Credit cards with a TSA PreCheck benefit allow U.S. travelers to travel domestically without having to spend excessive time in security lines. With PreCheck, you don’t have to take off your shoes or dump out certain things from your luggage. It costs $85 for 5 years, which is worth it if you travel a lot – and it’s especially worth it if your credit card pays for it anyway. All you have to do to get it is pay the fee and submit to an in-person interview, background check, and fingerprinting.
Just make sure to charge the TSA PreCheck application fee to your credit card. The card issuer will automatically give you a statement credit for the fee after it’s charged to your card.
Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are both programs that speed up the airport security process. Global Entry makes it easy to re-enter the U.S. by airport, and TSA PreCheck is intended for domestic airport travel.
If you travel a lot, it’s a no-brainer to sign up for one of these programs. And if you’re already planning on signing up, it’s an excellent extra benefit to look for in a credit card.
Here’s a list of credit cards that pay for Global Entry or TSA Precheck applications:
It’s important to keep in mind that when your credit card offers Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, usually you will have to pick one or the other. After you sign up through the Trusted Traveler Program website, pay the fee ($100 for Global Entry, $85 for TSA PreCheck) with your credit card, and you’ll be automatically reimbursed for the fee on your statement. Most credit cards that offer this benefit will only reimburse one fee every 5 years, so choose wisely. Because Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck, it’s often best to just get Global Entry to cover all bases.
Complimentary Hotel Status: Cardholders can enroll in Hilton Honors and Marriott Bonvoy as Gold-level members free of charge. Members get complimentary room upgrades and more opportunities to earn free nights.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck Credit: Credit for the Global Entry application fee or the TSA PreCheck application fee. Both services expedite airport screening.
Travel insurance: Includes several insurance benefits, such as trip delay insurance, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, lost/damaged baggage insurance, and rental car insurance.
Fine Hotels & Resorts: Extra benefits when you book certain accommodations, like free room upgrades, free daily breakfast for two people, free Wi-Fi, and unique amenities depending on the location.
Travel Spending Rewards: New cardholders get a welcome offer of 80,000 points for spending $6,000 in the first 6 months. You also earn extensive ongoing rewards, including 5 points / $1 spent on flights (up to $500,000 spent per year) or prepaid hotels booked through Amex Travel. Points do not expire as long as the account remains open.
Despite all of the American Express Platinum card travel benefits, its $695 annual fee might still be too much for you, if you don't travel or spend enough to offset its cost. There are some other good options, fortunately. One of the best is the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card; you’ll earn 60,000 points when you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months, and the annual fee is just $95. And that's in addition to several other benefits and rewards that come with Chase Sapphire Preferred.
The best travel credit card with no annual fee is the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card because it offers an initial bonus of 25,000 points. It also rewards cardholders with unlimited 1.5 points / $1 spent on all purchases. Plus, the Bank of America Travel Rewards credit card has a 0% foreign transaction fee in addition to its $0 annual fee.
If you aren’t planning to go anywhere too adventurous, consider the Discover it® Miles. Discover is not accepted in as many international locations as Visa or Mastercard, but its U.S. acceptance is pretty good. Discover it Miles also has good rewards. It offers 1.5 miles per $1 on all purchases, doubled the first year.
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