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Waiting in security lines at the airport has to be one of the worst aspects of traveling. Even if you have TSA PreCheck, at some of the nation’s busier airports that line can be just as long, or even longer than the regular screening line. If you’ve ever caught yourself fuming about the length of a screening line or worrying about missing a flight due to the length of a line, you should definitely consider enrolling in CLEAR.
Premium security line an EWR Terminal C is just as long as coach, but two lanes for econ… line moves twice as fast 😔 pic.twitter.com/2rdhFYYRwt
— Zach Honig (@ZachHonig) September 8, 2017
CLEAR allows you to essentially bypass the entire security line, whether you have PreCheck or not. After your identity is verified in a separate lane at a CLEAR kiosk either through a fingerprint or iris scan, a CLEAR representative will walk you to the front of that line and then will place you before the next person in either the regular screening line, or the PreCheck line, if you’re also enrolled in that program. Even better, you don’t have to fumble around in your wallet or purse to get your ID out — the biometric scan that took place earlier verified your identity, and all you need to do is hand your boarding pass to the TSA agent and then you can continue on to the actual security screening.
I got to experience CLEAR’s value firsthand just last week, and I’m coming to appreciate the service more and more. I had a flight last Thursday night from LaGuardia (LGA) that was scheduled to depart around 8:00pm. I wanted to arrive at the airport early enough to finish up some work in the Sky Club before getting on the flight, so I arrived around 4:30pm, and the security lines were insanely long — even the PreCheck line. Having waited in those lines before, I estimated that it would’ve been at least an hour wait. But I was already enrolled in CLEAR, so I got to skip every single person in both lines and was on my way to the Sky Club in less than five minutes. When I cut right to the front of the line, the people behind me in the PreCheck line made a comment about the “VIP” that had just cut in front of them.
TPG himself had a similar experience when traveling from LGA recently — if you’ve been following his travels on Instagram, you’d know just how much of a fan he is of this service.
While the service isn’t at every airport nationwide, it’s been expanding and is now available at 24 airports: Atlanta (ATL), Austin (AUS), Baltimore (BWI), Dallas (DFW and DAL), Denver (DEN), Detroit (DTW), Houston (IAH and HOU), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Minneapolis (MSP), New York (LGA, JFK and HPN), Orlando (MCO), Salt Lake City (SLC), San Antonio (SAT), San Francisco (SFO), San Jose (SJC), Seattle (SEA) and Washington, DC (IAD and DCA). If you live in or near one of these cities, it could be well worth enrolling.
Signing up is easy — the first step is to register your personal information online. Then, once you’re traveling from one of the above airports, you stop by a CLEAR kiosk to complete your enrollment by registering your biometric and ID information — this process won’t take more than 10 minutes. Once you complete those two steps, you’re all set and can start bypassing the “normal” security lines immediately.
A CLEAR membership costs $179 annually, or $149 using promo code TPG149. However, if you’re a Delta Diamond Medallion member, you can get your CLEAR membership for free. If you have Delta Platinum, Gold or Silver Medallion status or if you’re a cardholder of the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, the Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, the Delta Reserve Credit Card or any of their business versions, you can get a discounted membership for $79 annually. If you’re a basic Delta SkyMiles member, you can get an annual rate of $99.
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