Woot! It looks like we can soon expect discounted or free CLEAR memberships for more people, and we can also expect CLEAR to expand to more US airports.
What is CLEAR?
I’m a huge fan of CLEAR, which I’ve now had for a couple of years. CLEAR is a service that can save you a lot of time at airport security, in addition to TSA PreCheck.
The benefit of being a CLEAR member is that instead of lining up to have your ID checked in the regular line or Pre-Check line, you can go to the CLEAR line, scan your fingerprints, and then you’re escorted past the ID checker. With TSA PreCheck lines sometimes being longer than the regular lines nowadays, this lets you skip the line for having your ID checked.
It doesn’t always save me time, though what I appreciate is that it makes my airport experience consistent. I’m always on my way within a few minutes.
Historically Delta & CLEAR have worked closely together. Not only do SkyMiles members get free or discounted CLEAR memberships, but we see more CLEAR availability at Delta hubs than other hubs.
Well, today it has been announced that yet another airline is partnering with CLEAR.
United & CLEAR announce new partnership
Today United Airlines and CLEAR have announced a new partnership. As part of this, United is also making an equity investment in CLEAR.
There are two aspects to this partnership.
Discounted or free CLEAR memberships for MileagePlus members
This new partnership includes discounted or free CLEAR membership for select US-based MileagePlus members. A CLEAR membership ordinarily costs $189, though with this partnership:
- Global Services and Premier 1K members will receive a complimentary CLEAR membership
- Premier Platinum, Gold, and Silver members, as well as most United credit card members, will receive a discounted membership rate of $109
- All other MileagePlus members will receive a discounted membership rate of $119
Comparing the Delta & CLEAR partnership
The pricing that CLEAR is offering United MileagePlus members more or less mirrors what Delta is offering SkyMiles members:
- Diamond Medallion members receive a complimentary CLEAR membership
- Platinum, Gold, and Silver members, as well as most Delta credit card members, will receive a discounted membership rate of $109
- All other SkyMiles members will receive a discounted membership rate of $119
Is there a downside to this partnership?
All things considered, I think this is a fantastic development. However, to be balanced I’d note that when an airline partners with CLEAR in this way, you can expect that a lot of people will suddenly be signing up for a CLEAR membership.
When I fly out of an American terminal that has CLEAR it’s a rather “exclusive” experience (in terms of there not being many other people), while at some Delta hubs I’ve felt like a significant percentage of passengers had CLEAR.
CLEAR is a fantastic innovation, and I’m a fan of anything that allows it to expand to more airports. I would have thought that Delta and CLEAR had some sort of an exclusive agreement, though maybe that recently ran out, so we’re now seeing both Delta and United partner with CLEAR in similar ways.
As usual, that leaves American as the least innovative of the three US carriers. My home airport of Miami has CLEAR, though only in the non-American terminals. I’ve been told by CLEAR representatives at the airport that American has rejected them being added in the American terminal, I guess because American doesn’t like nice things.
Are you excited about the new United & CLEAR partnership?