Make traveling easier by using these tips & tricks for getting through airport security fast!
Airport security is known to a be pesky and draining part of traveling. However, it doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Take a look at this guide to learn how you can make the long process shorter and easier during your next trip.
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Sign Up For TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
For frequent flyers, TSA PreCheck or Global Entry is a must. Joining these programs will get you access to reduced security measures.
TSA PreCheck costs $85 for five years of eligibility and includes the following:
- Access to expedited security lines.
- No need to remove your shoes, belt or light jacket.
- No need to remove your laptop or 3-1-1 liquids from your bag.
- Available for domestic flights at 200+ airports with 35+ airlines.
Global Entry costs $100 for five years or eligibility and includes the following:
- TSA PreCheck benefits.
- Available for international flights returning to the United States.
- Access to automatic kiosks that scan your passport and fingerprint.
- Faster customs screening.
- Expedited processing at land borders.
Best Airline Credit Cards For Global Entry & TSA PreCheck
Read our post on The Best Credit Cards For Global Entry & TSA PreCheck to see the best travel credit cards that offer reimbursement for your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fee. For now, here are a some notable credit cards to consider:
The United Explorer Card includes the Global Entry/TSA PreCheck waiver every four years. You’ll see the credit post within 24 hours of paying the application fee.
The United Explorer Card offers 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.
• Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining, hotel stays, and United purchases
• Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on dining including eligible delivery services
Perks of this card include:
• Getting up to $100 Global Entry, TSA PreCheck or NEXUS fee credit
• Get your first bag checked for free (up to $140 savings per roundtrip). Terms apply.
• Get priority boarding perks & visit the United Club with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
• 25% back as a statement credit on purchases of food, beverages and Wi-Fi on board United-operated flights and on Club premium drinks
• Get one-year complimentary DashPass, a membership for both DoorDash and Caviar that provides unlimited deliveries with $0 delivery fees and lower service fees on eligible orders. After that, you are automatically enrolled in DashPass at the current monthly rate. Activate by 12/31/24.
This card does come with a $95 annual fee, however, the annual fee is waived for the first year.
With the Delta SkyMiles Platinum American Express Card, you can take advantage of one Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit every four years. The credit will post to your account up to eight weeks after the charge to your card.
The Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card offers 80,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months.
Earn up to 20,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
You can earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels; 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery, and at U.S. supermarkets; 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases.
This card comes with a $250 Annual Fee, but for each round trip Delta flight, you can check your first bag for free and save up to $240. In addition, there is no foreign transaction fee. You'll also get fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre?®. (See Rates & Fees).
The Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard offers a statement credit for the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every five years. The credit will hit your account within eight to ten weeks from the charge to your card.
The Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite MasterCard® offers 50,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $5,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening. Plus, earn 10,000 AAdvantage® Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) after you spend $40,000 in purchases within the year.
• 2 AAdvantage miles for every $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases
• 1 AAdvantage mile for every $1 spent on other purchases
• 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage mile earned from purchases
This card comes with $450 annual fee, however, there are no foreign transaction fees. You can also save when traveling - first checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to 8 companions traveling with you on the same reservation.
On top of that, you'll get an Admirals Club® membership for you and access for up to two guests or immediate family members traveling with you.
Get CLEAR Expedited Security
Similarly to TSA PreCheck and Global Entry, CLEAR is a new expedited security program that utilizes fingerprint and iris scanning to get you through airport security checkpoints quickly. This program costs $179 a year but you also can opt to add a family member for $50 annually. As for children, those under 18 are free.
To make things even sweeter, CLEAR members also get access to an expedited security line before TSA PreCheck members (where available). This innovative program is currently operating at over 25 airports. CLEAR is partnered with Delta, as a result CLEAR is free for Delta Diamond Medallions. Other Delta elite status members and credit cardholders enjoy a discount on their CLEAR membership.
Not only do premium class passengers get to enjoy a more luxurious flight experience, they also get access to expedited security lines!
|Airline||Expedited Security For…|
|Alaska Airlines||First Class|
|American Airlines||Priority AAcess, Business Class, First Class|
|Delta Airlines||SkyPriority, Delta One, First Class|
|JetBlue||Even More Space, Mint|
|Southwest Airlines||Business Select|
|United Airlines||Premier Access, Business Class, First Class|
Earn Airline Elite Status
Airline elite status, helps you get through airport security more efficiently. Carriers will typically allow their mid- and high-tier elites to access priority security lines. Depending on the program, you might even be able to get your travel companions through expedited security as well.
|Airline||Expedited Security For…|
|Alaska Airlines MVP||Gold, Gold 75K|
|American Airlines AAdvantage||Gold, Platinum, Executive Platinum|
|Delta Medallion||Gold, Platinum, Diamond|
|Southwest Airlines A-List||A-List, A-List Preferred|
|United Airlines Premium||Silver, Gold, Platinum, Premier 1K|
Look for our upcoming post Credit Cards That Help You Earn Airline Elite Status for a list of cobranded airline credit cards that offer complimentary elite status.
Airport Security Tips
If you don’t get the chance to go through one of the avenues that we’ve mentioned above, you can still speed up the process of airport security. The following tips will help make the process more bearable:
Pick your airport wisely: If you have a choice between flying out of a big airport versus a smaller airport, we recommend opting for the smaller one. With a smaller airport, you’ll be able to avoid larger crowd and longer lines.
Fly during off-peak travel times: Avoid flights that depart at peak travel times. These time include Friday afternoons between 4pm and 8pm, Monday mornings and major holidays. This tip not only helps you get through security faster, it also gives you a chance to find cheaper flights.
Dress smart: Make sure to think ahead of time for your traveling outfit. You will to not only be more comfortable but also be able to get in and out of security faster. Wear shoes that you can quickly take off and put on, avoid wearing belts and jewelry, and wear a jacket with big pockets. A big jacket is a great place to easily put your phone, wallet and passport away before snagging the rest of your stuff.
Know the rules: If you pack prohibited items, then this will lead to a thorough search of your bags. In addition to wasting time, security will toss any items you can’t bring on the plane.
Check airport security wait times: Use apps like MyTSA and TripIt to monitor airport security wait time. That way you can plan when you need to leave for the airport.
This post highlights the best credit cards for families traveling. If you want to learn more about different credit cards and their benefits, check out some of our other posts:
The airport tends to be a stressful experience for travelers. Make traveling a little easier for yourself by spending less time in airport security with these tips and tricks!
Whether you decide to sign up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, get a CLEAR membership, fly premium class and/or earn elite status, cutting back on time will lead to a more fun and relaxing trip. For more credit cards, see our latest list of the best credit card bonuses!