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7 ways to get free or discounted TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and Clear

Aug. 07, 2022
9 min read
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Editor's note: This post has been updated with new information.


As we near the end of summer and transition into the fall season, your trips might start to look different, encompassing things like trips to peep leaves and even the very start of the ski season.

But regardless of the destination or time of year, there's one thing that will never change — my desire to pass through the airport as quickly as possible, specifically the TSA security line at U.S. airports and the customs line when coming back from abroad.

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I've written extensively about TSA PreCheck and Clear, both of which help travelers speed through TSA security. TSA PreCheck users pass through security using a dedicated line for PreCheck users only, in which they do not have to remove their shoes, laptop, liquids, belt or light jacket like passengers in the regular TSA line.

Like TSA PreCheck, Clear users also begin the security process in a Clear-only lane, where users are biometrically identified via fingerprint or iris scans, sparing them from having to show their ID anytime during security screening. Users are then taken to the front of the line for the security screening machines, either the front of the PreCheck screening line for those with Clear and PreCheck or the front of the normal TSA screening line.

The third program, Global Entry, is useful for frequent international travelers, allowing preapproved, low-risk travelers expedited clearance upon arrival to the U.S. from abroad. Global Entry users can enter the country through automated kiosks at more than 50 airports.

Enrollment in the three programs costs money, including an annual fee for Clear. Memberships to TSA PreCheck and Global Entry last five years each.

While these programs may be worth their retail price tags in their own right, there's no need to pay full price if you don't have to.

At TPG, we aim to help you save money when traveling. We do this by sharing which credit cards you should have in your wallet, how to leverage airline and hotel elite status levels and showing you the perks of those frequent flyer memberships, including enjoying these programs at a discounted rate or even for free.

So before enrolling in TSA PreCheck, Global Entry or Clear, read this guide for seven ways to save money on their associated fees.

For more TPG news, deals and tips, download the free TPG app and sign up for our daily newsletter.

How much do TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and Clear cost?

Normally, a five-year membership to TSA PreCheck costs $85, while five years of Global Entry runs you $100. A TSA PreCheck renewals is down to $70 if you do it online.

If you have a Global Entry membership, you also receive the benefits of TSA PreCheck, since Global Entry includes access to TSA PreCheck. Essentially, you reap the benefits of both programs for an extra $15 every five years.

An annual membership to Clear retails at $189. Together, they can all add up if you don’t take advantage of available discounts and credits.

(If you aren’t yet familiar with the details of these different programs check out our guides to TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and Clear to find the right one(s) for your travel needs.)

Related: Why you may want both TSA PreCheck and Clear memberships

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

‘Free’ TSA PreCheck and Global Entry via credit cards

Currently, there are nearly 50 cobranded airline, hotel and other credit cards offering up to $100 in statement credit reimbursement for the application fees associated with Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. This credit is typically available every four to five years, though you should check the terms for your specific card for the exact frequency.

Some of the cards that convey free TSA PreCheck and/or Global Entry are:

See here for a complete list of credit cards that offer a discount for TSA PreCheck.

Your miles can pay for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry

In addition to those cards offering credits for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry, some loyalty programs allow members to use points or miles in exchange for covering the membership fees. While these are options, the return per point is under TPG point valuations, so they aren’t our top picks for ways to save on these memberships. Those programs include:

  • Radisson Rewards Americas: Members can redeem 65,000 points for an $85 application credit.
  • Orbitz Rewards: Platinum members get a free TSA PreCheck membership every five years.
  • Marriott Bonvoy: Members can redeem 25,000 points for an $85 application credit.
  • IHG Rewards Club: Members can redeem 30,000 points for an $85 application credit.
  • United MileagePlus: Members can redeem 10,000 miles for a TSA PreCheck membership.

Related: Why you should get TSA PreCheck and Clear — and how you can save on both

‘Free’ Clear memberships via credit cards

Since Clear costs $189 per year instead of $85-$100 every five years, there aren’t nearly as many credit cards that provide a free Clear membership as there are with TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. However, you do have a few options if you want your travel credit card to pay for your Clear membership:

We’ve also seen some targeted Amex Offers from time to time covering the cost of Clear membership for those with different American Express cards, so keep your eyes peeled for limited-time offers like that.

The information for the Centurion Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Credit cards that save you money on Clear

Free is always best. However, if you don’t have a credit card that makes Clear completely free with statement credits, there are some additional credit cards that can at least reduce your annual Clear membership cost.

The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: 4 reasons your family needs a Delta Amex credit card — now

Save on Clear with a frequent flyer membership

(Screenshot from clearme.com)

Both United and Delta offer their frequent flyers free or discounted membership to Clear.

Discounts from Delta SkyMiles

Top-tier Delta Diamond Medallion members can get Clear for free. The airline’s Platinum, Gold and Silver Medallion members can pay a reduced price of $109.

All Delta SkyMiles members without elite status can get a discounted membership for $119.

(Screenshot from clearme.com)

Similarly, United’s Premier 1K members are entitled to Clear for free, while United MileagePlus Platinum, Gold and Silver members can pay $109.

United MileagePlus members without status can access Clear for $119 per year — which is $60 less than the retail price tag.

(Screenshot from clearme.com)

Related: The best increased card offers to sign up for

Clear discounts for families and students

Those with a family will be relieved to learn that children under 18 can go through Clear with you for free and without needing to scan their eyes or similar.

Once those children go to college, they then have access to a discounted student rate of $50 per year for up to four years.

You can also take advantage of Clear’s family plan and add up to three adults to your primary membership for $60 per additional person per year. This is a great way to cover your partner, parents, etc. without incurring another full $179 fee for each person every year.

(Screenshot from clearme.com)

Try Clear for free with a referral code

Lastly, TPG readers can try out Clear for free for two months before deciding if it’s worth keeping. Fair warning: In my experience, once you go Clear, you never go back.

Read more: Global Entry tips: How to avoid waiting for an interview and get TSA PreCheck on your boarding passes

Bottom line

Not only do TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and Clear help travelers save time, there are lots of ways to save money on memberships with these programs. Before you sign up for one or more, see if you can get it for no cost or at a reduced cost through one of these methods.

Additional reporting by Summer Hull.

Featured image by AFP via Getty Images
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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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

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  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases