Airport Security Can Make Holiday Travel Rough – Here Is A Global Entry Interview Trick To Keep You Jolly!

Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Airport Security Can Make Holiday Travel Rough – Here Is A Global Entry Interview Trick To Keep You Jolly!

Brett HolzhauerAirport Security Can Make Holiday Travel Rough – Here Is A Global Entry Interview Trick To Keep You Jolly!Million Mile Secrets Team

Signing-up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

The holiday season is filled with family, friends, egg nog, and extremely long lines at airport security.  While there isn’t much any of us can do with the crowds, there is a great way to save yourself from painfully long TSA lines.  It’s called Global Entry (and it comes with TSA PreCheck)!

And if you’re looking to get Global Entry or TSA PreCheck for free, check out these cards that will reimburse your application fee.

I Think Everyone Gets A Little Bit Of Anxiety From This Picture, But TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Can Calm Your Nerves

What Are TSA PreCheck & Global Entry?

Global Entry is a trusted traveler program that allows expedited clearance through US customs for pre-approved, low-risk travelers when arriving in the United States.  Global Entry is also great because it includes TSA PreCheck, which gets you an expedited security check at many US airports.

Global Entry For Children
Emily Really Values Her TSA PreCheck Membership!

When you arrive into the United States from a foreign country, your customs line will look like this with Global Entry.

Citi Prestige Is NOT A "Sock Drawer" Card
It’s Super Fast And Convenient!

During a busy holiday season, the normal Customs line can potentially take hours!  In my experience, I have been able to get in and out in under 10 minutes each time with Global Entry.  It is a real time and stress saver.

So How Do I Get Global Entry?

Global Entry is a 5 year membership and costs $100, and includes TSA PreCheck benefits.  So it boils down to being a ~$1.67 per month membership.  And the best part is that a number of travel rewards credit cards, including The Platinum Card® from American Express, will reimburse your application fee as a free perk to their cardholders!  Recently, I used my American Express Platinum card to pay for the $100 application charge, and I was on my way to getting Global Entry.

So How Does It Work Once You Apply?

As part of the Global Entry application, you’ll to choose a date and time for an in person interview.  However, the wait for an interview can be months!  At my home airport of Salt Lake City, the closest date I can get is at the end of April 2019!

This can create a real problem for travelers.

Here’s My Global Entry Trick and How I Found It!

My wife and I both got the American Express Platinum card and scheduled our appointments for our Global Entry interview.  I scheduled hers in Los Angeles (LAX) on the day we arrived home from our honeymoon in the Cook Islands.  Of course, I goofed on the date and scheduled it a day before our arrival (yes, she was annoyed with me).  For myself, I scheduled my appointment at San Francisco (SFO) in September 2018 as I was flying in for a work conference.

We asked if we could get her interview done even though she was technically a day late.  The agent said “not a problem,” and 15 minutes later she was approved.  As he was processing her paperwork, I mentioned I had my interview in September in San Francisco and he said “Do you want to just do it now?”

I obviously said “sure!”

I was done with the interview in 10 minutes.

So the trick here is you don’t have to be at your scheduled airport and time to complete your interview!  There are many airports that accept walk-in Global Entry interviews.

The TSA agent at LAX also mentioned that there is an effort among Customs officers to be more understanding and accommodating as there aren’t enough resources to complete Global Entry interviews across the country.  Just as an example, Salt Lake City only offers interviews from 3:30 to 5 pm Monday thru Friday…yes, it is ridiculous.

Customs agents want to process more people for Global Entry to make airport security a smoother process.  It is a win-win for everyone.

Bottom Line

Global Entry is absolutely worth it, especially when it is free with certain travel rewards credit cards.  Even if you are only traveling 2 or 3 times a year, that could potentially save you hours if you get stuck in a horrendous TSA line with people heading home for the holidays.

Get your appointment scheduled where it fits in with your travels, but don’t be afraid to see if you can get a walk-in interview.  The worst they can say is no.

Want to stay on top of the latest travel news?  Subscribe to our newsletter and get it delivered to you daily.

If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 36,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

More Info

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! :)

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

3comments

by Newest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

I saw a friend yesterday who flies internationally every month. She said she could afford either PreCheck ($85) or Global Entry ($100), and she chose PreCheck.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that PreCheck comes “free” with GE.

Yes. This works. Particularly in locations that are slower. My husband and I both separately went in as walk-ins when we had long layovers. Note, it told me 2 times to try before I was able to do a walk-in that want a long wait. But it doesn’t hurt you to check.

I did the same and did my final interview at an airport 2000 miles from my house before one of my flights. I fly a lot but don’t book in advance so the tricky part was figuring out the logistics.