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Get priority security without being an ‘elite’ level flyer

by on Wed November 7, 2012 • No Comment

The TSA has unveiled a program called ‘PreCheck’ at over 25 airports across the country that offers a great thing – the ability to go through security without the hassles of removing your shoes, liquids bag, and laptop. It’s like going through the metal detector in the 80s. And no annoying full body scan.

Once you’re eligible, you get to use  specially marked ‘PreCheck’ lanes (that are much shorter than the usual lines) and scan your boarding pass. If it beeps three times, you get the special ‘easy’ treatment. If you don’t, you get the normal screening, but still get to cut the regular line – even if you’re not a frequent flyer, which can save a lot of time if you don’t normally get priority security lane access. You’re also allowed to bring your kids age 12 and under with you through the lanes. Just note the special screening is only eligible on domestic itineraries.

So how do you get in on this?

1) You can be invited by your airline as a top level frequent flyer. That’s great for heavy business travelers, not much help for a lot of us.


2) You automatically get enrolled if you purchase ‘Global Entry’ membership with your passport

What is this ‘Global Entry‘? Well it’s a great program that lets you zip past the immigration lines when you return to the United States, using a kiosk where you put your handprints for quick verification. It costs just $100 for 5 years worth of membership. And to apply, you fill out forms online, then go to a nearby international airport for an interview, where your membership will be activated.

The key here is…Global Entry also makes you eligible for the ‘Pre Check’ program.

Once you’re set up in Global Entry, just put your ‘trusted traveler’ ID — there are instructions on where to find it here. Enter that ID into the frequent flyer profile of each of your airline accounts (you can usually find it in the ‘manage my profile’ or similar section) and you will be considered for the special screening on your trips.

So how can you get this without paying $100…

Well the Platinum Card from American Express will refund you the $100 fee if you charge it to your card.

United Airlines will also refund it for its top level frequent flyers.

Either way, $100 may be well worth skipping a lot of lines over the next 5 years.


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