Why I Broke Down and Got CLEAR to Get Through Security Faster

Jul 10, 2018

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One of the best things to happen to air travel in the last decade was TSA PreCheck. With PreCheck, I know that 95% of the time my family can get through security in ten minutes or less and without all the extra drama of taking off shoes, pulling out electronics and snacks, etc. There is no question in my mind that Global Entry and PreCheck are worth the $100 fee every five years. In reality, many of us don’t even pay that fee directly since we have a rewards earning credit card or two that can cover that fee for us.

For years, PreCheck and Global Entry were more than enough for me to get through the airport without an issue. However, increasingly, I have been in some situations where I’ve thought about whether we may need to add CLEAR to our travel back of tricks. I was not excited about the idea of paying for yet another travel-related membership, but I have booked more and more tickets on airlines that operate out of my home airport in Houston in a part of Terminal A where there is not a regular PreCheck line. As a result, I’ve pondered CLEAR more than once.

Why I bought CLEAR today in the airport

Today, I was again waiting in the regular security line in Terminal A at IAH when a CLEAR employee walked up to me and said she could get me through the line in four minutes or less with a one month free trial of CLEAR. The line I was in was going to certainly take longer than four minutes, so that was the tipping point to give CLEAR a try.

She helped me scan my fingerprints and eyes, take a profile photo, scan my driver’s license, and within the promised four minutes, I was passed the TSA agent. Not only did I save time in security on this trip, but my CLEAR profile has now been set-up and is ready for even quicker use the next time around. CLEAR is currently available in 30 airports and sports stadiums around the country.

Who should get CLEAR

For a family who travels once or twice a year, CLEAR is not even worth a consideration, so just ignore it completely. I’d argue that TSA PreCheck is worth it even if you only fly twice a year, but CLEAR most certainly is not if you are not a frequent flyer. However, if you find yourself in the air every month or so, especially at airports or terminals where there is not PreCheck line or where the PreCheck line can get long, CLEAR might be worth the investment.

How to save money on CLEAR

CLEAR can cost you $179 per year, but you do not have to pay that much. In fact, please don’t pay that much. Delta SkyMiles members pay just $99 per year for CLEAR, so that is an easy way to shave $80 off the cost of a year of CLEAR. If you happen to have Delta elite status or even just an eligible Delta credit card, then you can get CLEAR for just $79 per year.

Eligible Delta cards for the $79 CLEAR annual membership include:

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American ExpressGold Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American Express, Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Business Credit Card from American ExpressPlatinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, Delta Reserve for Business Credit Card, or Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express.

You can also add up to three family members onto your Clear membership for an $50 extra per person per year. However, you may only need to add your spouse or partner as children under 18 can follow you through Clear for free. My plan will be to pay $79 for my Clear membership thanks to having an eligible Delta Amex and then add Josh for $50 annually. My girls don’t need their own Clear membership since they are under 18. I was able to chat with a CLEAR rep online to change to the $79 per year plan from the full priced plan that was entered at the airport.

If you are considering CLEAR for yourself in the future, stay on the lookout for Amex Offers to help you save some money. Earlier this year, there was an Amex Offer for a $50 statement credit with $179 spent on CLEAR. There are also often free trials available for the first month or two so you can see if it is worth it before making an annual investment in getting some of your time back, so Google around for those codes or I believe my CLEAR Refer-A-Friend link will get you two free months.

Have you used CLEAR? If so I would love to hear your thoughts and tips!

Featured image courtesy of Delta Air Lines

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