From airport screening to a stadium near you: How to get and use Clear to avoid lines
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As more and more people get vaccinated and feel more comfortable traveling, it may be a good time to try Clear, an expedited security program that allows you to say goodbye to long airport security lines.
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It’s particularly good timing for American Express cardholders, including those who have the American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express, as both offer an up to $179 statement credit for a complimentary Clear membership (enrollment required). Amex Gold cardholders must enroll in the program by Oct. 30, 2021, in order to be eligible to receive the credit.
Non-Amex cardholders can also try Clear for two months for free by signing up through TPG.
What is Clear and how does it work?
As an expedited security program, Clear allows you to bypass what is normally a two-step security process at the airport by jumping to a separate lane for Clear users only and using a kiosk to identify yourself via biometric authentication (it will ask you for either a fingerprint or iris scan).
After you’ve successfully verified your identity, a Clear representative will then take you to the security screening line. TSA PreCheck users will be escorted to the PreCheck line at this point. This is what that process is like.
Clear is currently available at nearly 40 airports, in addition to stadiums and mass venues across the U.S. Most major airports offer Clear, including Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD).
Who can sign up for Clear
You must meet three qualifications to enroll in Clear:
- Be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident.
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Have one of the following forms of photo identification: U.S. driver’s license, U.S. passport, U.S. passport card, U.S.-issued permanent resident card, state-issued ID or U.S. military ID.
Travelers under the age of 18 may use the Clear line for free if accompanied by a Clear member.
How to sign up for Clear
“Anyone can start their enrollment process for an airport membership online,” a Clear spokesperson told me via email. “Once you click ‘Get CLEAR,’ you will be prompted to set up your account and add your payment information – helping members get a head start on their enrollment.”
Signing up for Clear is a two-step process, the first of which begins online. First, I use this link to apply for a free two-month trial and simply fill out my name, email address, ZIP code and date of birth.
Next, it will remind you that you are getting a free two-month trial, thanks to the link provided by TPG.
Unfortunately, you will have to pay the $179 enrollment fee on month three, so you’ll enter your credit card information to do so.
Next, you will agree to the terms and conditions by checking the box.
At this point, you will receive an email informing you that the final steps of the process must be completed on-site at a Clear location in order to finish creating your account.
At the airport, you can expect to:
- Answer a few questions to verify your identity.
- Provide a valid photo ID and method of payment.
- Attach your biometrics (fingerprints and a picture of your irises) to your newly created account.
“Members complete their enrollment at the airport pods, which are available at 38 airports across the US,” the spokesperson said.
Because enrollment involves using specific pod technology to capture iris scans and fingerprints, these final steps of the process can only be completed in person. If you don’t live near an airport with an enrollment center, we would suggest booking a trip with a decent layover at an airport that does have an enrollment center and using that time to enroll. Remember, the process should only take a few minutes and no appointment is required.
Ways to save on Clear
In addition to receiving a free two-month trial of Clear through TPG, Clear members who refer friends can also receive two months of free membership.
As mentioned above, a $179 credit for a Clear membership is included as a perk for American Express Gold and Platinum cardholders. If you are an Amex Gold cardholder, be sure to enroll in Clear by Oct. 30 to take advantage of this deal.
Featured photo courtesy of Clear.
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