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 when you’re approved for Global Entry, you also get a Known Traveler Number (KTN), giving 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 (as well as some cruise ports and land crossings). You could just apply for TSA Pre-Check instead of Global Entry but the process is similar and if you’re getting reimbursed, why not go for the better deal?
I’d gladly pay the $100 out of my own pocket every five years for Global Entry but I don’t have to. It seems like every day there are more and more credit cards willing to reimburse you the application fee when you charge it 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®
- Capital One Venture®
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
- Citi Expedia+ Voyager Card
- Citi Prestige
- IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
- SunTrust Travel Rewards Credit Card
- U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Gold American Express® Card
- U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card
- United Explorer Card
- UBS Visa Infinite credit card
- CRYSTAL® VISA INFINITE® CREDIT CARD WITH REWARDS
Several of these cards, such as the IHG Rewards Club Premier and United Explorer card, have annual fees that are less than $100. Most of the other cards offering reimbursement of the application fee have high annual fees but their price is reasonable when you combine the $100 credit for Global Entry with the travel credits and lounge access these cards provide. So there are travel cards at different price points offering this benefit; isn’t it time you fill out that application???
Sharon used her Citi Prestige card to pay for her renewal application and the credit showed up five days later. I have to renew my card soon and I’m going to use the United Explorer Card to pay for it. 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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