Costco really does sell everything, including private jet travel

Nov 14, 2020

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You know they sell everything from bulk socks to hams to even automobiles, but did you know Costco is now also in the private jet business?

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The Washington Post reports the shopping club is now offering a 12-month membership to the private jet service Wheels Up. The price? A measly $17,499.99. That doesn’t, however, mean you get unlimited private jet flying. You’ll get a $4,000 flight credit, but as you can imagine in the world of private jet bookings, that doesn’t go too far.

Related: Flying private with Wheels Up

Costco even has the offer for sale online. There are some other perks. You’ll get a $3,500 Costco Shop Card to spend at the warehouses or online. You also get a complimentary one-year “Inspirato” Membership for access to luxury vacations, and Costco says you’ll also receive “dedicated account management,” whatever that means.

Related: The 5 best Visa cards for Costco

Here’s how the chain describes the offer:

  • Access to one of the world’s largest owned and managed fleets, comprising nearly one of the world’s largest owned and managed fleets of nearly 300 private aircraft as well as a Program Fleet of 1,250+ safety-vetted and verified partner aircraft in four different jet categories, all of which can be seamlessly searched and booked using the Wheels Up app
  • Guaranteed nationwide availability up to 365 days a year — and with as little as 24 hours notice
  • Wheels Up Membership features Shared Flights, empty-leg Hot Flights, Shuttle Flights, and The Community, an online platform of members-only forums to facilitate flight sharing, give members the opportunity to reduce their cost of flying private
  • Exclusive cross-platform benefits through a groundbreaking partnership with Delta Airlines
  • A comprehensive suite of lifestyle hospitality, and travel benefits
  • One (1) $3,500 Costco Shop Card will be sent by Wheels Up after agreements are received and your account is activated

The Wheels Up private fleet now consists of more than 300 aircraft, from the King Air 350i, Citation Excel/XLS, Citation X, and Hawker 400XP to even larger jets. So you’ll be traveling in style. However, style doesn’t come cheap.

While you can book some so-called “Hot Flights,” where you can grab an empty-leg seat with rates as low as $320, most of the time you will pay more like $4,695 an hour for a King Air 350i or as much as $7,695 per hour on a mid-size jet.

Related: Yes, you can fly private — here’s the secret that will help you do it

(Image courtesy Wheels Up)

Delta Air Lines sold its Private Jets division to Wheels Up back in January (though it retains partial ownership). As a part of their current partnership, Wheels Up members have the opportunity to fast-track Delta Medallion status, earn Delta SkyMiles, get discounts on select Delta fares and more. Delta could eventually also sell seats on Wheels Up flights, making private jet flights more accessible in the future.

Related: Cheapest ways to fly private

Costco also, by the way, sells travel (including cruises), rents cars and sells luxury watches, jewelry and cars. Just so you know.

Additional reporting by Benji Stawski and Ethan Steinberg.

Featured image courtesy Delta Private Jets/Wheels Up.

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