TSA PreCheck Easier Than Ever to Get — Don’t Be the Last Without It (and How to Get It for Free)
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Remember in school when you were prepping for a big test, going mental with the yellow marker in your textbook, and you had the epiphany that if you highlight everything then nothing is really highlighted?
The same principle stands for other things in life, particularly in the travel world. If everyone was granted priority boarding, the perk would be useless. If everyone had Priority Pass lounge access, the airport lounges would effectively become an extension of the terminal. If everyone showed up early to that super photogenic beach spot, nobody would get a good picture.
Exclusivity is what makes many travel perks valuable. So what should we make of TSA PreCheck expanding its enrollment centers across the nation? Does TSA PreCheck’s value diminish as more travelers enroll?
TSA PreCheck Enrollment Centers Increasing in Number
I’ll tell you right now, if you don’t have TSA PreCheck, you’re behind in the game. Membership comes with a security lane that’s usually much shorter (for now). Plus, you have the privilege of keeping your toiletries and laptop in your bag.
Beyond the obvious benefit of screaming through the security checkpoint much faster, you’ll also get to keep a larger portion of your dignity, as you won’t have to disrobe like the folks who aren’t enrolled. You can keep your shoes, jacket, and belt on.
A five year membership to TSA PreCheck costs $85. But if you pay with the right card, you can get a reimbursement for the membership fee (up to $100 credit). I recommend the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. The card’s annual fee is $95.
The TSA is aggressively pursuing sign-ups. It’s already hassle-free to enroll in TSA PreCheck (you can check out my TSA PreCheck enrollment review here), and TSA PreCheck has even been available at select Staples locations for a while now (here’s the list of participating stores).
Is this good for current members? Part of the excitement and benefit of the program was that fewer travelers have it, so the lines are smaller. Can too many members spoil the program?
Nah. I experienced a taste of what it’s like for literally everyone to have TSA PreCheck this past Thanksgiving. The security queues were extremely backed up, and the TSA agents were continually yelling that everyone was granted TSA PreCheck to help speed the line along.
That miffed me a little bit, as the benefits I had taken the time to enroll for were being given freely to everyone, but I was able to observe a world in which everyone was a member. And it was remarkably efficient!
As the scales tip toward the majority of travelers becoming TSA PreCheck members, PreCheck will be assigned more lanes, and airport security will grow more tolerable for everyone. It’s becoming the norm. You don’t want to be the only traveler in your group without TSA PreCheck.
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