If you’re tired of taking off your shoes every time you go through airport security, it’s time to enroll in TSA PreCheck. This trusted traveler program allows people to access a separate security line at the airport and eliminates some of the hassles involved in clearing airport security—but it isn’t free. A five-year TSA PreCheck membership costs $85, which might be a little more than some people want to spend for a more streamlined airport experience.
Luckily, many of the top travel credit cards offer TSA PreCheck reimbursement fees. If you sign up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry with one of these travel credit cards, the cost of your application will be reimbursed. Other credit cards offer rewards that can be redeemed for statement credits, and you can use those credits to help cover the cost of TSA PreCheck.
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time flyer, TSA PreCheck can shorten your trip through airport security and make your entire travel experience run more smoothly. Here’s what you need to know about getting TSA PreCheck with your credit card.
What is TSA PreCheck?
TSA PreCheck is an official trusted traveler program set up through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. After completing a short online application and background check, TSA PreCheck members can use a dedicated security line to pass through airport security. TSA PreCheck members are allowed to leave liquids (3.4 ounces or less) and laptops in their carry-on luggage, and they do not need to remove their shoes, belts or light jackets.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, the majority of TSA PreCheck members take five minutes or less to clear airport security.
How much does TSA PreCheck cost?
TSA PreCheck membership costs $85 and lasts for five years. Your TSA PreCheck membership gets you access to dedicated security lines and expedited security procedures at U.S. airports. If you travel internationally and would like to shorten your trips through customs, consider applying for Global Entry instead of TSA PreCheck. Global Entry includes all the benefits of TSA PreCheck plus expedited customs screening for travelers entering the United States, and membership costs $100 for five years.
Credit cards that reimburse your TSA PreCheck fees generally reimburse Global Entry fees as well, so choose the program that makes the most sense for your travel habits.
How can a credit card help you get TSA PreCheck?
There are two ways in which a credit card can help you get TSA PreCheck. Some travel credit cards offer TSA PreCheck and Global Entry reimbursement fees. If you apply for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry and pay the fee with a credit card that offers reimbursement, you’ll receive a statement credit to cover the cost of your application.
Other credit cards allow you to earn rewards that you can put towards your TSA PreCheck application, whether you redeem those rewards for statement credits or use them to pay for TSA PreCheck directly. A cash back rewards card can even help you pay off your TSA PreCheck fee!
Top travel credit cards for TSA PreCheck
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is a good choice for your first travel credit card. If you use your Capital One Venture Rewards card to pay for your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application, you can receive up to a $100 credit for the application fee.
The Capital One Venture Rewards card also earns unlimited 2X miles on all purchases and 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel. New cardholders also have the opportunity to earn 60,000 bonus miles when they spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening (equal to $600 in travel). That more than justifies the card’s $95 annual fee.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a premium Capital One travel card, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is a great option. Its annual fee is on the lower end for premium travel cards at $395 and you can add up to four authorized users for no additional fee. You’ll get 10X miles on hotels and rental cars and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel, plus 2X miles on everything else. Other perks include: up to a $300 annual credit for bookings made on Capital One Travel; 10,000 bonus miles every account anniversary (equal to $100 towards travel); up to a $100 credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry; and unlimited access to Capital One Lounges and 1,300+ Priority Pass lounges internationally.
Additionally, the card has a great welcome bonus: new cardholders can earn 100,000 bonus miles (equal to $1,000 in travel) after spending $10,000 on purchases within the first six months. And for a limited time, cardholders can earn up to $200 in statement credits when purchasing vacation rentals through websites like Airbnb and VRBO.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
If you’re ready to maximize your travel credit card rewards, it’s time to think about applying for The Platinum Card from American Express. The Platinum Card is one of the best cards for international travel, and TSA PreCheck or Global Entry reimbursement (up to $100 application fee credit) is just one of the many perks you’ll receive as a cardholder.
With the Platinum Amex, you’ll earn 5X points on directly booked airfare and flights booked through American Express Travel on up to $500,000 of these purchases per calendar year; 5X points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel; 2X points on prepaid car rentals through American Express Travel; and 1X points on other purchases. Additionally, the card includes a welcome offer of 100,000 bonus points if you make $6,000 in purchases in the first six months of card membership.
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with a $695 annual fee, which means it’s not for everybody—but if you’re a serious traveler, this card can help you earn some serious rewards.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® card is one of our favorite travel credit cards. You can get a lot out of the Chase Sapphire Reserve if you take advantage of all its benefits and rewards—which is why the $550 annual fee might not be so bad. When you factor in your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry statement credit (up to $100), a $300 annual travel credit and the bonus you earn when you use your points to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, this card becomes much more affordable.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve offers 3X points on travel and restaurant purchases; 10X points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2022); 10X points on Chase Dining purchases; 10X points on hotels and car rentals through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 5X points on air travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards; and 1X points on all other purchases. New cardholders will also earn 50,000 bonus points if they spend $4,000 in the first three months of card ownership. On top of that, your point value increases by 50 percent if you use your points to book travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards, which means your 50,000 bonus points are worth $750. You can also transfer your points to select travel partners at a 1:1 ratio.
The bottom line
If you want to apply for TSA PreCheck, there are a lot of credit cards out there that will help you cover the cost. Whether you choose a card that reimburses your TSA PreCheck fees or a card that helps you earn statement credits, you have plenty of options to save on the cost of your TSA PreCheck membership—and once you’ve got that TSA PreCheck stamp on your boarding pass, you’ll be able to save time (and effort) at the airport.