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For the past five years, my family has enjoyed the benefits of TSA Precheck at airports. My husband got TSA Precheck first due to his high amount of business travel. Actually, he enrolled in the Global Entry program which includes TSA Precheck benefits. He then convinced me to get it so that when we travel our entire family of five can go through the “fast lane” at airports.
Once I got my own Global Entry membership, I was hooked. Shorter security line? Check. Keeping shoes on? Yes! Not having to remove laptops and liquids from bags? Awesome! Using the TSA Precheck benefit takes the hassle out of flying.
Since kids 12 and under can go through TSA Precheck if they are with their parents, all three of our kids could zip with us through the expedited security line. Soon, my oldest turned 13, and we got him a Global Entry membership of his own.
Fast forward five years, and my membership is about to expire. I also realized that my middle child is now 13 and can’t go through the line with us anymore. So, I had some work to do before our next flight.
Renewing my Global Entry Membership
I dreaded starting the process to renew my Global Entry membership. I had to create an account on a new website, and the Department of Homeland Security admits that their approval system is significantly backed up. However, I knew that as long as I had my renewal application in process, I would receive a one-year extension on my membership before it expires.
Thankfully, my renewal was processed very quickly. I did not have to go to the airport for another interview. My renewal application was approved in just a day, and I received my new card a week later. My husband had a similar experience renewing his membership last year.
Signing Up my Son
I knew my son would be a different story. Since he never had Global Entry, he would for sure have to have an interview and fingerprints appointment at the airport. Appointments are hard to get, and our next flight was only 6 weeks away.
So, I decided to simply sign him up for TSA Precheck instead of Global Entry. TSA Precheck memberships are processed much more quickly, usually within 2-3 weeks. Also, we could do his interview and fingerprints at a processing center much closer to our house. We obtained a Saturday appointment for him, and we hope to have his membership number before our spring break flight.
Of course, the down side of him getting TSA Precheck instead of Global Entry is that he won’t have expedited processing when returning from international trips. But, we’re ok with that for now. The truth is, I’ve never used that Global Entry benefit since my two younger kids have never had their own Global Entry memberships. While they can go with us in TSA Precheck lines for free when they are 12 and under, that benefit doesn’t apply to Global Entry privileges.
Cards that Offer Reimbursement for Global Entry and TSA Precheck
Many travel credit cards offer a credit for Global Entry and TSA Precheck. Since Global Entry is only $15 more and includes TSA Precheck, many travelers opt for Global Entry.
My family owns four credit cards that offer a credit: Chase Sapphire Reserve, Capital One Venture Rewards, United Explorer Card and IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. Other cards that have this benefit include the Amex Platinum, Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant Amex, Bank of America Premium Rewards card and Citi/Advantage Executive World Elite Mastercard.
Are you hooked on the fast lane at airports? Or, is the regular security line no big deal?
Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.