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.
It is easy to get Global Entry and TSA Precheck for free – there are many credit and charge cards that will reimburse you for Global Entry or TSA Precheck application fee.
(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?)
How to Get Free Global Entry or TSA Precheck for Free
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 not open to new applicants
• 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 – Not open to new applicants
• 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 -$595 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 – $400 annual fee
• UBS Visa Infinite (Global Entry only) – $495 annual fee
• Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® 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.
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 PenFed Pathfinder Rewards American Express with no annual fee and SunTrust Travel Rewards Credit Card, Chase United Explorer Card and Capital One Venture with no annual fee the first year) 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 TSA Precheck
• Orbitz Rewards Platinum members have a choice to receive free TSA Precheck (but not free Global Entry) as one of their perks
As I don’t envision ever being an elite member of 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.