You've likely heard of trusted traveler programs like TSA PreCheck and Global Entry, and if you spend enough time in airports across the country, you've probably seen a line for CLEAR Plus at airport security as well.
While both TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are government-run programs designed to help expedite you through airport security – or through customs on your way home from an international trip – CLEAR works differently.
Think of it as a fast pass to skip to the front of the security screening line and get you on your way quicker. Once you've signed up and finalized your registration, you simply head to the CLEAR Plus lane at participating airports, scan your fingerprints or iris with the CLEAR pod's biometric scanner to confirm your identity, and get whisked away to the front of the TSA line by a CLEAR ambassador.
If you've got TSA PreCheck as well as CLEAR Plus you cut to the front of that shorter line. Without it, you still get to go to the front of the standard security queue.
Read next: TSA PreCheck vs CLEAR Plus: Which is Better?
While this might sound great, a CLEAR Plus membership comes with some sticker shock.
After a price drop late last year, TSA PreCheck will run you just $78 for a five-year membership. Global Entry on the other hand costs $100 to enroll for five years. Better yet, Global Entry also includes a TSA PreCheck membership – making it the obvious choice if you plan to do any international travel as it will be your fast pass through customs when you return to the U.S.
On the other hand, a CLEAR Plus membership will cost you significantly more than both TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. You'll pay as much as $189 each year for CLEAR Plus.
While there is a dizzying array of credit cards that will cover your application of up to $100 for a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership, there are currently only three cards that will provide any relief when it comes to purchasing CLEAR Plus.
If you are thinking about joining CLEAR Plus, or are already paying for the service out of pocket, here's what you need to know.
How Much Does CLEAR Plus Cost?
After a price increase last year, the cost of a CLEAR Plus membership is now $189 each year. But there are some easy ways to make that cost a bit cheaper.
- Do you have a Delta SkyMiles account or a United MileagePlus account? Travelers who link their free Delta or United frequent flier accounts pay $179 a year
- Travelers with Delta or United elite status (or a co-branded Delta SkyMiles Amex card or one of United's Chase cards) will pay $149 a year
- You can add up to three adults to your CLEAR Plus account for an additional $70 each (minors can tag along for free)
- United 1K or Delta Diamond Medallion status members get CLEAR Plus as a free perk
Read more: Is CLEAR Plus Worth the Cost?
Travel Cards that Cover CLEAR Plus Membership
The American Express® Green Card
The *Amex Green Card* doesn't get a lot of attention from travelers, or even from American Express itself. But that is starting to change thanks to a new, bigger welcome offer bonus of 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after spending just $3,000 in the first three months of card membership. Plus, you'll get up to 20% back as a statement credit for any spending you do on travel or transit (buses, trains, etc.) in the first six months of membership – capped at $200 back.
You'll also earn 3x Membership Rewards points for every dollar you spend at restaurants, on travel, and on transit – making it a really well-rounded travel card. The Green Card charges an annual fee of just $150 (see rates & fees).
But if a CLEAR Plus membership is what you're interested in, The Amex Green Card has you covered by providing an annual credit of up to $189 towards the cost of a CLEAR Plus membership.
If you are already paying for a CLEAR Plus membership, this benefit alone can easily justify the Green card's $150 annual fee. No matter the price you pay for CLEAR Plus, the Green Card will cover your membership fee.
Learn More about the *Amex Green Card*
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The top-tier card in the American Express travel portfolio – *Amex Platinum Card* also provides an annual credit of up to $189 to completely cover the cost of a CLEAR Plus Membership.
It's one of the new perks that was added to the card after a major benefits refresh a few years ago – which also pushed the card's annual fee from $550 up to its current rate of $695 (see rates & fees).
Among the many benefits the card provides, it's now the only card out there that will reimburse you for both a CLEAR Plus membership and provide up to a $100 credit to cover the cost of Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. Add in the airport lounge access the card provides and there is perhaps no better card to improve the time you spend in airports.
There's a lot to unpack with the laundry list of benefits you get for a $695 annual fee, but if you can put those benefits to use, there is no question the card can be worth it. It's why we always encourage readers to do the math before ruling out cards with big annual fees. And if you are already paying $189 out of pocket for a CLEAR Plus membership, that can take some sting out of the card's annual fee.
Read our full review of the Platinum Card from American Express
Learn More about *Amex Platinum Card*
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Have a small business or are you eligible for small business credit cards? Trust us, you might be surprised at the answer.
Like the personal American Express Platinum Card, *Business Platinum Card* also offers an annual credit of up to $189 to completely cover the cost of a CLEAR Plus membership after a benefits refresh early last year. The credit for CLEAR Plus along with a handful of other new perks pushed the card's annual fee from $595 up to $695 each year (see rates & fees). That's the same annual fee you'll find on the personal Platinum card mentioned above.
From lounge access to CLEAR credits and more, there are a lot of benefits that overlap between the personal and business versions of the Amex Platinum cards. But the business version comes with a number of specific credits that might be more enticing for small business owners.
Learn More about *Business Platinum Card*
While there are plenty of travel rewards cards that will provide reimbursement for either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, only three cards issued from American Express will cover the cost of a CLEAR Plus membership: The *Amex Green Card* and *Amex Platinum Card*, and *Business Platinum Card*.
Photos courtesy of CLEAR