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Mileage Run Customs Questions
Took my first ever international mileage run this week, and I returned through DTW. I have global entry (first time using) and after using the kiosk everyone with global entry was subjected to questioning by an officer. Is this normal? Based on what I seen in global entry video, you just hand the ticket to the officer and proceed without additional questioning if you don’t get an X on the ticket. Also I received a lot of questioning from the officer about why I made this trip, how I got money to pay for the trip (I’m under 21, not sure if that’s why), what I did for a living, where I went to school, why I wanted to earn miles, etc. I then received very similar questions from another officer after collecting my checked bag.
Is this a normal global entry experience after a mileage run? Any advice on how to best explain mileage runs in the future? I know mileage runs are legal and I have nothing to worry about, but the experience felt very intimidating and I was definitely caught off guard.
Thanks for the input!
Could just be random, or the time of year, etc. Sometimes they ask questions, and sometimes they don’t. When we came back from Azerbaijan they waived Ben through, but then wanted to ask me lots of questions — you can’t really plan one way or the other.
Just be honest, and let your geeky enthusiasm show. 🙂
I feel like US Customs agents are made to come off as intimidating. Everywhere else I’ve been, agents are either cheerful and nice or very blasé. I always find US agents to be quite meh about it all or intimidatingly a-holeish. The UK as well, in my opinion. My first time thru the agent asked why to each answer I gave, on top of all the usual questions.
Anyway, honesty is the best policy. They cant really stop you since youve done nothing illegal.
I think Tiffany’s suggestion about geek enthusiasm is really the best one. Be super excited about explaining in detail how you found this awesome deal and how many miles you earned and the benefits you’ll get. Bet you’ll be sent through in no time.
I do not think it’s normal but I wouldn’t worry about it if I have nothing to hide. I travel alone and before I had Global Entry I was questioned often by Immigration upon re entry. Apparently, it’s unusual for a single woman to make frequent International trips alone. I was never questioned by Customs though, only Immigration and nothing ever came of it. If you ever get moved to Secondary, just answer questions truthfully and don’t cop an attitude.
It’s hard to speculate why they questioned you, perhaps they might think you’re running drugs especially given your age and the nature of a mileage run with a quick turnaround. Also, where did go? Some countries raise red flags.
Agree with everyone above. Most of the times they wave us through. Sometimes (in DUB during US preclearance), they asked no questions from me, but asked my wife which passport (we have two – a US and one from an EU country) she used upon entry to the EU. In general I find US Immigration Inspectors to be professional, and we LOVE when they always say: “Welcome home”. It often brings tears into our eyes. Lived in the UK for 9 years – totally different over there. Every time we returned to the UK, they always asked: “why have you come here?”. “when are you going to leave?”.
The most important things are:
1. ALWAYS be honest.
2. Only answer BRIEFLY what is asked from you.