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 I renewed my Global Entry I was able to get Global Entry for free.
There are several ways to get Global Entry and TSA Precheck for free including paying with a credit or charge card that reimburses you for the fee 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 and 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 current list of cards that will reimburse you for Global Entry and/or TSA Precheck fees:
• SunTrust Travel Rewards Credit Card – $89 annual fee (waived first year)
• Capital One Venture – $95 annual fee (waived first year)
• Chase United Explorer Card – $95 annual fee (waived first year)
• The First National Bank of Omaha TravElite American Express® Card (Global Entry only) – No annual fee card but available by invitation only
• PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express – No annual fee
• U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Gold American Express® Card – $85 annual fee
• IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card -$89 annual fee
• Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card – $95 annual fee
• Expedia+ Voyager Card from Citi – $95 annual fee
• Chase Sapphire Reserve – $450 annual fee
• Citi Prestige Card – $495 annual fee
• Citi /AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard -$450 annual fee
• Business Platinum Card from American Express -$450 annual fee
• American Express Corporate Gold Card – $125 annual fee
• American Express Corporate Platinum Card $395 annual fee
• HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard® Credit Card (TSA Pre only) – $395 annual fee
• HSBC Premier World Mastercard® Credit Card (TSA Pre only) – No Annual Fee for qualified Premier clients
• U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite® Card – $400 annual fee but exclusive to U.S. Bank customers
• Crystal Visa Infinite (Global Entry only) – $400 annual fee can only apply at a branch
• UBS Visa Infinite (Global Entry only) – $495 annual fee
• Starwood Preferred Guest® Luxury Card – $450 annual fee
• SKYPASS Select Visa Signature® Card – $450 annual fee
• Platinum Card from American Express – $550 annual fee
• Centurion Card from American Express – invitation only
• Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card (Global Entry only) – not open to new applicants
• Barclay AAdvantage Aviator Silver World Elite MasterCard (Global Entry only) – Not open to new applicants
• Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite Mastercard® (Global Entry only) – $150 annual fee (waived first year) – Not open to new applicants
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 4 or 5 years depending on the card and only for either Global Entry or TSA Precheck – not both. The only exception is the Expedia+ Voyager Card from Citi which reimburses TSA Precheck or Global Entry fees as part of its annual travel fee credit benefit.
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 (exceptions include the SunTrust Travel Rewards Credit Card, Chase United Explorer Card and Capital One Venture with no annual fee the first year, the First National Bank TravElite American Express® Card with no annual fee at all and 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 of 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 reflect current list of cards offering free TSA Precheck and/or Global Entry.