US Customs and Border Protection refunding canceled Trusted Traveler application fees for New Yorkers
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Normally, refunds are a great thing — whether you're hoping to get a refund from an airline or hotel for travel plans that have changed or trying to get money back from a merchant for something that didn't meet expectations.
But the $100 refund credited to my Platinum Card® from American Express on March 3 failed to bring me the same joy I'd normally get out of seeing an extra Benjamin on my statement.
On Feb. 5, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced it would immediately bar New York state residents from enrolling in Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs because of a new law passed by the state. (The good news is that, for non-New Yorkers, this means there's a new way to skip the wait for your Global Entry interview.) Shortly thereafter, New York residents saw their pending Global Entry applications deleted from the system.
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I applied for Global Entry after signing up for the Amex Platinum back in August of 2019. I was charged and then quickly credited for the $100 fee as outlined by the Amex Platinum perks and benefits.
My application was finally (finally!) approved in January of 2020, and I planned on completing my interview at Newark Liberty International (EWR) on the home stretch of a trip to Madrid in early February. As fate would have it, the new law banning New Yorkers from the Global Entry program went into effect on Feb. 5, two days before my return to the U.S. To say that I was disappointed to miss my shot getting approved for the program is an understatement.
Then, I saw an interesting email from Amex hit my inbox on Friday showing that an additional $100 had been refunded to my card by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Travelers program — even though the Global Entry website states the $100 application fee is not refundable even if an applicant is not approved for the service.
I'd much rather have the Global Entry service, but I'll take an extra $100 in the meantime.
A fellow TPG employee had a similar experience with a second $100 credit from the USCBP appearing on her Chase Sapphire Reserve statement on March 3 after receiving an initial Known Traveler Credit from Chase back in June of 2019:
As many travelers know, the credit for Global Entry is one of the Platinum Card and Sapphire Reserve benefits you shouldn’t leave on the table (well, so long as you're not a New Yorker). You can get a credit to cover the application fee for Global Entry every four years ($100), or TSA PreCheck every 4.5 years ($85) for those currently ineligible for Global Entry.
The Global Entry Trusted Traveler program expedites your experience at airport immigration and security checkpoints. Once you’ve applied and been accepted — essentially a fast pass for clearing immigration when you return to the U.S. — you're typically also eligible for TSA PreCheck expedited security, although you’ll need to add your Known Traveler ID number to all your frequent-flyer accounts to enjoy the benefit.
In order to maximize this benefit for Amex, you must charge the application fee to your Platinum Card to get the fee waiver. Although you won’t be able to take advantage of this benefit each year, because Global Entry and TSA PreCheck memberships are good for five years, it’s nice to know that authorized users can also receive a fee credit. It costs $175 (see rates and fees) to add up to three additional users to your card account — see our guide on adding Amex Platinum authorized users for more info.
In the meantime, New Yorkers may want to consider downloading the Mobile Passport Control app (MPC), also called simply Mobile Passport, which can save you hours at U.S. customs stations at many airports around the country.
For rates and fees of the Platinum Card, please click here.