Author Topic: TSA PreCheck Worth it?  (Read 8279 times)

MoneyStubble25

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TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« on: July 22, 2015, 02:50:01 PM »
Is anybody here doing this? I'm a semi regular traveler for business and fly occasionally to see family. I probably fly once a month or so. Paying $85 to cut out some waiting time and avoiding pulling things out of my bag always seemed silly. But I've been traveling more lately for work, and it does last five years or more. I figure that's 60 plus hours saved standing in line over 5 years. Any thoughts or recommendations? Does it really cut down on waiting time?

mtn

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2015, 03:00:41 PM »
That depends. If I was flying out of O'Hare to La Guardia every time, absolutely. If it is Green Bay, Wisconsin to Albaquerque New Mexico? Pass.

I'm probably going to get it soon. 5 years for $85? Seems like a no-brainer to me, and I don't even fly that much. But when I do fly, it is out of O'Hare airport.

GizmoTX

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2015, 03:03:36 PM »
Yes. Not only do you wait less in line, you go through the checkpoint so much faster, & without having to undress/dress, pull things out & back into your bag, & you avoid the super X-ray scanner. DH & I have enjoyed TSA-Pre for several years since we both have AA Platinum status. Since DS did not, & we travel internationally every year, we decided to go for Global Entry, which is $100 pp or $20/year, since it is good for 5 years. Now we all have Trusted Traveller/TSA-Pre status on all airlines that honor it, which for us is every airline except Spirit. We fly out of DFW/DAL or AUS & ORD/MDW. 

MoneyStubble25

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2015, 03:09:24 PM »
I'm also in Chicago, and unfortunately have to fly ORD to LGA at least a few times a year. What a nightmare.

Yeah, sounding like a no-brainer. I just wanted to make sure the experience is actually worth it. Bonus for me is the interview location is around the corner from my office.

cdttmm

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2015, 03:11:43 PM »
I just signed up. At $85 for 5 years (basically $17 per year), I figured it was worth it to save myself a little time and hassle when doing something I generally consider at least mildly stressful (traveling). The interview process is super easy. Set an appointment and you should be able to get in and out within 10-15 minutes.

myhotrs

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2015, 03:31:42 PM »
Might as well get Global Entry. Its $100 for 5 years and several credit cards will refund you the fee (Amex Plat, Citi Premier, etc). It comes with TSA Pre as well as Global Entry so if you go international its great when coming back to the US.

Eric

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2015, 03:39:33 PM »
Maybe your company will pay for it.  It doesn't hurt to ask, especially if you're traveling often for business.

I'm a red panda

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2015, 03:52:28 PM »
If I lived somewhere it was available, I'd do it just for the second half of my trips (when I leave home I leave from a tiny airport- when I come back, it is always from a major city with huge waits).

But sadly, on a short trip, there is no way to get the appt set up, so I'm the ONLY person on my work team without it.  They like to point and laugh at me as I take my shoes off.

letired

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2015, 05:16:26 PM »
I got Global Entry for an international trip last year, and it comes with Pre, and I will never go back. Going through security is always really upsetting/enraging for me, so the $100 for the next 5 years was well worth it for me. Make sure the airports you frequent have a precheck line, not all do.

Telecaster

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2015, 05:40:31 PM »
Might as well get Global Entry. Its $100 for 5 years and several credit cards will refund you the fee (Amex Plat, Citi Premier, etc). It comes with TSA Pre as well as Global Entry so if you go international its great when coming back to the US.

This.   The best thing about TSA Pre is that it is more predictable getting through security, therefore you can safely budget less time. 

Clean Shaven

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2015, 05:53:30 PM »
Might as well get Global Entry. Its $100 for 5 years and several credit cards will refund you the fee (Amex Plat, Citi Premier, etc). It comes with TSA Pre as well as Global Entry so if you go international its great when coming back to the US.
Are there any credit card deals that offer a global entry or pre check credit, without a huge annual fee?

seattlecyclone

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2015, 06:06:57 PM »
Might as well get Global Entry. Its $100 for 5 years and several credit cards will refund you the fee (Amex Plat, Citi Premier, etc). It comes with TSA Pre as well as Global Entry so if you go international its great when coming back to the US.

