TSA Pre-Check and Global Entry costs $85-$100. My husband, son, and I all have done the pre approval process and paid nothing.
There are many credit card offers available to you that include an offer to pay for your TSA pre-approval. Here are some that we have used, that also have other terrific benefits!
I paid $400 for the Ritz Carlton credit card from Chase. And I received benefits that were worth thousands! The first benefit is a $300 credit to use towards airline fees, which includes the TSA pre approval! We used $100 of that for my son’s approval, because now that he is over 12, he cannot ride our coattails through the process. And he never could for the Global Entry, all ages require that, so now we can go to Europe without extra travel time upon our return through customs! This credit also covers food bought on the plane, luggage expenses, and seat upgrades.
I had to spend a certain amount of money for the other benefits to kick in from this credit card, but with my son’s sleep-away camp cost, I had no trouble reaching that amount. That is when I became entitled to two free nights at a Ritz Carlton. That is worth over a thousand dollars!
Additionally, with the card, you get a free room upgrade when you pay for a room. You can get upgraded to the concierge level! My family told me about this card because they use it on their annual Puerto Rico trip over the Thanksgiving holidays: they upgrade to the concierge floor where there is a room with free food and drinks (including alcohol) all day long. They eat breakfast and lunch in there, get snacks all day, and bring free alcohol drinks to their dinner! This can be quite a savings overall! For those who travel regularly, this is a great value, even after the first year when you no longer get two free nights. And if you do not think the value is there after the bonus offer, then cancel the card after your first year, you will have made your value on the deal!
The second credit card deal that we used was with the American Express Platinum Card. This card is pricier, but they offered us 50,000 miles for signing up, which is worth $500. The Amex TSA deal is for reimbursement, and with a second card that cost an additional sum, Peter and I both did our pre-approval. We then became eligible for an additional $200 of airline expense credit. It is less of a credit than the Ritz card, and more restrictive, as you have to pick an airline to use it towards. The fine print does say however, you can change your choice if needed.
You also get free entry into the Delta first class lounge with the Platinum card. If you are a frequent Delta traveler, that may have a large value for you. I have downgraded the Amex card to save money, after we took advantage of all they had to offer. I may have gotten another Platinum card this year under my business (the blog) for a signing bonus of 100,000 miles. Boy did that free entry into the Delta lounge come in handy when I was snowed in at the airport for 12 hours on the way to the Dad 2.0 conference!
And then we got the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card! Again, before any large expense, like my son’s Bar Mitzvah down payment, or his annual camp payment, or anything else that is several thousand dollars, I try to apply for a credit card with an awesome bonus. Since we pay our credit cards off in full every month, we do not pay any interest, and we get some great deals. In this case, I am receiving 100,000 miles which I can convert into a $1,000 deposited directly into my checking account! I also get a $300 travel bonus, which instead of using for an airline, I was able to get the credit for my monthly parking here in NYC! I was shocked and thrilled. After one year with this card, that costs $450, I will have received $1300. Can you beat that!