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

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

Million Mile SecretsWho Should Sign-Up for CLEAR Instead of TSA PreCheck?Million Mile Secrets Team

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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 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.

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:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
  • 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.

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 Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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The article says Frontier does not offer TSA Pre-Check…Not so! I fly Frontier several times a month and Pre Check is always on my ticket and I use that security lane. I did a Free Trial with Clear today (mostly because I had time and the woman wasn’t taking no for an answer. LOL) But, I dont see the benefit as with Pre Check I dont have to take my computer out or my shoes off, etc. I would rather wait a minute or two in the Pre Check line (never had to wait longer than that) so I dont have to remove my shoes and take my (2) laptops out.

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,

Do these cards pay for Mexican Global Entry as well ?

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

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!

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