My New Advice When Choosing Between TSA PreCheck or Global Entry

Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are the two main options you have to choose from if you want to get precertified for expedited treatment at U.S. Government checkpoints. Both of the services give access to the TSA PreCheck lanes at U.S. airports. This means you don’t have to go through the whole security theater of taking off your shoes and belt and removing your iPad and liquids from your bag. Most of the time you’ll also avoid going through TSA’s nude-o-scope and only need to pass through an old fashioned metal detector.

Global Entry, while a more lengthy process, also gives you expedited passage through U.S. Customs and Border Protection lanes when re-entering the United States. Just go to a Global Entry kiosk and enter your travel info, answer the usual questions and get your picture taken. Go to meet an agent and you’re on your way.

If you had asked me up until now, I would have told you to go for Global Entry. In fact, I did say exactly that in my article comparing the services:

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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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Why I’m Considering Ditching All Of Our Premium Credit Cards

What do you think of when you hear the phrase premium credit card. Exclusivity? Luxury? Benefits? Perks? For a while, these cards offered all of these.

The grand daddy of the premium card is the American Express Centurion card. A card that’s so exclusive AMEX has to invite you and no one knows the requirements to get said invitation. What we do know is that the card has a $7,500 initiation fee and a $2,500 annual fee. Since I occasionally run a cash register for my day job, I’ve held a few of these cards over the years. It’s wasn’t nearly as exciting as I hoped.

Personally, I’m not at that level. However, I was able to get a base level of premium card from all the major banks. American Express Platinum, Chase Sapphire Reserve and Citi Prestige. So why have I reached the point where I’m considering not holding any of these cards?

Here’s the reason:

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We’ve Decided CLEAR Is Not Worth It For Us. Here’s Why…

Back in December, I finally signed us up for CLEAR. That’s the service that gives you an express lane access past the TSA ID checkpoint. I had a free trial membership with TripIt Pro for three months and a free family membership so I figured we’d give it a shot. Well it’s been over six months and I’ve been able to use the CLEAR lanes a couple of times. As of now, I just don’t see how it’s worth the extra money they charge for the service. There are several things that led to this conclusion.: Continue reading “We’ve Decided CLEAR Is Not Worth It For Us. Here’s Why…”