Quick Airport Security Tips

We have some quick airport security tips to help your travel in airports more enjoyable today. We like to take advantage of some programs to get us through security faster. Three of these ways are to take advantage of TSA Precheck, Global Entry and CLEAR memberships. The really great thing is that we can get these memberships for free or cheap with certain credit cards. So not only will we get bonus signup points, points for using our cards, possible airport lounge access, but they can even help us speed through security! What’s not to love about that? Let’s look at them individually and the cards that will pay for them.

TSA Precheck

This is the easiest way to get through security quickly and sometimes people get it on certain flights and sometimes they don’t. I prefer to not chance it. It is really easy to apply. Just head to the TSA site  and fill out the online application. It will cost you $85 but several credit cards will cover that charge if you charge the fee on them. (More on what credit cards they are later).  After your application is approved, they will assign you  a 10 minute background check and fingerprint taking in a site near you. They will then give you a Known Traveler Number that you then add to all your flight information on booking. The great think is that once you’ve added it to one airline, you don’t have to do it again. Easy, peasy and you are on your way to breezing through security.

It really is so, so easy. My husband still hasn’t done it though and I’m always waiting for him at the gate for quite a while. It just doesn’t make since to not take the little bit of time it takes to join because it makes airline travel faster and easier. No need to move shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets. And the $85 membership lasts 5 years!! Credit cards that will pay for the $85 membership include:

  • Capital One Spark Miles Card
  • Capital One Venture Card
  • American Express Platinum Credit Card
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve Card
  • Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
  • Citi Prestige Card
  • IHG Rewards Club Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Card by American Express
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card
  • United Explorer Card
  • US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card

 

I love TSA Precheck and am so happy that several of my cards will pay for it so I never have to! Most cards will pay up to $100 for either TSA Precheck or Global Entry.

 

TSA recheck

Global Entry

Another quick airport security tip is to have Global Entry. This membership is less known but I use it a lot because I travel internationally quite a bit. It let’s me bypass long custom lines when I return to the United States and I would not travel without it. Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. You apply online.  Additionally, you have to pay $100 but if you pay with the right credit card, that amount will be credited to you. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will schedule an interview for you after you are accepted. This interview occurs at a Global Entry Enrollment Center. These appointments can be scheduled out quite a bit so don’t plan on getting Global Entry right before international travel. At the interview, they will:

  • ask you questions,
  • take your photo, and
  • collect biometric information, for example, scan your fingerprints.

 

You will need to bring your valid passport(s) and one other form of identification, such as a driver’s license or ID card to the interview.

There is another way to get your interview and I did this way. My interview at DIA was months out. I decided to do the Enrollment on Arrival where I could get my interview at an airport upon arriving back in the United States from an international destination. I did this at San Francisco International Airport when I returned home from London one time.

Global Entry costs $100 and lasts for five years. Instead of waiting in long customs lines, you go to a kiosk, answer a few questions, have an immigration officer verify your passport and you are on your way. I love Global Entry!

Credit cards that provide a credit for that $100 fee include the same cards that give you TSA credit. If you travel internationally, just get Global Entry because it also includes TSA Precheck. You do not need to get both. However, you do need a passport to get Global Entry and it takes more time to get the interview.

 

CLEAR

If you think TSA Precheck is fast, then CLEAR membership is like going through security on steroids – even faster. You still will want TSA Precheck though. CLEAR isn’t offered at every airport but it is available in most major airports. There are 50+ sites where you can use your membership including some major stadiums/venues. You apply online or in the airport (they often offer a 3 month free trial). I love that I don’t have to show my ID – it uses your facial biometrics or finger recognition. The cost for one person is $179 a year and $50 for additional family members.

If you want to make it cheaper, consider getting the American Express Green Credit Card that offers a $100 CLEAR credit.  It normally costs $179 a year but if you are a Delta Skymiles or United Mileage Plus Member (you can make a free account online in minutes), you can get it for $119! Even better, if you hold a credit card with either Delta or United that cost goes down to $109. Combined with the credit from the new Amex Green Card, you are looking at $9-$19! Definitely worth a $20 investment!!

 

American Express Green Card

Bottom Line

I think we can all agree that waiting in lines in an airport is not fun. Using these quick airport security tips can make it less painful.  Luckily, there are a few ways to make this all less painful. TSA Precheck, Global Entry, and CLEAR take the pain out of waiting in lines. Having access to a good airport lounge takes the pain out of waiting at the gate. Hopefully, your travel hacking has helped you get credit cards that help you bypass both!

 

 

 

 

Plane seen through window

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