Most products on this page are from partners who may compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how they appear on the page. However, opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain.
If there’s consistently a low point to every business trip or vacation taken by airplane, it’s going through airport security. From long lines to invasive searches, it’s the least dignified part of airline travel, and that’s saying something.
Luckily, there are ways to bypass many of the lines and issues common to TSA checkpoints, and you don't even need to charter your own plane to do it.
The key is to understand all of the different lines available, and how to access the one that’s the shortest and easiest to go throug
Understanding the Different Lines for Airport Security
Few travelers realize that there are usually five different lines that can take you to
The Regular Line
The CLEAR Line
CLEAR is a private company that offers identity verification services at airports, and even at some stadiums and arenas. You must be a paid member of CLEAR to use this line.
Once your identity has been verified, either through fingerprint or iris scans, a CLEAR representative will escort you to the TSA representative who will allow you to shortcut the regular line and enter regular security. The advantage is that you don’t have to wait in the regular line, but you do have to pay for a CLEAR membership each year. You also have to go through the standard security screeni
How to Get a Free or Discounted CLEAR Membership
The TSA PreCheck Line
This is a line for those who are enrolled in the TSA PreCheck
The TSA PreCheck and CLEAR Line
Those who are members of both
First Class and Elite Status Line
If you’re traveling on a first class ticket, or you hold elite status with the airline’s frequent flier program, then you’ll have access to this line.
There are 19 airports around the world that offer the new CLEAR Reserve program. This is a free program that reserves you a spot in the regular line. You don’t have to be a CLEAR member to use this service. Domestic locations currently include Denver, LAX, Minneapolis, New York
How To Get TSA Precheck
A TSA PreCheck membership is available for $78
Another way to get TSA PreCheck is to join Global Entry. This program, which includes TSA PreCheck, allows you to skip the lines at immigration upon arrival to the United States. Global Entry costs $100 for a five-year membership, but the application process is much more difficult than just TSA PreCheck. You have to fill out a very long form online, and then wait for approval.
Thankfully, many premium travel rewards credit cards include a credit for the application fee for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. These cards include the American Express
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Our Rating 4.5/5 How our ratings work Read the review
- APR22.49% - 29.49% (Variable)
- Annual Fee$550
60,000Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
Earn 60,000 bonus points after using your card to spend $4,000 within three months of account opening. Dollar Equivalent: $1,380 (60,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points * 0.023 base)
This card features an annual credit for travel purchases, which can offset the annual fee, plus bonus points when you sign up. You'll also get free access to tons of Priority Pass lounges and restaurant options around the world, along with access to the upcoming Chase Sapphire Lounge network.
If you’re looking to elevate your travel experience, look no further than the Chase Sapphire Reserve. When you first get approved, you’ll earn a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months—that’s worth at least $900 in travel-related spending booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards® and potentially more if you transfer your rewards to one of Chase’s airline or hotel partners.
- An array of premium travel perks including access to Priority Pass lounges
- Easy-to-use $300 travel credit that helps offset card's annual fee
- Generous rewards rates for spending
- High annual fee may be a deterrent for some
- Perks are starting to get stale relative to newer competition
Best Credit Cards for TSA PreCheck and Global Entry Reimbursement
How To Join CLEAR
You can enroll in the CLEAR program at any airport or event venue that has a CLEAR access point. The standard price is $189 per person, per year. However, there are numerous discounts available. Those with a free Delta SkyMiles
Likewise, United MileagePlus
The American Express Green, Platinum and Business Platinum each come with a $189 annual credit toward a CLEAR
I’ve belonged to both TSA PreCheck and CLEAR for many years. I find TSA PreCheck to be invaluable for both the shorter lines and the less invasive screening. At under $16 a year, or free with the right credit card, it’s a no-brainer. Get it with Global Entry if you leave the country regularly, but just sign
In fact, I would sign
And if you travel at least once a month and you have CLEAR at your home airport, then it’s worth getting