How to Get Through Airport Security Faster With TSA PreCheck

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Update:  You can no longer randomly get TSA PreCheck just by being a member of a participating airline frequent flyer program.

Million Mile Secrets reader Nirlay emailed:

Hi Daraius

Last week I went on a domestic flight from Boston to Houston via United Airlines and I got a free TSA PreCheck. That was indeed the best airport experience I’ve ever had.

Do you have any insights why I was bestowed with that? I had elite status a few years ago, but not anymore. Is there anything one can do to get future TSA PreCheck ?

How To Get Through Airport Security Faster With TSA PreCheck

How Can Nirlay Get TSA PreCheck?

There are a few ways Nirlay can get TSA PreCheck when he flies, which I’ll explain below.

TSA PreCheck

Link:   TSA PreCheck 

With TSA PreCheck Nirlay can go through the airport security check point faster.

With TSA PreCheck, Nirlay does NOT have to remove:

  • His belt
  • His shoes
  • His jacket or sweater
  • His toiletries (if in a 3-1-1 compliant bag)
  • His laptop
How To Get Through Airport Security Faster With TSA PreCheck

Having TSA PreCheck Means You Can Leave Your Laptop in Your Suitcase

How to Get TSA PreCheck

Not all folks can get TSA PreCheck.

Only certain people are eligible for TSA PreCheck:

How To Get Through Airport Security Faster With TSA PreCheck

If Nirlay Has Global Entry He’s Eligible for TSA PreCheck

You don’t have to be an elite member with a participating airline.  But you do have to opt-in for the TSA PreCheck program.

Participating TSA PreCheck Airlines include:

How To Get Through Airport Security Faster With TSA PreCheck

If Nirlay Has a Known Traveler Number and Is Flying Air Canada, He’s Eligible for TSA PreCheck

Because Nirlay is a US citizen and a member of United Airlines frequent flyer program he was eligible for TSA PreCheck on his United Airlines flight from Boston to Houston.  Nirlay could have been randomly selected because of his eligibility or because TSA randomly selects folks.

Update:  You will no longer get randomly selected for TSA PreCheck!

So when you’re traveling on a TSA PreCheck airline, check your boarding pass to see if you were chosen!

You aren’t guaranteed TSA PreCheck all the time, either, but most folks have a rate of close to 100% with the TSA PreCheck Application program.

TSA PreCheck Application Program

Link:   TSA PreCheck Application Program

Nirlay could also get TSA PreCheck by applying for the TSA PreCheck Application Program.

Nirlay isn’t guaranteed to get TSA PreCheck based on his frequent flyer status with United Airlines.  So he should apply for the TSA PreCheck Application program separately to be assured that he gets it for most flights.

He can apply for the TSA PreCheck program if he’s a US citizen or lawful permanent resident without a criminal record.  A nonrefundable application fee of $85 is required.  Nirlay gets an $85 TSA PreCheck credit with his American Express Platinum card.

How To Get Through Airport Security Faster With TSA PreCheck

The American Express Platinum Cards Gives Nirlay an $85 TSA PreCheck Credit

If approved, Nirlay receives a Known Traveler Number which is valid for 5 years.

That said, it is better to spend $15 more and apply for Global Entry which allows you to clear US customs and immigration quickly.

However, the background check for Global Entry is much stricter than the background check for TSA PreCheck.  So TSA PreCheck is likely easier to get approved for if you’ve done things in college (or elsewhere) which are on your permanent record! 🙂

Global Entry

Link:   Global Entry

If Nirlay has Global Entry (which allows him to clear US customs and immigration quickly), he automatically gets TSA PreCheck.  He can apply for Global Entry if he is a:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Lawful permanent resident of the US
  • Dutch citizen
  • South Korean citizen
  • Mexican national

A $100 nonrefundable application fee is required when Nirlay applies for Global Entry.  He gets a $100 Global Entry credit if he has an American Express Platinum or Citi Prestige card.  Or if Nirlay has United Airlines elite status (Platinum or 1K).

