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TPG reader Mark sent me a message on Facebook to ask about expedited security programs:
“I have TSA PreCheck, but I’ll be traveling a bit internationally over the next several months. Can I add Global Entry to PreCheck for a reduced fee, or do I have to pay the full amount to apply?”
TSA PreCheck is a great way to trim the time you spend in airport security lines. Not only are PreCheck lanes easier to navigate — you can keep your shoes and jacket on, and you don’t have to remove laptops or liquids from your bag — but also the wait tends to be much shorter. It’s a good value at just $85 for a five-year membership, but Mark’s question provides a great example of why you might look elsewhere for a smoother airport experience.
PreCheck is useful for domestic travelers, but it doesn’t come with Global Entry benefits, and unfortunately there’s no way to upgrade at a reduced rate. If you already have PreCheck and want to add Global Entry like Mark, you’ll have to go through the normal enrollment process. That means visiting an enrollment center and paying the full $100 fee — which you may be able to offset with a credit card benefit.
On the other hand, Global Entry does come with full TSA PreCheck benefits, so it’s a much better value overall given that it costs just $15 more (again, for a five-year membership). Global Entry is truly a no-brainer if you have a rewards card that offers a statement credit to cover your application fee, since your out-of-pocket cost will be the same (nothing) in either case.
The application process is a bit more involved for Global Entry than for TSA PreCheck, and scheduling an interview can be challenging at some locations. If you’re traveling abroad soon and hoping to use your benefits, I recommend getting started now. You can also try Mobile Passport if you’re unable to register in time.
One reason you might consider applying for PreCheck alone is if you suspect your Global Entry application will be denied. Customs and Border Protection sometimes rejects applicants for ancient and seemingly minor infractions, but the TSA seems to be less selective, so you’re more likely to be approved. You might also aim lower if you have a benefit (like Orbitz Rewards Platinum status) that covers the application fee for PreCheck, but not for Global Entry.
For more on expedited security programs, check out these posts:
- 10 Ways to Get Through Airport Security Faster
- Can Someone Else Use My Global Entry Application Credit?
- Will My Travel History Affect My Global Entry Application?
Featured image courtesy of Paul J. Richards via Getty Images.
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