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You've probably seen the lines and machines that say "CLEAR" at an airport security checkpoint by now. The CLEAR airport kiosks use a fingerprint and an iris scan to verify your identity, so you can skip the line where the TSA agent manually checks your travel document.

The service is pricey, but 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. 

How Does CLEAR Work?

CLEAR security at airport
CLEAR

CLEAR is a membership program that allows travelers to get through airport security faster by using biometric information, (fingerprints and/or iris scans) to verify your identity. You still have to go through TSA security but can skip the part where you show your ID—and get your identification verified at a kiosk instead.

Once you’re enrolled in CLEAR and are at the airport ready to travel, here's how to use it:

  • Head to a CLEAR kiosk.
  • Follow the kiosk prompts to have your identification verified (either fingerprints or iris scans).
  • Once verified, you can skip the TSA ID verification line and go straight to the metal detectors.
  • CLEAR members can bring children under 18 with them without a membership.

If you travel a lot and are looking to make the process a little less of a hassle—and are comfortable sharing some private data—CLEAR might be worth it.

How Much Does Clear Cost?

A membership for CLEAR costs $189 per year. 

CLEAR offers special pricing for some people, including:

  • Students: $60 per year for four years, if they are new to CLEAR membership
  • Newly enrolled and veteran military members: $99 per year
  • Government personnel: $99 per year
  • Select credit cardholders: Delta SkyMiles members, United MileagePlus members and some American Express cardholders have access to special pricing

Credit Cards With Free Clear Memberships

At the time of writing, these cards offer annual statement credits for a free CLEAR membership:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express 
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express 
  • The American Express® Green Card 

The Centurion® Card from American Express also offers cardmembers a complimentary CLEAR membership for themselves and a limited number of their family members.

Credit Cards With CLEAR Membership Discounts

Some credit cards also offer discounts on CLEAR memberships, including Delta and United co-branded cards.

United co-branded cards also come with a CLEAR membership discount ($149 annual membership):

Card Annual Fee Rewards Rate Learn More

United Club℠ Infinite Card

$525 1x - 4xPoints More Info

The card earns 4X miles per dollar spent on United purchases, 2X miles per dollar spent on all other travel and dining purchases and 1X mile per dollar spent on all other purchases.

United℠ Business Card

$99 1x - 2xPoints More Info

Earn 2x miles per dollar on United purchases, dining at restaurants, including eligible delivery services, local transit and commuting, and at gas stations and office supply stores. You’ll earn 1X mile per dollar on all other purchases.

United℠ Explorer Card

$95 More info

$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95

1x - 2xPoints More Info

2X miles per dollar on United purchases, hotel accommodations when purchased directly from the hotel and dining at restaurants, including select delivery services. 1x on everything else.

Delta co-branded cardholders can get a discounted CLEAR membership for $149 a year:

  • 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

More Ways to Get CLEAR Free or Discounted

Delta plane flying over desert
Delta

Here are some other ways you may be able to save on a CLEAR membership:

  • Delta Medallion members: All tiers offer discounted CLEAR membership, and Diamond Medallion status Includes free CLEAR membership 
  • United MileagePlus® Premier members: All tiers offer discounted CLEAR membership, and Premier 1k status Includes free CLEAR membership 
  • Delta frequent flyers without elite status: Delta offers SkyMiles® Members discounts on CLEAR membership
  • United frequent flyers without elite status: MileagePlus® members get CLEAR membership discounts, too
  • Students: CLEAR offers a deep discount per year for four years for students who are new to CLEAR membership
  • Military: Newly enrolled and veteran military members also have access to a discount on CLEAR membership
  • Government personnel: Eligible government employees can get an annual discount 

How to Get a Free Trial of CLEAR

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.

Recommended Travel Credit Cards

Credit Card Intro Bonus Annual Fee Rewards Rate Learn More

Chase Sapphire Preferred®

60,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points More Info

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,380 (60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)

$95 1x- 5xPoints More Info

The card offers 5x points per dollar on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 3x points on dining (including eligible takeout and delivery services), as well as 3x points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs). This card earns 2x points on all other travel spending and 1x point per dollar everywhere else. Chase broadly defines travel to include not just airfare, hotels and rental cars, but expenses like parking, tolls and public transit too.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Companion Pass®Southwest Rapid Rewards Points More Info

Limited-time offer: earn Companion Pass® good through 2/28/25 plus 30,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening Dollar Equivalent:

$99 1x - 3xPoints More Info

Earn 3 points for every $1 on Southwest Airlines® purchases, 2 points for every $1 on Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental partners, 2 points per $1 on local transit and commuting (including rideshare), 2 points per $1 on internet, cable, and phone services; select streaming, and 1 point for every $1 on all other purchases.

United Gateway℠ Card

30,000United MileagePlus Miles More Info

Earn 30,000 bonus miles after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Dollar Equivalent: $420 (30,000 United MileagePlus Miles * 0.014 base)

$0 1x - 2xPoints More Info

Earn 2X United miles per dollar on United purchases, local transit and commuting and at gas stations. You’ll earn 1X mile per dollar on all other purchases.

Citi Premier® Card

60,000Citi ThankYou Points More Info

Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou Points after making $4,000 worth of purchases during the first three months of account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,080 (60,000 Citi ThankYou Points * 0.018 base)

$95 1X-10XPoints More Info

10X total ThankYou® Points per $1 spend on hotel, car rentals and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024. 3X -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Other Hotels 3X -- Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets 1X -- Earn 1 Point on All Other Purchases

Where Can I Use CLEAR?

You can use CLEAR at airports with CLEAR lanes. You can also use a CLEAR membership to get expedited screenings into sports stadiums for events. For details regarding CLEAR locations near you, you can check out CLEAR's official list.

  • Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
    Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
    Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM)
    Boise Airport (BOI)
    Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
    Chicago's O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
    Chicago's Midway International Airport (MDW)
    Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
    Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE)
    Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
    Dallas Love Field (DAL)
    Denver International Airport (DEN)
    Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW)
    Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
    Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP)
    Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
    Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
    Houston's William P. Hobby Airport (HOU)
    Kansas City International Airport (MCI)
    Las Vegas' Harry Reid International Airport (LAS)
    John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH)
    Long Beach Airport (LGB)
    Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
    Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
    Miami International Airport (MIA)
    Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE)
    Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP)
    Nashville International Airport (BNA)
    New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
    New York's LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
    Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
    Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC)
    Oakland International Airport (OAK)
    Oklahoma City's Will Rogers World Airport (OKC)
    Ontario International Airport (ONT)
    Orlando International Airport (MCO)
    Palm Beach International Airport (PBI)
    Palm Springs International Airport (PSP)
    Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
    Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)
    Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
    Sacramento International Airport (SMF)
    Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
    San Antonio International Airport (SAT)
    San Diego International Airport (SAN)
    San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
    San Juan Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU)
    Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
    St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)
    Washington's Dulles International Airport (IAD)
    Westchester County Airport (HPN)

  • Globe Life Field — Arlington
    Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium — Austin
    State Farm Arena — Atlanta
    Coors Field — Denver
    Ball Arena — Denver
    Allegiant Stadium — Las Vegas
    T-Mobile Arena — Las Vegas
    SoFi Stadium — Los Angeles
    BMO Stadium — Los Angeles
    Kaseya Center — Miami
    Madison Square Garden — New York City
    Yankee Stadium — New York City
    Chase Center — San Francisco
    Oracle Park — San Francisco
    PayPal Park — San Jose, California
    SAP Center at San Jose — San Jose, California
    Lumen Field — Seattle
    Capital One Arena — Washington, D.C.
    Nationals Park — Washington, D.C.

