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Ready for a 2020 challenge? Try renewing your Global Entry membership like I just did

Aug. 06, 2020
6 min read
Ready for a 2020 challenge? Try renewing your Global Entry membership like I just did
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There's never a good time for bad news. Monday morning, bright and early, I received an email in my inbox reminding me that my Trusted Traveler membership was about to expire.

Screenshot by Katherine Fan for The Points Guy.


If the Trusted Traveler Program doesn't mean much to you, it's the umbrella system responsible for expedited security programs Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, SENTRI and NEXUS.

Since I've covered the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) office closures since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown, I knew that I wouldn't be able to schedule a renewal appointment any time before Sept. 8 at the earliest. And since thousands of people have had appointments pushed back for months now, I was concerned that available time slots for renewal appointments wouldn't be available until much farther out than September.

Related: DHS resinstates New York State's Trusted Traveler privileges

Fortunately, I also know that CBP has extended an 18-month grace period for continued membership privileges, as long as the applicant in question has already applied for renewal at the time of expiration. I'm also not traveling right now for a number of reasons, particularly overseas, so my travel perks don't matter quite as much to me right now as they usually do.

We've had hundreds of TPG readers ask us about applying for TTP membership during this time, so I was curious to see how long the process would take me. First, I navigated to the Trusted Traveler enrollment page linked in my email:

Since I hold multiple credit cards that offer me a $100 statement credit for Global Entry enrollment, I made sure to have my preferred travel credit card handy for check-out, as the system requires payment at the time that you book an appointment.

Related: Best credit cards for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck

I haven't logged in to the website since I first enrolled in Global Entry back in 2017, so I had to consult this guide on how to transfer my previous account into the CBP's new Trusted Traveler system.

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Once logged in, I was able to see my Trusted Traveler status and click "renew membership."

I was asked to acknowledge that a background check would be required, as well as an in-person interview with a CBP official.

I was also asked to go through a checklist of eligibility terms, including citizenship status.

As I filled out the simple application form, I temporarily contemplated adding on the optional APEC Business Travel Card for $70, since I frequently fly to Taiwan to visit my extended family. But I ultimately decided against it, primarily because I don't know how helpful it would be for me specifically.

The system says that it saves all of your past information, but of course, a lot has happened over the past five years. So when I initially looked at my application, here's how many errors appeared:

There was a link immediately below the error notification which said "Expand All"; when I clicked on it, I was able to go through each of the sections listed above to update my passport number, my home addresses and employment history.

My travel history in particular required a lot of updating since 2015. I'm really grateful that, five years ago, I decided to quit a miserable job to freelance and give myself the flexibility to see more of the world. (Amongst other things, that decision led me here to TPG!) I highly recommend it — when we get COVID under control, that is.

Finally after clicking "confirm and continue" what felt like 46,387 times, I was on the purchase summary page.

Once I was paid up, I was taken to my main dashboard which showed that I was waiting on conditional approval in order to book an interview. When I looked up interview locations, I was able to view availability but not select a time slot at my nearest enrollment center in the Austin airport.

The earliest available time slots currently listed on the site are for early December 2020, and I'm not sure what will be available by the time my renewal application is approved. (CBP also reached out to TPG to state that calendars will be updated in real time once offices are open and accepting applicants again.) I will report back when I know that information. As always, enrollment for Global Entry is available upon arriving in the U.S. at select airports, and is a traveler's best bet for getting an appointment that skips the current wait queue. Of course, it not really being safe to travel overseas right now makes enrolling upon arrival home a bit of a catch-22.


All in all, the process was reasonably straightforward — just tedious and time-consuming, as one might expect. It wasn't the worst government form I've filled out lately, however. All in all, I'd give the re-enrollment process a 6/10 thus far, and will update that score once my full renewal is complete.

Featured image by (Image by Evgenia Parajanian/Shutterstock.com)

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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023