If TSA PreCheck sounds appealing to you but you don’t want to pay the $85 it costs, you may find that one of your credit cards or travel loyalty program will pay for your application.
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Anyone who has flown in recent years knows just how stressful a day at the airport can be. To make a long travel day a lot less hectic, you may want to consider investing in TSA PreCheck. For $85, you can use TSA PreCheck for five years to bypass the longer security line that everyone else must go through – and you can skip the process of having to remove shoes, jackets, three-ounce liquid items and laptop devices.
If TSA PreCheck sounds appealing to you but you don’t want to add yet another expense to your travel budget, you may find that one of your credit cards or travel loyalty program will pay for this perk for you. Let’s take a closer look at how you can get your hands on TSA PreCheck for free.
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 IHG hotels for as little as 10,000 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 statuses.
Southwest Rapid Rewards
In a similar way, you can use Southwest Rapid Rewards points to purchase one TSA PreCheck. This system also issues you a code, which you use as payment, and is good only for new applicants.
However, with Southwest points valued at about 1.6 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 11,000 United Mileage Plus miles to cover the TSA PreCheck application fee, and you’re allowed to purchase up to 10 in one year. Again, you’ll be issued a code for payment, and it’s good only 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 around 8,333 points versus their 10,000 points. The offer works exactly the same as the other deals.
If you are a platinum member through Orbitz Rewards, you can apply for TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
Radisson Rewards Americas
If you’re a Radisson Rewards Americas member, you can redeem 65,000 points to cover the TSA PreCheck application fee. After you redeem these points, the 65,000 points will be deducted from your account and you’ll receive an email with your authorization code.
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 with your card.
Some other cards offering credits for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry include:
- Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
- Capital One Spark Miles for Business
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve card
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
- MasterCard® Black Card™
- Mastercard® Gold Card™
- United Club℠ Infinite Card
- United Quest℠ Card
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 those points would be put to better use for free flights or hotel rooms.
If you have points that are just sitting around, however, you may as well use them for something helpful and save yourself the $85 cost of TSA PreCheck. Credit card credits are very helpful, but since they offer only one each, you may still need to get TSA PreCheck for other members of your family.
TSA PreCheck is a great tool to have in your travel toolkit. While $85 isn’t a bad price to pay for a faster and less stressful travel experience, it’s always worth seeing if your credit card rewards program or a travel loyalty program will cover the costs before you pay for it yourself.
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