How to Get Global Entry or TSA PreCheck for Free

We have three young kids so we don’t fly a lot.

But when I do, maaaaan, I love TSA PreCheck.

This post will tell you which credit cards will give you Global Entry and TSA PreCheck for free.

A few years ago, my lovely wife signed me up for TSA PreCheck and it’s been awesome. It’s available at most busy airports and it lets you skip the main TSA checkpoint lines. It’s becoming more popular, which means lines are growing, but you can skip some of the security theater at the airport like taking off your shoes.

TSA PreCheck has an international version, called Global Entry, but we don’t travel enough to have considered it.

Did you know that a lot of travel credit cards are now offering free Global Entry and TSA PreCheck as a perk? Global Entry costs $100 and must be renewed every 5 years. PreCheck costs $85 and must be renewed every five years. These cards will reimburse you the cost of the application every five years!

Cards with Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Fee Credit Offers

The key to getting Global Entry or TSA PreCheck for free is to get a credit card that offers to refund the security program’s application fee. Many travel cards offer this perk every 5 years, which matches the renewal period of each program.

What’s great about this reimbursement is that you usually don’t even need to contact the card. Pay for the application using the card offering the benefit and then wait. The issuer will recognize the charge as coming from Global Entry or TSA and automatically issue you a refund. For some cards, it can be as quick as a few days or a couple of billing statements.

If you recently renewed, you can pay for someone else’s application and get a reimbursement. They don’t see who the application is for and they don’t care.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardThe Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card will refund you the application fee for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years.

The card also offers 60,000 miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 12 months of opening the account.

There is a $95 annual fee. This card has one of the lowest annual fees of any card on this list.

Learn more about this card

Capital One Spark Miles for Business

Capital One Spark Miles for Business

The Capital One Spark Miles for Business is another Capital One card that will give you a $100 credit for one Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application every four years. The card also gives a 50,000 mile bonus, worth $500 in travel, once you spend $4,500 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.

The card has a $0 intro annual fee for the first year than it’s $95.

Learn more about this card

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card

Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card

The Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card will not only give you a fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, but it also has a welcome bonus. You get up to 100,000 points . Earn 70,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months. Plus, earn an additional 30,000 points after you spend $25,000 on purchases in the first 6 months..

This is on top of a business-friendly point-earning schedule of 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines purchases, 2 points per $1 spent on social media, search engine, Internet, cable and phone services; and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

You also get Inflight WiFi credits, 4 upgraded boardings per year (when available), and all for an annual fee of $199.

Learn more about this card

Platinum Card from American Express

American Express Platinum Card

The Platinum Card from American Express will reimburse you the application fee for Global Entry. This card has a lot of travel perks, including access to airport lounges, $200 annual air travel credits, and even $200 in Uber credits each year.

(it’s worth noting that the Platinum Card from American Express is not a typical credit card, it allows you to carry a balance for certain charges but not all)

You also get 75,000 Membership Rewards after you spend $5,000 in purchases within your first six months.

This card has a $550 annual fee.

Learn more about this card

Chase Sapphire Reserve

I love Chase cards because the Chase Ultimate Rewards program is so versatile. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers a $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. You can use this perk for yourself or someone else, you just have to pay for it with the card and they’ll credit you.

You also get $300 in annual travel credits as well as access to airport lounges via Priority Pass Select. Those are just a few of the many travel rewards of the card.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve card also has a great welcome bonus of 50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months.

Compare this card with others

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card

The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card has a $300 annual travel credit perk that you can use on Global Entry fees. It’s not as good as some of the other cards that also offer a travel credit perk because on those cards the Global Entry fee benefit is a separate one.

IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card

If you’re a fan of InterContinental Hotels Group then you might want to consider the IHG Club Premier Credit card. Not only does it reimburse you up to $100 every four years when you pay for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application with the card, but they will give you 60,000 bonus points after you spend $2,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of opening your account

There are other perks as well including a free night after each account anniversary and Platinum Elite status as long as you are a cardmember.

$0 annual fee.

Learn more about this card and others

The United Explorer Card

If you fancy United Airlines (and even if you only fly infrequently), the United Explorer Card has a $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit. This is on top of two United Club one-time-use passes each year and priority boarding.

As an added incentive, they have a limited time offer of 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in the first three months. It’s a solid bonus for new cardholders.

It also has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year that is normally $95 in subsequent years.

Compare this card with others

You should be able to find a good travel credit card that gives you the Global Entry fee reimbursement perk.

Even if you have to pay for it yourself, the fee covers five years. Even at $100, that’s $20 a year to get into an expedited line or skip the line altogether!

What is Global Entry?

Global Entry is a program by the US Customs and Border Protection. You apply for the program and have to go through a screening and clearance process. If and when Global Entry is granted, you can go through an expedited customs process. The screening and clearance process involves a background check and an in-person interview.

Instead of going through the customs line, you can go to the Global Entry kiosks and simply scan your fingerprints. You fill out a customs declaration and are sent on your merry way.

Global Entry has a $100 fee that you pay when you submit your application. This fee is non-refundable even if your application is denied. Global Entry is good for 5 years and when you get it, you get TSA PreCheck for free!

What is TSA PreCheck?

TSA PreCheck is similar to Global Entry except it’s just for TSA checkpoints at airports. You go through a background check and in-person interview but when you are cleared, you are issued a Known Travel Number (KTN). You add that number to your bookings and the airlines will add a little TSA Pre✓ to your boarding passes so you can go through the expedited lines.

Children under 12 don’t need TSA PreCheck and can go through the line with you when you go through. Children 13 and older will need their own TSA PreCheck.

In those lines, you don’t need to take off your shoes, belts, or light jackets. You can keep your laptops and liquids in your bag. The size rules are still in place but you don’t need to remove the containers.

TSA PreCheck costs $85 and is good for five years.

What about CLEAR?

CLEAR is a separate program and is not affiliated with TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. It helps you get through the security line by using biometrics to identify you, rather than paperwork. You can read more about the differences between CLEAR and TSA PreCheck for a better understanding of how the two can work together.

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Jim Wang

About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a thirty-something father of three who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and a farm in Illinois via AcreTrader.

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  1. Barb says

    There are other ways besides having or using these credit cards to get TSA PreCheck. You can trade United Mileage Points, for example. You can trade IHG hotel reward program points for TSA PreCheck. You can also trade Marriott Rewards points for this also.

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