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Getting through airport security can be one of the worst parts of travel. Usually, you have to wait in long lines to have your ID and boarding pass checked, then you have to take items out of your bag and off your body, and then readjust yourself again. It’s never the fun part of your flying journey.
With Global Entry and TSA PreCheck, getting into and out of the airport is now faster and less stressful. But with a CLEAR membership, you can also skip the security lines at airports and other popular venues.
You've probably seen the lines and machines that say "CLEAR" at an airport security checkpoint by now. The privately-run CLEAR airport security program is designed to speed up the traditional ID check process. It uses your fingerprint and an iris scan to check you in and get you where you want to go faster than before.
Even though the service can be pricey, CLEAR can save you a considerable amount of time going through security lines — even expediting your TSA PreCheck experience when lines are long.
But does CLEAR live up to its price? Thankfully, there are many ways you can enroll in CLEAR at a discount or even free.
Let's find out how to get a CLEAR membership for free or at a lower cost.
What Is CLEAR and How Does It Work?
The CLEAR program is a way for U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who are at least 18 years old to get a security clearance. CLEAR membership speeds up security screening by using your biometric information that has already been stored. This lets you skip the regular TSA security lines and even the TSA PreCheck lines.
The main goal of the CLEAR program is to speed up the process of getting your ID checked at airport security. You still have to go through TSA security, but the service speeds up the part where you show your ID and gets you out of those lines.
The best part of having a CLEAR membership is that you can combine it with a TSA PreCheck subscription. That’s right, by having this killer combo, you will be escorted by a CLEAR representative to the front of the TSA PreCheck security checkpoint — bypassing the TSA PreCheck line without the need to take off your shoes or take out liquids, laptops, etc.
You can also use a CLEAR membership to get expedited screenings into sports stadiums for events. That way, you have more time to enjoy the gameday experience.
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How Much Does CLEAR Cost?
A full CLEAR membership costs $189 per year and includes faster airport security. You can add up to three adult family members or friends to your membership for an extra $60 per year per person. Children under 18 who are with a CLEAR family member can use the CLEAR Lane for free.
Fortunately, you don’t have to pay full price for a CLEAR membership. Later in this article, we'll explain the many ways you can score a discounted or even free CLEAR membership.
Where Is CLEAR Available?
CLEAR is available at more than 50 airports, stadiums, and other public places in the United States.
You can find CLEAR in the following cities right now:
- Fort Lauderdale
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- New Orleans
- New York City
- Palm Beach
- Palm Springs
- Salt Lake City
- San Antonio
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- St. Louis
- Washington, D.C.
For details regarding CLEAR locations near you, you can search by using this locator link.
How To Get a Free or Discounted CLEAR Membership With a Credit Card
Best Credit Cards That Offer a Complimentary CLEAR Membership
At the moment, there are 3 cards that offer cardholders a free CLEAR membership:
•The Platinum Card® from American Express
•The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
• Centurion® Card from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express both offer a $189 annual statement credit for CLEAR, which covers the full cost of membership.
Centurion® Card from American Express (an invitation-only card) cardmembers receive a complimentary CLEAR membership for themselves and a limited number of their family members.
Best Credit Cards That Offer CLEAR Membership Discounts
There are several ways to avoid paying the full annual membership cost of $189 for CLEAR. Some credit cards feature benefits that help offset or reduce the cost of a CLEAR membership.
Let’s take a look at which ones they are.
Delta Air Lines Cobranded Cards
Delta has established a well-grounded partnership with CLEAR, and its co-branded credit cards offer discounts on CLEAR memberships.
As we alluded to earlier, the normal cost of a CLEAR membership is $189 per year. But if you are a cardholder of one of these Delta co-branded credit cards, you'll only pay $109 per year instead of $189.
•Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card
•Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card
•Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card
•Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
•Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card
As a Delta co-branded cardholder, you can sign up for a discounted CLEAR membership, here.
The American Express® Green Card
When you pay for your CLEAR membership with your American Express Green card, you can get up to $100 back on your statement each calendar year.
United Airlines Co-branded Cards
United co-branded cardholders also receive a discount on membership, thanks to United’s partnership with CLEAR. Cardholders can apply for a discounted CLEAR membership through this link, and they will pay $109 instead of $189 as an annual membership fee.
This discounted rate is available on the following United cards:
•United℠ Club Business Card
•United Club℠ Infinite Card
•United℠ Business Card
•United℠ Explorer Card
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Other Ways To Get a Discounted or Complimentary CLEAR Membership
Even if you don’t have the right credit card to nab CLEAR for free or at a discounted rate, you may still be able to save money on membership in other ways.
Complimentary CLEAR Membership With Top-tier Airline Elite Status
If you hold top-tier elite status with Delta Air Lines or United Airlines, you can receive a complimentary CLEAR membership. Valid only for Diamond Medallion members with Delta and Premier 1K and Global Services members with United.
Discounted Membership With Delta and United Elite Status
Both Delta and United give elite members a reduced membership cost to enroll in CLEAR.
Delta SkyMiles members with Silver, Gold, or Platinum elite status, can register for a CLEAR membership at the discounted rate of $109 annually, as opposed to $189.
United Premier Silver, Gold, and Platinum elite members are also eligible for the $109 membership discount.
Discounted Membership for Delta and United Frequent Flyer Program Members
No elite status with Delta or United? No problem. General members of each airline’s respective loyalty programs are eligible for a discounted rate on CLEAR membership, too.
You can sign up for a free Delta SkyMiles or United MileagePlus account, or use your existing account number if you already have one, and pay just $119 per year for CLEAR.
College/University Student Discounted Membership
Right now, college students can receive a CLEAR membership for just $60 per year. That means if you sign-up for CLEAR by freshman year, you will receive the $60 discounted rate for the remainder of your time in school. You can enroll here.
Service Members and Veterans Discounted Membership
Veterans and active-serving U.S. military personnel can join CLEAR for $99 per year. To receive the lower cost, be sure to bring your veteran ID card or a current U.S. military ID to the airport and enroll here.
Try Out CLEAR With a Free Trial
CLEAR is currently giving everyone, including families, a free trial for two months. This is great for people who have a lot of upcoming travel plans or those who just want to try out the service for a short time without having to pay the annual membership fee.
Having a CLEAR membership can help make going through airport and event security much faster. But for a CLEAR membership, you should never have to pay the full $189 price. With the right credit card or other eligible status, you can get a discounted or complimentary CLEAR membership and speed your way through security with ease.
You must be 18 years of age or older to apply for a CLEAR membership and must have one of the following forms of valid photo identification: U.S. driver's license, U.S. passport, U.S. passport card, U.S.-issued permanent resident card, state-issued ID, or U.S. military ID.
CLEAR doesn't use traditional forms of ID like driver's licenses or passports to verify a traveler's identity. Instead, it uses biometric data like fingerprints and eye scans. This lets you skip the TSA PreCheck line, which can sometimes be even longer than the regular security line at the airport.
For starters, you should be aware that CLEAR’s biometric method of confirming your identity will get you to the front of the security line faster than TSA PreCheck. After an agent has checked your identity, they will usually escort you to the front of the TSA PreCheck line, which makes the screening process faster and easier.
Once you join CLEAR, you can log in to your account on the CLEAR website and add up to three family members for $60 each per year. CLEAR has a broad definition of what constitutes a family, so loved ones, including friends, can join you as long as you add them as family members on your account. Remember that kids under 18 can use the lane for free if they are with a CLEAR member.