How to Avoid This Common TSA PreCheck Mistake — I Nearly Messed This Up Myself!

Signing up for credit cards through partner links earns us a commission. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.

Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.

I like my Global Entry pass because it grants me TSA PreCheck too.  And I like it even more because I got the 5 year pass for $0.  My application fee was reimbursed by a credit card!

Pay with any of these travel credit cards and you’ll get a statement credit to delete your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee (up to $100):

  • Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (terrific for simple travel rewards)
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve® (great for folks who know they’ll be traveling a lot and will use the perks)
  • United℠ Explorer Card

I must say, it’s very easy to use TSA PreCheck, but there is ONE thing you must not forget — and I know because I did!  I’ll show you how I fixed it quickly.

How To Get Through Airport Security Faster With TSA PreCheck
Don’t Let This Common TSA PreCheck Mistake Happen to You!

Very Common TSA PreCheck Mistake

When you’re approved for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck you’ll be given a Known Traveler ID number.  The thing is, you’ve got to enter it into your frequent flier accounts!  Or onto your Expedia account, etc.  Luckily, you can save it with your profile so you only need to do this once.

So I was flying an airline I don’t usually fly and I booked directly with them.  I didn’t realize I hadn’t entered my Known Traveler ID until I got to airport and saw that my boarding pass did NOT say TSA PreCheck on it.  The horror!

No, seriously, I felt really dumb.  Oops!  So I told the gate agent my story and she started playing a tiny violin for me.  No, she was gracious, and entered my Known Traveler Number into her computer machine and printed me a new boarding pass stamped with the magical words, “TSA PreCheck.”

Remember, enter your number into your airline accounts!

Common TSA PreCheck Mistake: Forgetting to Save Your Known Traveler ID to Your Airline Accounts

Bottom Line

TSA PreCheck is better than No TSA PreCheck.  So don’t make this mistake!  And don’t make the mistake of paying for this service!  Get the fee reimbursed by credit cards such as:

  • Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card 
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve® 
  • United℠ Explorer Card

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! :)

Join the Discussion!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

I didn’t realize my United Explorer Card covered TSA approval fee. I used a different card. Probably no way of getting reimbursed?

Andrew Wan
Reply to  Glenda
1 year ago

If you’ve already paid with another card then there’s probably no way to undo it and charge it to another card.

You could offer to pay the fee for a friend or family member though, and then have them pay you back lol!

1 year ago

What am I missing here?

If it was the ‘gate agent’ who fixed your situation, then you were already through the TSA Checkpoint and at the gate. A new boarding pass with your KTN would have been of no benefit for that flight segment.

Scott Lieberman
Reply to  Ajay
1 year ago

I meant to say the woman at the checked luggage counter before entering security. Sorry about the confusion! Ajay, thanks for pointing it out so I could clear it up. 🙂

1 year ago

One other TSA tip: check your 5 year expiration date! Those who signed up when the program started will be surprised when they suddenly don’t have PreCheck. Renew before it expires.

Scott Lieberman
Reply to  Zebraitis
1 year ago

Great reminder, Zebraitis! Hmm… I’d better check mine!

Reply to  Scott Lieberman
1 year ago

Believe me, it will save you some confusion…

I fly AA often. One day I walked up to the TSA Pre-check and they said that I didn’t have it (and yes, it was not on my boarding pass… Hmmm). Didn’t have time to argue or bother, I moved on.

On my next check-in, I looked at my boarding pass, and it (the little green check mark) was not there. I asked the AA counter person to see why. We tried re-entering my known traveler number, birth date and any other variable, with no luck.

Finally, we saw that the expiration date!

I was an early adopter so my five years came and went. I even suggested to TSA that they may wish to have some signs to remind travelers to check exp dates… but I haven’t seen any new signs. 😉

So now it’s one more thing to keep track of for expiration along with Driver’s License and passport.

Renewing is actually painless. It is an online process and (unless they have a specific reason) you will be re-approved without having to visit a TSA administrative office.

Barbara Provus
1 year ago

I believe the American Express Platinum card also reimburses the fee, at least for one year?

Scott Lieberman
Reply to  Barbara Provus
1 year ago

Barbara, you are correct!

TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are each valid for 5 years. So you get the fee reimbursed and you’re good to go for half a decade.

1 year ago

hello. this almost happened to me on my last domestic flight. I checked in online and noticed my online boarding pass didn’t have tsa precheck, so I just did the check in process again and made sure to include my id and my second boarding pass had it. good advice!

Scott Lieberman
Reply to  K.M.
1 year ago

Thanks, K.M.! I want to make sure everyone who deserves to be in the PreCheck lane gets it right!