TSA PreCheck And Global Entry: The Little-Known Credit Card Perk That Could Save You Money

If you've traveled at all in the last decade, you'll probably have heard of these two highly sought-after programs: TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. These programs were designed and implemented to make the airport security process faster and more convenient for travelers. With TSA PreCheck, you can get through airport security without taking off your shoes or removing liquids from your carry-on bag. And with Global Entry, you gain access to expedited customs processing when returning from international trips. These programs are great time savers but come with a cost. The application fee for TSA PreCheck is $78, and the Global Entry application is $100.

Compared to the price of your average plane ticket these days, this doesn't seem like a major expense, but there are probably other things you'd rather spend the money on. Like a massage or maybe a nice new pair of shoes. Luckily, there are now credit cards that offer reimbursement for the application fee associated with both of these programs so that cardholders can take advantage of this perk at no additional cost. Pretty amazing stuff. But how do you access these perks, and how does it work? We'll tell you everything.

Get your application fee reimbursed

First of all, you need to find out which credit cards offer reimbursement for the application fees associated with TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. Depending on your credit score and financial situation, you may have several options available to choose from. Check out websites like CreditCards.com or Bankrate to compare different cards and determine which one is best suited to your needs (beyond just the TSA PreCheck and/or Global Entry reimbursement). Once you've chosen the right card, simply apply, and once your application is approved, call your credit card company or log in online to check the details regarding how often and how much you can be reimbursed for these programs. This information is usually available in the card's terms and conditions.

Once you have this information, it's time to apply for your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership. Each program has different requirements for the online application portion and the subsequent in-person interview. How you will then be reimbursed for the application will depend on your credit card company. However, most will provide a statement credit when the fee is charged to the card, or you can redeem rewards points that go towards that fee. Regardless of which way your credit card redeems the fee, just be sure to use that same credit card to pay for it.

Perks and quirks you may not know about

An additional perk of using credit cards to get your application fees reimbursed is that you can usually use the same credit card again when it comes time to renew. Assuming you're using the same card, the credit card company will restore the same credit when it comes time to renew your membership.

One downside is that most credit cards will only allow you to reimburse for one program, not both. So, if you only have one travel card, consider which program will benefit you most, based on your travel habits. However, if you're a travel points and rewards enthusiast and have a few travel cards, you can use one for TSA PreCheck and the other for Global Entry. If you don't think you really need both but don't want the credit to go unused, you can gift it to a family member or friend who would benefit from it. Not such a bad birthday gift!