TSA PreCheck airport

Two-minute Tuesdays – Shorten your wait using Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, and CLEAR

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Welcome to my first Two-Minute Tuesdays post. The idea is to provide a super quick tip of some sort, without drowning you in the minutiae of the topic. Without further ado….

Today I’ll talk about three programs that help you spend less time standing in lines at airports:

TSA PreCheck

Briefly: TSA PreCheck members flying with participating airlines get access to expedited security lanes at U.S. airports. Application cost is $85 for a 5-year membership.

A little more: Expedited security lanes are typically much faster than the normal security lanes (1) due to less passengers having access and (2) because the lanes have less strict security requirements (you leave your shoes on, don’t take out your laptop, etc.). One caveat is that members aren’t guaranteed access to the expedited lanes, although it seems to be quite rare that this happens.

Global Entry

Briefly: Global Entry members entering the U.S. go through an expedited immigration process. Application cost is $100 for a 5-year membership.

A little more: U.S. citizens, U.S. residents, and citizens of a almost a dozen other countries are eligible for membership. There are currently 75 airports world-wide that have Global Entry terminals. Anecdotally, it’s never taken me more than about 5 minutes to get through immigration since getting Global Entry. Bonus: Global Entry members are also automatically enrolled in TSA PreCheck at no extra cost.


Briefly: CLEAR members get head-of-the-line priority for security lanes at 28 airports and 14 stadiums in the U.S. Basically, you get walked to the front of the line. Cost is $119/year if you’re a Delta SkyMiles member (SkyMiles membership is free).

A little more: For this program, you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, 18 or older, and possess a U.S. driver’s license, passport, passport card, permanent resident card, state-issued ID, or military ID. Even if you don’t have TSA PreCheck for your flight, you’ll still get walked to the front of the normal security line. You can also add 3 family members to your account for $50/year.

Get your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry reimbursed

There are LOTS of credit cards that reimburse up to $100 for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fees once every 4-5 years. If you are eligible for Global Entry, go for that since it includes TSA PreCheck at no extra cost. Here are just some of the credit cards that reimburse these fees:

Happy flying!

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