offered by the card provider. Exclusive perks vary between providers, and one will better fit your travel habits than another. For example, the Volato Stretch™ card will offer the best bang for your buck if your schedule is flexible. You’ll earn Stretch credits for flexibility, which can be applied toward a future flight.
- Fine Print: No two jet card programs are created equal. Before purchasing, read through the fine print to better understand how the operator handles repositioning, lead times on booking, scheduling conflicts, blackout dates, and more.
Jet Card FAQs
How much is a jet card per hour?
A private jet card price varies depending on the provider, aircraft model, hours purchased, and/or distance traveled. Typically, the more hours purchased or the larger the initial deposit, the lower the hourly cost.
As an example, Volato Stretch™ Jet Cards are sold in three different time blocks ranging in price from $5,880 to $6,000 per hour. Whereas, with the Volato Insider Program, the greater the initial deposit and the higher your selected zone, the lower the capped rate (ex: $7,000 per hour for Base zone and $6,700 per hour for Max zone).
How do jet card costs compare to traditional charter flights?
A number of variables influence the cost of chartered flights, including jet type, fuel, catering, and provider. However, a jet card will be cheaper per hour than a traditionally chartered flight. Passengers enjoy a discount for purchasing flight time in bulk rather than purchasing one charter at a time.
Are there any additional charges beyond the hourly rates for jet card ownership?
The benefit of a jet card is that all of the costs are simplified and rolled into the card’s price. Unlike under an ownership model, you don’t need to pay a monthly management fee or any variable fuel costs. They come baked into the fixed price of the card. There are no hidden fees.
Do jet card programs have blackout dates or restrictions?
Every jet card provider will have their own policies around blackout dates and destination restrictions. For example, one major charter operator sells cards with 45 no-fly days a year. They also reserve the right to shuffle departure times by several hours.
At Volato, we do not have any blackout dates on any program we offer. Instead, our jet card memberships are structured around flexible Stretch™ benefits. When booking, you indicate your schedule flexibility, whether by a few hours or a full day. If we need to ask you to stretch your flight schedule, you’ll earn credits toward a future flight.
Can I choose the specific aircraft in a jet card program?
Most jet card membership programs are built around a specific private jet model (or jet class). With some providers, you might have to specify the size of the jet at the time of purchase, or the jet class is locked in.
Volato’s jet card memberships have been created around our V fleet of HondaJets. As very light jets, HondaJets can accommodate four people traveling within a three-hour range. They offer passengers unparalleled luxury without compromising on efficiency.
Are there any hidden fees for jet card membership?
That is the beauty of flying private with a card — no hidden fees exist. What you see is what you get: no surprises when you book or after you land. The initial investment in purchasing a jet card goes directly toward any future private flights you book, with hourly prices locked in at the time of purchase.
What are some things to avoid when buying a jet card?
First and foremost, avoid charter operators with a suspect (or missing) safety record. Passenger and crew safety should be paramount. Any provider that doesn’t adhere to the guidelines laid out by internationally recognized safety ratings, like ARGUS Platinum and IS-BAO, is not worth your consideration.
You may also want to avoid jet cards with blackout dates depending on your travel needs. The main point of chartering a private jet is to travel when you want; chances are, you’ll need to fly during peak travel times at some point. So, why immediately limit yourself with a card laden with restricted times?
Private Jet Card Price: Locked-in Luxury Travel Perks
Jet cards have become an increasingly popular option for those seeking a premium travel experience but who may not have the budget or the capacity for full jet ownership. The costs and booking procedures are more straightforward than traditional chartering, and because time is purchased in bulk, cardholders earn a substantial per-hour discount.