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 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? Even if I haven’t been able to use Global entry for over a year and it might be another 6-12 months before we’ll use it again, it’s still a bargain.
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 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. More and more credit cards are 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
- American Express Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant
- Bank of America® Premium Rewards® Credit Card
- AAdvantage® Aviator® Silver World Elite Mastercard®
- BB&T Spectrum Travel Rewards Card ($85 credit)
- Capital One Venture®
- Capital One Spark Miles
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®
- Citi Expedia Rewards Voyager Card
- Citi Prestige
- CNB Crystal Visa Infinite Credit Card With Rewards
- IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
- Mastercard Black Card
- Mastercard Gold Card
- Navy Federal Credit Union Visa Signature Flagship Rewards
- Penfed Pathfinder Rewards American Express
- Provident World+ Travel
- Southwest Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card
- SunTrust Travel Rewards Credit Card
- UBS Visa Infinite credit card
- U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Gold American Express® Card
- U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card
- United Explorer Card
- United Club Infinite Card
Several of these cards, such as the IHG Rewards Club Premier and United Explorer card, have annual fees that are less than $100. Many of the other cards offering reimbursement of the application fee have high annual fees. Still, their price is reasonable when you combine the $100 credit for Global Entry with the travel credits and lounge access these cards provide. There are travel cards at different price points offering this benefit; isn’t it time to 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 paid my renewal fee with the United Explorer Card, just before I canceled the card. Having TSA PreCheck has really transformed the way we travel and makes going through the checkpoint a civilized process. We’re often through the security checkpoint in less than 5-10 minutes when the regular line at Orlando airport was well over 30 minutes. That gives us time to get to the gate and enjoy the upgraded lounges of Orlando Airport.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary