5 More Airlines Join PreCheck, Here’s All the Ways to Enjoy Expedited Screening

I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).


The TSA announced this morning that 5 more airlines are participating in PreCheck:

  • Air France
  • KLM
  • Brussels Airlines
  • Philippine Airlines
  • World Atlantic

‘World Atlantic’ operates as charter airline Caribbean Sun Airlines out of Miami, and reportedly has held US federal contracts to deport illegal immigrants.

That brings the total of airlines where you can fly while using expedited security to 47. Here are the other 42:

Anything that grows PreCheck is good for wait times and good for passengers who are able to get out of queues more quickly and without giving a peep show to a TSA employee in a booth.

Make Sure You Get the Benefits of PreCheck When You Fly

You’ll want to make sure all participating airlines have your Known Traveler Number. Currently-booked tickets aren’t going to have your number in the booking. Don’t expect your known traveler number to pass through from a US frequent flyer program to international airline partner automatically either. So if you use United miles to book on Brussels Airlines you want to confirm with Brussels that they have the number in your reservation.

Most people update their frequent flyer accounts with their Known Traveler number, but if you’re flying without one or using another airline’s frequent flyer program, it won’t go in automatically either. So make sure each reservation gets the number.

When you check-in for a flight make sure your boarding pass indicates PreCheck. If it doesn’t check your Known Traveler number in the reservation and check in again. If your airline doesn’t support that, call and get ‘unchecked in’ and re-check in for an updated boarding pass.

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.

TSA PreCheck is much quicker to get, but if you want Global Entry (my preference) then:

  1. Consider an alternate interview location. When I first signed up for Global Entry I figured I’d do my registration in DC, but I wanted my appointment faster. There were available appointments at New York JFK so I made an appointment there when I could conveniently pass through the airport.

  2. Keep checking for available appointments. People make appointments and cancel them especially close in. The system updates in close to real time. Refresh the appointment times page and you may see dates open up.

  3. Just go in. Many readers report they signed up for an appointment in the future. As long as they were signed up for an appointment at some time, somewhere, they could show up at any enrollment center. And if the enrollment center wasn’t busy they could get their interview done on a walk-in basis. There is no guarantee this will work. And some bureaucrats will be less than helpful of course, since they don’t have to take you. Often appointments take much less time than scheduled and employees sit around, if they’re bored they’ll take you.

Maintaining Global Entry and PreCheck

Once you have it you don’t want to lose it. When coming into the country be sure to declare chocolates, candy bars, chips, or any various items of sustenance whether open or closed, for personal consumption at the airport or meant as gifts. Even if it’s just chocolates off of your flight.

And be sure to keep your profile up to date for instance if you get a new passport.

Expedited Screening Even When PreCheck Lanes are Closed

Whenever I’m at an airport which doesn’t offer PreCheck, or PreCheck lanes are closed (like in Philadelphia at 6pm or Miami just because), I still get expedited screening.

  • You keep your shoes on
  • Your Freedom Baggie of liquids stay in your bag (but honestly, they do anyway, I don’t remember the last time I saw a screener insist you take your liquids out of the bag)
  • Your laptop is still supposed to come out of your bag
  • You go through the metal detector, not the nude-o-scope

I still use a laptop bag that’s “TSA Approved” and so I just have to unclip the bag rather than taking the laptop out.

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

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)

Citibank

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.

American Express

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

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

SunTrust Travel Rewards Credit Card is the only $0 annual fee the first year (then $89) card which offers this credit.

Barclaycard Products

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.

Both the Mastercard Black Card and Mastercard Gold Card — whose primary attributes are that they have high annual fees and are made of metal — include Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement.

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

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.

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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. FYI, during my interview I asked why anyone would to SENTRI, since it costs more but seems to have the same benefits. The answer is that with SENTRI you can add unlimited children to your application for free or at a huge discount(depending on their age), whereas with Global Entry each child has to apply and pay the fee.

  2. Hi Gary, there’s also the new Penfed pathfinder card, which gives a $100 credit towards precheck or global entry every 5 years. No annual fee

  3. You should also add that at a growing number of airports like SJC, SFO, AUS, YVR, YYZ, a Global Entry interview is available upon international arrival while you are still in the secure passport control area. If an inept or uninformed airport employee (like at SFO in July 2017) tells you to just to the interview office OUTSIDE the area, then politely ignore him/her and seek assistance from someone else.

  4. Can I get Global Entry for my 7 year old granddaughter? Do her parents have to go or can she go with me?

  5. Regarding Global Entry interview appointments. I was living in Western Massachusetts and the nearest interview location, Boston, was booked up six months ahead. However, the Border station at South Derby Line, Vermont had multiple appointment openings available the following week. My fiancé and I took a day off and drove the 3+ hours each way with a nice stop i Montpelier for food.

    The only problem we encountered was that my fiancé, who is younger than me, was grilled extensively about whether I was coercing her into getting Global Entry. They apparently were trying to figure out if I was setting her up to be a cross-border drug mule. They kept asking her stern questions about our relationship which she calmly answered, but they eventually they signed off on her application.

    And, having Global Entry has just been great. Coming into Boston Logan after a long flight and being able to just walk past all the lines and use the kiosk was very sweet and worth the effort of getting the card.

  6. Our appt in ATL was 3 months out so my wife and I took a chance and just showed up on a mid-week day. Waited for 2 folks with appts to finish and went on in. Total time less than 45 minutes. But as the man says, your mileage may vary.

  7. Someone here recently said something about watching all the (peons?) walk past to the back of the plane as he settled into his first class seat.
    Gotta tell ya, whatever sense of superiority some people may feel at that (I just feel grateful when I can afford first class/business), it doesn’t hold a candle to breezing past a crawling line of 200-plus people waiting to go through Customs and Immigration. To my mind, anyone who travels outside the country even just once a year should get Global Entry and a Known Traveller number.
    Best $100 I didn’t have to spend.

  8. I wonder, what is the reason other airlines don’t join ?

    I fly Alitalia and Aer Lingus more than other airlines, but they’re not participating. Yet a tiny company like Cape Air is?

  9. Would like to know why Japan AIrlines does not participate?
    And why on earth is British Airways not on the list either?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *