Who Should Sign-Up for CLEAR Instead of TSA PreCheck?

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Update:   The Citi Executive AAdvantage World Elite MasterCard no longer offers a statement credit for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees.

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? 

You could save time and aggravation by signing-up for CLEAR, which lets you enter dedicated (shorter) screening lanes at certain US 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!

Who Should Sign Up For CLEAR Instead Of TSA PreCheck

You and Your Family Could Get Through Airport Security Lines More Quickly With CLEAR

But CLEAR is NOT for everyone.  I’ll explain!

What Is CLEAR?

Link:   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.

Who Should Sign Up For CLEAR Instead Of TSA PreCheck

Instead of Showing Identification, You’ll Scan Your Fingerprint

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.

Who Should Sign Up For CLEAR Instead Of TSA PreCheck

Children Under 18 Traveling With Their Parents Can Use CLEAR for Free

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?

You can sign-up online and then visit an enrollment center with your ID to submit your fingerprints and an iris image.

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.  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.

Who Should Sign Up For CLEAR Instead Of TSA PreCheck

Visa Signature Cardholders Can Experience Faster Security Lines Free for 6 Months at CLEAR Airports

How Does CLEAR Compare to TSA PreCheck and Global Entry?

TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are other ways to get through airport security faster.

Folks with TSA PreCheck can get through security lines quickly, and you do NOT have to take off your shoes, belt, or jacket.  If you meet the criteria discussed in this post, you could be eligible.

Participating TSA PreCheck airlines include:

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.

Who Should Sign Up For CLEAR Instead Of TSA PreCheck

CLEAR Might Be a Better Option If Your Favorite Airline Isn’t Part of TSA PreCheck

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:

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.

Who Should Sign Up For CLEAR Instead Of TSA PreCheck

Can’t Get TSA PreCheck or Global Entry? CLEAR Might Be an Option for You

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:

Bottom Line

CLEAR is a competitor to TSA PreCheck in helping people bypass long airport security lines.  But unlike TSA PreCheck, you’ll still have to remove your shoes, belt, and computer.

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!

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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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7 responses to “Who Should Sign-Up for CLEAR Instead of TSA PreCheck?

  1. I signed up for the free 6 months with my Visa Signature. If you take advantage of the free 6 months you might to do it with a VR credit card. I did mine with my Bofa card and I did my lady’s with Citi card. My renewal was coming up last month. Called in a few day before and they gave me another 3 months free.

  2. Great article on tickets to the free shows in LA and NY. I would like to add one more to your NY list. Live with Kelly and Michael. They release tickets 45-60 days ahead and your can go to their website for tickets http://livekellyandmichael.dadt.com/live-ticket-requests.

  3. I live in Denver and I do not think CLEAR is worth money. Security lines are fairly short and you still have to go through regular security and pull out your computer and liquids.

  4. My wife and I just received our Global Entry cards three months ago and we used them for the first time on our recent trip to Europe (we used frequent flyer miles for nearly-free air fare!). We were curious to see how well the Global Entry program works our first time through when we returned to the States. It turns out to be the best thing since sliced bread!!! After a long 11 hour flight on a full 747 from Heathrow to San Francisco, we were staring a mass of humanity at Customs. We were near the back of the plane so we were near the end of the line. We then saw the “Global Entry” signs and followed them thereby bypassing the big crowd. We went to one of the kiosks (there were three or four of them) where we found ourselves alone. Everyone else on the plane was stuck in the big line behind us! We followed the instructions on the screen, verified our fingerprints, and, presto, we had our printed slips. The officer at the nearest Customs desk, which was processing folks from the big line, saw that we had finished and had our “Approved” slips in hand, waived us through and we were on our way in no time, no questions asked! In addition, since we had to go through security again for our domestic connection, thanks to Global Entry, we were TSA PreCheck! Again, we were on our way in no time without having to disrobe in the regular line. I can’t say again how much this program improved our airport experience. It was worth it just to get the TSA PreCheck for domestic flights! Global Entry – we highly recommend it!

  5. For the Citi AA Executive, I can’t find where they say Global Entry is included. I would sign up for the Executive card if it was for sure. Thanks

  6. Do these cards pay for Mexican Global Entry as well ?

  7. as of february visa no longer has relationship with clear, so there is no more 6 months free .this is what the representative said when i asked them,but they offered me 3 months free anyway,