CLEAR, the privately run trusted-traveler program, has made waves over the past few years giving travelers more options when it comes to getting through security quickly. But no one’s going through airports right now, period.
So it could leave you questioning whether CLEAR is worth its hefty price tag. Starting at $179 each year, it’s not cheap – especially when you can’t use it. With all the uncertainty surrounding travel, it might not make sense to keep paying for it.
But CLEAR is offering relief for existing members whose memberships are coming due soon. A member of the Thrifty Traveler team has their service set to renew in June. We reached out to CLEAR to see if they were offering any sort of relief, and below is the response we got from a customer service representative.
“CLEAR is always here for you when you need us most. We understand that these are challenging times, so as requested, we’ve paused your membership for 3 months. During your pause period, your bill date will be pushed out 3 months to 9/5/2020, and you’ll never lose access to CLEAR.”
They are not doing this proactively, so if your membership is set to renew soon, reach out to CLEAR via email at [email protected] and ask for an extension.
With memberships starting at $179 a year, CLEAR is expensive. That’s why we question the value of CLEAR for people who don’t travel extensively.
There are ways to make the service cheaper: Anyone with a Delta SkyMiles or United MileagePlus account can drop that to $119 – and farther down to $109 with a co-branded credit card. It gets even cheaper if you have an American Express Green Card, which carries a $100 annual CLEAR credit.
If you travel frequently through airports that offer CLEAR service, it can be invaluable. Still, it’s simply much more expensive than TSA PreCheck, which only costs $85 for a full, five-year membership.
And it’s impossible to justify CLEAR’s cost right now at a time when travel is off the table. Even entering sports venues with CLEAR service won’t be possible for some time.
CLEAR is clearly going to struggle retaining its existing members – especially in the current economic climate. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
While the three-month extension is nice, my gut tells me they will need to do more to retain their membership base in the coming months. Only time will tell.
If you are a CLEAR member with your annual membership coming up for renewal soon, reach out to CLEAR via email at [email protected] They will likely grant you a three-month extension from when your service needs to be renewed.