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Justin P. asks,
Hey Gary, longtime reader & appreciate what you do.
Quick thought… my Global Entry just came eligible for renewal, and I don’t think I currently have any cards that include reimbursement. (I’ve had a bunch of cards that offered it, but am probably not able to get them again yet.)
Might be a good post to run down all the cards that offer this benefit. Doesn’t seem to be anything quite that comprehensive out there, just a couple “here are our favorite 5 that do” etc.
Sure Justin happy to! I’ll lay out all the cards I am aware of that reimburse Global Entry or TSA PreCheck and also programs that let you redeem points for TSA PreCheck.
Getting PreCheck and Expedited Immigration
Global Entry is fantastic skipping the immigration and customs queues when you return to the U.S.
I didn’t love the fingerprinting or background check that went along with it, but I figured all my cell phone data was being logged anyway long before Edward Snowden was cool. So if the surveillance was inevitable I figured I might as well at least get the convenience.
Now that I have it, it’s hard to imagine life without it — and not just queuing up at immigration, but also that I always get PreCheck at TSA now (except when I’ve been “SSSS’d”) rather than having it be hit-or-miss through my airline elite status.
Four programs provide expedited airport security:
- Nexus is the cheapest and most comprehensive. It’s expedited immigration for Canada, but gets you Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. It’s $50. But credit card and other fee credits don’t advertise rebating the signup cost. It takes approvals on both the US and Canadian sides and while appointments aren’t super-tough to get, it can take 2-4 months to be approved.
- Global Entry is expedited immigration. The fee is $100 and comes with TSA PreCheck. It’s open to US citizens and permament residents, UK citizens, German citizens and Mexican nationals. UK and German citizens have pre-registration requirements through their home country.
- TSA PreCheck is $85 and doesn’t come with any border benefits.
- Sentri is for US-Mexico land crossings, costs $122.50, and includes Global Entry (and PreCheck).
Most US citizens want Global Entry because it includes PreCheck, for an extra $15 gets expedited immigration (of decreasing importance as immigration kiosks roll out), and it reimbursed by more premium credit cards than PreCheck.
Frequent Canadian visitors should get Nexus, and it’s cheaper, but the waits and dual approvals may discourage. If you don’t have a US passport you can still get TSA PreCheck.
Credit Cards That Reimburse Global Entry and PreCheck Application Fees
Credit cards with this benefit generally will reimburse either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. You use the card to pay your application fee, and the benefit is a statement credit up to $100 (the cost of Global Entry) that you’re eligible for once every 5 years.
I have several different cards which include the benefit. I gift the benefit to others as a result. I just let them pay their application fee with my credit card and use the statement credit.
Here are the 20+ credit cards I’m aware of that reimburse Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees. Please let me know if there are any others I’m unaware of.
Chase Sapphire Reserve® gives you the ‘up to $100 every 5 years’ benefit but it’s easy to forget it’s there since it takes fifth fiddle to the signup bonus, 3x earning on travel and dining, unlimited Priority Pass, and $300 travel credit.
Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card is a $450 annual fee card chock full of benefits for Ritz-Carlton stays but also other travel, for instance it offers the $100 Visa Infinite companion airfare benefit.
JP Morgan Reserve Card is basically a metal version of the Sapphire Reserve which includes United Club membership upon request for no additional fee, but that’s only available for new applications to JP Morgan Private Bank clients (generally $10 million or more assets on deposit)
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® is the premium American Airlines credit card that comes with Admirals Club membership and can help towards elite status. It will cover either Global Entry or PreCheck.
Citi Prestige Card is Citi’s premium rewards card. Its application page mentions only Global Entry but in practice PreCheck is reimbursed as well.
Expedia®+ Voyager Card is a $95 annual fee card that reimburses these fees, though I am generally not a fan of the Expedia+ Rewards program.
The Platinum Card® from American Express is probably the single best card for travel benefits, offering a $200 airline fee credit; up to $200 in annual Uber credits; Hilton and Starwood Gold status (the latter matching to Marriott Gold) and National Car Rental Executive status; plus access to American Express’ own lounges, Delta lounges when flying Delta, and a Priority Pass for additional airport lounge access. It offers the $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement benefit.
The Business Platinum® Card from American Express OPEN like the personal version of the card it comes with the Global Entry or PreCheck reimbursement. It has the other travel benefits of the personal card except the Uber credits, though it offers 10 annual Gogo inflight internet passes and has a lower annual fee ($450 vs $550 for the personal card).
American Express Centurion Card cannot be applied for directly, comes with both a significant upfront initiation fee and annual fee, and is basically a Platinum card plus Delta status, more benefits on Fine Hotels and Resorts hotel stays, and occasional retail gifts.
American Express Business Centurion Card is like the personal Black Card but anecdotally doesn’t receive the same retail gifts.
In addition the American Express Corporate Platinum and American Express Corporate Centurion cards include this benefit.
US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card is US Bank’s entry into the premium rewards game.
US Bank FlexPerks® Gold American Express® Card with an $85 annual fee has the lowest annual fee among those rebating Global Entry or PreCheck application fees.
SunTrust Travel Rewards Credit Card is the only $0 annual fee the first year (then $89) card which offers this credit.
Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Silver is a $195 premium American Airlines reward card. You cannot apply directly for it. Instead it’s offered as a product upgrade for Aviator Red cardholders.
Bank of America
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card is a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card competitor masquerading as a premium travel rewards card like Sapphire Reserve, but it does include Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement.
Merrill Lynch Octave Card has a $950, is for Merrill Lynch clients, and I do not believe it has an online application.
Diners Club® Carte Blanche® Corporate Card is included for completeness, it’s not a small business card so you’re not going to decide on your own to get it.
City National Bank
CNB Crystal Visa Infinite I first covered two and a half years ago, it’s a product for wealth management clients of this bank which targets wealthy customers. As a result there are myriad rich benefits, they don’t worry so much about the value proposition for the bank of the card itself. It reimburse Global Entry or PreCheck.
Programs That Let You Redeem Points for PreCheck
The TSA PreCheck program has been aggressive working with loyalty programs (and third parties which work with loyalty programs) to allow points to be redeemed for a code that will cover the $85 PreCheck fee.
It’s almost never a good deal, you don’t get great value for your points doing this. For instance it costs 10,000 United miles which I value at $150 to cover the $85 charge.
Nonetheless if you’re points rich and cash poor, or you have a small number of orphan points in an eligible account, these options are worth being aware of.
- Club Carlson lets you redeem 65,000 points for TSA Pre
- IHG Rewards Club lets you redeem 30,000 points for TSA Pre
- Marriott Rewards lets you redeem 25,000 points for TSA Pre
- United MileagePlus lets you redeem 10,000 miles for TSA Pre
Last summer Southwest announced redeeming 9000 Rapid Rewards points for TSA Pre however I do not see where it’s still available.
In addition online travel agency site’s Orbitz Rewards program lets its Platinum members (12 hotel nights per year) get TSA Pre. United MileagePlus used to offer this as an elite benefit but stopped three years ago.