A few years ago, I applied and was approved for Global Entry. Although I’ve found Global Entry (which also includes TSA Precheck) well worth the $100 application fee, when it is time to renew I plan to get Global Entry for free.
There are a couple of ways to get Global Entry or TSA Precheck for free – charge the fee to certain credit or charge cards or be an elite member of certain programs.
(For more information on how to apply for Global Entry and TSA Precheck see related posts: Guide to Global Entry: Application and Interview Process and How to Get TSA PreCheck and TSA Precheck vs. Global Entry: Which Is Best For You?)
Credit/ Charge Cards That Reimburse TSA Precheck or Global Entry Fees:
Several credit cards and charge cards provide a reimbursement of the Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fees (the application fee for Global Entry is $100 and the fee for TSA Precheck is $85). It is important to note that although NEXUS and SENTRI include TSA Precheck and Global Entry benefits, the fees for NEXUS or SENTRI are NOT reimbursed by these cards.
Below is the list of cards that currently reimburse Global Entry or TSA Precheck fees as a statement credit:
• First National Bank TravElite American Express® Card (Global Entry only) * No annual fee card
• Barclay AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite MasterCard (Global Entry only)
• Chase Sapphire Reserve
• Citi Prestige Card
• Citi /AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard
• Platinum Card from American Express
• Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN
• Centurion Card from American Express
• American Express Corporate Gold Card
• American Express Corporate Platinum Card
• U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Gold American Express® Card
• U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card (exclusive to U.S. Bank customers)
• UBS Visa Infinite (Global Entry only)
The free Global Entry/TSA Pre benefit appears as a statement credit after that card is used to pay for the Global Entry or TSA Precheck fee. The benefit, however, can only be used once every 5 years (4 years for Chase Sapphire Reserve and U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card) and only for either Global Entry or TSA Precheck – not both.
These cards reimburse TSA Precheck or Global Entry fees as part of their annual travel fee credit benefit:
• Expedia+ Voyager Card from Citi
• Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card (Global Entry only; must call to request the statement credit)
If you have any of these cards, make sure you take advantage of the fee credit. If you are considering applying for one of these cards, do so before applying for or renewing your Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check. Most of these cards charge high annual fees (one exception is the Expedia+ Voyager Card with an annual fee of $95) so I would not get a card solely for the Global Entry or TSA Pre fee reimbursement. Some of these cards offer additional airline fee credits which may offset the high annual fee but it depends on whether those are of use to you personally.
More specific information regarding the reimbursement of Global Entry or TSA Precheck fees can be found in the terms and conditions for each card.
Additional Ways to Get Free Global Entry or TSA Precheck:
• Delta Airlines Platinum and Diamond Medallion members can choose to receive free Global Entry vouchers as one of their gifts under Choice Benefits
• Orbitz Rewards Platinum members receive free TSA Precheck (but not free Global Entry)
As I don’t envision ever being an elite member of Delta or Orbitz Rewards, when it is time to renew my Global Entry I plan to do so for free by having one the credit cards that will reimburse me for Global Entry. If you want to apply for Global Entry or TSA Precheck but the cost is too high, you might want to consider if it is worth it getting one of these credit cards first.
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Note: Originally published February, 2016 but updated to include the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite cards.