The Credit Cards That Will Pay For Your Global Entry Or TSA PreCheck Application Fee (Updated July 2019)

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?

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This New Way To Search For Awards Found Me A Ticket For 8,000 Miles

A fact you learn when you get started with miles and points is that the earning part is relatively easy. You don’t have to learn a lot to get going and jumpstart those balances. This can cause problems down the line if you get too enthusiastic so here’s a list I made of what you should do if you’re rather new to the game.

Redeeming your miles and points for rewards can be a bit more difficult. For starters, there’s the availability problem. Unless you’re in a fixed value program like Southwest or JetBlue, not all flights have award tickets available.

Even if you find an available flight, if you have transferrable points there are numerous programs you have access to, and each of them might charge a different amount of miles and fees for the same award ticket.

If you can keep track of every award in every program, good for you. I know I can’t. But that’s not as much of a problem as it used to be…

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You Have To Stay At A Hotel That’s Not Your Preferred Brand. How Can You Maximize Your Points Earning?

When you need to pick a hotel, there are the brands you’ll normally go with. If you’re focused on loyalty, then you’ll try to go with a chain where either you have status or one where you’re trying to achieve status for the current year. But what if the place you’re going doesn’t have a hotel in your favorite (or any of your favorite) chains? Or maybe, you’re going with a group of friends and they picked a hotel convenient for their needs, not taking into consideration that you want to earn points in another program. What nerve, right? 😉

All hope is not lost! You can still maximize your points earning even if you’re not staying at your favorite hotel chain. Since you’re not worried about booking direct to keep your benefits, you might be able to book somewhere else besides the hotel website and get some extra perks or a lower price.

Here are some of the options available…

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How To Top Up Your JetBlue TrueBlue Points To Make An Award Booking

Using your points to book an award ticket is the payoff for all the hard work you put in to earn those points. Redeeming JetBlue points for flights is relatively easy. The price of an award ticket is based on the cash price of the ticket. As long as there is a flight available, you can book it but you’ll burn through points faster booking expensive flights. JetBlue does also allow you to redeem points to fly in their Mint First Class cabin, when available, but none of those routes leave from Orlando so we’ve never seen a plane with the fancy seats.

All of my JetBlue redemptions have been for flights in the back of the plane. I’ve almost run through the 60,000 points I earned when I signed up for the JetBlue Plus card but I have enough points for one more trip. Or should I say I ALMOST have enough points for one more trip.

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How To Combine Points From Two Banks To Book An Award

Since we started writing Your Mileage May Vary, several of our friends have started collecting points and miles. I feel a level of satisfaction when they’re able to go on that first award trip, partially because of our help. Just like any mentor, occasionally we’ll get a question about a topic where we don’t know the answer. While I could just say that I really don’t know about that, I like to use these situations to learn about things I hadn’t focused on before. Such was a question about how to combine points from two different bank programs.

While the answer may seem obvious if you’ve been collecting points and miles for a while, for someone just starting out this can be very confusing.

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