By: Shea Maritato
If you’re a frequent business traveler, or just dislike standing in lines, there are ways to avoid the queues. When it comes to paying a little extra to skip the crowds, you have a few options to choose from. Each of these programs can often save you both time and money — but which program does what and can you benefit from your travel rewards card?
If you don’t find yourself traveling abroad much and don’t want to pay for Global Entry, TSA PreCheck is $85 for a five-year membership and gives you expedited security checks at more than 200 select airports in the U.S.
The TSA PreCheck is a bit more convenient too, as you don’t have to remove your shoes, belt, light jacket, laptop or TSA-approved liquids. To apply, you have to submit an online application and then schedule a 10-minute in-person appointment at one of the enrollment centers. The appointment includes a background check and fingerprinting.
Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the U.S. once they have returned from traveling internationally. You can think of it as an express lane for traveling.
To apply you must pay a $100 fee and submit an application. If approved, your five-year membership includes both Global Entry and TSA PreCheck in the U.S. In order to qualify you must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. lawful permanent resident. Residents of select countries can also qualify, and you can learn more about international application requirements.
A new option for faster airport security screenings is CLEAR, which uses your eyes and fingerprints rather than traditional IDs to verify your identity when you travel. CLEAR costs $179 for an annual membership and does not include TSA PreCheck, like Global Entry does.
With CLEAR, you can add up to three adult family members for $50/year each. Kids under 18 are free and don’t need to enroll. Delta SkyMiles and United MileagePlus members with status can often receive CLEAR discounts.
To apply, you sign up online and complete an in-person biometric scan. If you are approved to use CLEAR, your experience going through security at the airport is pretty seamless. You report directly to a CLEAR kiosk and scan your fingerprints or eyes. A representative will then direct you to a security checkpoint.