Tip: the NEXUS program costs only $50 for five years. You get expedited land crossings between the US and Canada plus TSA PreCheck and Global Entry. Yes, it is in fact better and cheaper than the other programs! The only potential downside is that you have to go to Canada or a state that borders Canada to do the interview.

Another tip: the membership expires on your next birthday after five years after your interview, so if you can manage to schedule the interview shortly after your birthday you can actually get almost six years of coverage out of it.

This is totally worthwhile for a frequent traveler. It eliminates a lot of the variability in the security wait time, meaning you don't have to arrive at the airport early enough that you can still make your flight even if the TSA line takes 20 minutes. I have had several times where I just walk up to the agent, hand them my ID, put my stuff on the conveyor belt (no removing shoes or belts or laptops or liquids), and walk through the metal detector. No line whatsoever. Also they'll use the regular metal detector instead of the scanner that creates an image of your naked body, so that's another bonus.

Eggman111

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2015, 07:27:04 PM »
+1 for Nexus. I'm surprised it's less money than the other options, but I've used it several times for the same purpose. I'm Canadian, so I didn't realise until this thread that Global Entry or Pre-Check cost more, since Nexus is my only option for speedier travel to and from, and within, the US.

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk


AllieVaulter

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2015, 12:40:21 AM »
Following.

SunnySaver

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2015, 06:43:18 AM »
Nexus is a great option if an enrollment center is reasonably convenient for you. The direct link to the list is http://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/nexus/nexus-enrollment-centers (they are all at/near the border)

Whichever program you choose to get PreCheck, it's almost certainly worth it if you are flying even semi-regularly.

Are there any credit card deals that offer a global entry or pre check credit, without a huge annual fee?
I doubt it, but you can do pretty well with one year of Amex if you use the global entry credit plus the 2x$200 airline fee reimbursements. Annual fees are on an anniversary basis, while airline fee reimbursements are on a calendar year basis, so you can get two of them for your first annual fee. Check the flyertalk Amex forum for creative ways to use the airline fee reimbursements towards travel rather than misc fees.

NotJen

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2015, 07:43:06 AM »
Might as well get Global Entry. Its $100 for 5 years and several credit cards will refund you the fee (Amex Plat, Citi Premier, etc). It comes with TSA Pre as well as Global Entry so if you go international its great when coming back to the US.
Are there any credit card deals that offer a global entry or pre check credit, without a huge annual fee?
The Ameriprise Platinum AmEx was available with the fee waived the first year (looks like it still is, just no sign up bonus now).  I signed up for this card when my local airport announced they would be doing Pre-Check interviews here.  $85 charge was promptly refunded. Plus I get $400 of airline charges refunded, and access to Amex Offers.

cdttmm

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2015, 10:02:21 AM »
Thanks seattlecyclone, Eggman111, and SunnySaver for the info and links about Nexus. I could find myself traveling to and from Canada a few times next year so it would come in handy. I'm actually headed to Canada in the next few weeks so perhaps I can schedule a stop at an enrollment center as part of that trip.

MidWestLove

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2015, 10:02:57 AM »
My experience that the hassle (the cost was covered for work as my travel is work related) was completely worth it. It makes going through Security at OHare a 15-25 second event (I can sleep longer in the mornings of travel, kiss my daughters, etc) and after using it  I will probably be willing to pay for it myself going forward if I am not working.  I wish I knew about Global Entry before getting Pre-Check , may be next time.

MoneyStubble25

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2015, 10:07:16 AM »
My issue is that for Global Entry, you have to go to the airport for the interview, which is a more difficult process for me. I rarely travel internationally, although I will be in September. The Pre-Check interview location is just around the block from my office. (Just one of the other conveniences of living in a major urban center).

Thanks everyone for the great feedback. I scheduled my appointment for tomorrow.

tj

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2015, 01:32:15 PM »
Might as well get Global Entry. Its $100 for 5 years and several credit cards will refund you the fee (Amex Plat, Citi Premier, etc). It comes with TSA Pre as well as Global Entry so if you go international its great when coming back to the US.
Are there any credit card deals that offer a global entry or pre check credit, without a huge annual fee?

Nope.

NotJen

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2015, 01:47:00 PM »
Might as well get Global Entry. Its $100 for 5 years and several credit cards will refund you the fee (Amex Plat, Citi Premier, etc). It comes with TSA Pre as well as Global Entry so if you go international its great when coming back to the US.
Are there any credit card deals that offer a global entry or pre check credit, without a huge annual fee?

