CLEAR can be a great way to get through airport security faster, but there's just one problem: It's not cheap. While we occasionally see promos to take the sting out of the sticker price of $179 a year, this is easily the best CLEAR free trial promotion we've seen yet.
Using the promo code HOLIDAY6M or signing up through this link, you can get six free months of CLEAR. Better yet, you can add adult family members to your plan for free – that normally costs $50 per adult. This promo will only last through Dec. 31, so you'll want to sign up soon. The folks at Map Happy first uncovered this promo.
This is a great way to give CLEAR a shot as you get back to traveling in 2021. After your six-month trial is up, your account will automatically renew at the full unless if you cancel it. But keep reading, as there are some easy ways you can substantially reduce that cost if you decide keeping CLEAR is worth the price.
How CLEAR Works
Both CLEAR and TSA PreCheck promise a shorter wait in airport security lines. But in practice, these two programs are much different.
For starters, CLEAR isn’t run by the government: It’s a privately run trusted traveler program. CLEAR uses biometrics – like your fingerprints and iris scans – to verify your identity. That allows you to cut to the front of the airport security line.
And that brings us to an important distinction between TSA PreCheck and CLEAR: The two programs really aren’t related at all. If you have CLEAR but not TSA PreCheck, you’ll cut to the front of the standard security line, where you’ll need to take off your coat and shoes and remove any electronics in your bag. If you have both, you’ll go to the front of the PreCheck line and make your way through even faster.
That means CLEAR can certainly shave some time off your trip through security. Sometimes the time you save can be substantial – especially when security lines are particularly bad. In other cases, the time savings can feel negligible.
Signing up for CLEAR isn’t nearly as cumbersome as TSA PreCheck. You can apply online at home, then wrap up your enrollment at the airport in about 5-10 minutes. From there, you just waltz to the CLEAR lane, scan your fingerprints or iris scans in one of the machines with an agent, and head to the front of the security lane.
Read our master guide to CLEAR and how it works!
Get CLEAR for Less
Once your CLEAR trial lapses, your account will be set to automatically renew unless if you cancel it beforehand. And when it renews, it will cost you the full $179 per year cost. Ouch.
Luckily, there are some easy ways to reduce that annual cost. And you should be able to use them in tandem with this six-month free trial.
Just by having a frequent flyer account with either Delta or United, you can drop the cost to $119 per year. Or if you’ve got one of their co-branded credit cards like the United Explorer Card or Delta SkyMiles Gold American Express Card, that falls to $109. And finally, top-tier elites on both airlines can sign up for free.
Once your trial period is underway, you should be able to simply change your payment method in your account to get the discount. Or just email CLEAR at [email protected] and request that your membership be repriced according to your Delta or United membership, or whichever credit card is in your wallet.
If it doesn't work and you can't stomach a $179 annual fee, you can cancel before your account renews, of course.
But there's one way to save even more. The American Express Green Card now offers an annual $100 credit towards the cost of CLEAR membership. That means you could potentially get the service for only $9 each year if you pay for it with the Green Card and are an existing United or Delta credit cardholder or have status with either airline. Or just use your frequent flyer account with either airline to get it for $19 a year total.
Click Here to learn more about the American Express Green Card.
Is CLEAR Really Worth It, Anyways?
The first and biggest question to ask yourself is: Is CLEAR even available at my home airport? While TSA PreCheck is at every major (and even many tiny) airports across the country, that's not the case with CLEAR yet.
All told, CLEAR is currently available at about three dozen major U.S. airports and counting. But take care to notice that it's not available at every terminal of these airports.
|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|
|Westchester County (HPN)||Main Terminal|
|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|
|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|
CLEAR has partnered with both Delta and United, so their focus for new locations is understandably centered around those airlines' hubs and focus cities. If you don't frequent the airports above, CLEAR may not make much sense.
There's no denying CLEAR can save you some time in airport lines. It's arguably most powerful in combination with TSA PreCheck, as that allows you to cut to the front of the PreCheck lane and then whisk through security without worrying about removing a coat, shoes, or electronics.
That said, CLEAR isn't always a slam dunk. There are times when it will shave off time, and others where it may be a wash – or even cost you more time due to backups. If you're not a frequent traveler, it's hard to justify paying an annual fee for CLEAR.
That said, the value of CLEAR may jump for traveling during coronavirus. A touchless security process by using your iris scans to verify your identity and the potential of spending less time in lines sounds appealing right now.
This is easily the best promo we've ever seen for a CLEAR free trial. Most free trials last just three months, or four at most. Getting six months of free CLEAR plus the ability to add family members to your account for free is easily worth it.
While travel may be limited for the foreseeable future, this CLEAR free trial could last you until the end of June 2021. Sign up using the promo code HOLIDAY6M or through this link before this promo ends Dec. 31, 2020!