If you still don’t have TSA PreCheck (and CLEAR) don’t complain about long airport security lines!

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Don’t be the folks on the right!

There is so much travel news that comes out each week that it is hard to consider what to blog about and what to just link to in a weekly / monthly news roundup post. But this one really just has to be covered because it drives me crazy.

First off, I know there are some folks who just cannot get TSA PreCheck due to location or what you may have done in your “past life” before you became a frequent flyer. I feel for you. This post is not for you, clearly, but for everyone else in the line you see above.

On the TSA website, in a post called: “TSA raising aviation security baseline with stronger domestic security measures” what all will have to do is outlined. The key part for travelers is that you will have to, in addition to your laptop, get out “…personal electronic items such as laptops, tablets, e-readers and handheld game consoles for screening…“.

Personally I have no real problem with this. If you have ever been through security at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport you know that even a single electrical cord left in your bag will mean your time in security will be MUCH longer than if you had taken everything, yes everything, out of your bag and put it into a bin. So this change in the US is nothing new for most world travelers.

Now to my soap box! 🙂

I have had TSA PreCheck (along with Global Entry) for over 5 years now. In fact about 1 year ago today I renewed both as you can do so up to a year before it expires. I was smart enough to use any number of cards to pay for that renewal and get the $100 fee credited back to me for BOTH the Global Entry and TSA PreCheck for another 5 years. Now let me put this as delicately as I can (assuming you qualify, that is).

If you are TOO CHEAP to spend $20 / year for these two amazing travel tools you have NO RIGHT to gripe about long lines at airport security!

Because the TSA side also tells us that “The stronger security measures do not apply to passengers enrolled in TSA PreCheck who are using TSA PreCheck lanes.” So laptop, tablets or whatever stay in your bag and you fly through security in no time.

Now you may say “I don’t have cards that will pay me back for this fee”. OK, then go get one (like today)!

For example, one of the best choices right now is the The (non-Delta) AMEX Business Platinum Card. After spend you get 75,000 points that you could spend buying Delta tickets at 1 cent value each and then you get 35% of those points back to spend again (if you choose Delta as your preferred airline). That is sweet value. Also you can, if you want to, send them to Delta 1:1 and they transfer almost instantly for award tickets. The card also comes with $200 per year credit in incidental costs and many simply buy Delta e-Gift cards each year to lock in this credit. Lastly, and the point of this post, you can get this card and every 5 years get the $100 Global Entry + TSA PreCheck fee credited back to you! I hold this card year after year after year – it is a must have for me.

Now you may be on the other side of this equation – you may have 5, or even 10, cards that ALL include the $100 credit for Global Entry + TSA PreCheck but you cannot just keep paying and then stack it on the end (that would be nice right). But I am assuming you have a mother or father or sister or brother or someone you call a friend – right? Do they EVER get on an airplane even once every 5 years? If they do why not pay for their fee to get Global Entry + TSA PreCheck as yes, you will get the credit for paying their fee and then THEY will not have to risk the lines you see at the photo at the top of this post.

Folks, I could go on about this all day long. If there is one thing that makes my blood boil it is people who could avoid security lines but don’t because they are too lazy to do what it takes to avoid it. Make the choice now to get this done. Oh and if you fly at least 1x a month – please get CLEAR (discounted for SkyMiles members and Delta Amex card holders) as well after you have Global Entry + PreCheck. That tiny fee per year is also well worth it if you even fly just once a month! – René

 

 

21 comments

  1. Amen, RD. Now if you could persuade all of the airports to keep their TSA lines open at ALL hours that would help too:)
    I’m looking at you IAH.

  2. Clear + PreCheck at DCA keeps me sane when flying Thursday/Friday afternoons. Skipping past all those congresscritters sure is great.

  3. I only fly to the USA 3x yearly at the most and i still got global entry. Last time i flew into JFK T4 and got through customs so quickly, i then spent 20 minutes for my luggage!

