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5 reasons to get TSA PreCheck now

Dec. 03, 2019
6 min read
TSA PreCheck
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You've probably seen TSA PreCheck lanes at most US airports. If you don't already have PreCheck but keep seeing the phrase pop up everywhere, you may be wondering what all the hype is about, and if it's worth the $85 fee.

If you travel by air at all, you know that long security lines at the airport can be a huge hassle. TSA PreCheck gives you fast-pass access to airport security, making the stressful trek from airport curb to your gate quicker and easier than ever.

Here are our favorite reasons for why TSA PreCheck will change your travel game for the better.

1. PreCheck makes life easier

With TSA PreCheck, security is much less of a hassle. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
With TSA PreCheck, security is much less of a hassle. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

No matter how often you travel, the ability to access a dedicated security line at the airport is a very welcome benefit. With PreCheck, you don't have to remove your laptop from your bag, and you can keep your shoes on as well. And you get to walk through a regular metal detector rather than standing still with your hands up as you pose for the body scanner.

If you're traveling with children, a group of people or anyone with special needs? PreCheck is an absolute no-brainer for convenience and speed, especially in wintertime when coats, bulky layers and other cold-weather gear add another level of complexity to the process.

And if you have access to a private airport lounge through airline status or holding a credit card, having PreCheck helps you maximize time in a more comfortable waiting space rather than queueing up in the "regular" TSA line. And these days, PreCheck holders might even get to skip the long security line at concerts, music festivals or similar venues that require safety screenings.

Wanna learn more? The best credit cards for free airport lounge access

2. It's free with Global Entry

When you sign up for Global Entry, you'll also be eligible for TSA PreCheck.
When you sign up for Global Entry, you'll also be eligible for TSA PreCheck.

We often mention TSA PreCheck in the same breath as Global Entry, and that's for a good reason. When you pay the $100 application fee and are accepted into the Global Entry program for expedited customs clearance, you're also eligible for TSA PreCheck at no additional cost — so you save the $85 PreCheck application fee.

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To make sure you'll get PreCheck at participating airports, make sure you add your Known Traveler Number into your frequent flyer profile with each airline you fly.

Here's what to do when your boarding pass isn't marked TSA PreCheck

3. Global Entry (and PreCheck) is included with select credit cards

(Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Eden Batki / The Points Guy)

Even better than getting TSA PreCheck for free when you register for Global Entry, you can get the $100 Global Entry fee reimbursed with a variety of premium credit cards. Some of the best cards that offer this perk include the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve®, The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card.

Related: Best credit cards for free Global Entry and TSA PreCheck

Each of the above-mentioned cards offers a reimbursement credit for the Global Entry fee in the form of a $100 statement credit. You'll be able to utilize this perk once every five years when you need to renew your membership. And if you're eligible for free Global Entry with multiple cards, you can use the $100 credit toward a friend or family member's application instead.

4. More than 200 airports participate

PreCheck and CLEAR saved tons of time when changing terminals (Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
PreCheck can save you a ton of time when changing terminals. Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy

You'll find PreCheck lanes at more than 200 airports across the country, and in Guam, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. And these days, PreCheck isn't just for airport security: You can whisk through the security fast lane at select sporting events, concerts, music festivals and other shows with PreCheck clearance as well. You just need the Known Traveler Number.

By contrast, the Clear expedited security program — also a very valuable designation to hold — is currently only available at 30 airports and 20 stadiums in 2019.

5. You'll have it for the next 5 years

Having this green checkmark can save you significant time at the airport.

Even if you don't get PreCheck through Global Entry — and even if you don't get the Global Entry fee waived with a credit card — paying $85 for expedited airport security could be worth it. It cuts down on wait times, and it's good for five years, so you're effectively paying less than $20 per year for the privilege. It doesn't take too many annual trips to the airport for this out-of-pocket expense to be worthwhile!

Related: Should you get TSA PreCheck or Clear? ...Or both?

Original reporting by Sarah Silbert.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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