The wholesale retailer is offering its members a 12-month subscription to private jet service Wheels Up. It’s priced at a hefty fee of $17,499.99 (it’s a private jet membership, after all), but it includes a $3,500 Costco (COST) Shop Card, a $4,000 flight credit and access to exclusive events.
Subscribers will also receive a one-year membership to Inspirato, which offers luxury vacation rentals, along with “guaranteed nationwide aircraft availability up to 365 days a year.” That means you can book a flight with as little as 24 hours notice.
But there’s a catch. The $17,500 only includes the right to book the flights, but doesn’t include the costs of the flights themselves. Members can either “pay as they fly” or buy an additional “Fund Program” — not sold through Wheels Up — that provides lower rates and lower billable fly times.
Wheels Up, a private aviation company that aims to make private flying “more accessible,” manages a fleet of more than 300 planes and has access to more than 1,250 partner aircrafts, according to the product description on Costco’s website.
There’s also a cheaper option. Customers can purchase a year-long membership for $1,994.99, nearly 80% less than the full-priced subscription cost, but it doesn’t include the frills and thrills of a Costco shopping card, flight credit and luxury vacation membership.
Although Costco is known for its discounted bulk items and appeal to the middle class, it also attracts a wealthier clientele. For example, multimillionaire Senator Mitt Romney is a fan. In an interview with Fox News during his presidential campaign in 2012, Romney touted that he enjoys buying three-packs of Costco’s Kirkland shirts.
The shopping club also offers pricey engagement rings, caskets and even a chicken coop duplex.
The private jet memberships comes as many people have been afraid to fly during the Covid-19 pandemic. But it has also paved the way for other alternatives that minimize contact, such as flying and booking a private jet — a luxury mainly reserved for the uber-rich.
Wheels Up promises “safety without compromise” for its passengers, including twice-a-day temperature checks for crew members, routine sanitizing between flights and fresh air ventilation.