Nope.

Actually, yep.

https://www.ameriprise.com/products-services/cash-cards-lending/credit-cards/american-express-platinum/

joeh

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2015, 08:59:59 PM »
Pre-Check is nice. I'd pay the $85 if you travel at least once a month out of a larger airport. You get (much) faster security and have to think less about fluids/shoes/laptops.

I use Global Entry & Pre-Check and they are great. The combination can easily cut an hour off transfer times in some airports after arriving internationally (where you'd have to do customs then go back through security). If you fly less international this wouldn't matter as much.

I got Global Entry free from United, but you have to fly a lot (edit: it looks like they may have stopped that benefit). You can get it totally free if your work pays flight bills! =)
« Last Edit: July 23, 2015, 09:02:10 PM by joeh »

firewalker

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2015, 09:42:10 PM »
So, how does this work? What happens at the interview that makes the TSA sure you will never pack a bomb in your shoe? Do they plant a chip in your skull? Do you give up some of your privacy? It's got to be more than "give us 50 bucks and we look the other way."

seattlecyclone

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2015, 09:49:16 PM »
So, how does this work? What happens at the interview that makes the TSA sure you will never pack a bomb in your shoe? Do they plant a chip in your skull? Do you give up some of your privacy? It's got to be more than "give us 50 bucks and we look the other way."

They do a background check before the interview and take your fingerprints during the interview. They reserve the right to reject your application at the slightest red flag, so you might not want to bother applying if you have any criminal history. There was very little actual questioning during the interview. As far as I recall it was mostly an explanation of how to use the Global Entry kiosks and Nexus lanes. As far as risk is concerned, I guess they assume that someone with no criminal history probably won't attempt an act of terrorism as their first crime, so maybe they don't need quite as much scrutiny at the border as someone who has had no such background check.

clarkevii

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #24 on: July 23, 2015, 10:28:51 PM »
$85 to skip security lines?

What a rip off

fa

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2015, 11:00:20 PM »
If have Global Entry and it is so worth it.  I decline the scanner and got tired of the sexual harassment, uhh I meant pat down.... The security line was always sheer misery.  No more with pre TSA.  Love it.  Worth every penny.  My recent immigration formalities were 5 minutes instead of 40 minutes for the regular line.

sunnsurf

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #26 on: July 24, 2015, 06:33:07 PM »
I have it. I love it. I say do it.

NumberJohnny5

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #27 on: July 25, 2015, 01:47:18 AM »
With three kids $100 per person would be pricey and very much worth it. I doubt they'll let me do an interview while overseas, so our next trip back will still be a headache.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2015, 01:52:45 AM by NumberJohnny5 »

sheepstache

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #28 on: July 25, 2015, 04:35:25 AM »
So, how does this work? What happens at the interview that makes the TSA sure you will never pack a bomb in your shoe? Do they plant a chip in your skull? Do you give up some of your privacy? It's got to be more than "give us 50 bucks and we look the other way."

They do a background check before the interview and take your fingerprints during the interview. They reserve the right to reject your application at the slightest red flag, so you might not want to bother applying if you have any criminal history. There was very little actual questioning during the interview. As far as I recall it was mostly an explanation of how to use the Global Entry kiosks and Nexus lanes. As far as risk is concerned, I guess they assume that someone with no criminal history probably won't attempt an act of terrorism as their first crime, so maybe they don't need quite as much scrutiny at the border as someone who has had no such background check.

And let's not forget if you have extra money for perks like TSA PreCheck you're probably not poor which definitely makes you safer and more trustworthy.

ladydoc

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Re: TSA PreCheck Worth it?
« Reply #29 on: August 02, 2015, 08:27:42 PM »
I have Global Entry and I do love it. But (controversial opinion) you don't really save that much time. Because every so often (and often enough that it makes a difference), it's closed. And if you only budgeted enough time to fly through security you are screwed. They often let you keep shoes on still but you need to wait in line with everyone else. So I end up planning in more time in case it doesn't work. Happened to me 3 times in Philadelphia, twice in San Fran and once in Chicago. I love it because I get to skip the extra dose of radiation and just do the metal detector.