Several rewards credit cards offer credits for TSA Precheck, which allows you to bypass long security lines at the airport. But did you know you can also get TSA Precheck using miles and points you’ve collected instead of paying the fee? Here’s how you can purchase it with your rewards.
We’ve had it for the past three years, and while it doesn’t necessarily help at our home airport of Indianapolis, which rarely has long security lines, it’s certainly helped in destination airports like Orlando and Denver that routinely have crazy long lines.
Not only does TSA Precheck allow you to bypass the longer line that everyone else must go through, but it also saves you the hassle of having to remove shoes, jackets, three-ounce liquid items and laptop devices when going through security. We love it.
My husband and I initially paid for our own TSA Precheck clearance (an $85 fee), which is good for five years. But we used his Chase Sapphire Reserve card to pay for my son to get TSA Precheck when he turned 13 – the age at which you can no longer just go through with parents who have it.
See related: The ultimate guide to airport security options
Cards that offer TSA Precheck and Global Entry credits
Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of several credit cards that offer a credit once every four years for TSA Precheck or Global Entry (a different program that grants you TSA Precheck clearance and expedited entry back into the U.S. when traveling abroad) when you pay for it using your card.
Other cards offering credits for TSA Precheck and Global Entry include:
- Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- United Explorer Card
- IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
But did you know you can also get TSA Precheck using miles and points you’ve collected instead of paying the fee?
Several airline and hotel loyalty programs allow you to use your points to “purchase” TSA Precheck, though you’ll want to consider if the points would be better used for free flights or hotel rooms.
If you have points that are just sitting around, you may as well use them for something helpful and save yourself the $85 cost of TSA Precheck.
Credit cards that offer credits are also helpful, but since they only offer one each, you may still need to get TSA Precheck for other members of your family.
Loyalty programs that allow you to buy TSA Precheck with points and miles
Here’s a look at your options when it comes to travel loyalty programs.
InterContinental Hotel Group’s loyalty program, IHG Rewards, offers the option to purchase TSA Precheck for one person for 30,000 points. You can book some of IHG’s cheaper hotels for 30,000 points per night, so consider the trade-off. The company owns and operates Holiday Inn, Hotel Indigo, InterContinental, EVEN Hotels and more.
When you purchase TSA Precheck through IHG’s site, it generates a certificate that has an authorization code. You then present the code as your payment once you attend your in-person appointment after filling out an application either online or in person. This option is also just for new TSA Precheck applicants and not for those renewing their status.
Southwest Rapid Rewards
In a similar way, you can use 10,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points to purchase one TSA Precheck. This system likewise issues you a code, which you use as payment, and is only good for new applicants.
However, with Southwest points valued at about 1.5 cents, you’d be spending about $150 worth of points to get $85 TSA Precheck. That may not be the best deal unless you just have extra points sitting around or one of your family members has points that will expire otherwise.
Transferring Southwest points from one account to another isn’t free, so using them to buy TSA Precheck instead may be a better option.
United Mileage Plus
You can also use 10,000 United Mileage Plus miles to cover the TSA Precheck application fee, and you’re allowed to purchase up to 10 in one year. As with the other programs, you’re issued a code for payment, and it’s only good for first-time applicants.
If you’ve got some extra Marriott points sitting around, you can score a free TSA Precheck code with 25,000 points. Marriott transfers points to most airlines at a 3:1 ratio, making them worth about one-third of an airline mile or point. So this is a slightly better deal than Southwest or United, as 25,000 points divided by 3 in order to compare costs, would be only 8,333 points versus their 10,000 points. The offer works exactly the same as the other deals.