FULL LIST OF EDITORIAL PICKS: BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR TSA PRECHECK AND GLOBAL ENTRY
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Our pick for: Simple travel rewards
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Our pick for: Richer rewards for frequent travelers
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Our pick for: Luxury travel perks and credits
Truist Enjoy Travel credit card
Our pick for: No annual fee
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card
Our pick for: Flexible redemption options (or Bank of America® customers)
Like some other travel cards at its price point, the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card gives you bonus rewards on travel and dining. But you also earn a higher rate on “other” spending than many competing cards offer. There’s a great sign-up bonus and some other good perks. And if you’re a Bank of America® Preferred Rewards customer, your rewards get even better. Read our review.
United℠ Explorer Card
Our pick for: Airline credit card
The United℠ Explorer Card earns bonus rewards not only on spending with United Airlines but also at restaurants and on eligible hotel stays. And the perks are outstanding for a basic airline card — a free checked bag, priority boarding, lounge passes and more. Read our review.
IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card
Our pick for: Hotel credit card
Credit cards that pay for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry
Dozens of cards reimburse the application fee for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry, usually by providing a credit on your statement when the fee is charged to your card. Some cards specifically allow you to redeem rewards points toward the fee. Here are some of the most popular consumer credit cards with a TSA PreCheck/Global Entry benefit.
TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry
Credit cards that offer a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry benefit will typically reimburse you for the application fee for either program, but not both. Whichever fee hits your card, that’s the one that will be reimbursed, and that starts the clock on when you’ll next qualify for the benefit.
TSA PreCheck allows you to use expedited security lanes at U.S. airports. Global Entry gives you the same benefits as TSA PreCheck, as well as faster customs screening when you arrive in the U.S. from abroad. Since Global Entry gives you more benefits (and if your credit card is footing the bill either way), it’s usually the better bet, especially if you ever travel internationally.
What are Clear and Nexus?
Some credit cards offer benefits for trusted traveler programs besides (or in addition to) TSA PreCheck and Global Entry:
Clear gets you through security faster at more than 40 airports in the United States. It lets you quickly access identification documents and verify your identity by scanning your fingerprints or eyes. This process allows you to skip the TSA ID check and go directly to security. Cost starts at $189 for a standard annual membership.
Nexus, a joint program of the U.S. and Canadian governments, allows travelers to go back and forth between the countries more easily. Cost is $50 for five years.
How to apply for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
For TSA PreCheck
Getting a credit card that reimburses your application fee is the easy first step. Once you have your card, submit your online application for TSA PreCheck. Then, you’ll be directed to schedule an in-person appointment at a TSA Enrollment Center, where you’ll spend about 10 minutes undergoing a background check and fingerprinting. You can expect a decision on your application within about three to five days, though some applications can take up to 60 days.
Upon approval, you’ll receive a “known traveler” number, which you’ll need to enter when you book a flight. Using your “known traveler” number will likely earn you the TSA PreCheck logo on your boarding pass. And with that, you can enter the expedited TSA PreCheck line.
Note that TSA uses unpredictable security measures, and having TSA PreCheck approval is not a guarantee that you can access the PreCheck line.
“All travelers will be screened, and no individual is guaranteed expedited screening,” according to a statement from the TSA.
For Global Entry
Global Entry includes the perks of TSA PreCheck — plus a bit more. You get an expedited customs line upon landing in the U.S. In most cases, you’ll simply scan your passport or U.S. permanent resident card at a Global Entry kiosk, complete the customs declaration form, scan your fingerprints and move along.
It can be tough to find available appointments, so be flexible with your schedule — and check back often if there’s no availability.
What else you need to know
How credit cards reimburse the fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
If your card offers a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry benefit, you must pay the application fee with that card. The charge on your card will later be reimbursed as a statement credit. You’ll only be reimbursed for the first program fee charged to the card.
If you use a form of payment other than your qualifying credit card, you won’t be reimbursed for the fee.
How often you get the TSA PreCheck/Global Entry credit
Upon approval, membership in these trusted traveler programs lasts for five years and must be renewed (for another fee). The frequency with which credit cards reimburse those fees varies by card. In many cases, cards offer the benefit every four years, giving you plenty of time to renew before your membership expires. Other cards only reimburse the fee every five years. Pay close attention to how your membership expiration date lines up with your card benefits. In some cases, you may need to delay renewal or use a different credit card with these benefits to get your fee renewal reimbursed.
Paying the fee doesn’t guarantee approval for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
Using the benefit on your credit card when you apply for trusted traveler programs just means that the cost of the application fee will be refunded to you on a later statement. It doesn’t guarantee that you’ll actually be approved for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. You still have to go through the programs’ background and security checks. Like anyone else applying for these programs, you could apply, pay the fee and be rejected.
If you want a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit card …
Getting approved TSA PreCheck or Global Entry isn’t the easiest process, and it isn’t cheap. To save on the fee, you’ll first need a credit card that offers a statement credit. From there, you’ll be able to apply to the government’s expedited security clearance programs essentially for free.
While the whole process can certainly feel painful, you’ll be grateful once you see that long line for regular security and know you can bypass it.
To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card, see this page. To view rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, see this page.