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TPG reader Troy sent me a message on Facebook to ask about expedited security programs:
“Do I need Global Entry if I have Mobile Passport?”
If you’re looking for ways to get through airport checkpoints more quickly, you have some options. Global Entry is a great service for frequent flyers, and my membership has saved me from long lines during both international and domestic travel. Mobile Passport can also come in handy and has the advantage of being free, but the program is relatively new and limited. I think of it as a backup plan rather than a first choice for getting through immigration quickly.
Mobile Passport is available at 20 airports, but the current roster has some noteworthy exclusions (such as Los Angeles, Charlotte and Detroit). In comparison, Global Entry is available at 43 domestic airports (including all but one of the Mobile Passport locations) and 15 international destinations. If your home airport (or preferred international gateway) doesn’t support Mobile Passport, then it won’t do you much good. In that case, I think getting Global Entry is a no-brainer.
If both programs are available, then there’s little reason not to get Mobile Passport. It’s easy to use, and the line may actually be shorter than the one for Global Entry, so you can just pick one upon arrival. Mobile Passport also lets you create separate profiles for members of your family, so it’s convenient when you travel together. Of course, the program requires that you have a compatible device with a data plan or Wi-Fi access — that’s probably not an issue for most people, but not everyone has a smartphone or tablet.
There are two obstacles to getting Global Entry (assuming you’re eligible). One is that it costs $100 to apply or renew your membership, but there are several travel rewards cards that offer a statement credit to cover the fee. Even if you don’t have one of those cards, I think the price is justified considering you also get the benefits of TSA PreCheck. The other is that scheduling an interview can be tricky, but there are strategies for working around the backlog at enrollment centers.
Ultimately, I recommend signing up for both programs unless you have no use for TSA PreCheck and you don’t have a card that offers a statement credit for Global Entry. In that case, Mobile Passport may be good enough.
SIGN-UP BONUS: 50,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,000
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on all travel and dining, $300 annual travel credit, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Named "Best Premium Travel Credit Card" for 2018 by MONEY® Magazine
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
- 3X points on travel immediately after earning your $300 travel credit. 3X points on dining at restaurants & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. $0 foreign transaction fees.
- Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select
- Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
Know before you go.
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