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From setting your own schedule to avoiding crowded airports, there’s a lot to like about flying private. If you’re looking for ways to get the most out of your private jet flight bookings, we’ve got you covered.
Here’s how to use credit card points to cut the cost of private jets, how to earn points and miles from flying private and how to score the most points and miles from your flight.
While there are a lot of perks to flying private, scoring free flights using points and miles isn’t one of them. Private jet service providers seemingly have enough demand that none have gone to the trouble to launch and operate a loyalty program.
At least so far. Wheels Up—one of the largest private jet providers—has teased that it’s working on a loyalty program that it expects to launch in summer 2021.
Until then, there’s one primary way to use points and miles for private jets: redeeming points for cash back you can then apply toward your travels. Several credit cards let travelers redeem points earned through spending to cover purchases—either as a statement credit or to “erase” eligible purchases.
That said, you still have a number of options to maximize your private jet experience using your credit card perks.
American Express is the clear leader in the points-for-private-jets race. For example, you can jet around Africa on an ultra-luxury private jet safari with Micato Safari. Or, you can book all-inclusive around-the-world trips on private jets through TCS World Travel.
Eligible American Express cardholders can book through the Gold Card Destinations or Platinum Destinations programs for additional travel perks. By doing so, you could earn bonus Membership Rewards and get a $100 shipboard credit or instant savings for bookings costing $3,000 or more. Plus, you can redeem American Express Membership Rewards to offset the trip.
Although there are limited options to redeem miles for private jet flights, there are a number of ways to earn points and miles from flying private.
As mentioned above, Wheels Up is the wild card here. The company has a partnership with Delta Airlines and is expected to allow reciprocal benefits including the ability to redeem Delta Skymiles for Wheels Up flights in mid-2021. This news is particularly interesting because Delta is an American Express Membership Rewards program partner, meaning that you could potentially use Membership Rewards points for Wheels Up flights soon.
Delta used to offer travelers its own fleet of private jets through a service called Delta Private Jets. For years, SkyMiles members could redeem 2.5 million SkyMiles for $25,000 in credits toward booking travel on Delta’s fleet of private jets.
That came to an end in January 2020 when Delta Private Jets merged into Wheels Up. This merger ended the ability to redeem SkyMiles for private jet flights—at least for now. But, you can still score Delta benefits for purchasing Wheels Up flights.
You can earn up to 50,000 SkyMiles for joining Wheels Up, and up to 25,000 SkyMiles each year you renew. The number of miles you get depends on the level of membership tier you choose.
JSX (formerly known as JetSuiteX) is a public charter airline that offers many of the benefits of flying private. You’ll avoid the crowded airport terminals and depart out of a private terminal. Onboard, you’ll get business class legroom, free snacks and drinks and two checked bags.
Unlike arranging for your own private charter flights, JSX flights operate on a set schedule and you may have to share the ride with other passengers. With that said, there’s one massive advantage to JSX: the cost. Depending on the route and how far out you book, flights can cost as little as $99 each way. That makes a luxury experience competitive with prices on low-cost airlines.
JSX doesn’t have its own loyalty program. Instead, it partners with JetBlue to offer TrueBlue points to frequent flyers. The earning chart is simple. You’ll earn 150 TrueBlue points from cheaper “Hop On” fares and 250 TrueBlue points for “All In” fares. But, unfortunately, you can’t redeem TrueBlue points for JSX flights.
Carrying the right credit card is important no matter how you travel. However, it’s especially important if you plan to fly private. By carrying the right credit card, you can score discounts and perks on private jet bookings. Plus, you can rack up plenty of points and miles from spending.
One of the perks American Express offers to some premium cardholders is access to their Premium Private Jet Program. This program offers a 3 percent promotional discount on flight charges, in-flight catering credits and car service transfer credits on Delta Private Jets charter flights booked through Platinum Travel Services.
If you opt to purchase a Jet Card, you can pay a reduced entry purchase of $50,000—instead of the standard $150,000—and you’ll get a 3 percent bonus added to your Jet Card.
In addition to booking private jets, you can use this Jet Card to book select fares on Delta commercial flights with a 20 percent discount. Plus, you’ll get Delta SkyMiles Diamond Medallion elite status for all Jet Card purchases of $100,000 as long as your Jet Card remains active and carries a balance.
Although Delta Private Jets merged into Wheels Up in January 2020, this discount is still available to eligible cardholders that book through Amex’s Platinum Travel Services.
Credit card rewards can help you offset the high cost of flying private through statement credits. Plus, you can use some premium credit cards to score special perks and discounts on private jet bookings.
JT Gentner worked for a decade as a tax accountant before turning his analytical skills to points, miles, and credit cards—publishing over 2,000 articles on The Points Guy. In the past four years, he has flown over 1 million miles on 67 airlines, visited 43 countries, and maintains elite status with 5 airlines and 6 hotel loyalty programs.