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If you’ve been tuned in to the news during the past few weeks, chances are you’re well aware of the TSA’s issues with security checkpoint wait times at airports across the country. People have been waiting in lines for longer-than-usual periods, sometimes more than several hours, to the point where American, Delta and United have all stepped in to offer help at speeding up the process. Travelers have been encouraged to sign up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry as a means to get through the checkpoint faster, but it appears that the influx of travelers signing up might have been more than US Customs & Border Protection was able to handle.
In an effort to curb the nearly six-month wait time for a Global Entry interview at San Francisco (SFO), the CBP is launching a 60-day pilot program to test out a new initiative. The new program, which will start on June 12, will keep the Global Entry enrollment office at SFO open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The extended hours are expected to offer an additional 826 appointment slots, which will help clear the backlog of applicants waiting for interviews.
It’s not yet clear if this program will expand to other Global Entry enrollment offices. The facility at SFO is currently open from 7:00am-11:00pm, however, for 60 days (starting June 12), the location will be open 24/7. Following the trial period, the program will be evaluated.
If you don’t yet already have Global Entry, don’t forget there are several cards that offer a fee credit for the five-year, $100 membership, such as the Citi Prestige, The Platinum Card from American Express and Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card. If you travel even a few times a year, Global Entry (and therefore, TSA PreCheck) can be extremely valuable in the time you save and well worth the cost.
H/T: Travel Skills
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards