Global Entry is a program of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service that allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers to receive expedited clearance upon arrival into the United States. In my opinion, it’s a no-brainer decision for any frequent traveler to sign up for this program. The $100 non-refundable application fee is a small price to pay in order to blow past the long immigration lines when returning to the United States. Your Global Entry status is then good for five years. So that’s $20 a year. Where else can you buy VIP treatment for twenty bucks?
What makes this an even better deal is that when you’re approved for Global Entry, you also get a Known Traveler Number (KTN) that gives you access to TSA Pre✓® lanes at domestic airports. This program charges an $85 membership fee if you apply for it separately, so it only costs an extra $15 to get expedited entry when entering the U.S. on international flights (and also some cruise ports and land crossings).
I’d gladly pay the $100 out of my own pocket every five years for Global Entry but I don’t have to. There are many travel credit cards that will reimburse you if you charge the enrollment fee to their card. Here’s a list of credit cards that will pay your Global Entry fee for you (please let me know if I’ve missed any):
- American Express Platinum
- American Express Business Platinum
- Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard®
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
- Citi Expedia+ Voyager Card
- Citi Prestige
- U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Gold American Express® Card
- U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card
- UBS Visa Infinite credit card
- CRYSTAL® VISA INFINITE® CREDIT CARD WITH REWARDS
Many of these cards have a high annual fee but when you combine the $100 credit for Global Entry with the travel credits and lounge access these cards provide, the cost is reasonable considering the benefits provided. However, it’s not only the expensive cards that provide reimbursement for the Global Entry fee. The Bank of America Premium Rewards card and the Citi Expedia Voyager card each cost only $95 a year and provide a minimum of $100 reimbursement yearly.
Sharon and I are both due to renew our Global Entry membership this year and I plan on using cards that reimburse those fees to pay for our applications. Having TSA PreCheck has really transformed the way we travel and makes going through the checkpoint a civilized process. We’re often through the X-Ray in less than 5-10 minutes when the regular line at Orlando airport is over 30 minutes. That gives us time to get to the gate and enjoy the upgraded lounges of Orlando Airport.
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