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Many of us dread the process of taking a flight, especially when it comes to all the time spent passing through the airport. At the same time, many of us are looking for new and interesting ways to travel and use our points. This includes flying on more exclusive and private options. So in the post, we’ll cover using Chase points for JetSuiteX flights for an upgraded travel experience.
The allure of traveling on a private jet
The holiday season is here, so I know many of you are traveling or planning to travel to visit friends and family. If any of you have been watching the HBO show Succession, you’ve probably been intrigued by private jets and helicopters. At least, I know I have been. But for many of us, the thought of traveling like the Roys seems far too expensive and unattainable. So, I was excited to find out that I might be able to get a similar experience—and even better, use points to pay for it.
Private jet-like experience with JetSuiteX
Earlier this year, JetSuiteX and JetBlue announced a partnership allowing travelers to book JetSuiteX flights through JetBlue. If you’re not familiar with JetSuiteX, it’s a private charter plane service that operates in select cities. As of this article, they mostly operate on the west coast and in southwest cities and generally can be found at smaller airports.
For example, in Los Angeles, they fly out of Burbank airport, which is only four miles away from my apartment, which equates to about a 15 to 20-minute ride over. LAX, on the other hand, is about 24 miles away from me and can take one to two hours, depending on the traffic.
The main benefit of flying on a private charter plane is that you get to bypass most of the annoying aspects of airports. You’ll depart from a private hangar, and you don’t have to go through all the normal TSA security checks and protocols. The airline promises fewer lines, less time waiting for your flight, and more legroom. In fact, they say that you only need to arrive 20 minutes before your flight to check-in and pass their security!
It’s not going to be a complete private jet experience like you would see on Succession. Though with only 30 seats on-board, two free checked bags, and a complimentary cocktail, you’re going to be getting a more business-class like experience. The company also claims that its fleet will be getting high-speed Wi-Fi sometime in 2020.
How to book JetSuiteX flights (using Chase Ultimate Rewards points)
You can book through the JetSuiteX website, JetBlue, or travel portals like Expedia. Though if you’re looking to book a flight with points, then you’ll want to check out the Chase Travel Portal. Due to the partnership with JetBlue, JetSuiteX flights show up when you search for flights on the Chase Travel Portal. Though the flights are listed under JetBlue, you’ll notice that the flights are serviced by JetSuiteX because of the partnership.
Value of Chase Ultimate Rewards points
This means that you can redeem your Chase Ultimate Rewards points at 1.25 or 1.5 cents per point, depending on which version of the Sapphire card that you have. Although 1.25 or 1.5 cents isn’t a fantastic redemption rate, it’s not horrible either.
Can I use Amex Membership Rewards points?
Some of you might be asking, “What about American Express Membership Rewards points? Aren’t they a travel partner with JetBlue as well?” The answer is yes. However, even though you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards points to JetBlue, they won’t let you book these partner flights with points. So, the only option for booking with points is to use a travel portal. That may change in the future, but for now, using Chase Ultimate Rewards is the better option. You can use the American Express Travel Portal as well, but your redemption rate will only be one cent per point.
Is it worth booking a JetSuiteX flight?
You might be wondering, “Is it worth it?” I think it really depends on what you want from your travel. For example, I probably would still opt to fly on a budget carrier for a short flight, but that’s only because I would rather save points toward more travel. For most things in my life, I’m usually more inclined to pick quality over quantity. But for airline flights, I want to travel more and further. I’ll occasionally splurge on business-class tickets, but that’s mostly for longer flights so that I can sleep on the plane. However, if you’re saving two hours or more per flight by using JetSuiteX, then it might be worth the extra cost.
Also, it’s worth pointing out that the ticket prices are reasonable. I expected the cash price to be much higher for these tickets. For example, if I were to fly with JetSuiteX from Burbank to Oakland in the middle of January, the round trip flight comes out to around $200. The same flight on Southwest booked today would be around $150. And when I compare the cost of my last flight to Oakland for work, it was around $250. So, it is within range and not completely outrageous, especially when you consider the perks and time savings.
Perception issues when booking flights for work
Though one concern I might have with booking JetSuiteX for work is the perception that might be associated with it. For example, most companies have a policy of no business class for shorter flights. However, keep in mind that you can book through JetBlue, so it won’t seem as obvious, and it still lists the flight as economy class. I feel like someone would have to be paying special attention to notice that the flight is actually a JetSuiteX flight.
Tips and considerations when booking a JetSuiteX flight
Lastly, I wanted to share a couple of tips to keep in mind if you’re planning to book a flight on JetSuiteX.
1. Research logistics on where to check-in:
Since you’re not going through the normal terminals at the airport for JetSuiteX flights, you’ll want to look up where you need to go. Also, it helps to see what parking and rental options are available. Most of this information can be found on the JetSuiteX website under the “Where We Fly” tab.
One thing that could be confusing is getting from a rental car drop-off lot to a JetSuiteX hangar. Depending on the airport, you might be able to find a shuttle, but you’ll likely need to factor in an Uber or Lyft ride over.
2. Consider using a service like Freebird:
One of the biggest risks of flying a smaller airline operator is the limited number of flights per day in the event that your booking is canceled or delayed. In fact, when I looked at reviews for JetSuiteX on TripAdvisor, most of the complaints were focused on canceled flights and having to rebook on another airline at a higher price.
That’s where a service like Freebird can be handy. For less than $20 per flight, you can get rebooked with no additional fees as soon as you find out that your flight is canceled or delayed over four hours. It might add some peace of mind in case you’re concerned about delays or cancelations.
3. Consider booking through the Blackbird Air app:
The Blackbird Air app is like Uber for private jets and planes. You can use it to get matched up with a commercial pilot who can provide a more personalized and private flight experience for your travel itinerary.
Blackbird Air allows you to book flights on JetSuiteX as well, and you can often find promo codes and discounts for using the app, especially if you’re a new user. Just do a search for Blackbird Air Promo Code, and you’ll find a bunch of discount codes out there. It might be a good way to try out the service without using your precious points.
4. Manage your expectations:
I know I was joking earlier about flying like the Roys from Succession. Despite it being a smaller jet, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to have a private luxury experience. With 30 seats on the planes, you’ll likely be sharing the flight with others. So, make sure you manage your expectations. You might not be lounging in a cushy sofa drinking champagne at 35,000 feet, but you’ll still be getting a more comfortable experience than you would from most commercial airlines.
Have you flown on JetSuiteX? If so, what has been your experience?
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