TSA PreCheck vs CLEAR: Which one is right for you?

Air travel is the ultimate way of getting to your destination as quick as you can. While it might be the quickest, it can also be the most stressful! From making sure we have all of our documents, to making sure we followed any luggage regulations, there is a lot of stress that we go through in order to just get on the plane!

TSA PreCheck and CLEAR are both services you can become a member to in order to cut down your time in security, as well as streamline the process. Here are exactly what both offer, and you can figure out which one, if either, is best for your travel needs!

What is TSA PreCheck?

TSA PreCheck is a program that you can join for $85 for 5 years. As a member, you are sent through an expedited security at domestic airports. PreCheck does not require you to remove belts, shoes, jackets, laptops, or your liquids bag that can seriously slow down the security line at any airport. Keep in mind that you can get Global Entry for only $15 dollars more. This gives you expedited entry back into the United States. If you do a lot of international travel, then Global Entry might be the better option for you!

In order to qualify for PreCheck, you will visit a local office where you answer questions about yourself and travels. If you have ever done a background check for work, then this is exactly what it is. It takes about 15 minutes and can be done whenever is convenient for you.

Some credit cards can give you Global Entry for free!

By now you know tht Global Entry is like the big sister of TSA PreCheck. You get all of the benefits of TSA PreCheck, as well as avoiding the long lines of customs when you are arriving back from international trips! Some credit cards actually offer Global Entry as one of the benefits for being a card holder. This can save you the cost of both TSA PreCheck and Global Entry!

Cards such as the Capitol One Venture Rewards Credit Card, United Explorer Card, IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, Bank of America Premium Rewards Visa, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and American Express platinum all give you the Global Entry benefits.

Keep in mind that each of these cards have their own annual rates and fees, so be sure to check out details of each. If you’re interested in finding out more about any of these cards, this website has a ton of details!

How to use TSA PreCheck!

Once you have been approved for PreCheck, you will receive a KTN, or a Known Traveler Number, that you will put in whenever you book a flight online. When you receive your ticket, you will see a TSA PreCheck icon at the top which allows you access to the line at over 200 airport in the US.

For airports with specific lines, look for the sign to point you to the correct line. If your local airport does not have a designated line, you should receive a slip that you had to the agent at the security line which will give you the same privileges.

Is TSA PreCheck for you?

If you do a lot of domestic travel, then PreCheck is definitely worth the $85 investment. Not only is it going to save you time, but it also cuts down on the stress of making sure you aren’t holding up the security line. Since it is good for five years, it is not something you have to constantly worry about either! This is ideal when you are flying out of larger airports!

What is CLEAR?

Similar to TSA PreCheck, CLEAR is an expedited way for you to travel through security. CLEAR uses biometric authentication to make sure that you are who you are supposed to be. By using fingerprints or simply scanning your eye, it automatically clears you to go ahead to the TSA PreCheck line, no matter how long it is!

CLEAR is available at 18 major airports, as well as 14 stadiums located within the US. Unlike PreCheck, CLEAR never has times when they are not working. CLEAR is $179 per year to become a member, but works with airlines such as Delta to offer additional benefits.

How to use CLEAR!

You can enroll at CLEAR locations, and it takes about 5 minutes. Unlike PreCheck, there is no appointment necessary. Since some people are not able to join PreCheck, CLEAR is the next best way to save time on your way to your destination.

At your airport, there will be a designated line with signs for the CLEAR kiosks. You’ll walk up to a Kiosk and you’ll scan your fingerprint or eye in order to proceed to the next screening.

Is CLEAR right for you?

If you are unable to get PreCheck, then CLEAR is the next best option. Since it operates at fewer airports, you run the risk of not being able to use it. The cost is much higher than PreCheck, but offers an even more expedited screen process than TSA PreCheck. If you have children under the age of 18, they will be included with your membership for free, and additional family members can be added for $50.

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