If you have travels coming up, I sure hope you have TSA Pre✓®. If you don’t, why not? It’s one of the easiest ways to help make travel less stressful. I’ve written about the ways you can enroll in the program in this post. I just ask one favor, when you apply:
PLEASE DON’T USE POINTS TO PAY FOR THE APPLICATION FEE!
Check out this email I received from IHG:
First of all, the people using the TSA Pre✓® line don’t all dress like this. They usually don’t even know how to go through the security properly (but they would know not to bring their coffee cups through the checkpoint if they read our article on that subject). More importantly, using points for the application fee is a HORRIBLE value.
The TSA PreCheck enrollment fee is $85. If you spend 30,000 IHG points, you’re getting a value of 0.283 cents per point. Even for IHG points, which aren’t worth that much, that’s about half of the value they sell points for during a promotion (points are currently on sale for 0.5 cents each). Instead of using points for your enrollment fee, you could use those same 30,000 points for a free night in an IHG hotel, which could be worth over $200.
I did a little more searching and found there are other miles and point programs that’ll also let you pay for your TSA Pre✓® enrollment fee with your points. In all instances, these redemptions are terrible values:
- Radisson Rewards – 65,000 Gold Points
- United Airlines – 10,000 MileagePlus Miles
- Marriott – 25,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points
- IHG – 30,000 IHG Rewards Club Points
A much better idea would be to pay for your TSA Pre✓® application fee with a credit card that reimburses the fee. The TSA provides a list of these cards on their website. Instead of using the credit for TSA Pre-Check you can also use the credit from most of these cards to reimburse the $100 Global Entry application fee, which I think makes more sense for international travelers (Where applicable, I’ve included a link to my review of the card; otherwise it is direct to the bank’s website).
- Bank of America Premium Rewards credit card
- BB&T Spectrum Travel Rewards
- Capital One Spark Miles card
- Capital One Venture card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve (our link)
- Citi / AAdvantage Executive World EliteTM MasterCard
- Citi Prestige Card (our link)
- Commerce Bank World Elite card
- Diners Club Carte Blanche Corporate Card
- Expedia+ Voyager Card from Citi
- Orbitz Rewards
- American Express Platinum (our link)
- American Express Business Platinum
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express (our link)
- MasterCard® Black Card
- MasterCard® Gold Card
- Navy Federal Flagship Rewards card
- Provident World+ Travel card
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business card
- SunTrust Travel Rewards World Elite Mastercard Credit Card
- United MileagePlus Explorer card
- US Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card
- US Bank FlexPerks Gold American Express Card
That’s a bunch of cards that’ll pay the fee for you, and some of them even waive the annual fee the first year. That means there’s no need to waste your points or miles to pay for the enrollment fee for TSA Pre✓® or Global Entry. Actually, it’s never a good idea to purchase anything with points or miles, so don’t go buying headphones, purses, magazines, or a set of knives from your loyalty program, either.
I hope that all your travels are joyful and lines at the TSA checkpoint are short.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary