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 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 quickly as a few days or a couple 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
The 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 a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. 50,000 miles is valued at $500 in travel. Also, there's a special offer of 10X miles on thousands of hotels through January 2020 through hotels.com/venture.
There is a $95 annual fee that is waived for the first year. This card has the lowest annual fee of any card on this list.
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.
Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business 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 sign up bonus. You get 80,000 Rapid Rewards points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first three months of opening your account.
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.
Platinum Card from American Express
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 $250 in Uber credits each year.
You also get 60,000 Membership Reward points when you spend $5,000 in purchases in your first three months.
This card has a $550 annual fee.
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 new sign up bonus of 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
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 125,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three 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.
With an annual fee of just $89, this card has one of the lowest annual fees of the cards on this list.
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 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in the first three months plus an additional 25,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 total on purchases in the first six 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.
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.