No doubt that one of the least enjoyable parts of air travel is airport security. However, there’s a straightforward way to speed your way through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints: TSA PreCheck.

Today, yet another airline joined TSA PreCheck. With almost all major airlines already participating, this addition isn’t as notable. California-based commuter airline Advanced Air just joined the already long list of TSA PreCheck participating airlines.

Still, this is a great time to review why you should enroll in PreCheck, all 83 participating airlines, and the credit cards that will reimburse the cost of your application as a cardholder benefit.

What is TSA PreCheck?

By enrolling in TSA PreCheck, travelers get to skip the normal shoes-off liquids-out slow-moving standard airport security screening. Instead, you use a dedicated security lane where you just plop your bags on the belt and walk through a normal metal detector.

TSA-PreCheck-no-need-to-remove-graphic

Clear Security in Under 5 Minutes

Almost all TSA PreCheck travelers clear through security in less than 5 minutes. In fact, according to TSA data, 93% of PreCheck passengers waited less than 5 minutes to clear security in May 2022.

Over 200 Airports with TSA PreCheck

There are more than 200 airports that participate in TSA PreCheck, including all major airports in the U.S. You can browse an interactive map with all participating airports on the TSA website.

How to Get TSA PreCheck

TSA PreCheck is available to U.S. citizens, nationals, and legal permanent residents. All you need to do to enroll is take 5 minutes to fill out and submit an online application. Then, you’ll schedule a background check appointment at one of 380+ enrollment centers where you will be fingerprinted. Assuming you successfully complete your background check, you will be enrolled in the TSA PreCheck program within a couple of weeks.

Once you are enrolled, you will be assigned a Known Traveler Number, which can be added to your frequent flyer accounts and/or air travel reservations so that airlines are aware of your membership. This will allow participating airlines to add a TSA PreCheck indicator on your boarding pass. That will allow you to use the PreCheck security lines at participating airports.

TSA PreCheck Cost

What would you pay for 5 years of avoiding needing to remove your shoes, laptop, liquids, belts, and light jackets when going through TSA? The great news is that the application fee is quite reasonable: $85. That’s just $17 per year.

Even better, you can get this application fee refunded if you charge the application fee to one of the dozens of credit cards. We will show you how further down in this post. So, don’t head over to the PreCheck application page quite yet!

Is Global Entry Better Than TSA PreCheck?

Global Entry is a program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Global Entry membership includes enrollment in TSA PreCheck. At $100, the Global Entry application fee is only $15 higher than the TSA PreCheck application fee. The Global Entry membership period is also 5-years long.

If you fly internationally at least once within a 5-year period, Global Entry membership is likely the better choice. However, there are fewer Global Entry enrollment centers, so it can be harder for some travelers to enroll in Global Entry. If you’re an infrequent international traveler, enrolling in TSA PreCheck may be the more practical option.

TSA PreCheck Participating Airlines

The number of airlines participating in the TSA PreCheck program has grown significantly over the past few years. In May 2016, only 12 airlines participated in TSA PreCheck. Since then, we have seen a massive expansion:

  • January 2017: Aruba Airlines, Avianca, Boutique Airlines, Emirates, Key Lime Air, Miami Air International, Xtra Airways, Sunwing, Virgin Atlantic, Spirit Airlines, and Southern Airways Express
  • May 2017: Copa Airlines, Dominican Wings, InterCaribbean Airways, Silver Airways, Singapore Airlines, Swift Air, Turkish Airlines
  • October 2017: All Nippon Airways (ANA), Cathay Pacific Airways, Contour Aviation, Finnair, Korean Air
  • May 2018: Air Serbia, British Airways, Condor Airlines, Porter Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Thomas Cook Airlines (UK), Thomas Cook Airlines (Scandanavia)
  • August 2018: SWISS International Airlines
  • October 2018: Flycana, Icelandair, Norwegian Air, ViaAir
  • February 2019: Air India, Asiana Airlines, China Airlines, Eastern Airlines, Elite Airways, EVA Air, Japan Airlines, TAP Air Portugal, Volaris
  • April 2019: Edelweiss Air, Qatar Airways
  • August 2019: Austrian Airlines, Azul Airlines, Interjet, PAL Express, Swoop, VivaAerobus
  • December 2019: Alitalia Airlines, Qantas Airways, Sunclass
  • March 2021: Aerolane Lineas Aereas Nacionales del Ecuador, Air Choice One, LATAM Airlines, LAN Peru S.A., TAM-Linhas Aereas S.A., Omni Air International, Ultimate Jet Charters
  • May 2021: Breeze Airways
  • November 2021: El Al and Global Crossings
  • December 2021: Avelo Airlines
  • February 2022: Eurowings Discover and Viva Air Colombia
  • June 2022: Advanced Air

Credit Cards that Provide TSA PreCheck Enrollment or Renewal Fee Credit

Thanks to a large number of credit cards that provide credits in connection to applications or renewals for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, you can enjoy all the advantages provided by either of these programs just by having the right card. These credit cards include the following:

Card Credit Frequency Annual Fee
The Platinum Card® from American Express 4 years $695 (Rates & Fees)
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express 4 years $695 (Rates & Fees)
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card 4 years $450 (Rates & Fees)
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card 4 years $250 (Rates & Fees)
Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card 4 years $250 (Rates & Fees)
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card 4 years $550 (Rates & Fees)
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card 4 years $550 (Rates & Fees)
Chase Sapphire Reserve® 4 years $550
The Ritz-Carlton™ Credit Card 4 years $450
United Club℠ Infinite Card 4 years $525
United℠ Explorer Card 4 years $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95
United Quest℠ Card 4 years $250
Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card 4 years $199
IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card 4 years $99
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card 4 years $95
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card 4 years $395
Capital One Spark Miles for Business 4 years $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® 5 years $450
Citi Prestige® Card 5 years $495
U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card 4 years $400
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card 4 years $95
HSBC Premier World Mastercard® credit card 5 years (TSA PreCheck only) $0
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard® credit card 5 years (TSA PreCheck only) $395

Enrollment is required for select Amex benefits.

Bottom Line

TSA PreCheck can be worth it for even the infrequent traveler. Sure, you need to fill out an application and go through a screening, but both should only take a few minutes. And the small amount of cost and effort can really pay off in time savings (and less frustration) at the airport.

If you travel internationally, you’re likely better off enrolling in Global Entry. You’ll get all of the benefits of TSA PreCheck along with being able to speed through immigration when re-entering the United States. The only downside is needing to schedule an interview at a limited number of locations.

If you’re a points and miles collector, it’s likely that you already have a credit card that will refund the application fee. Just pay for your application or renewal fee with one of the credit cards mentioned above to receive a credit reimbursing you for the fee. And, if you already have TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, you can use your card to pay for someone else’s application fee. Just make sure to carefully read the terms and limitations on your card before doing so.

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