Even if you travel just a few times a year, having either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry can make your time at the airport much better – and faster. And with travel ramping back up again, that’s more important than ever.
TSA PreCheck will get you through those long security lines faster, while also allowing you to leave on your coat, shoes, and a belt – plus keep electronics and liquids tucked inside your bag. Global Entry, meanwhile, is your fast-track ticket through immigration after landing back in the U.S. And here’s the thing: Global Entry is a two-for-one as it includes a TSA PreCheck membership, making it the best choice.
Of course, neither program is free. Global Entry costs $100 for a five-year membership, while TSA PreCheck clocks in at $85 for a five-year membership. But if you hold the right travel credit card, you can cover the cost of enrollment in either program. Just pay your application fee with one of the credit cards below, and a credit will kick in to automatically cover the entire charge. It works once every four years.
Read on for our list of the best credit cards offering Global Entry or TSA PreCheck reimbursement of up to a $100 credit.
- The U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature Card
- The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- The Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
- The United Explorer Card
- The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card
- How Global Entry & PreCheck Work – and How to Get Them
- Do Any Cards Cover the Cost of NEXUS?
The U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature Card
Earlier this month, U.S. Bank officially launched the new U.S. Bank Altitude® Connect Visa Signature Card, making a splash in the middle of the market for travel rewards credit cards. And one benefit sticks out.
The New Altitude Connect card comes with a credit to cover Global Entry or TSA PreCheck once every four years … at a much lower pricepoint than you’ll find elsewhere. While it carries an annual fee of $95(see rates & fees), that fee is completely waived for the first year of card membership. It’s one of the only cards on this list with no annual fee in the first year.
You’ll also earn 50,000 points after you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases in the first 120 days of card membership (four months).
Unlike other U.S. Bank travel cards, you do not need to be an existing U.S. Bank customer to apply. Still, you should expect that a good to an excellent credit score will be needed for approval.
Click Here to learn more and apply for the U.S. Bank Altitude Connect Visa Signature Card.
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Another great option for getting TSA PreCheck or Global Entry is the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
The annual fee on the card is only $95. Unlike the U.S. Bank card above, you’ll be on the hook for the $95 fee right away in year one – Capital One no longer waives it for the first year.
The real value of Capital One Venture miles is just how easy they are to redeem. They can be redeemed for any travel expense – flights, hotels, cruises, etc. – just put the travel expense on your Venture card then use purchase eraser feature. Every mile is worth 1 cent toward travel, so 60,000 miles gets you $600 in flights, hotels, Airbnbs, and more.
You can also transfer Venture Miles to nearly 20 different partner airline programs.
Click Here to learn more about the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express is one of the best premium cards on the market – and it’s priced accordingly.
With an annual fee of $695 (see rates & fees), it isn’t for everyone.
But credits for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck are a big reason we urge readers to do the math before ruling out cards with a big annual fee. Not only does the card offer a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years, but it also offers a host of other premium benefits like a $200 airline incidental credit, up to a $200 hotel credit, up to a $200 annual credit for Uber rides, and up to a $100 annual credit to spend at Saks Fifth Avenue.
Critically, The Platinum Card is also the only credit card that offers reimbursement for CLEAR®. Each year, the card will provide up to $179 which is enough to cover the cost of CLEAR membership.
Additionally, the card offers the best airport lounge access available from any credit card out there. There simply isn’t a card that will improve your airport experience more than the Platinum Card from American Express.
The card also has a welcome bonus offer of 100,000 American Express Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 in the first six months of card membership. But make sure to check and see if you are eligible for the 125,000-point welcome bonus via CardMatch.
Read our guide on 8 Great Ways to Use a Platinum Card Welcome Bonus.
Click Here to learn more about the American Express Platinum Card.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve
Outside of the $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit it offers, it also comes with Priority Pass Lounge access, an annual $300 travel credit that can be used for any travel expense, and a host of other premium travel perks.
The card is offering a sign-up bonus of 60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of card membership which can be redeemed for up to $900 towards travel when redeemed through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. This is a limited-time offer – that’s typically a bonus of 50,000 points for the same spending requirement.
Click Here to learn more about the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card joined the list of cards that cover Global Entry or TSA PreCheck enrollment once every four years in early 2020. If you’ve already got this card in your wallet, just pay for your application with it and that credit will automatically kick in.
On top of that, the card earns 3x SkyMiles per dollar spent at both hotels and on Delta purchases, and earns 2x SkyMiles per dollar spent at both restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (terms apply). You’ll also get a companion pass for a buy one get one free ticket each year on your cardmember anniversary.
But the card’s annual fee is $250 (see rates & fees). So if it’s just signing up for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck that you’re after, there are better options. The top-tier Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card also offers the same credit of up to $100 to cover Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
Click Here to learn more about the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card.
The United Explorer Card
The United Explorer Card is another great option to get signed up for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. If you’re a frequent United flyer, this card can make sense for a number of reasons.
First, the card earns 2x points per dollar spent on purchases at United, restaurants, and hotel stays. And if you pay for your flight with your United card, you’ll also get your first checked bag free.
You’ll also get priority boarding privileges and two, one-time passes to the United Club lounge each year on your cardmember anniversary. These passes normally cost $50.
But one of the best benefits of holding the United Airlines Explorer co-branded credit card is the increased access it provides to award seats on United Airlines flights. Just for holding the card, you will see more saver level award seats available when you search for ways to redeem your miles. Oftentimes, there is additional award availability during peak travel times and/or more popular routes.
The card has an annual fee of $95, but it is waived for the first year of card membership.
Click Here to learn more about the United Explorer Card.
The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card
The list goes on.
The IHG Rewards Club Premier Card is another great option. On top of that application credit, the card offers a free night each year on your cardmember anniversary for properties that cost 40,000 points or less. See our post on the best ways to use the IHG free night certificate.
You will also get automatic IHG Platinum Elite Status as soon as you get the card. Platinum Elite status with IHG gets you complimentary room upgrades when available and a 50 percents point bonus on paid reservations. It also gets you guaranteed room availability, priority check-in, and free late checkout.
You will earn 25x points per dollar spent at IHG hotels, and 2x points at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.
The card has an annual fee of $89, which is waived for the first year of card membership.
Click Here to learn more about the IHG Rewards Club Premier Card.
How Global Entry & PreCheck Work – and How to Get Them
Signing up for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck is fairly simple and straightforward. But they’re quite different.
Both programs start out the same. You’ll fill out an online application and pay the fee with one of the credit cards mentioned above. Once you get conditionally approved, you will head to a certified enrollment center for a short interview (bring your passport), fingerprinting, and a photo. If everything checks out, you should get the OK within a week or two.
However, there’s no question that getting Global Entry can be more time-consuming. While it often just takes a few days to a week, getting conditionally approved sometimes takes many months or more. Plus, you need to schedule an in-person interview – and that’s not always easy. Read our tips for scoring a Global Entry interview!
Renewing an existing Global Entry membership? Using your credit card to pay for the cost will work for that as well.
Your first time through the PreCheck lane, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to join the program. The security lines are often drastically shorter, but that’s only half of the benefit. You get to leave your shoes, a belt, and a light jacket on while going through security. Your laptop and the carry-on approved liquids in your bag can also stay put as they go through the baggage screeners.
All of the credit cards listed above offer a credit for either program. Global Entry costs $100 for a five-year membership, while PreCheck costs $85.
That makes it an easy choice: Go for Global Entry if you plan to do any international travel as it includes PreCheck. And if you already have Global Entry or TSA PreCheck membership, you can use the credit from these credit cards to pay the application fee for a friend, family member, or significant other. Read more about that here.
Do Any Cards Cover the Cost of NEXUS?
NEXUS is another Trusted Traveler program, operated jointly by the Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Think of it like a slightly Canadian version of Global Entry.
Members of the program can avoid long waits at border entry points by using reserved lanes at land crossings into Canada and the United States (including from Mexico), by using self-serve kiosks at airports in Canada, the US, and some international locations. The application process is quite similar to Global Entry: you must apply through a government portal, wait for acceptance, and then also be interviewed to complete the process.
While Global Entry costs $100, the application fee for NEXUS is currently only $50 per adult – and children are free until they turn 18, making it a good option for families who travel internationally.
However, there are not currently any credit cards that will reimburse the cost of Nexus.
Getting Global Entry or TSA PreCheck is a slam dunk, as more and more credit cards are providing a credit to reimburse your application fee. While these aren’t the only credit cards offering Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, they are the cards that will give you the most bang for your buck.
And remember. Global Entry includes a TSA PreCheck membership. So if you plan on doing any international travel in the next five years, Global Entry may be the better option.