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!

Table of Contents
  1. Cards with Global Entry / TSA PreCheck Fee Credit Offers
    1. Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
    2. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
    3. Capital One Spark Miles for Business
    4. Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Card
    5. The Platinum Card® from American Express
    6. Chase Sapphire Reserve
    7. The Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card
    8. IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
    9. The United Explorer Card
  2. What is Global Entry?
  3. What is TSA PreCheck?
  4. What about CLEAR?

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 X Rewards Credit Card

Capital One® Venture® X Rewards Card The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a card with a solid 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months.

It offers up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and a $300 annual travel credit when booking through Capital One Travel. This helps justify the $395 annual fee.

👉 Learn more about the Capital One Venture X Rewards Card

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 75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of opening the account, equal to $750 in travel.

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

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 the Capital One Spark Miles Business Card

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 welcome bonus. You get 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.

This is on top of a business-friendly point-earning schedule which includes 4X points on Southwest®️ purchases; 3X points on Rapid Rewards®️ hotel and car partners; 2X points on rideshare, social media and search engine advertising, internet, cable, and phone services; and 1X points on all other purchases. You also get 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available, and Global Entry or TSA Pre✔︎®️ Fee Credit – all for an annual fee of $199.

👉 Learn more about this card

The Platinum Card® from American Express

American Express Platinum CardThe 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 Cash 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 80,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $8,000 in purchases within your first six months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.

This card has a $695 annual fee.

👉 Learn more about The Platinum Card® from American Express

Chase Sapphire Reserve

Chase Sapphire ReserveI love Chase cards because the Chase Ultimate Rewards program is so versatile. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card offers up to 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 60,000 Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months.

👉 Learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve card

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 165,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 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.

$99 annual fee.

👉Learn more about this card and others

The United Explorer Card

United Explorer MileagePlus CardIf 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 on purchases in the first 3 months. It’s a solid bonus for new cardholders.

It has a $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then it’s $95.

👉 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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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a forty-something father of four 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 farms in Illinois, Louisiana, and California through AcreTrader.

Recently, he's invested in a few pieces of art on Masterworks too.

>> Read more articles by Jim

Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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About the comments on this site:

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  1. FullTimeFinance says

    Bank of America premier rewards also has global entry reimbursement. Ironically today I’m applying our last child for global entry. All four of us have gotten free global entry via cards.

    Everyone in your party, even kids, must have global entry to use it.

    • Jim Wang says

      That’s good to know… that’s unlike with TSA PreCheck, beacuse on that the kids get it when their parents have it.

  2. Jim @ Route To Retire says

    That’s funny – my wife and I were just talking about this last night. We signed her up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve to take advantage of the Global Entry reimbursement along with the signup bonus and the travel credit. We’re going to do the same for me once we knock out the bonus on hers.

    It’s an expensive card, but it’ll pay for itself a couple times over with those perks. But it’ll also be the first card that we cancel so we don’t have to pay that annual fee a second time! 😉

    — Jim

    • Jim Wang says

      A lot of those cards have expensive annual fees but they give you so much for them. I imagine that for their ideal customer, the annual fee is just “prepaying” expenses they already have.

      The Platinum Card sounds expensive at $450 a year but in just air credits and Uber credits, you get your $450 back. Then you throw in the membership rewards plus Global Entry fee reimbursement and you’re already ahead. It is expensive to folks who aren’t their target or just outside the ideal, but for the ideal it’s a no brainer (hence the widespread adoption of it).

  3. DNN says

    I feel offering that option on a credit card is a good sales & marketing ploy to earning and winning more business. It can sometimes be a hassle getting through TSA. So with that option being an add on with cardmember benefits, it’s a win win for the credit card company, and also for the finance blogger to market credit card affiliate programs and emphasize that specific benefit as a means of increasing sales and ROI long-term.

  4. GYM says

    Ommmgg dangling amazing Credit Card offers from the US again! 😉

    I have NEXUS (which is Global Entry) but don’t have TSA precheck… The NEXUS is $50 USD for 5 years and is the best $50 spent ever. So worth it especially with kids or even any kind of traveling. I just renewed mine again this year for another 5 years.

  5. Bernz [email protected] says

    I got mine from AMEX for free (reimbursed) and I love it. The Priority Pass lounge access is nice too, but my UBER credits are only $15/month and not $250 annually as you mentioned in your post.

    • Jim Wang says

      The Uber benefit for The Platinum Card from American Express is $15 per month but you get a $20 bonus in December:

      $200 UBER RIDES WITH PLATINUM‡

      Get to where you need to be for less, with this exclusive benefit. Enjoy $15 in Uber credits for U.S. rides each month plus a bonus $20 in December1, simply because you’re a Platinum Card Member. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.‡

      1Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only

  6. Pat says

    Why don’t you show how to get the TSA pre-check without one of those credit cards. The price of having one of those cards is crazy out of my budget.

    • Jim Wang says

      Those cards to have annual fees, as most travel cards do, and I will research how to get TSA Pre-check/Global Entry other ways but I suspect there aren’t going to be too many alternatives unfortunately.

    • Bill says

      Two of the cards waive the annual fee the first year and most of them have sign-up bonuses that more than pay for an annual fee. And you can always just pay the $85 for TSA Pre-check, but once you’re doing that you may as well get the credit card to take care of it.

  7. Pat says

    That is crazy. You can get the TSA Pre-check without those credit cards. This makes me wonder if you know what you are talking about in other areas. Sounds like you are just promoting those credit cards.

    • Jim Wang says

      Anyone can get it if they pay the application fee and pass the background check.

      Where can you get it for free?

  8. William Miller says

    My wife’s United Chase Mileage Plus card only covers Global Entry $100 reimbursement for her.
    We are a Bank of America Premier Rewards members and am thinking of applying for the Global Entry pass $100 reimbursement fee instead of using her United Chase card. Our two grandchildren are traveling to Japan with us in June. Do you know if we can get the $100 fee reimbursed for them with our Bank of America Premier Rewards account? By the way, one of our grandchildren turns 18 in May so I probably need to get him signed for the Global Entry pass before he turns 18 or do you know if that will be a problem?

    • Jim Wang says

      The Bank of America Premier Rewards Credit Card has a similar perk to the cards on this list, you get a $100 airport security statement credit towards Globa Entry once every four years.

      Your grandson will need Global Entry for himself too and you can sign up before you’re 18 as long as a parent/guardian consents.

  9. Dahlia says

    Pat, the post clearly says “Ways To Get Global Entry or TSA Pre-check For Free.” He’s just listing the ways to get them for free. (Thanks by the way!) Why are you hating on the guy? If you want to know how to get them, just give it a google on the internet machine.

    • Jim Wang says

      I don’t mind the critique but more to the point, if there is a 100% free way to get Global Entry or TSA Precheck for free, I’d love to know. I realize these are “free” when you get the card, which have an annual fee, but some of these cards have fantastic other perks that make it worth getting even without the GE/TSA perk.

  10. Lucia Diana says

    Our United Explorer Business DOES NOT cover this perk. Isn’t that terrible? Why not for business?

    • Jim Wang says

      I don’t know why the business version of the card doesn’t offer a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee credit, it seems silly but I guess they think businesses will pay for it themselves anyway?

    • Jim Wang says

      Yes, it’s new as of May 21, 2019 and I’ve added them to the list. Thanks!

  11. 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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