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Why Travelers Look For a TSA PreCheck?
One of the main stresses of traveling occurs when you arrive at the airport. When you have to stand in line, remove items of clothing, and empty things out of your carry-on, it can feel incredibly frustrating. However, If you travel regularly, you may want to consider TSA PreCheck.
This is a U.S government program that allows you to be labeled as low risk by the TSA and pass through expedited security screening at many U.S airports. In fact, most TSA PreCheck passengers report that it takes less than five minutes to get through security, so you can save yourself valuable time and stress with TSA PreCheck rather than waiting in those seemingly endless security lines.
As a qualifying traveler, you will have access to a special line at security checkpoints. Additionally, you won’t need to comply with many of the standard security measures, such as removing your shoes, belt, or lightweight jacket.
With TSA PreCheck, you can also leave your laptop in its case and you can also leave your 3-1-1 compliant bag containing small amounts of liquids or gels such as travel-size mouthwash in your carry-on, so you don’t need to remove it for inspection as regular passengers need to do.
How Much Does it Cost to Get TSA PreCheck?
The process of obtaining TSA PreCheck begins with an online application, but you will need to visit one of the 380 plus application centers to provide proof of your ID and U.S citizenship along with being fingerprinted. The online application typically takes less than five minutes, but your in-person appointment typically takes 10 minutes.
There is an $78 non refundable application fee for the TSA PreCheck, but you may incur other costs for the in-person interview, which you’ll need to consider such as parking or other charges.
Once you’re approved, you’ll receive a Known Traveler Number that you will need to use when you book flights, so your TSA PreCheck status is applied to your boarding pass. Your TSA PreCheck is valid for five years and if you renew online, the non refundable fee is currently $70.
How Do I Get TSA PreCheck for Free With Miles or Points?
There are a number of loyalty programs which allow their members to redeem points or miles to pay for TSA PreCheck application fees.
- Marriott Bonvoy: If you’re a member of the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program, you can use 25,000 Bonvoy points and get a voucher code to receive TSA PreCheck for free. This represents a redemption value of 0.34 cents per point, which is not the best use for your points. However, if you have an excess number of points and want to get TSA PreCheck for free, it could be worth considering.
- United Mileage Plus: If you frequently fly United, you can use 11,000 MileagePlus miles to cover your TSA PreCheck. This works out at a redemption rate of 0.77 cents per mile, which is one of the best miles or points redemption values to cover your $78 TSA PreCheck application fee.
- IHG Rewards: If you’re an IHG Rewards member, you can use 30,000 points to pay for your TSA PreCheck application fee. This represents a redemption value of just 0.28 cents per point, which is one of the worst values for money with these programs.
- Radisson Rewards: This option represents the worst redemption value. Radisson Rewards members will need to use 65,000 points to pay for a TSA PreCheck application fee. This works out to a redemption value of 0.13 cents per point. Since the average redemption rate for this program is 0.8 cents each, you’re paying the equivalent of $520 to cover an $78 application fee.
How Do I Get TSA PreCheck for Free With a Credit Card
One of the best ways to get free TSA PreCheck is with an eligible credit card. There is a list of credit cards that reimburse your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee when you use the card to pay for it on the TSA website.
However, some of the most popular options include:
Personal Credit Cards
Can I Get TSA PreCheck
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Card
While using your IHG rewards points to pay for your TSA PreCheck is not the best idea, you can get it for free with the IHG Rewards Premier credit card.
United Quest℠ Card
Get a statement credit every four years as reimbursement for the application fee for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS fee credit — up to $100.
This card has a lower annual fee than many other “luxury” credit cards, but you’ll receive an anniversary miles bonus, Priority Pass, additional insurance coverages and reimbursement for TSA PreCheck fees.
Capital One Venture Rewards
This is another card with a $95 annual fee, but there are a number of perks including TSA PreCheck reimbursement.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard
You can not only get TSA PreCheck fee reimbursement, but also free checked bags, savings on inflight purchases, enhanced airport experience and Admirals Club membership.
This card has a lower fee compared to the Amex Platinum, but it still offers a Priority Pass, TSA PreCheck and annual travel credit.
One of the best luxury cards offers TSA PreCheck fee reimbursement, statement credit for airline incidentals, hotel credit, a Priority Pass and access to the Centurion Lounges.
Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card
Receive either a $100 statement credit for Global Entry or a credit of up to $85 for TSA PreCheck after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider
In addition to the cards above, here are more cards providing discounted or free TSA PreCheck:
- Bank of America Premium Rewards: This card has just a $95 annual fee, which is almost offset by the TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement.
- HSBC Premier Credit Card: If you have an HSBC Premier checking account, you may qualify for a HSBC Premier credit card with no annual fee. However, you’ll receive a statement credit for up to $78 to cover your TSA PreCheck application fee.
- The Arvest Visa Signature: This is a lesser known credit card, but it carries no annual fee. You can receive reimbursement for up to $100 to cover either a TSA PreCheck or a Global Entry application fee. However, this card is limited to residents of Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma.
- United Explorer: Although this card has a modest $95 annual fee, you can enjoy some great perks. In addition to TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement, you can get free checked bags, priority boarding and credit for in-flight purchases.
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card: This card not only offers TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement, but you can enjoy Marriott perks and boost your Marriott Bonvoy rewards balance (terms apply).
