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This Memorial Day Weekend, the skies saw an influx of travelers in masses that hadn’t been seen since the early 2000s. So, if you were traveling and felt like things — from security lines to lounges — were a bit more crowded than usual, you probably weren’t imagining it.
In fact, according to a TSA spokeswoman, on Friday, May 26, the TSA screened more than 2.5 million passengers and crew, making it the busiest day at TSA checkpoints since 2005.
FACT: On Friday, May 26, @TSA screened 2,530,405 passengers and crew-the busiest day at TSA checkpoints since 2005.
— TSAmedia_LisaF (@TSAmedia_LisaF) May 30, 2017
But, while news of crowded TSA security lanes might make you anxious as you think about how unacceptably long lines were last summer, there is some good news. When TPG Editor-in-Chief Zach Honig was traveling on that exact day from Newark (EWR) to Austin (AUS), he zipped through the record-long checkpoint lines in less than two minutes thanks to his TSA PreCheck.
My PreCheck line at Newark… vs. other. Made it through in 2 min on a holiday weekend 😛 pic.twitter.com/wrZhUnQZfA
— Zach Honig (@ZachHonig) May 26, 2017
This scenario (and others that likely happen on a daily basis) is a great reminder of the value in having PreCheck. The access to an expedited security lane and one where you don’t have to take off your shoes, take out your laptop, liquids and more is a great way to save you the stress of not knowing how long it’ll take to get through the “regular” line.
As a reminder, TSA PreCheck (and Global Entry) are very easy to get for free. A number of credit cards offer a fee credit for PreCheck ($85) or Global Entry ($100). Global Entry comes with TSA PreCheck access, so that’s the most logical if you have a fee credit from a credit card, as you’ll have access to both services. Cards that comes with the fee credit include the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Platinum Card from American Express, Citi Prestige, among others. Even if you travel only a couple of times a year, PreCheck access is worth the cost in order to avoid long lines — especially if you can get it for free.
The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy 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 with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees