CLEAR can be a major timesaver at the airport, allowing you to cut to the front of the security line. But it's not cheap – and it's about to get even more expensive soon.
Come May 19, the annual price of CLEAR membership will increase from $179 to $189 a year. The Points Guy was the first to report the looming price hike, which CLEAR is now clearly (get it?) advertising on its website.
It's the first time CLEAR prices have been raised in its 10-plus year history. And while any price increase is a bummer, a $10 increase with advanced warning seems fairly reasonable. This gives you two weeks to lock in the lower rate for at least the first year. Existing CLEAR members shouldn't see the higher price until 2023 renewals.
Read our full review of CLEAR … and whether it's worth the hefty price tag!
Fortunately, there's also not much reason to worry if you've employed one of the many ways to reduce the cost of CLEAR:
- Sign up at a discounted price through Delta or United? Both airlines offer cheaper rates to all mileage program members at $119; an even steeper discount at $109 to flyers with status or their co-branded credit cards; and free membership to top Delta Diamond Medallion and United 1K members. Those prices are not changing – though Delta flyers may remember a fairly significant price hike a few years ago.
- Getting the entire cost of your CLEAR membership covered thanks to the new credit on The Platinum Card® from American Express? Not to worry: That credit of up to $179 per year is expected to increase along with CLEAR's price tag.
- Cardholders with the American Express® Green Card will still get a credit of up to $100 a year towards CLEAR, though it appears that isn't changing.
CLEAR also allows members to add any adults over 18 to their account through CLEAR's Family Plan for just $60 a year – that price isn't changing. And as always, CLEAR members can bring children under 18 with them through the CLEAR lane for free.
Got the Amex Platinum Card in your wallet? Read our guide on how to use its credit to cover CLEAR for two!
How CLEAR Works
With its price tag set to rise to $189 a year, the cost of CLEAR will officially run you $100 more than the five-year membership for TSA PreCheck. Though they might seem similar, these two programs are quite different – and can complement each other quite well, in fact.
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. It requires biometrics (like a fingerprint or iris scans), replacing the traditional ID check at the front of the TSA line.
- TSA PreCheck gets you through security faster since you don’t need to remove shoes, belts, jackets, electronics, or liquids.
That can make holding both TSA PreCheck and CLEAR a strong one-two punch. The cost for both programs may be too high for an average traveler to justify unless you can employ one of the money-saving strategies to get them both for less.
Torn between TSA PreCheck vs CLEAR? See which one makes most sense for you
The main hitch with CLEAR is that unlike TSA PreCheck, it's not available at every U.S. airport. That's steadily changing, though, as CLEAR has expanded drastically over the last few years – especially in airports with a heavy Delta or United presence.
They're now up to 43 U.S. airports and counting, though not in every single terminal at each airport. Here's the full list as of publication.
|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|
You can also use CLEAR to get expedited entry at a growing number of professional sports stadiums, arenas, and even concert venues.
You've been warned: The cost of CLEAR is going up.
On May 19, the annual cost of CLEAR membership will rise from $179 to $189. Fortunately, this won't mean much for the many ways you can drastically reduce that price tag – if not make it entirely free.
Lead photo courtesy of CLEAR