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 few are 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. Way back in April, we reported that CLEAR members could get a three-month extension by simply emailing customer services to ask. But as the pandemic drags on, CLEAR is now going even further with extensions of up to six months total.
After a previous extension, my CLEAR account was set to renew next month. So I reached out to CLEAR to see if they were offering any sort of additional relief – here's their response:
“We are happy to pause your membership for 3 months to account for any time that may be interrupted in your service. This will push your renewal date out by 3 months, and you will still be able to use CLEAR,” an agent wrote. “We see that you have had a 3 month period extended to you previously, this is the last extension that can be granted.”
CLEAR is 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 respond to a request for comment.
Allowing members to extend their existing memberships by up to six months (and still allowing members to use CLEAR in the meantime) is a nice touch. Only time will tell if they go even further.
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 (or even six-month!) extension from when your service needs to be renewed.