How Global Entry Saved Me $570 When I Arrived Late to the Airport

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How Global Entry Saved Me $570 When I Arrived Late to the Airport

Joseph HostetlerHow Global Entry Saved Me $570 When I Arrived Late to the AirportMillion Mile Secrets Team

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Whenever we talk about Global Entry, we’re usually reminding you that it comes with a free membership to the insanely popular TSA PreCheck program which gives you the privilege of passing through airport security without stripping down to your knickers.

The primary feature of Global Entry is that it allows you to skip the giant immigration line when you return to the US from overseas.  But it serves another purpose, as well.  And it saved me hundreds of dollars (potentially $1,000+) during my trip to Abu Dhabi.

Reminder:   You can receive a 5-year Global Entry membership for free (normally $100) if you pay with one of these cards:

Global Entry kiosks allow you to check yourself through immigration without waiting in a gigantic line.  It takes your fingerprints and a picture of your face, and you hand it to an officer on your way out of the airport

Global Entry Saved Me From Missing My Transatlantic Flight

After a few days exploring Dubai, I was CRAZY late in arriving to the Abu Dhabi airport for my flight home.  So late, in fact, that when I walked up to the desk and asked for my boarding pass, the airline agent actually laughed out loud.  The flight was scheduled to take off in about an hour.  While that might seem like a manageable amount of time to make it to the plane in a US airport, that’s largely a no-no in other countries.

On top of that, US Customs & Border Protection has added a feature at the Abu Dhabi airport called “pre-clearance.”  I DID NOT KNOW THIS.  Pre-clearance basically means you go through all the customs and immigration stuff at your departure airport instead of your arrival airport.  That extra step practically guaranteed I’d need to buy a separate plane ticket home.

Perhaps the most painful part of the story is that they informed me I’d been upgraded to Business Class.

This exact seat retailed at over $5,500 one-way

Out of desperation, I mentioned I was a member of Global Entry.  The desk agent’s demeanor sobered, and he quickly made a phone call asking someone if I had time to make the flight as a Global Entry member.  He then printed my boarding pass and told me to hurry to the gate.  I distinctly remember my feet never touching the ground.

Shopping for tickets from Abu Dhabi to the US after the fact, it looks like Global Entry saved me ~$570.  That’s the price of a coach flight for my route.  But a Business Class ticket would cost significantly more, so I’m elated I didn’t squander the upgrade.

Which Airports Offer Pre-Clearance?

Global Entry will be of great help to you if you’re flying from just about anywhere back to the US.  But it’s extra handy when you need to arrive at the airport early in a foreign country due to pre-clearance.  Here’s where you’ll find US pre-clearance:


  • Calgary
  • Edmonton
  • Halifax
  • Montreal
  • Ottawa
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver
  • Winnipeg


  • Aruba
  • Bermuda
  • Grand Bahamas
  • Nassau


  • Abu Dhabi
  • Dublin
  • Shannon

US pre-clearance is still trying to add itself to other European countries.  This will make Global Entry even more useful!

Again, you’ll get the $100 Global Entry application fee waived if you use any of the following cards:

I have the 2 above cards.  The $95 annual fee is waived on both of them for the first year, so you’ll receive Global Entry for truly 100% free, along with a whole bunch of valuable miles if you meet their spending requirement!

These cards have significantly higher annual fees, but they also come with superior travel benefits.

Let me know if you have Global Entry, or if you see it in your future!  And sign-up for our newsletter for other travel tips and tidbits.

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“Whenever we talk about Global Entry, we’re usually reminding you that it comes with a free membership to the insanely popular TSA PreCheck program which gives you the privilege of passing through airport security without stripping down to your knickers.”

This statement is a little misleading. It does not come with the TSA. They are two separate applications. I’m from Lincoln, Nebraska; and had to drive to Omaha for the TSA interview. Sad to say, the closest Global Entry interview was 3 1/2 hours away in Kansas City. So I was only able to get the TSA–which does not include the Global Entry. Exact wording from United Explorer: * To be eligible for this statement credit you must use your United℠ Explorer Card to either complete the Global Entry application and pay the $100 application fee, or complete the TSA Pre✓® application and pay the $85 application fee. A statement credit will be processed after the Global Entry program application fee OR TSA Pre✓® application fee (whichever program is applied for first) is charged to your United℠ Explorer Card. You are entitled to either: one (1) $100 statement credit per account, OR one (1) $85 statement credit per account, every 4 years in connection with the Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® program application fee.

Nice going! Do you have status with Emirates and therefore were upgraded?


No status, the upgrade is baffling to me. I did sign-up for the Etihad Guest loyalty program, but never used it or flew the airline before. NO clue.

What is going on currently with Global entry interviews? I have Biz Platinum card Card from AMEX and applied for Global entry in December end, but till today i’ve not heard anything back regarding my application or Interview.

Any idea is this delay coz of Government shutdown or what? How can i contact or find out about my application?

Log in into your account and it tells you what the status is.


You’re probably right, Leslie, DHS was one of the agencies shut down. Sorry to hear you’re having trouble!

What to do in this case?

Hi Leslie,
From what I understand you CAN ONLY find out the status by logging back in to your Global Entry acct and checking your status, there will apparently be no letter or email or anything else to let you know if you can schedule an appointment. We’re currently waiting and hoping to do the GE upon arrival at the return of a trip. It says “in process” for us but it says that as soon as it says approved for appointment, you can click on the same screen to schedule an appt at the airport of your choice. Good luck!

Is the GE application fee covered for the primary cardholder only? Or will you receive the credit twice if the primary and authorized user each apply and charge the application fee to their card?


Well, you only receive 1 Global Entry credit every 4 or 5 years (depending on the card). So you can use it yourself, or you can use it for someone else. Can’t receive the credit twice unless you use another card with a Global Entry credit. I’ve got 3 cards that offer the credit.

Could you please be more specific on how pre-clearance makes Global Entry more useful? I always thought it’s not useful since there is no special line for it at pre-clearance. Was something changed?


Sure! There’s a Global Entry kiosk at preclearance airports. You won’t have to go through the same process as folks who don’t have it. Basically, you do have your own special line.

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