There are four things that I believe every frequent traveler should have! That’s Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, Clear and Priority Pass. But what exactly are these and why should you get all four? While I already have two blog posts on what Priority Pass is and how to get Priority Pass for free, this article will discuss Global Entry vs TSA PreCheck vs Clear, why you want all three and how to get them for free.
Global Entry vs TSA PreCheck vs Clear
What is TSA PreCheck
TSA PreCheck provides low risk travelers with expedited security screening benefits at the airport on flights that depart from the U.S. This allows you to go in what’s usually a shorter security line and you get to keep your shoes, belt and light jacket on. There is also no need to remove your liquids or electronics from your bag when putting them through the x-ray machine. On average TSA PreCheck saves you at least an hour!
TSA PreCheck is available at over 200 airports in the US. The cost is $85 but membership lasts for 5 years, just keep in mind it doesn’t automatically renew so this is something you must do on your own. If you’re an adult traveling with kids 12 and under they can go in this line with you at no extra cost and there’s nothing you need to do. However if your kids are 13 and older they need their own membership.
What is Global Entry?
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers when arriving in the US from an international destination. Instead of standing on the usual long line at the airport you can use the express line at customs, using automated kiosks to scan your passport and take your photo.
Most travelers save at least one hour by using Global Entry and if you’re traveling with kids you know this is extremely precious time. In addition to expedited entry at U.S. airports, Global Entry also provides expedited entry when driving back to the U.S. from Canada.
Global entry applicants must complete a background check and go into a Global Entry office for a quick interview. The fee is $100 and is non-refundable even if you fail the background check but that cost covers 5 years of membership and it includes TSA PreCheck so no need to pay for both! Regardless of age everyone needs their own membership, yes, even newborns and that includes interviewing too. The interview is extremely easy and all they really do is take your fingerprints.
Credit Cards That Reimburse The Fee for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck
Now travel credits are a great way to earn points and miles to be able to travel frequently but they also provide other benefits. These include covering the fee for things like TSA PreCheck. Here is a list of the current credit cards that do:
- Arvest Visa Signature® Credit Card
- Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
- BB&T Spectrum Travel Rewards card
- Capital One® Spark® Miles Card
- Capital One® Venture® Card
- Certain American Express® Credit Cards
- Chase Sapphire ReserveSM
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World EliteTM MasterCard®
- Commerce Bank® World Elite Mastercard®
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- Diners Club® Carte Blanche® Corporate Card
- Expedia® Rewards Voyager Card from Citi
- HSBC Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card
- IHG® Rewards Club
- Marriott Bonvoy™
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
- MasterCard® Black Card™
- MasterCard® Gold Card™
- Navy Federal’s Visa Signature® Flagship Rewards Card
- Orbitz Rewards®
- PenFed Pathfinder® Rewards Visa Signature® Card
- Provident World+ Travel®
- Radisson Rewards™
- Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
- SunTrust Travel Rewards World Elite Mastercard® Credit Card
- UBS Visa Infinite Credit Card
- United ClubSM Infinite Card
- UnitedSM Explorer Card
- United MileagePlus® (By Redeeming Miles)
- United QuestSM Card
- US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card
- US Bank FlexPerks® Gold American Express® Card
What is CLEAR
These days even the TSA PreCheck lines can be long at busy airports such as Atlanta, Orlando, Miami and Chicago. For these times it’s great to also have CLEAR. In short Clear lets you bypass the ID check so there’s no security line to wait on or a need to take out our ID. Instead your eyes are scanned at the CLEAR machine and then you’re escorted past the TSA agent that checks ID’s, straight to where you put your bags into the scanner!
CLEAR is available at 50+ airports and also extends security bypass at some stadiums and venues. While it gets you to the front of the line at the airport, if you don’t have Precheck you’ll still need to remove your shoes and electronics, etc from your bag. CLEAR costs $179 and unlike Global Entry and TSA PreCheck this fee is annual, not every 5 years. Sign up here to save $30 on your membership.
However, there are some ways to reduce the cost. As a CLEAR member you can add another adult for only $50 and kids under 18 are free, this saves families a lot. Also, if you’re a Delta Skymiles Member or United Mileage Plus member you can save big on the membership fee.
For Delta Skymiles Diamond Medallion Members get free annual memberships, Platinum/Gold/Silver Medallion Members get $70 off and general Skymiles members save $60. Anyone can sign up for a general Delta Skymiles account and it’s free to join!
For United Mileage Plus members Premier 1K members get free annual memberships, Premier Platinum/Gold/Silver members and U.S. credit card holders get $70 off, paying $109/year and MilagePlus members only pay $119/yr.
Students, regardless of any other affiliation, only pay $50/year for up to 4 years.
Credit Cards That Provide Free or Reduced CLEAR Membership
- Centurion Card from AMEX
- The Platinum Card from AMEX
- The Business Platinum Card from AMEX
- AMEX Green Card provides $100 statement credit each year for CLEAR
- United Airlines Branded Card holders only pay $109
Do you have any or all of these? How do you like them? If you found this article helpful please share it!