TSA PreCheck Is About to Become Less Crowded (Thanks, the Government!)

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I LOVE traveling with family and friends.  I love using “insider secrets” to help them enjoy themselves.  Like using credit card perks to gain access to fancy airport lounges, where you can drink free alcohol.  Or using points to stay at a super fancy hotel WAY above our price range.

I also like arriving at the airport security checkpoint and parting ways with them as I go through the exclusive (and MUCH speedier) TSA PreCheck lane.  Once on the other side, I leisurely order a meal from the nearest restaurant, and I’m finishing up by the time my travel buddies exit security.

TSA PreCheck is a trusted traveler program designed to help folks spend less time at security checkpoints.  With a membership, you can pass through security without taking off your shoes, belt, or light jacket.  You also won’t need to remove your laptop and liquids from your bag!

I beg people to enroll (several credit cards reimburse you for the $85 price tag) because it’s such a substantial time saver, but nobody listens.

However, some folks that travel with me (MOM) receive TSA PreCheck literally 90% of the time, without signing-up or paying a fee or anything!  And while I’m delighted my mom often receives this benefit to save her a bit of hassle, it upsets me that I’ve invested in something that other folks receive with absolutely no effort.  It makes me wonder how many people in the TSA PreCheck lane didn’t pay for the privilege.

Million Mile Secrets LOVES TSA PreCheck – But This Upcoming Bill Will Make It Even Better

Thankfully, the PreCheck Act of 2018 has just been approved by the House of Representatives.  This new bill demands that ONLY members of a trusted traveler program can use the TSA PreCheck lanes.  It also adds that TSA should develop additional security lanes for travelers they classify as “low-risk.”

The bill is now headed to the Senate for approval.  There’s no telling when it will be scheduled for review.

The TSA has made previous claims that folks not enrolled in TSA PreCheck would not be allowed through a PreCheck lane.  Hopefully this proposal is the real deal.  I’ll make sure to take mom to an enrollment location and use one of my cards to offset the application fee.

Get TSA PreCheck for Free

TSA PreCheck costs $85 for a 5-year membership.  But there are plenty of ways to get it for free!

Several cards will reimburse the price of your TSA PreCheck application, including:

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

Do you or does anyone you know frequently receive TSA PreCheck without a membership?  It cheeses me off, man!

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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Jason Brandt Lewis
2 years ago

Why pay for TSA Pre-Check when, for $15 more, you can receive Global Entry which includes Pre-Check?

Tim de Paravicini
2 years ago

Maybe I’m an old fart from England that visits the US fairly frequently that most of the last trips through security have been TSA pre- check on my boarding pass.

I did not pay for this but I think I have early thecright .

2 years ago

Yes we always get free TSA pre check. My theory of why follows. Returning from Cayman late at Dulles all were required to do eye check & computer questions instead of talking to agents. The agents we coming off shift. Ever since we are TSA pre check. We are also over 60.

2 years ago

If you get a NEXUS card ($50/5 years), you get to use the PreCheck lines in the US and Trusted Traveler lines in Canada. The system it way easier in Canada, you just show your card, no need for the airline to add it on your boarding pass.

2 years ago

FYI Global Entry doesn’t guarantee tsa pre-check. About 10% of the time I don’t get it.

Jason Brandt Lewis
Reply to  Katey
2 years ago

I’m Global Entry and have NEVER not gone through the TSA Pre-Check line….

Reply to  Katey
2 years ago

That’s odd. The TSA site says that Global Entry provided PreCheck.

Is your Known Traveler Number entered correctly with your airline?

2 years ago

We paid for the Global Entry which was well worth it on the trip to Europe. But sometimes I have had a pat down and my bags searched even though I have Precheck. That kind of irritates me, but I cooperate and don’t say anything. My relatives won’t apply for Precheck either. Their choice.

2 years ago

Wow another really snotty post. You realize you also haven’t paid for the “privilege” to fly through either when you expense it to your card. Get in line with everyone else, you are not king of the world.

Steven M
2 years ago

Global Entry at $100/5 years is a much better value than Pre-Check alone at $85/5 years.

“Once on the other side, I leisurely order a meal from the nearest restaurant, and I’m finishing up by the time my travel buddies exit security.”

Um, sure.

2 years ago

If you do any international travel, or think you might, Global Entry is probably a better deal. It costs $15 more, gives you PreCheck and also provides expedited clearance at customs when entering the US. I think most card issuers that offer the PreCheck refund also do the same for Global Entry.

Reply to  Steve
2 years ago

Definitely worth the extra $15 has save me lots of time when returning from international travel

2 years ago

I’m not a PreTSA member, but get it 90% of the time. If the Senate passes it…I’ll get it.

Brad Haldeman
2 years ago

The process for the pre check is a joke. What is the agent going to find out in a 15 minute “interview” ? I wouldn’t mind paying the $85, but to travel over a hour for the interview is absurd. I have had a secret clearance and work where I have to take a psychology test every 5 years, have an interview with a psychologist every 5years, have a FBI background check every 3 years. But this isn’t enough? If the TSA wants to increase revenue have the availability to “interview” at every airport, not just a select larger airports.

Rosie Walter
2 years ago

ONLY if the Senate passes this bill. And you do realize that it could mean the death of PreCheck, which is basically a failure, if TSA can’t put random people in the line.