How To Get Through Airport Security Faster With TSA PreCheck

Nirlay’s American Express Platinum, Citi Prestige and Virgin Atlantic Cards Can Get Him a $100 Global Entry Credit

Global Entry is valid for 5 years.

NEXUS

Link:   NEXUS

Nirlay can get TSA PreCheck if he is a NEXUS member and is a US citizen, lawful permanent resident, or Canadian citizen.

As a NEXUS member, Nirlay can get through security faster at airports, borders, and marine ports of entry.

A $50 nonrefundable application fee is required.

NEXUS is valid for 5 years.

How To Get Through Airport Security Faster With TSA PreCheck

With NEXUS, Nirlay Can Avoid Long Lines at Airports & Borders

Sentri

Link:   SENTRI

If Nirlay has a Sentri membership and is a US citizen or permanent resident, he can get TSA PreCheck.

Sentri membership gets Nirlay a dedicated lane to come back into the US from Mexico when driving across the border.

A nonrefundable fee of ~$122 is required for Sentri membership.  Sentri is valid for 5 years.

How To Get Through Airport Security Faster With TSA PreCheck

Sentri Membership Gives Nirlay a Dedicated Lane To Enter the US From Mexico

Bottom Line

TSA PreCheck lets Nirlay go through airport security faster.

Nirlay is eligible for TSA PreCheck under a number of circumstances such as being a US citizen and member of a participating airline’s frequent flyer program or by being in the military.  Nirlay automatically gets TSA PreCheck if he has Global Entry.

Or he can apply for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

Nirlay can get a $100 Global Entry credit if he has an American Express Platinum or Citi Prestige card.  Or if he has United Airlines elite status (Platinum or 1K).

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10 responses to “How to Get Through Airport Security Faster With TSA PreCheck

  1. My mother got TSA Pre-check, all the time she flew this yr, she is not US citizens or permanent resident, she visits me once every 2 yr, she has visitors visa. I don’t know if age has anything to do with it, she is over 50

  2. I have the Pre-check, not sure if she got it because I booked her ticket with mine.

  3. I have Global Entry and there have been several occasions flying on Southwest in the last few months that I have NOT received TSA Precheck. It is a real pain when the other members of my family receive but I am the only one who hasn’t and they have to wait on me.

  4. The Chase Ritz-Carlton rewards credit card also gives credit for the Glabal Entry fee as a part of its $300 annual travel credit.

  5. Linda, I’ve had the same situation with TSA Pre not showing up on my Southwest boarding pass when I first got Global Entry. If you talk to a Southwest rep at the check-in desk, they have the ability to reprint your boarding pass with TSA Pre authorization. It helps if you have your Global Entry ID card with you.

  6. I wish they had a Pre-check line and a line for the random Pre-check folks. The random folks don’t know what is going on and slow everything down. At MCO on Friday they had to have two TSA folks yelling not to take off shoes etc. and people were still slowing things down. It was was faster than regular security which looked like a zoo.

  7. FYI I just got global entry and asked re: whether a friend could get it given an arrest he had in college. They said if it was a one time thing over 10 years ago it was fine. So it isn’t that stringent…

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  9. I have both TSA Precheck and Global Entry, applied for separately. My understanding is that an airline must pay to be allowed to participate in the TSA Precheck program (which, according to Global Entry is DOMESTIC only). Hence budget airlines (Spirit and the like) don’t see any value for them so you don’t get to use it. So the traveler pays AND the airlines pay. This makes no sense. Not only that but the agencies do not communicate with one another. As one agent said, “They don’t even LIKE each other.” Recently, there was an article in the paper bemoaning the long security lines and how folks aren’t participating in TSA Precheck. Seems to me the traveler should have a card and that should allow them to frequent the Precheck line. What do the airlines have to do with it?

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