- United Club Infinite: This is a premium card from United offering a wide variety of perks including TSA PreCheck reimbursement, free checked bags, and statement credit for United inflight purchases. You’ll also receive a United Club membership.
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card: The Delta reserve co-branded card offers TSA PreCheck reimbursement, free checked bags, priority boarding, an anniversary companion certificate and complimentary SkyClub access (terms apply).
Business Credit Cards
Here are the main business cards offering a discounted or free TSA PreCheck:
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card: This is another business credit card that offers some great perks including TSA PreCheck fee reimbursement for a modest annual fee.
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: This offers similar benefits to the Amex Platinum card, but for business owners including TSA PreCheck statement credit.
- The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express: This co-branded card offers some great Delta perks that should more than cover the $550 annual fee.
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express: This card has a lower annual fee, but still offers some nice Delta perks and TSA PreCheck application fee reimbursement.
- Capital One Spark Miles for Business: If you’re looking for a business card, you can still get TSA PreCheck for free with the Spark Miles for Business credit card. This card even waives the $95 annual fee for the first year.
Credit Cards Offering Free or Discounted Clear Membership
Clear is an identity verification program that uses biometrics, so you can bypass the normal two-step airport security process. Clear users can use a separate lane and ID themselves using biometric authentication, either a fingerprint or an iris scan.
Once you’ve verified your ID, you’ll be escorted to the security screening line, or if you’re a TSA PreCheck user, you will move to the dedicated PreCheck line.
Annual Clear membership currently retails at $189, which is considerably more than the TSA PreCheck fee.
Cards Offering Free CLEAR Membership
Cards Offering Discounted CLEAR® Membership
The Platinum Card from American Express
The American Express Green Card
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
The Centurion Card from American Express
Delta SkyMiles Cards
Cards Offering Free CLEAR Membership
Consequently, there are fewer cards offering free membership. However, there are still some great options including:
- The Platinum Card from American Express: In addition to offering reimbursement for TSA PreCheck fees, the Amex Platinum card also offers access to a free Clear membership.
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: As with the standard Platinum card, business users don’t need to miss out.
- The Centurion Card from American Express: This is the premium Amex card, with a whole host of benefits including Clear membership.
Cards Offering Discounted CLEAR® Membership
Although free is great, if the above cards don’t appeal to you, you could get a card that reduces the annual cost of a Clear membership. These include:
- The American Express Green Card: You can receive $189 in statement credits per calendar year when you use your card to pay for your Clear membership.
- All United U.S cards: You can get a discounted Clear annual membership for $109, saving $70 per year.
- All Delta SkyMiles Amex Cards: Likewise all the Delta SkyMiles co-branded American Express cards offer a discounted membership at $109 per year.
You may also be able to get a free or discounted Clear membership via your frequent flyer program. Both Delta and United offer program members free or discounted Clear membership.
With Delta, the discount depends on your Medallion status. Diamond members will get Clear for free, while Silver, Gold and Platinum members get a discounted rate of $109. However, even if you don’t have elite status, as a Delta Skymiles member you can get a discounted Clear membership of $119.
United has a similar arrangement with its Mileage Plus program. 1K members can get a Clear membership for free, while Silver, Gold and Platinum members pay $109. If you don’t have Mileage Plus status, you can get Clear membership for $119.
There are also Clear discounts for students and families. The Clear family plan allows up to three adults on your primary membership at a cost of $60 per year per additional person.
However, children under 18 can go through the Clear expedited process for free without needing to provide a biometric ID. If your children are in college, they can enjoy a discounted rate of $50 per year up to a maximum of four years.
Any DoD service members are automatically enrolled in the program.
You simply need to add your ID number to your defense travel system profile, personal frequent flyer program profile or travel reservations. You don’t even need to be in uniform to access this benefit.
No, as a military spouse, you don’t have a DoD ID number, so you don’t get TSA PreCheck for free. You would need to sign up as we’ve discussed in the above article.
Yes, Global Entry provides expedited customs screening for international air travelers when they enter the U.S. As a Global Entry member, you’ll also receive TSA PreCheck benefits included with your membership.
You’ll need to enter your Known Traveler Number or KTN when you make your booking. This will then feature on your travel documents including your boarding pass.
This depends on your travel habits. Global Entry costs more, but it is better suited to international travelers. However, if you only tend to travel domestically, TSA PreCheck is likely a better option.
Whether a teen needs TSA PreCheck depends on whether they are traveling with an enrolled parent or guardian and their age.
Children under 12 with an eligible adult can join them in the TSA PreCheck lane without applying.
Children aged 13 to 17 on the same reservation as an enrolled parent or guardian may also access the PreCheck lanes provided they have an indicator on their boarding pass.
However, they may be randomly excluded from having an indicator on their boarding pass, which means they will need to go through standard security screening.
Children 17 and under traveling alone will need to apply for TSA PreCheck.
No, but you will receive a KTN which you will need to provide when you make your travel plans.
While TSA PreCheck can save you time in the security lines, it is still a good idea to get to the airport at least two hours before you fly.
It may be possible to still get through if you arrive later, but it will depend on how busy the airport is.
Some program users have reported being able to make it through to their flight with TSA PreCheck, arriving just one hour before flying, but this is not recommended.