Best credit cards for Global Entry reimbursement

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The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program known as Global Entry allows travelers to skip through customs and immigration clearance lines when arriving back to the United States after traveling overseas. While there’s no guarantee in terms of how much time you can save with this membership, you can expect to shave an hour or more off of your arrival time depending on the day.

When you sign up for Global Entry, you also receive a TSA PreCheck® membership, allowing you to enter expedited security lines at U.S. airports. Additionally, you can avoid the most tedious components of regular airport security like having to remove your shoes and take your laptop out of your bag.

Credit cards cover Global Entry fees

While neither of these memberships is free, a handful of popular travel credit cards include Global Entry membership or TSA PreCheck® credit as a cardholder benefit. This means that once you apply and are approved for a credit card that offers this perk, you can use the card to pay for either membership and see the fee reimbursed automatically.

The top travel and airline credit cards that offer this benefit and plenty of other perks are as follows:

Chase Sapphire Reserve® Global Entry

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points (worth $750 toward travel) when you spend $4,000 in the first three months of account opening
  • Earn 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, immediately after earning your $300 annual travel credit, 10X total points on Lyft purchases (through March 2022) and 1X points on all other purchases
  • $550 annual fee
  • Major cardholder benefits include a $300 annual travel credit for travel purchases made on your card each yearly account anniversary, Priority Pass™ Select airport lounge membership, up to $120 in statement credits on DoorDash purchases and a one-year Lyft Pink membership with 15 percent off rides

Global Entry Benefit: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® comes with a statement credit of up to $100 every four years when you use your credit card to pay for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Global Entry

  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn an unlimited 2X miles for each dollar you spend
  • $95 annual fee
  • Major cardholder benefits include no foreign transaction fees, travel accident insurance, extended warranties and auto rental collision damage waiver

Global Entry Benefit: The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card comes with credit of up to $100 toward Global Entry and TSA PreCheck® every four years when you use your credit card to pay the application fee.

The Platinum Card® from American Express Global Entry

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points when you spend $5,000 on your card within three months of account opening
  • Earn 5X points on flights booked directly with airlines or AmexTravel.com, 5X points on prepaid hotels booked and paid in advance with AmexTravel.com and 1X points on other purchases
  • $550 annual fee
  • Major cardholder benefits include airport lounge access, Gold status with Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy, up to $200 in airline baggage fee statement credits with a qualified airline each calendar year for purchases made with your card and up to $200 in credit toward Uber rides each year

Global Entry Benefit: The Platinum Card® from American Express offers a $100 credit toward Global Entry every four years or an $85 credit toward TSA PreCheck® every 4.5 years.

United℠ Explorer Card Global Entry

  • Earn 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months of account opening
  • Earn 2X miles on United Airlines purchases, restaurants and hotel stays purchased directly with the hotel and 1X miles on other purchases
  • $0 annual fee the first year, then $95
  • Major cardholder benefits include a free first checked bag on United flights for you and a companion (up to $120 per roundtrip), two United Club℠ one-time passes (deposited into your account after account opening and each year for your Cardmember anniversary), 25 percent back on in-flight purchases and priority boarding

Global Entry Benefit: The United Explorer Card offers up to a $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA precheck every four years as reimbursement for the application fee when you pay with your card.

The information about the United Explorer Card has been collected independently by Bankrate.com. The card details have not been reviewed or approved by the card issuer.

How to get a Global Entry fee waived with a credit card

If you are planning on applying for Global Entry anyway, it’s smart to consider a credit card that offers this perk for free. However, there are a few steps involved if you want to apply for Global Entry, have your membership approved and get the Global Entry fee removed from your credit card bill.

Step 1: Apply for a credit card with a Global Entry fee credit

The first step is to find a credit card that offers a Global Entry benefit. Make sure to compare credit cards in terms of the additional perks and rewards they offer, as well as the annual fee that is charged.

When you find a credit card that suits your needs, take steps to apply and fill out its application.

Step 2: Create a Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) account

Once you have a credit card that offers a Global Entry credit, you need to create a Trusted Travel Programs account. You can do so using this government website.

You’ll need to provide an array of personal information during the process, ranging from your full name and address to your Social Security number, employment information and any information listed on your passport.

Step 3: Pay the Global Entry fee with your credit card

Once you fill out your application for a Trusted Travelers Programs account, you’ll be asked to pay the fee to apply. To have the Global Entry fee reimbursed by your credit card, you must use the credit card that offers this perk to pay.

Once you pay the $100 fee for Global Entry and submit your application, U.S. Customs and Border Protection will begin looking over your application.

Step 4: Set up an interview and get approved

If your application is conditionally approved, you’ll be asked to set up an in-person interview. Note that you can only complete your interview at a Global Entry Enrollment Station, and these locations are not available in every major city.

Either way, find the closest enrollment center and set up your appointment.

Step 5: Watch for the fee credit to appear on your credit card statement

Whether you’re approved for Global Entry or not, your credit card issuer will automatically apply your Global Entry fee credit to your account. Remember credit cards that offer this benefit typically let you use it every four years. Since Global Entry membership lasts for five years, this means you could use your credit to renew your Global Entry membership forevermore.

Frequently asked questions about Global Entry

Before you apply for a credit card based on its Global Entry perk, there are plenty of details to first understand about this program. Here are some of the key data points to keep in mind as you apply.

How does Global Entry work?

Global Entry is a government-backed program that allows you to submit your information and qualify for expedited security access when you arrive at U.S. airports after traveling overseas. This program lets you skip the regular customs and immigration lines and move through separate Global Entry lines with other Global Entry members, which can easily save you hours upon your arrival in the United States.

How much does Global Entry cost?

Global Entry membership costs $100, whereas TSA PreCheck® membership is only $85. Both memberships last for five years.

It’s important to note Global Entry membership includes TSA PreCheck® membership, so you can get a membership with both programs for one fee.

How long does the Global Entry approval process take?

Global Entry applications can take up to six months to approve. However, most membership approvals happen on a much faster timeline.

If you’ve submitted an application, you can log into your Trusted Travelers Programs account to check the status at any time.