How to Get TSA Precheck or Global Entry Free with a Credit Card

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Even the best airports make you wait in line; those who fly have no choice but to show up and go through the motions to get to their gate. The process often starts with a long, boring wait to check in your bags and get boarding passes. From there, a trek across the airport to head through security is inevitable. And, once you get past the rigmarole, you may still have to wait in line for drinks or a snack, and you’ll surely have to wait in line once again to board your plane.

While there’s not much you can do about airport queuing, one perk can help make the worst part — TSA security — a lot easier to deal with. With TSA Precheck, you can avoid the regular security line and the crowds. Since you’ve been preapproved by security, you can also skip some of the most annoying aspects of this part of flying — things like having to take off your shoes and your belt and having to take your laptop out of your bag.

But, what about your journey home? On the arrival side of the equation, another perk can make your return to the U.S. much speedier when you travel abroad. With Global Entry, you can skip the regular customs and immigration line and head through a shorter Global Entry line instead. Global Entry tends to require shorter interviews upon arrival, if you have to answer any questions at all. On a crowded day at the airport, this perk can easily save you hours of wait time.

How Much Does it Cost for TSA Precheck and Global Entry?

So, why wouldn’t everyone sign up for TSA Precheck and Global Entry? If you fly often enough — and especially if you fly outside the U.S. often enough — these programs can make a lot of sense. But since an in-person interview is required for both TSA Precheck and Global Entry, many busy people never take the time to sign up and get approved.

Then, there are the costs of these programs to consider, since neither is free. According to the TSA Precheck costs $85 while Global Entry membership costs $100. However, Global Entry comes with TSA Precheck automatically, making it a much better deal. Both memberships last five years.

How to Get Global Entry and TSA Precheck Free with a Credit Card

While saving hours of wait time and stress is probably worth $100 over five years, there are credit cards that actually offer this perk for free. Since most cards with this benefit are travel credit cards, many also come with additional perks like the ability to earn rewards points, no foreign transaction fees, and various types of travel insurance.

If you’re ready to make your flying experience more pleasant, the following rewards credit cards are ones you’ll want to consider:

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The The Platinum Card® from American Express is a premium travel credit card that offers benefits for frequent flyers. Not only will you be able to earn and use American Express Membership Rewards points, but you’ll get a $200 credit toward a pre-selected airline each year, airport lounge access, and other perks.

Partner Offer

Highlights
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is one of the most affordable cards on this list with a $95 annual fee that is waived the first year. Once you sign up, you can earn a healthy signup bonus and 2x miles for every dollar you spend. You’ll also get a $100 Global Entry statement credit every four years you’re a cardmember.


Highlights
  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express lets you earn a lucrative welcome offer and ongoing points with the American Express Membership Rewards program. In addition to getting a credit for Global Entry every four years, you’ll also get perks such as airport lounge access at 5x points on airfare and prepaid hotels booked through AmexTravel.com.

Partner Offer

Highlights
  • Welcome Offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.†
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
  • You can also receive 35% points back on all First and Business class flights, with all airlines available through American Express Travel.
  • You can enjoy access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection℠ offering access to the most lounges across the globe, when compared with other U.S. credit card offerings. As of 11/2017
  • Terms Apply

The Bottom Line

If you are tired of waiting in long airport lines, having TSA Precheck and/or Global Entry can help. These memberships won’t help you avoid all the stress and inconvenience of air travel, but they can make it possible for you to breeze through security and customs instead of languishing in long lines.

Many of the cards listed above also come with other perks that can make travel more comfortable as well. Having access to airport lounges can make layovers much easier to endure, as well as helping you save money on drinks, internet access, and snacks.

And, let’s face it. Having a premier travel credit card can make a lot of sense if you travel all the time. Not only can you earn valuable perks, but you can earn points and miles for every dollar you spend on your card.

Keep in mind, however, that having a travel credit card (or any other credit card) is typically a bad idea if you’re prone to credit card debt or living with debt already. The interest you’ll pay on carried balances will likely wipe out all the rewards you earn and then some, so make sure you’re debt-free before you sign up for a card to earn travel perks.

Holly Johnson is an award-winning personal finance writer and the author of . Johnson shares her obsession with frugality, budgeting, and travel at .

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