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Want to Get a Global Entry Interview Faster? Try This New Service

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Editor's note: Global Entry Spotter gave Thrifty Traveler a free trial of its service without any promise or expectation of coverage. We were so impressed that we decided we had to write this story, without any additional input or review from Global Entry Spotter.

Global Entry is practically a must for any international traveler, allowing you to breeze through immigration after returning to the U.S. – plus you'll get through airport security faster as it includes a TSA PreCheck membership, too. Joining Global Entry, however, can be a grueling process.

After applying, some travelers wait months for conditional approval … and after that, finding an in-person appointment to complete your enrollment can be a struggle. You can scroll through months' worth of availability at the nation's largest airports, day in and day out, without finding a single appointment.

Several paid services on the market will do that work for you, scanning schedules 24/7/365 and notifying you when there's an available appointment in your area. Global Entry Spotter is among the latest to launch, going live in October 2023. And it's the one I turned to recently when signing up for Global Entry for the first time.
 

Global Entry Spotter confirmation email  

I signed up for Global Entry Spotter at 9:48 a.m. on Jan. 9. Just 10 minutes after signing up, I had already received an alert about a Global Entry interview appointment at Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) … and it was for later that same day!
 

Global Entry Spotter text message alert about an available Global Entry interview appointment  

All I had to was simply click the link to be taken to the Trusted Traveler Program site to secure my Global Entry interview slot. Considering I'd applied for Global Entry on Jan. 4 and was conditionally approved in less than 24 hours, it would have taken me less than a week to enroll in Global Entry from start to finish – had I been able to make that appointment work, that is.

While not all travelers will be so lucky, Global Entry Spotter co-founder Alex Tilford told Thrifty Traveler that 75% of users get their first alert within 24 hours of signing up for the service like I did – and 98% of users get their first alert within seven days.

Global Entry Spotter charges a one-time fee of $25 for unlimited automated Global Entry interview appointment alerts. And unlike many competitor services like Appointment Scanner and TTP Appointments, which charge $29 and $24.99 respectively for a month's worth of alerts, Global Entry Spotter will send you alerts for as long as it takes. It even allows you to opt back into alerts without having to pay again.

Here's how it works.

Want Global Entry? Use one of these credit cards to cover the cost!

 

How Global Entry Spotter Works

To wrap up your Global Entry enrollment, you'll need to schedule an in-person interview – and that's easier said than done.

You can pull up the interview schedules at big airports like Phoenix (PHX), New York City (JFK), Newark (EWR) Chicago-O'Hare (ORD), or San Francisco (SFO) and not see an appointment for many months – if any are available, period. At the time of publication, Global Entry interview appointments at my home airport of Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) were full through late March. You can't even pull up the calendar to schedule something.

 

Global Entry interview appointments at MSP Airport are full through March  

New interview appointments pop up all the time as travelers cancel or reschedule their existing appointments. But unless you happen to be on the page at the right moment – or check on the first Monday of the month – it's unlikely you'd stumble upon an opening. They come and go within minutes.

Global Entry Spotter does that work for you, scanning through the Global Entry website every few minutes and sending you an alert when an appointment near you becomes available.

After signing up for Global Entry Spotter and paying the $25 fee, you can choose up to three airports or enrollment centers for which you'll get alerts. Click the “Add Location” button on the right to select additional airports. I'd recommend picking your home airport as well as any airports you might fly through frequently.
 

Global Entry Spotter sign up  

Expand the “Advanced Settings” to customize the alerts even further. Trying to wrap up your Global Entry enrollment before heading off on a big trip? Already got an appointment booked but want to snag an earlier one? You can set an end date for your alerts – though keep in mind that may limit how many alerts you'll get. Only available on certain weekdays? You can factor that in, too.
 

Global Entry Spotter advanced settings page  

Once you've signed up and paid the one-time $25 fee, you'll start receiving alerts about available appointments as soon as Global Entry Spotter finds them.

The alerts themselves are fairly simple: You'll see the location, date, and time that an interview slot is available. From there, just click the link or quickly head to the Global Entry interview portal, pick your airport, find that date, and book your appointment. Let me repeat: Do it fast.
 

Global Entry Spotter alerts  

Global Entry interview appointments get scooped up very quickly. At least once I ran into the issue where I went to book the appointment, only to find it was no longer available.

Once you've secured an appointment, you can easily unsubscribe from the text message alerts by texting “STOP” to the number provided. Otherwise, you can keep receiving alerts for as long as you want in case a better appointment pops up, which is exactly what I did.
 

Unsubscribing from Global Entry Spotter text message alerts  

I was able to snag a Global Entry interview appointment for Feb. 28, but I'm waiting for another appointment to become available sooner than that, in which case I'll cancel my existing appointment and reschedule.

Can't make your appointment and need to reschedule? Global Entry Spotter lets you easily opt back into alerts whenever you want by texting “start” to the same number that sent you the appointment alerts – without having to pay another $25 fee.
 

Re-subscribing from Global Entry Spotter text message alerts  

There are a few drawbacks to Global Entry Spotter compared to similar paid services. For one, you only have the option to receive SMS text message alerts, which could make it tricky to then pull up the Global Entry interview portal and find the available appointment before it's taken by someone else. Services like Appointment Scanner, on the other hand, allow you to choose either text or email alerts – or both.

When it first launched, Global Entry Spotter offered email alerts in addition to text messages, but Tilford said they've since decided to go “all in” on SMS alerts.

Also, Global Entry Spotter doesn't find remote interview appointments via Zoom for applicants trying to renew their Global Entry – only alerts for in-person appointments are currently available. While first-time Global Entry applicants are required to complete an in-person interview to finish their enrollment, many travelers who are renewing now have the option to schedule a remote interview.

It's something they could incorporate into the service later on, Tilford said, depending on how those remote interviews expand. But for now, existing Global Entry members hoping to renew their membership via Zoom should skip Global Entry Spotter.
 

global entry kiosks  

But at $25 for unlimited alerts, Global Entry Spotter easily stacks up against other similar services on the market which charge about the same or more but only provide a month's worth of alerts.

“Our goal is to ensure a booked appointment for every user, which is why we offer unlimited alerts,” Tilford said in an email to Thrifty Traveler.

Global Entry Spotter offers full refunds if a traveler is unable to secure an appointment “within a reasonable timeframe,” according to Tilford. If my experience is anything to go by, most travelers should have no trouble finding available appointments within days or even hours of signing up for the service.

 

Bottom Line

While it doesn't solve every issue with finding a Global Entry interview appointment, Global Entry Spotter might just be the best new way to snag an appointment – even when availability looks scarce. Considering you get unlimited alerts for the same or less than what you'll pay for a similar service, it could be well worth the money if you want to wrap up your Global Entry enrollment quickly.

 

Lead photo courtesy of Global Entry Spotter

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

4 Responses

  • Hi Allie! I was wondering if you might have any tips for securing conditional approval. My husband travelled extensively for business and had Global Entry from the first year it was offered. He retired at the end of 2020. In November of 2022, his Global Entry expired without notification, so he had to reapply. He did this in late January or early February of 2023, and he’s still waiting for conditional approval! Meanwhile, at least half a dozen people we know have since applied for the first time and received conditional approval within weeks. Any advice? Thanks so much!
    Debbie

  • If GE is must for international traveler, international traveler is expected to travel internationally and come back & just do enrollment on arrival. So only reason for appointment is for cases of international traveler with domestic trips wanting tsa pre for domestic earlier than their international trip

  • We just got our Global Entry by doing the interview on arrival at Charlotte airport. It is by far the easiest way to do this in my opinion.

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