Many travel rewards cards now offer to cover the cost of your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application. Here’s how to use the perk.
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Airport security is a frustration for many travelers and can add significant time and stress to your vacation. If you’ve ever stared longingly at the TSA PreCheck line as it moved quickly, you might have found yourself considering paying the program’s fee to save a little hassle.
Turns out, if you’re carrying the right credit card, you might not even have to pay this fee. Now, many travel cards are offering to cover the cost of a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application as part of your card benefits. Read on to learn how to take advantage of this perk.
Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credits: Things to know
Which credit cards offer credit for a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application?
Credit for either a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee is an increasingly popular benefit on travel credit cards – even those with a lower annual fee. By paying with a card that offers the perk, you can be reimbursed either $85 for the TSA PreCheck application or $100 for the Global Entry application.
These cards allow you to use the credit every four years, so you can renew your membership (enrollment in both programs lasts five years). All of the cards also automatically apply the statement credit after you make the qualifying purchase, though each can take a different amount of time to post.
|Card||Rewards rate||Annual fee||How long does it take for the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck statement credit to post?|
|Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card||$95 (waived first year)||1-2 billing cycles|
|United℠ Explorer Card||$95 (waived first year)||24 hours|
|IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card||$89||24 hours|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||$450||24 hours|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||$550||8 weeks|
|Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard||$450||8-10 weeks|
|Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card||$95||2-3 weeks|
|Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business||$95 (waived first year)||2 billing cycles|
Global Entry vs. TSA PreCheck: Which is best for you?
Both Global Entry and TSA PreCheck offer a smoother airport experience for frequent travelers, but the two programs have some key differences:
The Global Entry program is designed for international travelers, as it allows members to use a kiosk to skip immigration and customs lines when entering the U.S. from another country. Plus, Global Entry membership comes with TSA PreCheck, so you’ll also enjoy expedited security when traveling domestically. If you are approved, your Global Entry membership will last five years.
- Less time spent in airport security lines
- Expedited access through immigration and customs
- More expensive application fee if you can’t cover it with a statement credit
- More extensive enrollment process (requires interview) which takes much longer to complete
Global Entry is best suited for travelers who frequently take international trips, who don’t mind a longer application process in exchange for quicker access into the country.
The TSA PreCheck program allows travelers to spend less time in airport security, as they won’t have to remove their shoes, belts or light jackets. PreCheck passengers can also leave laptops and liquids in their bag – expediting the screening process. If you are approved, your TSA PreCheck membership will last five years.
- Less time spent in airport security lines
- Quick application process (takes two to three weeks to enroll)
- No expedited access through immigration or customs, like with Global Entry
TSA PreCheck is best suited for frequent travelers who take most of their trips within the U.S.
See Related: The ultimate guide to airport security options
How to apply for TSA PreCheck/Global Entry
You can apply for both Global Entry and TSA PreCheck starting on the Department of Homeland Security website. Make sure to pay your application fee for either program with your card to qualify for the credit.For TSA PreCheck, you’ll complete an online application and schedule an in-person appointment at an enrollment center to complete a 10-minute background check. If both your application and background check are approved, you’ll receive your Known Traveler Number and be able to take advantage of the program.
For Global Entry, you’ll be required to create an online account with the CBP Trusted Traveler Programs to complete your application. Based on information you provide and a background check, conditionally approved candidates proceed to an in-person interview with a CBP officer at an enrollment center. If you are approved, you’ll receive a Trusted Traveler membership number and Global Entry card (for land and sea ports of entry).
If your credit card offers a statement credit for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application, you can save time in the airport by signing up for one of the programs. Just keep in mind that just because your card covers the application cost doesn’t guarantee you’ll be approved for either program.