Wheels Up is replacing Delta Private Jets as the partner in the American Express Premium Private Jet Program, although in a sense, it is replacing itself. Wheels Up bought Delta Private Jets from Delta Air Lines in January 2020, which has made the airline the largest shareholder in the soon-to-be publicly traded private jet provider. Delta Private Jets has been the exclusive provider for the American Express program since 2016.
The Wheels Up partnership with American Express seemingly tightens the loop between all three companies. American Express issues a co-branded credit card on behalf of Delta Air Lines. American Express Platinum and Centurion members receive complimentary access to Delta’s Sky Clubs when traveling on the airline. They can also transfer points from Membership Rewards into their SkyMiles accounts, redeeming free flights and upgrades on Delta and its SkyTeam Alliance Partners.
Wheels Up offers SkyMiles and grants varying levels of Medallion status on Delta Air Lines to its members. It also allows members who deposit funds to use those monies both for private jet charters and flights on Delta Air Lines.
Today’s announcement means American Express U.S. Platinum and Centurion cardmembers will now get discounts when joining Wheels Up as well as flight credits. For example, for Platinum cardholders, the joining fee and first-year dues for Wheels Up’s Core membership are reduced 40% to $10,000 from $17,500. They also receive a $2,000 first-flight credit and up to $4,500 in additional credits based on their deposit.
Wheels Up offers a pay-as-you-go membership where you get guaranteed availability at capped hourly rates. However, members get better terms by depositing funds, including lower daily minimums, reduced notice to book flights, free WiFi, and deicing.
“American Express is deeply committed to delivering exceptional service to its cardmembers, and we share that commitment. We are thrilled our two brands are working together to welcome Platinum Card Members to Wheels Up,” said Kenny Dichter, Founder and CEO at Wheels Up, adding, “We set a high bar for our members by delivering world-class safety and service onboard our diverse fleet. We look forward to providing unparalleled travel and lifestyle experiences to American Express Platinum Card Members.”
Qualifying American Express cardholders receive a 20% discount for an entry-level Wheels Up Connect membership, reducing the fee to $2,396. It comes with a $500 credit for the first flight, among other benefits.
If you want a one-off charter flight without joining, Wheels Up will waive its $495 transaction fee for your first booking through its app.
“With our mutual dedication to outstanding services and innovation, Wheels Up is a natural fit for our Platinum cardmembers,” said Rafael Mason, Senior Vice President of Global Premium Products at American Express, adding, “We know our Card Members will appreciate the level of safety and service of the Wheels Up private jet experience.”
Wheels Up has said it plans to introduce a co-branded credit card in the future, so today’s news may indicate that it could come from American Express.
Wheels Up is expected to consummate its merger with SPAC Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle Corp. mid-month. It will then become publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol UP. It will also become know as Wheels Up Experiences.
Earlier this week it unveiled an extensive agreement with Landry’s Inc., which includes a number of top restaurant brands such as The Palm, Morton’s, Del Frisco’s and Chart House. Wheels Up Core and Business members get top status in Landry’s loyalty program.