The Credit Cards That Will Pay For Your Global Entry Or TSA PreCheck Application Fee (Updated June, 2018)

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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Have Your Credit Card Travel Credits Reset For The New Year? Maybe, Maybe Not

January 1st is a day that most frequent travelers hate to see. It’s when all the airline miles flown and hotel nights stayed over the past year reset to zero and they have to start all over again to try to reach status for the next year. Since I don’t worry about status, the start of the new year means that my travel credits have reset and I have some money to spend. Or do I?

If you have a premium travel credit card (or five of them), hopefully you’re aware of the travel credits offered by these cards. Travel credits, ranging anywhere from $100 to $325, help to offset the lofty annual fees these cards charge. The trick is that you have to use the credits or they expire. To make things more difficult, the charges that are eligible for reimbursement and the procedures to get the credits are different for every card. Another difference between these cards is if the credits go by your membership year or the calendar year.

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Starwood & Marriott Winter Hotel Promotions Are Out!!

I previously wrote about the winter promotions for IHG and Hilton. But with all of the Hurricane Irma excitement, I missed out on the promos that Starwood and Marriott announced this past week. Now that things are getting back to normal, I’m checking to see if any of these are valuable. As always, if you think you might be eligible for any promotion, it pays to register even if you don’t take advantage of it. Otherwise you might forget or miss out on the registration date.

Here are the details for each promotion:

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How To Avoid Extra Credit Card Fees During International Travel

Going on an international trip is very exciting but it can also be very expensive. Using a credit card to pay for purchases when traveling internationally is often the best way to get a good exchange rate and the rate your bank gets will be better than the one you’ll get on your own if you exchange cash. Using a card also means that you don’t have to carry around a bunch of cash with you. However, many cards will add on a “foreign transaction fee” to any transactions made with anything except your home currency. Here’s an easy way to keep from paying that extra 2-3 percent on all of your purchases while away.

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Make Sure To Sign Up For Summer Hotel Promotions For Extra Points!

It’s after Memorial Day! That means it’s now OK to wear white pants (except in Florida where it’s always acceptable), and the hotel chains are out with their summer hotel promotions. These offers give you bonus points for your hotel stays and you need to actively enroll for them, as they’re not automatically activated. You also really should read the fine print to make sure you don’t lose out on points because of a technicality.

I always recommend signing up for these offers even if you don’t expect to stay at any of these hotels. You never know when a last-minute hotel stay will happen. (Note: I’m already signed up for some of these but for those where I’m not, I’m doing so for each offer as I write this post.)

Here are the offers for the major hotel chains this summer:

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