  4. I don’t fly as much as I used to but I still love Global Entry and Precheck. I suppose there’s the libertarian leaning who say they don’t want the government butting into their lives any further, but I would hazard a guess that if you’re flying the government already knows a lot about you. My only gripe is that sometimes there are more people in the PreCheck line than the regular and sometimes they’re families or rank amateurs who don’t have a clue.

  5. Rene,

    Will Chase Sapphire Reserve and/or AMEX Platinum (non-Delta) pay for my kids’ GOES/TSA Pre Check applications? My wife and I each have our own Chase Sapphire Reserve cards, for example, so could she could enroll my daughter and me my son and both get reimbursed?

    Thank you!

  6. @JP – See linked post. You can pay for anyone you want. The card does not care who you pay for just that it codes as GOES. I have paid for a golf buddy as an example.

  7. OK. I’ll complain. I’m TSA Pre and GE. I’m a USA tax payer, I pay airport and airline taxes that support the TSA. I paid (or at least my credit card paid) for GE/Pre and now I get in a Precheck line only to find that the TSA has sold out the front of the line to a private company CLEAR where people get to cut in line. I’m pro-capitalism and all but this seems wrong. What happens if I wanted to start a new company, I’ll call it REALC and cut in line in front of CLEAR passengers. I’d bet they’d complain but the difference is that CLEAR wasn’t funded by traveling tax payers.
    Ok enough with my rant. I’ll likely sign up as a skymiles member for the discount and test it out. My wife and I both travel for business so if I can get this for $99 or less via skymiles and add her at $50 then it could pay off as they expand to more airports.

  8. +1 on keeping TSA Precheck lines open. Everytime I fly out of EWR on a Sunday the precheck line is closed. I’m allowed to keep my shoes on but laptops and liquids have to come out of the bags and I’m behind clueless travelers. They should at least move Precheck people to the front of the queue.

    My biggest gripe with Precheck is it is given out to those who don’t have a TTN. Precheck should ONLY be given out to those with TTN’s since we paid the fee and went through the background check. It’s really annoying to be behind a family of once a year travellers who are taking their shoes off and think water bottles can go through xray.

    I love clear. That is one true enhancement Delta has given diamonds.

  9. I only fly once a year and I got pre-check because my husband has it. I was not happy the one time I had to stand in line while my husband breezed through. That was at least two years ago but I learned quickly – like before I got on the return flight I had made my appointment!

  10. Rene,

    You are forgetting a big group of travelers who are not allowed to apply for Global Entry (GEP) or TSA Pre-Check because they don’t have Greencards or aren’t citizens. Now that GEP has opened up for Indian citizens, I’m going through the process but it isn’t a piece of cake in any way. So I don’t think it’s only because someone doesn’t want to pay the money, it’s also because of the arbitrary nature of the rules of these programs that prevent many frequent travelers from applying.

  11. I couldn’t imagine flying without TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. I value my time (even if it means sitting in the terminal longer) way more than $20 for a year’s worth of flights.

  12. @Rene – I thought the baggage guarantee doesnt apply to international flights? And also, even if it did they wont pay me in Flying Club miles 😉

  13. @Rene – Re-read, sorry. Maybe if I get Global Entry I can share my experience with you 🙂

  14. GOOD POST! But here’s my beef with the TSA PreCheck in Atlanta. In the International Terminal, TSA Pre-Check is CLOSED about half the time I go through there. And they keep changing the times that it is closed, so that I cannot plan. And there is no way (website, phone call) that I can find out the hours of closure the day of or the day before my travel. SUCKS. ANYONE KNOW A WAY TO FIND OUT (ACCURATELY) WHEN THE HOURS OF OPERATION ARE FOR TSA PRE-CHECK AT THE ATLANTA AIRPORT INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL?

  15. JFK didn’t have their pre-check open on Sunday eve either…WTH? I really need CLEAR, especially now SLC is adding it…. At least SLC has pre-check open very early and very late…:-)

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