If you're a frequent flyer or just loath standing in security lines, signing up for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check is the way to travel these days. I signed up and received my Global Entry card earlier this year and Crystal signed up for the TSA Pre-Check. So what's the difference between these two?
TSA Pre-Check allows flyers to receive expedited screening at security check points. The expedited screening benefits may include leaving on your shoes, light outerwear and belts, as well as leaving laptops and compliant liquids in 3-1-1 carry-on bags. And the TSA Pre-Check lines are usually much shorter. I was running a little late to my flight getting stuck in LA traffic and was saved by TSA Pre-Check because the line only had five people compared to the normal line that had at least fifty people.
TSA Pre-Check costs $85 and to get started you need to apply here : https://www.tsa.gov/tsa-precheck/apply
Global Entry gives you the benefits of TSA Pre-Check and access to expedited screening at U.S. Customs. This is a HUGE time saver. Every time I go overseas and come back to the U.S., I dread the Customs line. On average I stand in line forty-five minutes to an hour. I recently went to Hong Kong and when I arrived back to the U.S., I used the Global Entry Kiosk and was out of customs in less than ten minutes! There were several Global Entry Kiosks and they were all empty. I was the only one using the kiosk. I felt a little guilty passing the long lines that everyone else had to wait in. For additional information on Global Entry, UpgradedPoints offers in-depth details.
Global Entry costs $100 and to get started you need to apply here : https://goes-app.cbp.dhs.gov/main/goes
Which One is Better?
Now that we know what the difference is, which one should you get? We say go for the Global Entry. It includes TSA Pre-Check and you get to skip the ridiculously long lines at customs for just $15 more. Even if you aren't planning on any international trips this year, you may in the next five years and that's how long the Global Entry card is good for.
Apply for Free!
Once you've decided on which one you want to apply for, check to see if you have any of these credit cards (make sure that they are still running the promotion):
• Platinum Card from American Express
• Chase Sapphire Reserve
• Citi Prestige
• Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
• U.S. Bank FlexPerks Gold American Expres Card
• Ritz-Carlton Rewards Credit Card
***This list was last updated on June 25, 2017***
Several credit card companies currently reimburse Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check fees as a statement credit. The free Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check benefit appears as a statement credit after that card is used to pay for the Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check application. That's exactly what Crystal and I did, so we didn't have to pay a penny for our cards. And there is no need to call your credit card company to make sure you receive the credit. The credit will apply automatically.
So What is The Step-By-Step Process?
First, check to see if you have a credit card that will give you a statement credit for the application. Then go online and fill out your application. Once you submit your application, you wait for an email that let's you know if you have been approved for an interview. You will then be directed to schedule an in-person interview at your nearest airport. All of this information will be given to to you when you receive the approval email. Go to your interview and arrive on time! I went to my interview and was out of there in less than thirty minutes. After the interview, you will get an email that will let you know if you passed or failed. If you pass, you will receive your Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check in the mail. I received my Global Entry card about a week after my interview. Once you receive your card, there will be instructions on how to activate your card online.
Sounds easy enough, right? If you have any questions, comment below and we'll try our best to answer them for you. Safe travels!