Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Adding Authorized Users
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: $200 Annual Airline Fee Credit
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: $200 Annual Uber Credit
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Free Hotel Status
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Airport Lounge Access
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: 5x Points On Airfare & Hotels
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Global Entry Or TSA Pre-Check Credit
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Free Rental Car Status
Amex Platinum Card Benefits: Fine Hotels & Resorts
Recently we saw The Platinum Card® from American Express relaunched with new benefits, a bigger welcome bonus, and a higher annual fee. The card now has a welcome bonus of 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $5,000 within three months. On top of that, the card’s annual fee increased by $100, though I think for most people the new benefits will more than make up for the increased annual fee.
I get a lot of questions about the details of the benefits of The Platinum Card® from American Express, so I’m writing a series about the various benefits of the card.
In this post I wanted to talk about the Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit offered with the Amex Platinum Card. While I don’t view this as one of the primary benefits of the card, it can save you money on what I consider to be two great programs that will make your travel life easier.
How does the Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check credit on the Amex Platinum Card work?
Those with the Amex Platinum Card get a credit of up to $100 that they can apply towards a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check membership. This benefit applies to both the primary cardmember as well as authorized users, though each cardmember can only get the benefit once every four years. In other words, if you have the Amex Platinum Card and add three authorized users, then all four cardmembers could take advantage of the benefit, and then they could do so again four years later.
To take advantage of this benefit, simply charge the $85 or $100 fee to an eligible Amex Platinum Card. You can actually use this benefit for anyone. There’s no need for the name on the application to match that of the cardmember. All that matters is that the charge is made to an eligible card.
What are Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check?
Global Entry gets you expedited immigration on arrival in the US. Rather than having to wait in the usual immigration line, you go to a Global Entry kiosk, answer some very basic questions, have your picture and fingerprints taken, and then you’ll be given a printout. Then there’s also an expedited line at customs.
This has really changed my international travel, since nowadays I land in the US and am on the curb within five minutes.
When you have Global Entry, your passport will automatically be eligible for using these special kiosks. There’s no card required, and there’s no need to enter any special code when you book your ticket.
TSA Pre-Check, on the other hand, gets you expedited security at most US airports. Most airports have TSA Pre-Check lanes, where eligible travelers don’t have to remove their shoes, or take their laptops or liquids out of their bags. Furthermore, these passengers only have to go through the metal detector, rather than through the full body scanner.
Not only is this significantly more convenient, but it’s also less invasive. However, Pre-Check has gotten so popular that in some cases the Pre-Check line is longer than the regular line. To maximize your odds of getting Pre-Check, make sure you enter your Known Traveler Number at the time you book your ticket. You’ll be assigned this number, and it’s the code that maximizes your odds of being eligible on each trip.
However, do note that sometimes you may randomly not get Pre-Check, even if you’re enrolled.
Should you sign up for Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check?
It blows my mind how many people apply for TSA Pre-Check over Global Entry. A vast majority of people should be applying for Global Entry over TSA Pre-Check. Why? Because Global Entry automatically comes with TSA Pre-Check, while the opposite isn’t the case. Global Entry costs $15 extra, though the cost is covered by the Amex Platinum Card credit. Once you do that you’ll have the best of both worlds, as you’ll get Global Entry and Pre-Check.
Slightly unrelated, but if you’re paying out of pocket for one of these programs, I highly recommend signing up for NEXUS instead. This costs only $50, gets you expedited immigration in both the US and Canada, and comes with Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check.
Unfortunately the Amex Platinum Card doesn’t cover that, and the enrollment center locations are also more limited for NEXUS. So it’s not for everyone, but if you travel to Canada with any frequency, it could be worthwhile.
What’s the process of signing up for Global Entry like?
You can start the process of applying for Global Entry by creating an account with the Global Online Enrollment System (GOES). You’ll then have to fill out an application, which will take a bit of time. You’ll have to list all the countries you’ve been to in the past five years, and share a lot of other personal information. You can always save the parts of the application you’ve completed, and come back later to finish it.
Once submitted, your application will be reviewed, and typically within a couple of weeks you’ll be conditionally approved, and will be invited to schedule an in-person interview. There are lots of enrollment centers around the country, and the process is pretty straightforward.
At the interview they’ll just go over the basics of your application, and odds are that it’ll take only a few minutes. You’ll need to bring your passport and one other form of identification to the interview.
Global Entry is then valid for five years (or more accurately, your fifth birthday after you apply, meaning ideally you’ll want to apply shortly after your birthday, so you get nearly six years out of it). The good news is that you can typically renew Global Entry online, so going into an office is a one time thing.
If you travel internationally with any frequency, it’s totally worth it, especially in conjunction with a fee credit that covers the cost.
With the Amex Platinum Card, each cardmember (including authorized users) gets a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit every four years. I highly recommend using this for Global Entry, since that also gets you TSA Pre-Check. While the initial application process is cumbersome, renewals are easy, and can typically be done online.
If you want to maximize the convenience of this, try to apply shortly after your birthday, since you’ll get almost six years of membership out of it.