By now, pretty much every seasoned traveler knows the advantages of TSA Pre-Check:
- You don’t have to take off your shoes (or walk barefoot on those delightfully sticky, vomit-flecked airport floors)
- You don’t have to pull out your laptop or liquids (always a plus if you’re carrying liquids of a, shall we say, “personal” nature)
- THE LINE IS WAY FASTER
With Pre-Check, you are – for the most part – dealing with experienced travelers who know the drill. Between that, the less complicated “stripping down” process and the fact that only about 1% (!) of Americans have Pre-Check, you generally speed through in a fraction of the time. So you can shoot faux-sympathetic looks at those standing in the regular line currently wishing you were dead.
And then there’s Global Entry, the lesser known kissing cousin, for international travel. Global Entry allows you to:
- Avoid filling out those lengthy customs declaration forms on the plane (and who EVER has a pen handy for that?)
- Skip the regular customs line, which is roughly akin to Ellis Island in 1902
Instead, you simply walk up to a kiosk (I’ve never had to wait for one, ever), scan your passport, answer a couple simple questions, and take the receipt it prints out for you to a customs officer. My personal experience has been that the whole process takes about 90 seconds. And my husband and I fly in and out of LAX, which, at any time of day or night, is like Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
Minus the revelry. But with the drunks.
The cost for TSA Pre-Check is $85. The cost for Pre-Check AND Global Entry is $100. Who wouldn’t do both? (You’d be amazed how many don’t.) And that gets you 5 years of clearance (essentially, $20/year), whereupon you then renew it. Even if you only travel internationally once every couple of years, trust me – it’s worth every penny.
How to Get Pre-Check/Global Entry for Free
These premium credit cards refund the $100 Pre-Check/Global Entry charge as a statement credit:
- American Express Platinum
- Citi Prestige
- Citi World Executive
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
These cards all have hefty annuals fees – generally around $450 – but they come with an AMAZING amount of perks that more than make up for the fee:
- The $100 Global Entry credit
- An airline travel credit (generally around $200/yr)
- Priority Pass membership, giving you entrance to hundreds of airline lounges
- Status in various hotel chains and car rental companies like Marriott/Starwood and National Car Rental
- Huge signup bonuses (the Chase Sapphire Reserve currently gives you 100,000 points, transferable to a large number of airlines and hotel chains).
These cards aren’t just for snotty A-gays anymore!
How to Apply for Pre-Check/Global Entry
Apply online here:
Note that wait times for an appointment (you must go into a TSA office and be fingerprinted, etc) can be months, so plan ahead!
If you have any questions about the program, or the credit cards that get you the fee refunded, just ask us on our FB page:
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