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Update: The Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve credit card offer in this post is no longer available, but check Hot Deals for the latest offers!
Did you know TSA PreCheck is NOT the only way to skip long security lines at airports?
And folks with Visa Signature cards can try CLEAR free for 6 months! Plus, you won’t have to wait in line with over 1 million travelers who’ve registered for TSA PreCheck!
But CLEAR is NOT for everyone. I’ll explain!
What Is CLEAR?
CLEAR members save time by joining shorter airport security lines at certain US airports.
Just look for the CLEARlane at TSA airport checkpoints. CLEAR staff will assist you with swiping your card. Then you’ll scan your finger to prove your identity and be escorted through the screening.
Attendants will even get the bins ready for you as part of their concierge service! However, you still have to take off your shoes and remove your computer, just like everyone else.
CLEAR is only currently available 10 US airports, with 2 more coming this summer:
- Baltimore – Washington (BWI – coming soon)
- Dallas – Fort Worth (DFW)
- Denver (DEN)
- Houston (George Bush – IAH)
- Houston (Hobby – HOU)
- Las Vegas (LAS)
- Miami (MIA – coming soon)
- Orlando (MCO)
- San Antonio (SAT)
- San Jose (SJC)
- San Francisco (SFO)
- Westchester County (HPN)
Who Can Become a CLEAR Member?
Any US citizen or permanent resident age 18 and over can become a CLEAR member, so long as they have:
- A US Passport or US issued Permanent Resident card, and
- A secondary ID such as drivers license or military ID
All identification must be current, valid, and have a photo.
A great perk is that children under 18 can use the CLEARlane without a card as long as they are with a family member who is a CLEAR member.
CLEAR does NOT do background checks! They just verify your right to travel and your residency.
Because CLEAR doesn’t do the security screening, folks with criminal records (who might otherwise be ineligible for trusted traveler programs like Global Entry or TSA PreCheck) can apply for CLEAR.
How Do You Sign-Up?
CLEAR has an annual membership fee of $179, or ~$15 per month. You can add an adult family member for $50 per year and your children can come through with you free.
But you can try CLEAR free for 6 months if you have a Visa Signature card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card. Then you’ll get $60 off the annual rate once your membership renews.
To check if you have a Visa Signature card, look for the word “Signature” under the Visa logo on your card.
How Does CLEAR Compare to TSA PreCheck and Global Entry?
Participating TSA PreCheck airlines include:
- Air Canada
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- Sun Country Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin America
To guarantee TSA PreCheck almost all the time, you’ll have to pay $85 and apply through the TSA PreCheck Application Program.
Note: You do NOT get TSA PreCheck on flights on popular discount airlines such as Frontier and Spirit. So folks who fly those airlines might do better with CLEAR if they fly from a CLEAR airport.
Global Entry can also save you time at the airport, because you can skip the long lines at US Customs and Immigration. Plus, you’ll likely be approved for TSA PreCheck on most flights, which gets you through US airport security faster.
There’s a $100 application fee for Global Entry, but your membership lasts 5 years.
And certain credit cards offer a $100 statement credit when you use them to pay for Global Entry, including:
- The Platinum Card from American Express
- The Enhanced Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN
- The Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz
- Citi AAdvantage Executive World Elite Mastercard
- Citi Prestige
Should You Sign-Up for CLEAR?
If you’ve already signed-up for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, CLEAR is probably not worth it for you.
But if you live near 1 of the airports served by CLEAR, it might be worth a try. Especially if you aren’t eligible for trusted traveler programs because of a criminal record.
That said, CLEAR gets mixed reviews from many folks. For example, some previous members have complained that it’s hard to cancel your membership once your free trial is over.
I don’t think I’d pay $179 per year for the service, especially since so few airports are included. But it could be worth it if you:
- Want to try it for 6 months with the free Visa Signature trial
- Live near (or fly frequently from) airports where CLEAR is available
- Can’t pass the background checks required for programs like TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
But CLEAR is currently only available in 10 US airports. You can get TSA PreCheck in over 130 locations (and it’s cheaper)!
Folks who have Visa Signature cards can try CLEAR free for 6 months, then get a $60 discount on the yearly fee. Normally, CLEAR costs $179 per year.
CLEAR may be worth a free trial if you have a Visa Signature card and live near 1 of their included airports. Otherwise, TSA PreCheck is a better deal.
Have you used CLEAR? Please share your experiences in the comments!