Global Entry will soon be more useful for domestic travel

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Global Entry is a must have for anyone who enjoys international travel and hates unnecessary wait times. It gives you exclusive permission to skip giant immigration lines when entering the U.S. after international travel. Simply locate a Global Entry kiosk at a participating airport, scan your passport and fingerprints and answer a few questions.

To boot, Global Entry also comes with TSA PreCheck, a membership that lets you keep your shoes, belt, and light jacket on when going through TSA checkpoints. You don’t even have to take your laptop out of your bag! Many credit cards even cover application fees for Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. Global Entry and TSA PreCheck has easily saved MMS staff members hundreds of hours.

There’s another big way Global Entry is helping domestic travelers, and you probably don’t know what it is. It could save you from having to prematurely visit the DMV next year.

A regular ol’ driver’s license won’t cut it at airport security checkpoints for long. But Global Entry cardholders have nothing to worry about. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

Global Entry is Real ID approved

Remember Real ID? Most people know two things about it:

  • It’s some kind of enhanced drivers license with a star in the top corner
  • If you don’t get it soon, you won’t be able to fly

That’s right, well, for the most part. The Real ID Act establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits federal agencies from accepting ID’s that don’t meet its guidelines.

The deadline for acquiring a Real ID was October 1, 2020. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Trump has postponed this requirement by 12 months. If you want to fly domestically, you’ll need a Real ID by October 1, 2021. But what if I don’t want to renew my license early?? I’m not made of money.

There are more Real ID options than you probably realize. For example, passports and other various government-issued identification are valid forms of ID for these more stringent regulations. In other words, as long as you haul around your passport everywhere you go, you don’t need to be issued a special drivers license.

Your Global Entry card is the size of a regular ID — much more convenient to carry around than a passport — and much less consequential if it’s misplaced or stolen. (Photo by Joseph Hostetler/Million Mile Secrets)

An even better option is Global Entry. Once you’re enrolled, you’ll be sent a Global Entry ID card, which is the size of a credit card. Keep that in your wallet, and that’s all you need. No carrying around your precious passport, which can have serious consequences if lost, not to mention it takes ages to reorder and receive a replacement.

This of course isn’t a main selling point of Global Entry, but it’s a nice perk that may come in clutch once Real ID regulations are enforced. You should read our post on everything to know about Global Entry to see all of its fantastic benefits, and to determine if it’s a good choice for you (Hint: If you travel internationally even once per year, it absolutely is).

Cards that offer Global Entry for free

Global Entry membership lasts five years, and costs $100 in application fees. But many credit cards offer an automatic statement credit that covers Global Entry application fees every four or five years to ensure that you’ll always get your membership for free. Here are our some of top picks:

Let us know if you apply for Global Entry! And subscribe to our newsletter for travel tips and tricks delivered to your inbox once per day.

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals.

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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