Grab a $17,500 Private Jet Membership at Costco While Hunting Down Some Toilet Paper

All that money you're saving by buying canned beans in bulk—put it to good use.

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Wondering what to leave under the Christmas tree for a loved one this year? Consider a Lear Jet from Costco.

You already think Costco for coffee, hearing aids, oversized bottles of your favorite booze, and enormous bundles of toilet paper. Now: private plane travel. The company has partnered with Wheels Up, a company that seeks to match customers for private air travel—especially in the time of COVID-19—with airplanes it either owns or leases seats on.

Of course, Costco isn't directly involved in the private aircraft leasing business, but it serves as a sort of storefront to Wheels Up, much like it also offers cars and other big-ticket items. 

“Wheels Up is a leading private aviation company that delivers a total aviation solution for over 9,000 individuals, families, and businesses across North America. Its membership options significantly reduce the up-front cost to fly privately and enable a member to book a private plane as easily as a ride-share or short-term vacation rental,” according to Costco.

You get to “take advantage of shared flights to fly private with other members and split the cost,” as you “explore the Wheels Up Community Forums to coordinate shared flights with other members.”

Interested? Then you must know that there are two levels of Costco jet memberships. One is just $1,995, and getting from point A to point B costs extra on the company planes they're using. Toledo! Anybody going to Toledo?

Wheels Up

So that's what you get for two grand; let that card slip out of your wallet over drinks at the singles bar and it might be a good investment for that alone.

If you want to step it up, it’s $17,499.99. For that, you get a 12-month membership, plus a $3,500 Costco Shop Card and a $4,000 flight credit. Also, you can “Take advantage of exclusive member benefits, including a complimentary 1-year Inspirato Membership for luxury vacations.” We’re already Inspirato-ed.

Wheels Up, founded in 2013, operates more than 300 planes and has access to more than 1,250 “partner aircraft.” At $17,499.99, it's still basically a true starter membership—serious players will want to go to WheelsUp.com for the “business membership” that costs $29,500 And No Cents.

Wheels Up

Less than a year ago, The PointsGuy.com, a travel site dedicated to reviewing all things travel and credit cards, said that top members can “get access to some of the most popular Wheels Up features including Hot Flights, where you can book empty-leg flights on jet aircraft, turboprops, and helicopters, with rates as low as $320 for the entire aircraft. You can also 'fly by the seat' on scheduled shuttle flights or charter flights to popular events when you don’t need the entire aircraft."

“Meanwhile, Core and Business members can take advantage of 24- and 48-hour aircraft-type guarantees, and dynamic pricing with capped hourly rates. The dynamic aircraft pricing might end up being cheaper than the capped hourly rate, but Core and Business members won’t pay more than $4,695 per hour for a King Air 350i or $7,695 per hour for a mid-size partner jet.”

Allegiant Air flies from Tampa to Toledo for $49, so there is that. And, you can also charter your own Amtrak train.  Spend wisely this holiday season.

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