Gently Used: Buy a Blinged-Out Boeing 747-8 From the Qatari Royal Family
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express
On the market for a lightly used Boeing 747-8? Well, you’re in luck. The Qatari royal family has decided that two 747-8 Boeing Business Jets is one too many, and they’re putting their newest “BBJ” (registration VQ-BSK) on the market.
Built at the end of 2012, the jumbo jet underwent a multi-year “VVIP” interior installation before entering service with the Qatari royal family in 2015. According to the listing, the aircraft has only been flown 403.2 hours over 181 cycles (a cycle is a takeoff and a landing) — making the aircraft practically brand new.
While the 747-8 is certified to carry up to 467 passengers, this aircraft is fitted with just 76 passenger seats and 18 crew seats. And a look inside the luxury cabins shows why. For starters, there’s an incredible dining room / boardroom:
You and your friends will have plenty of space to spread out in the aircraft’s various lounges:
You’ll have to work out who gets to claim the even more exclusive upper-deck lounge:
That said, there are plenty of lounges and offices across the massive aircraft.
However, photos released from the interior reveal only one truly royal suite:
With 10 lavatories on-board (2 forward, 2 mid, 4 aft, 2 upper deck) for the maximum 94 people on-board, there should never be much of a line.
And since this aircraft is designed for “VVIP”s, there’s even a medical suite on-board:
The aircraft is powered by four GE GEnx-2B67 engines — serial numbers 959424, 959114, 959427, 959428 OR 959429, 959424, 959427, 959428 depending on which listing you check. These practically-new engines have a list price of $22.5 million each, making this aircraft a tempting purchase for any airline looking to pick up a few spares for cheap.
How To Purchase
How much are you going to have to shell out for the blinged-out bird? Well, there’s no asking price. Instead, interested buyers are directed to call the AMAC Aerospace Switzerland AG airline broker Mohamad Badran at +41 58 310 32 58 to make an offer.
No word yet if they will take a credit card for the purchase. If so, the purchase is unlikely to code as travel, so you’d want to put the purchase on a card that earns points on general spend. With the demise of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express earning rates (now 2x Marriott points = 1.8% return instead of 1x Starpoint = 2.7% return), we’d recommend using the Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card (up to 2.625% cash back), Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard (2x miles per dollar towards travel with a 5% redemption rebate) or Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (2x miles).
While the The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express is generally a great everyday spend card, the 2x Membership Rewards points earnings are limited to only the first $50,000 in purchases (then 1x thereafter). If you haven’t hit this limit yet, there’s a possibility that a large purchase would all earn 2x points — but it’s not worth risking on such a massive purchase.
Unless you can get the broker to process the charge in the US, you’d want to steer clear of the Chase Freedom Unlimited or Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card 1.5% cash back (or 1.5x Chase Ultimate Rewards points) and the Citi Double Cash Card (2% cashback; 1% back when you buy and 1% back when you pay), as these charge 3% foreign transaction fees.
Make sure to give the bank a heads-up about the large purchase before running the card.
The aircraft has capacity for 225,486 liters (59,567 gallons) of fuel. With the current price of Jet A fuel in the US around $4.69 per gallon, you’re going to want to use a card that maximizes earnings on that nearly $280,000 fill-up. If the fueling service codes as a “gas station,” our recommendation would be to use the Citi Premier Card, which earns 3x points on purchases at gas stations.
H/T: The Drive