Fly Through Airport Security With These Credit Cards

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It seems like airport security lines get longer every year, and during busy travel periods—like the summer—they can be downright unbearable.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) isn't making things speedier: It recently announced the completion of an enhanced screening rollout at all U.S. airports.

The new screening methods require travelers to place all personal electronics larger than a cell phone into bins, as well as separating other items like food and powders for X-ray scanning.

Translation? TSA screening is going to be a slower process. Multiply that by thousands of travelers, and the lines are sure to be longer than ever.

If you travel a lot or simply don't want to spend significant chunks of your vacation waiting in line, it might be time to consider enrolling in a trusted traveler program like TSA Precheck or Global Entry that can help you bypass long wait times and speed through security thanks to expedited lanes for these programs.

Enrollment in these programs costs starts at $85, but with the right credit card, you can get the fee waived for application into TSA Precheck or Global Entry, or discounted access to CLEAR.

Credit Cards That Will Cover the Costs

The following cards will help you speed through the airport. Most of them have annual fees, but they offer to provide other benefits that could well outweigh the cost of the fee.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • $95 annual fee.
  • New benefit starting June 12, 2018: Up to $100 credit toward TSA Precheck or Global Entry application, every four years.
  • Earn unlimited 2 miles for every $1 spent.
  • Earn 60,000 introductory bonus miles when you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Find the best airline credit cards in Experian CreditMatch.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • $550 annual fee.
  • Up to $100 credit toward TSA Precheck or Global Entry application.
  • $300 travel credit for reimbursement on travel charges made on the card each year.
  • Earn unlimited 3 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • 60,000 bonus points after you make $4,000 in purchases during the first 90 days.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®

This offer is no longer available through Experian.

  • $150 annual fee.
  • $100 Global Entry application fee credit.
  • Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent.
  • Earn 25,000 bonus points each year after spending $25,000 on the card.
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • LoungeKey access to 800 airport lounges worldwide.

Find the best airline credit cards in Experian CreditMatch.

You can find other rewards credit cards that offer travel perks and cash back here.

Expedited Clearance Through TSA Precheck, Global Entry and CLEAR

There are several ways to get expedited clearance at U.S. airports, as long as you pass a background check. Here's what you need to know:

TSA Precheck

TSA Precheck allows those enrolled in the program to take advantage of designated security lines for members. TSA Precheck travelers don't need to remove their shoes, belts, or light jackets to go through screening—nor do they need to unpack their laptops or liquids. According to the TSA, 92% of Precheck passengers waited less than five minutes at security lines in April 2018.

The program costs $85 to apply, and membership lasts for five years. You can submit an application online, followed by an in-person appointment that requires a background check and fingerprinting. There are currently 6 million people enrolled in the program, which is offered at 200 airports around the country.

Global Entry

Global Entry is offered to U.S. citizens and permanent residents by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. (Citizens of select countries are also eligible.)

Travelers enrolled in Global Entry can bypass long immigration and customs lines when they return to the United States from traveling abroad. Instead, they simply check in at a designated kioski to scan their passport, verify their fingerprints and complete a customs declaration. Global Entry members also get access to TSA Precheck, as well as access to expedited entry in several other countries.

Global Entry costs $100 to apply, and membership lasts for five years. (The fee is not refundable, even if you aren't approved.) All applicants must undergo a rigorous background check and in-person interview.


CLEAR is a program that speeds you through airport security lines at participating airports, where you will find a special lane for CLEAR members at TSA security checkpoints (you'll usually bypass the main TSA Precheck line as well). In that line, a CLEAR team member scans your boarding pass, tap your finger and take you directly to the front of the physical screening line.

If you have TSA Precheck, you can use it with CLEAR (which will allow you to skip taking off your shoes and removing your laptops for screening, for example). CLEAR is available at 24 airports around the country and even some stadiums.

The program costs $179 a year. To enroll, you must apply online, followed by a brief appointment at a CLEAR location (you can also complete your enrollment at the airport when you check in). Enrollment requires a U.S. driver's license, passport, passport card, U.S. issued permanent resident card, state issued ID or U.S. Military ID.

The information related to the Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card have been collected by Experian and have not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card.

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