If you have the right credit card, you can jump the airport security line at no cost to you. These cards will cover your application costs to TSA PreCheck, Global Entry or CLEAR, so you can receive expedited security clearance.
With new COVID-19 infections falling fast in the U.S., the future of travel is starting to look hopeful. Unfortunately, this may also mean that long lines at airports will have their big comeback soon.
An extended wait at security can throw a wrench into your travel plans, particularly if you’re running late for your flight. Thankfully, if you have the right credit card, you can jump the line at no cost to you. These cards will cover your application costs to TSA PreCheck, Global Entry or CLEAR, so low-risk Americans can receive expedited security clearance.
See related: The ultimate guide to airport security options
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best for simple rewards
The Capital One Venture Rewards card is first on this list in part because it offers a credit of up to $100 for your application to either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. It also offers a large sign-up bonus comparable to some premium rewards cards, but for a much more reasonable annual fee than those cards charge.
The card has a $95 annual fee, and it offers 2 miles per dollar spent on every purchase.
Here are the Capital One Venture Rewards card’s features at a glance:
- 2 miles per dollar on every purchase.
- 60,000 bonus miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
- $95 annual fee.
- Transfer miles to over 15+ travel partners for flights and hotels, including Air Canada, Air France, JetBlue and more.
American Express® Green Card: Best for expedited security beyond airportsThe American Express Green Card* rewards you for everything you do in preparation for and while traveling, including getting you through airport security faster.
The card offers up to a $100 statement credit toward the cost of a CLEAR membership instead of TSA PreCheck/Global Entry. CLEAR only includes select airports, but it adds security at select stadiums. The introductory bonus (30,000 points after you spend $2,000 in the first three months) is not quite as good as the bonus offer from the Capital One Venture Rewards Card, but the $150 annual fee is higher than that card.
However, the American Express Green Card is worth it because you get 3 points per dollar spent on dining, travel and transit purchases. You’ll not only be rewarded for your flight and hotel booking, but for all the taxis and ride-sharing services you will use while you’re at your destination. After you get through security, you can relax with up to a $100 credit for lounge access through LoungeBuddy.
- 3 points per dollar on travel, transit and dining worldwide.
- 1 point per dollar on other purchases.
- 30,000 reward points when you spend $2,000 in the first three months.
- Up to $100 CLEAR credit annually to get through security at select airports and stadiums faster.
- Up to $100 statement credit annually when you purchase lounge access with LoungeBuddy.
See related: Best credit cards for airport lounge access
Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Best for travel benefits
The Chase Sapphire Reserve card gives you a similar bonus as the offer of the Capital One Venture (60,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months) but has a higher spending threshold, and like the Amex Green Card, it offers 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining (after earning your $300 travel credit). But it also gives you a $300 annual travel purchases credit and access to over 1,000 airport lounges, which makes the whopping $550 annual fee worth it.
For the other benefits see below:
- 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in the first three months (worth $900 when you book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards).
- $300 annual travel credit.
- 3 points per dollar spent on travel and dining purchases (excluding purchases covered by the $300 travel credit).
- 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
- 50% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
- Up to $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
- Access to over 1,000 lounges globally through PriorityPass Select.
- $550 annual fee.
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card: Best for cardholders seeking value
The Bank of America Premium Rewards card gives you fewer sign-up bonus points than the Chase Sapphire Reserve, but with a lower spending requirement ($3,000 in the first 90 days).
Meanwhile, you get up to a $100 statement credit annually for incidental airline fees, including checked bag fees, in addition to up to a $100 statement credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry once every 4 years. But the biggest advantage is that the card’s annual fee ($95) is much more modest than fees for credit cards with equivalent benefits.
- 2 points per dollar on travel and dining purchases.
- 2 points per dollar on grocery store purchases (through Dec. 31, 2021).
- 50,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days ($500 value).
- Up to $100 statement credit for incidental airline fees, including checked baggage fees, seat upgrades and airport lounge purchases annually.
- Up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck every 4 years.
- $95 annual fee.
- You can earn up to 75% more in rewards if you’re a Bank of America Preferred Rewards member.
See related: How to buy TSA PreCheck with miles and points
Citi Prestige® Card: Best for premium perks
The Citi Prestige has an annual fee ($495) that reserves it only for the upper echelon of cardholders that you’d expect given its name. However, the benefits offset the fee and then some. The Prestige has the highest points rate (5 per dollar spent) on this list for air travel and restaurants, and it offers 3 points per dollar for hotels and cruise lines.
Plus, the $250 annual travel credit takes the sting from the annual fee and the complimentary fourth night at a hotel when you book through the ThankYou portal makes it worth it by itself. Be aware, though, that this feature is now capped at two times a year.
Even though some of the benefits on this card have been cut back, it still offers a great package. See it all below:
- 50,000 points when you spend $4,000 within the first three months.
- 5 points per dollar on air travel and at restaurants.
- 3 points per dollar at hotels and on cruise lines.
- 1 point per dollar for all other purchases.
- $250 annual travel credit (applies to most travel purchases).
- Up to $100 TSA PreCheck and Global Entry credit every five years.
- Complimentary fourth night at a hotel when booked through ThankYou.com (twice per year).
- Access to over 1,000 lounges through PriorityPass Select.
- $495 annual fee.
United Club℠ Infinite Card: Best for United frequent flyers
The United Club Infinite Card offers a statement credit of up to $100 when you use it to pay for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. The card comes with a hefty price tag – an annual fee of $525.
The United Club Infinite Card offers impressive rewards rates on United purchases (4 miles per dollar) and dining and other travel spending (2 miles per dollar). But if you’re not a United loyalist, the $525 annual fee may be hard to justify in the long run, particularly when other non-branded cards offer higher bonuses on general travel and dining spending.
Here are the United Club Infinite Card’s key features at a glance:
- 4 miles per dollar on United purchases.
- 2 miles per dollar on all other travel.
- 2 miles per dollar on dining.
- 1 mile per dollar on all other purchases.
- Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
- Statement credit of up to $100 for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership.
- First and second checked bag free for you and a companion.
- Priority boarding for you and companions on same reservation.
- 25% back on in-flight United purchases.
- $525 annual fee.
U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature®: Best for foodies
The newest addition to U.S. Bank’s line of credit cards, the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card, also comes with a statement credit of up to $100 to reimburse your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee every four years. With a $95 annual fee (waived the first year), this card is one of the more affordable options on our list.
The rewards are quite decent: You’ll earn 4 points per dollar on travel and at gas stations, 2 points per dollar on grocery stores, grocery delivery, dining and streaming services and 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases.
Here’s what the new U.S. Bank Altitude Connect card offers at a glance:
- 4 points per dollar on travel and gas stations.
- 2 points per dollar on grocery stores, grocery delivery, dining and streaming services.
- 1 point per dollar on other eligible purchases.
- 50,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 120 days.
- Up to $30 in credits for annual streaming service purchases, such as Netflix and Spotify.
- $95 annual fee.
IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card: Best card for hotel rewards
You can get up to $100 in statement credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years with this card. You can also earn a free reward night when you redeem IHG points for any stay of four or more nights. There is no annual limit on how many hotel stays this applies to, so you can take advantage as many times as you want to redeem your points.
Meanwhile, you’ll earn 10,000 bonus points each account anniversary when you spend $20,000 and make one additional purchase. You’ll also get one free night at IHG hotels on each account anniversary. Plus, if you’re just a few points shy of a free night when redeeming a hotel stay, don’t worry. You get at least 20% off when you purchase points with the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card. There are other perks, too:
- No foreign transaction fees
- Automatic Platinum elite status at IHG Hotels
- Earn up to 25X points at IHG Hotels and Rewards Worldwide
- The IHG Rewards Club’s “Behind the Scenes” program gives you special access to food, sports and entertainment events
- $89 annual fee (waived first year)
**Current bonus for this card is 150,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 within the first three months. Annual Fee for this card is $89 (waived in the first year)
There are quite a few options when it comes to credit cards that can help you with expedited airport screening. Before you make a choice, compare their rewards rates, benefits and annual fees to pick a credit card product that’s right for you.
*All information about the Citi Prestige and the American Express Green Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.