Snagging a Global Entry interview on vacation — reader success story

Apr 15, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Today I want to share a story from TPG reader Jesse, who was able to help a friend complete her Global Entry interview on vacation:

As a frequent traveler I get tons of value out my Global Entry membership. As a New York resident, I’m very glad to already have my enrollment given the application freeze which came down in early February. As with many sweet spots in the travel game, however, I found an opportunity to turn this challenge into an advantage.

My traveling companion is not a member of a trusted traveler program, however she is an Oregon resident. Oregon has only one enrollment center (PDX airport) and the appointments can be backlogged for many months at a time. As it happens, the New York enrollment centers are still open during the New York application ban, and appear to be doing a very low volume of business — quite unusual given how busy it gets at the JFK office. Given that she was already planning a trip to New York, we checked the availability to interview when her domestic flight arrived at JFK and found the schedule wide open.

She was greeted immediately by a fully staffed but otherwise-empty office, and completed the interview and enrollment process in less than 10 minutes. The fees were covered in full by the credit from a Chase Sapphire Reserve, of course.

So while I hope the New York ban lifts quickly, non-New York residents may find a shortcut to enrollment by stopping in New York for a visit, or merely arranging a layover through JFK. Perhaps this could also be useful for interviewing on international arrival as well.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Global Entry (and the TSA PreCheck status that comes with it) is an absolute necessity for frequent travelers, and given how easy it is to get the fees reimbursed from the right credit card, the hardest part of the process for most people is finding an appointment to complete the interview.

While this strategy won’t work at the moment, given that all Global Entry interviews have been suspended due to the ongoing coronavirus situation, Jesse hit on a great strategy here that many people will be able to take advantage of when things return to normal.

The increasing popularity of Global Entry (and the increasing number of credit cards offering it for free) has led to a massive backlog of applications, making it even harder for people to schedule appointments. This is especially true if you live in a smaller city with limited enrollment centers, but squeezing in your appointment on vacation is a great workaround.

While Jesse specifically talked about the wide-open availability in New York, you could, in theory, search the entire country to find open appointments and then schedule a vacation around that trip. If you’re able to knock out the interview on arrival at the airport without having to make a separate trip, even better!

Related: You can get Global Entry upon arrival at these 53 airports

I love this story and I want to hear more like it! In appreciation for sharing this experience (and for allowing me to post it online), I’m sending Jesse a gift card to enjoy on future travels, and I’d like to do the same for you.

Please email your own award travel success stories to info@thepointsguy.com; be sure to include details about how you earned and redeemed your rewards, and put “Reader Success Story” in the subject line. Feel free to also submit your most woeful travel mistakes. If your story is published, we’ll send you a gift to jump-start your next adventure. Due to the volume of submissions, we can’t respond to each story individually, but we’ll be in touch if yours is selected.

Safe and happy travels to all, and I look forward to hearing from you!

Featured photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post/Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.