Both The Platinum Card® from American Express (review) and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (review) offer a variety of useful perks. There are a couple of perks that can save you time at the airport — I’ve written about how the Amex Platinum offers an annual CLEAR credit, and in this post I wanted to talk about the card’s Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit.
Personally I don’t view this as being one of the primary benefits of the card (since it’s not even annual), but it’s still worth being aware of.
How does the Global Entry & TSA Pre-Check credit on the Amex Platinum work?
Those with the Amex Platinum Card can receive a credit of up to $100 towards a TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry membership:
- This benefit applies to both the Amex Personal Platinum and the Amex Business Platinum
- This benefit applies to authorized users, so each cardmember gets their own credit (in other words, if you have three authorized users, you’d receive a total of four of these credits)
- This benefit applies once every four years (since both Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check have to be renewed every five years, so that gives you a buffer)
- To take advantage of this benefit, simply charge the $85 or $100 fee to an eligible Amex Platinum, and you’ll automatically be issued a statement credit if eligible; there’s no registration required
- You can even use this benefit for someone else, as long as you’re paying with your Amex Platinum; this is a great option if you have multiple cards with these credits
What are Global Entry & TSA Pre-Check?
Global Entry gets you expedited immigration on arrival in the United States. 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. It takes the guessing game out of queuing at immigration.
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 airports in the United States. 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.
In order to maximize your odds of getting TSA Pre-Check prior to a flight, make sure you enter your Known Traveler Number (KTN) at the time you book your ticket. 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?
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 more, though the cost is covered by the Amex Platinum credit regardless, so that’s a moot point. 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. 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?
The process of signing up for Global Entry can be a bit time consuming. You first need to create a Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP) account and fill out an application. You’ll have to provide quite a bit of background information, including all the countries you’ve been to in the past five years. 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 interview. There are lots of enrollment centers around the country, and nowadays these interviews can even be done virtually. At the interview, they’ll just go over the basics of your application, and odds are that it’ll take only a few minutes.
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 without an interview.
If you travel internationally with any frequency, it’s totally worth getting Global Entry, especially in conjunction with a fee credit that covers the cost.
The Amex Platinum Card offers cardmembers (including authorized users) a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit once every four years. If you take advantage of this, I highly recommend applying for Global Entry over TSA Pre-Check, since that gives you access to both programs.
If you really want to make your airport experience seamless, also use the annual CLEAR credit of up to $179 on the Amex Platinum, so you can receive an expedited ID check.
If you have the Amex Platinum, have you used the Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit?