In 2021, American Express rolled out a huge refresh to their top-tier Platinum Card® from American Express, adding a slew of new benefits while pumping the annual fee from $550 to $695 a year (see rates & fees). While not all those new benefits are worthwhile, one of the best is a new credit of up to $189 a year to cover the cost of CLEAR membership.
On its face, that's a pretty good deal. CLEAR is a privately run trusted traveler program that gets you through airport security faster. But its steep price tag has scared away many travelers: Is it really worth paying $189 a year? If you have the Platinum Card, it covers every cent of it.
But you can do even better. By employing an easy way to cut that initial signup cost, this new CLEAR credit can be a two-for-one: Get CLEAR for yourself and a family member – at least for now.
Read on for everything you need to know about maximizing the Amex Platinum CLEAR credit.
Click Here to learn more about The Platinum Card® from American Express.
How Much Does CLEAR Cost?
After a recent price increase, annual membership in the CLEAR program is $189, and let's not beat around the bush: That's a steep price to pay. And for many travelers, it doesn't make sense.
But with a little bit of work, you can make that price much cheaper.
For starters, all Delta SkyMiles or United MileagePlus frequent flyer members can enroll in CLEAR for just $119. Even if you’re not a frequent flyer with either Delta or United, you can quickly sign up for a free SkyMiles or MileagePlus account to capitalize on this lower cost. Once you have a frequent flyer account number with either program, you can enroll through the specific link above and link your frequent flyer account number.
However, starting on February 1, that price jumps from $119 to $179 each year. You'll want to purchase CLEAR® before then to get the current pricing for your first year.
That price gets even better if you’ve got status with either airline or hold one of their co-branded credit cards: It drops to just $109 each year. Again, that price will jump to $149 starting on February 1.
And the lowest pricing of all is reserved for top-tier status holders, who can select an annual CLEAR membership as a free perk. That isn't changing come February 1.
Add a Family Member (or Friend) to Your CLEAR Account
This is where it gets even better. CLEAR allows you to add up to three adult “family members” to your account for an additional $60 each year per family member.
In reality, you can add almost anyone to your account: There's no requirement that you're actually related to members of your Family Plan … or even that you share the same address. Family Plan members must be 18 with a valid U.S. photo ID. Notably, kids under the age of 18 can accompany CLEAR members through the CLEAR lane for free – there's no need to add them to your plan.
One great perk: Members on your Family Plan can use CLEAR anytime they're traveling. You don't have to be traveling with them to unlock that benefit.
So long as you signed up for CLEAR at a discounted price through either Delta or United before February 1, the new $189 credit on the Platinum Card will completely cover your own membership and up to one additional traveler on a Family Plan for your first year. The higher pricing would be reflected on your first renewal date.
- Sign up for CLEAR at $119 with a SkyMiles or MileagePlus account? Add a family member for $60 and use up that entire $189 credit. Just make sure to do this before prices increase on February 1, 2023.
- Have status with Delta or United? Or have one of their co-branded credit cards like the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card or the United℠ Explorer Card? You can get CLEAR for yourself and a family member and still have $10 left over. Again, just make sure to do this before Feb. 1 so the Platinum Card's $189 credit will cover the full amount.
- Got top-tier status with either airline? You get CLEAR free, so use this credit on the Platinum card to give up to two travelers CLEAR, too!
Related: A Full Review of the Platinum Card from American Express
Beware, Existing CLEAR Members
If you are already an existing CLEAR member and need to update your payment method to your Amex Platinum Card, be sure to verify that your Platinum Card is showing up as your billing card before you add a family member to your account.
Recent data points from members of the Thrifty Traveler team suggest that the change won't happen instantly, but should update within a few hours or so.
Pair it with TSA PreCheck (Or Global Entry)
CLEAR may seem duplicative with TSA PreCheck. They're both a fast pass through airport security, right?
Wrong. These two programs serve drastically different purposes – holding them both can be a powerful weapon to speed through security. Think of it this way:
- CLEAR cuts you to the front of the line. If you've got TSA PreCheck, you'll head to the front of that line. If you don't you'll head to the front of the normal TSA lane.
- TSA PreCheck gets you through security faster since you don't need to remove shoes, belts, jackets, electronics, or liquids.
That makes holding both CLEAR and TSA PreCheck a strong one-two punch. While paying for both out of pocket may not be worth it, the Amex Platinum Card carries credits that will cover the cost of enrollment in both programs!
Our tip? Sign up for Global Entry instead of TSA PreCheck, as that program comes with a TSA PreCheck membership and gets you through customs and immigration faster, too. The Platinum Card covers the entire $100 application fee once every four years, and membership lasts for five years.
What Airports Offer CLEAR Service?
CLEAR isn't available at every major U.S. airport just yet. But that's starting to change.
CLEAR has been rapidly expanding its footprint and there are now many U.S. airports offering the service, though it still trails TSA PreCheck considerably. Here's the list of all CLEAR airport locations.
|Atlanta (ATL)||North & South Domestic Terminals|
|Austin (AUS)||Checkpoints 1 & 2|
|Baltimore (BWI)||Checkpoints A,B,C, D & E|
|Birmingham (BHM)||Main Terminal|
|Boston (BOS)||Terminal A|
|Chicago-Midway (MDW)||Main Terminal|
|Chicago-O'Hare (ORD)||Terminal 1 & 2|
|Cincinnati (CVG)||Main Terminal|
|Cleveland (CLE)||Center & South Checkpoints|
|Columbus (CMH)||Main Terminal|
|Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)||Terminal E|
|Dallas-Love Field (DAL)||Terminal 1|
|Denver (DEN)||North & South Entrances|
|Detroit (DTW)||North & McNamara Terminals|
|Fort Lauderdale (FLL)||Terminals 1 & 2|
|Houston-Intercontinental (IAH)||Terminals A, B, C and E|
|Houston-Hobby (HOU)||Main Terminal|
|Las Vegas (LAS)||Terminals 1 & 3|
|Los Angeles (LAX)||Terminals 1 - 7|
|Miami (MIA)||Checkpoints E & H|
|Minneapolis−Saint Paul (MSP)||Terminal 1|
|New Orleans (MSY)||Concourse D|
|New York City-John F. Kennedy (JFK)||Terminals 2 & 4|
|New York-LaGuardia (LGA)||Terminals C & D|
|Newark (EWR)||Terminal C|
|Oakland (OAK)||Terminal 2|
|Ontario (ONT)||Terminal 2 & 4|
|Orlando (MCO)||East & West Security|
|Palm Beach (PBI)||Terminal A/B & C|
|Palm Springs (PSP)||Main Terminal|
|Phoenix (PHX)||Terminals 2,3 & 4|
|Raleigh-Durham (RDU)||Terminals 1 & 2|
|Sacramento (SMF)||Terminal A & B|
|Salt Lake City (SLC)||Terminals 1 & 2|
|San Antonio (SAT)||Terminals A & B|
|San Diego (SAN)||Terminal 2|
|San Francisco (SFO)||Terminals 1-3, International Terminals A & G|
|San Jose (SJC)||Terminal A & B|
|Seattle-Tacoma (SEA)||Checkpoints 1-5|
|St. Louis (STL)||Terminal 2|
|Washington, D.C.-Dulles (IAD)||Main Terminal & East Security Checkpoint|
|Washington, D.C.-Reagan (DCA)||Terminals A, B & C|
|Westchester County (HPN)||Main Terminal|
In addition to the CLEAR airport locations, there are even several sports stadiums and event venues across the country that offer CLEAR as a way to fast-track your entry. Here's the full list:
|Sports Venue||City||Where to Access|
|SunTrust Park||Atlanta, GA||Chop House, First Base & Third Base Gates|
|Oriole Park at Camden Yards||Baltimore, MD||Gate C|
|Progressive Field||Cleveland, OH||E. 9th Street Patio Gate|
|Globe Life Park in Arlington||Arlington, TX||First Base Gate|
|Coors Field||Denver, CO||Gates C & D|
|Comerica Park||Detroit, MI||Gate A|
|STAPLES Center||Los Angeles, CA||Figueroa Street Entrance
|Banc of California Stadium||Los Angeles, CA||Northwest Plaza & Northeast Gate|
|AmericanAirlines Arena||Miami, FL||Gates 1 & 2|
|Target Field||Minneapolis, MN||Gate 34|
|Yankee Stadium||New York, NY||Babe Ruth Plaza, Suite Entrance, & Gate 6|
|Citi Field||New York, NY||Jackie Robinson Rotunda & Seaver Gate|
|Madison Square Garden||New York, NY||7th Ave South Entrance|
|Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum||Oakland, CA||Gate C & D|
|Oracle Park||San Francisco, CA||Willie Mays Gate & King Street Gates
|Avaya Stadium||San Jose, CA||Main Gate|
|T-Mobile Park||Seattle, WA||Home Plate & Left Field Entrances|
|CenturyLink Field||Seattle, WA||North Plaza & Southwest Entrance|
Read More: All About CLEAR & How It Works
While we are mostly mixed about the benefits added to the Platinum Card from American Express a few years ago, there's no question that travelers can extract some serious value out of the new Amex Platinum CLEAR credit.
Make sure you enroll through either Delta or United to get the lower pricing before prices increase on February 1. That way, you can use this new credit to give your favorite fellow traveler CLEAR benefits at no out-of-pocket cost for your first year.
Awesome tip. Thanks!
I renewed on 09/14/22 for $119 for me and $60 for my wife using the United benefit and was reimbursed the $179 by my Amex Platinum card. Can I renew now at the $179 price before February 1 and have me CLEAR membership extended a year? Thanks.
Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a workaround if your next billing date is after February 1.
This is a fantastic tip…two for the price of one!
This was great! I had signed up in January without knowing this, so I just added my Skymiles account right now and they told me within a couple of hours that I was getting a $70 refund.
Glad to hear it!
Who did you speak with to get the refund? Delta or Clear? I had the same thing happen to me but Clear is saying I have to go through my credit card to get the refund and my credit card is pushing me to go back to Clear.
Hi, new Platinum Card member here.
I signed up for Clear in Dec ‘22. Turns out, because Clear gives new members the first three months free, the first billing date won’t hit until March, and therefore I am no longer eligible for the discounted pricing with Delta and United loyalty programs.
Any work around on this? Just spoke with CLEAR I am being told they cannot charge me before Feb 1st.
Unfortunately I don’t think there is a workaround if your next billing date is after February 1.
I literally signed up for CLEAR about 2 hours ago and thought I was getting a deal by finding a coupon code for $30/off but this two for one is WAY better! Thank you guys for always providing such amazing info.
If I have Premier 1K with United. So I get Clear for Free, and additional family members are $60 each. So with the $179 from Amex, wont I be able to get credit for 3 additional family members? You mention 2 in the post above. Does Amex restrict it to only 2 additional?
Amex will refund you for up to $179 – however you spend it. They don’t restrict you from having 3 family members.
I signed up for Clear last year and took advantage of the United discounted fee and even added my 21 year old daughter to stay at the $179. My Clear renewal is coming up on 7/1/22 and I am wondering if you have any data points on whether or not the renewal costs will cover myself and my daughter for the new $189 fee? Or will the renewal fee be just for me at $189? Thanks
If you signed up under United, those rates aren’t changing. You should be set to renew at the $109/$119 rate.
My boyfriend just signed up at the airport with his AMex Platinum card. He will get the credit. Since he did not sign up through Delta or United, should I sign up for my subscription through my Delta Skymiles account to get the best deal for myself or can I be added to his account?
You can be added to his account which will be the cheapest way to do it. You can have him add his SkyMiles or United MileagePlus number and Clear should be able to issue a credit for the difference.
Thanks for the tips! Just to clarify.. we can add another member for free if we have amex platinum? I just read over the benefits and it says the credit is for $189 and the cost of the membership is $189. Could to confirm what I am missing in how to add another member for free?
If you read the article, it walks you through exactly how to do this.
My father has an Amex Platinum card, but I don’t. I’m not an additional cardmember on his account, either. He doesn’t use Clear, but I do. If he gives me permission, can I use his Amex Platinum card to pay for my Clear subscription, at zero net cost since he’ll see both the $189 charge (or actually the $109 charge since I have Delta status) and the $189 credit on his Amex account? Or will Clear not accept someone else’s card as payment?
Hey Seth. No issues with this. Amex just sees the charge to CLEAR and reimburses it. It doesn’t matter who the subscription is actually for.
So Amex doesn’t care, but does Clear care whose name is on the credit card that’s used to pay for the Clear account? Does the Clear member’s name have to be on the credit card that’s added to the Clear account?
Highly doubtful that CLEAR would care.
Is it possible to split your Clear billing payment across 2 cards? If yes, how?
Not that I am aware of.
So am I right in saying that AMEX Platinum will cover both CLEAR *AND* Global Entry fees?
That is correct
Awesome post. A small correction, for San Jose (SJC), it should be “Terminal A & B” not “C”.
Thanks! That has been corrected.
Thanks for this! Just signed my fiancé and I up for CLEAR using his Amex Platinum/United Discount, so the full $179 is covered by the annual rebate. Just wish it was at more airports!
This is a bummer, I have used my AMEX credit for my wife and I and it did help make the AMEX increase more tolerable. Essentially this make you spend $50 out of pocket for the same thing right? I just renewed a couple months ago, so I will be paying $179 + $60, with a $189 credit, right? I wonder if the better play is to just buy 2 memberships since I also have a Business Plat or does it have to be in my wife’s name?
You could definitely just buy two memberships and pay for your wife with your business Platinum. There is no requirement that the card you use the credit for be hers.
RDU just got CLEAR in terminals 1 and 2 at the end of January.
Thank you! This has been added to the story.