CLEAR Pros and Cons

Benefits

  • Can save time at the airport
  • Children can go through the lane with CLEAR members for free
  • Can get faster screenings into some sports stadiums

Drawbacks

  • Cost is much higher than TSA PreCheck
  • Some people may be uncomfortable providing biometric information

How to Apply for CLEAR

Here’s how to qualify for and apply for a CLEAR membership:

  • Go to the CLEAR website 
  • Fill out your name, email address, zip code and date of birth on CLEAR’s online form
  • Complete your enrollment in person at an airport next time you travel
  • Bring your government-issued ID to complete the enrollment
  • Bring a payment method to pay for your membership

You need at least one of the following forms of identification to enroll in CLEAR:

  • U.S. driver's license
  • U.S. passport or U.S. passport card
  • U.S-issued permanent resident card (green card)
  • U.S. state-issued I.D.
  • Global entry card

Quick Tip

Note that you have to be at least 18 to enroll in CLEAR but children are allowed to go through the CLEAR lane with an enrolled member for no additional fee.

CLEAR vs. TSA PreCheck

The best part of having a CLEAR membership is that you can combine it with a TSA PreCheck subscription. Here's how to the two programs compare:

  • With the CLEAR membership: You skip the first security line, where the TSA Agent checks your ID.
  • With TSA Pre-Check: You have shorter lines for ID verification, and you get expedited security screening.
CLEAR TSA PreCheck

Cost

$189 per year; discounts for students, military, government staff and some credit cardholder

$78 for five years; $70 for renewal

Benefit

Skip the ID security line

Shorter ID verification lines and expedited security screening

Children

Children can go through the line for free with enrolled CLEAR member

Children can’t enroll

Under 12: Can go through TSA PreCheck with enrolled adult 

Ages 13-17: Can go with enrolled adult if traveling on the same reservation
and if the TSA PreCheck indicator is on the child’s boarding pass

Any child traveling alone can enroll

Locations

Certain airports, arenas, stadiums

Most airports

Best for

Those who use a mix of airports and sports and entertainment venues

Frequent travelers looking for faster, more convenient security processes

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 and laptops. Some travel credit cards even come with free TSA PreCheck, so check your credit card benefits guide to see if you have the perk.

woman going through immigration Related Article

Best Credit Cards for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry Reimbursement

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Is CLEAR Worth It?

CLEAR is worth it for people who travel through airports that have CLEAR lanes and who want to speed up the queue at sports and entertainment events that also have CLEAR. If you already have or are interested in a travel rewards credit card that offers free or discounted CLEAR membership, you might also find the program worthwhile.

If you travel very frequently, especially at a wider variety of airports, or aren’t interested in the program’s other uses, you may not find CLEAR as useful. Instead, you might prefer the cheaper TSA PreCheck membership more useful, though some savvy travelers like to combine the benefits to get the best of both worlds.

FAQs

  • You must be 18 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.

  • It should only take a few minutes to get approved for CLEAR, but the process has two steps. The first part is to fill out a very brief online form. Then you need to complete the process in person at an airport with your eligible identification. Depending on how long the lines are, that part of the process should also be relatively quick.

  • You can get through the ID portion of airport security faster with CLEAR. The program 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.

  • Typically, 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 can make the screening process faster and easier.

  • You can bring your children through the CLEAR lane for free but extra adults need membership, either their own or through a CLEAR family plan. However, you can bring one guest through a CLEAR lane at stadiums or entertainment venues.

  • Once you join CLEAR, you can log in to your account on the CLEAR website and add up to three family members for an additional fee. 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.

  • No, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® do not come with a free CLEAR membership. However, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® does offer a $100 statement credit every four years for a Global Entry, TSA PreCheck® or NEXUS application fee reimbursement. Some frequent travelers like to use these programs instead of or along with CLEAR.

JR

Juan Ruiz

Juan has been writing and editing stories involving credit cards, loyalty programs, travel, and personal finance topics for more than 10 years. In addition to working and contributing to a number of outlets including The Points Guy, Forbes, and Business Insider, Juan was recently the editor-in-chief at Money Under 30, where he led a team of personal finance journalists. He is also an adjunct professor at Florida International University and a licensed real estate professional.