Categories

Credit Cards

Fly Through Airport Security with These Credit Cards

This post references products from one or more of our partners. We may receive compensation when you apply through Experian's CreditMatch marketplace. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on May 10, 2018.

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.

See the best credit cards for you now in Experian CreditMatch.

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.

Venture from Capital One

  • $95 annual fee (waived the first year).
  • 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 10 miles for every $1 spent at hotels.com/venture.
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Bank of America Premium Rewards Credit Card

  • $95 annual fee
  • Up to $100 credit toward TSA Precheck or Global Entry application, every four years.
  • $100 airline incidental fee credit for qualifying purchases such as seat upgrades, baggage fees, in-flight services, and airline lounge fees.
  • Earn unlimited 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining purchases and 1.5 points for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • 50,000 bonus points after you make $3,000 in purchases during the first 90 days.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

See the best credit cards for you now in Experian CreditMatch.

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • $450 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.
  • 50,000 bonus points after you make $4,000 in purchases during the first 90 days.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

The Platinum® Card from American Express

  • $550 annual fee.
  • Up to $100 credit toward TSA Precheck or Global Entry application, every four years.
  • $200 Uber rides credit.
  • $200 airline fee credit.
  • Earn unlimited 5 points for every $1 spent on travel booked at American Express Travel, or directly with the airlines, and 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 during the first three months.
  • Access to more than 1,000 airport lounges.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Citi Prestige Card

  • $450 annual fee.
  • $100 Global Entry application fee credit.
  • $250 air travel credit.
  • Earn unlimited 3 points for every $1 spent on air travel and hotels, 2 points for every $1 spent on dining and entertainment, and 1 point per $1 spent on other purchases.
  • Complimentary 4th night stay at any hotel of your choice after a minimum 4-consecutive night booking through ThankYou.com.
  • Priority Pass Select access.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard®

  • $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.

See the best credit cards for you now in Experian CreditMatch.

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

  • $95 annual fee, waived the first year.
  • Earn unlimited 2 miles for every $1 spent on direct Delta purchases, 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 60,000 Bonus Miles after you make $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within your first 4 months. Offer expires on 9/19/2018.
  • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight—that's a savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

  • $195 annual fee.
  • Annual domestic companion certificate.
  • Earn 10,000 miles and 10,000 MQMs after spending $25,000 on the card in one year.
  • Earn unlimited 2 miles for every $1 spent on Delta purchases, 1 mile for every $1 spent on everything else.
  • Free checked bag on Delta flights.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express

  • $450 annual fee.
  • Complimentary access to Delta Sky Clubs.
  • Earn 15,000 miles and 15,000 MQMs after spending $30,000 on the card in one year.
  • Annual domestic companion certificate.
  • Earn unlimited 2 miles for every $1 spent on Delta purchases, 1 mile for every $1 spent on everything else.
  • Free checked bag on Delta flights.
  • No foreign transaction fees.

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.

See the best credit cards for you now in Experian CreditMatch.

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

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.


Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication.
Sign up for helpful tips, special offers and more!
You're signed up!
Our system is undergoing maintenance and will be available again soon.