Can I Upgrade a TSA PreCheck Membership to Include Global Entry?
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
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.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 75,000 Points Terms Apply.
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,500
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, up to $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber savings annually (only for use in the U.S.) (Enrollment required for select benefits)
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member and Additional Centurion Cards only.
- Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel. Starting January 1, 2021, earn 5X points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year.
- 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
- Enjoy complimentary access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits through American Express Travel with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts® program at over 1,100 properties. Learn More.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That’s up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees