May 28, 2017
How to Get Expedited TSA Screening with TSA Pre-Check for FREE

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TSA Pre-Check makes the security process at (mainly) US airports much, much less stressful. Enrolled members get dedicated security lanes which are shorter and move much faster than traditional security lanes.



There are currently 180 airports and 37 airlines enrolled in TSA Pre-Check. The program grants members expedited security clearance at airports. You can keep your shoes, belts, and lights jackets on when you go through the metal detectors. You’re also not required to remove your laptops and small liquids from your carry-on bags. The Pre-Check lanes (which are separate from the general security lanes) are typically shorter and move much faster. You can also arrive at the airport later than you could if you were going through the traditional security line-since the security process is usually much faster.


How to Apply

You can submit your application to enroll in TSA Pre-Check online. The TSA will then conduct a background check. If you’re approved, you need to schedule an in-person interview. The interview itself typically lasts about 10 minutes. You’ll be required to give your fingerprints during the interview.

How to Use Pre-Check

Once you’re approved for Pre-Check, you’ll be given a KTN (Known Traveler Number). This number is used to identify you in TSA computer systems. When you buy airline tickets going forward, make sure you enter your KTN in the reservation. Most airline frequent flyer programs allow you to save your KTN in your profile. If you save your KTN, the airline will automatically add it to tickets you purchase in the future.


Getting TSA Pre-Check for FREE

TSA Pre-Check costs $85 for a five-year membership. However, there are a number of credit cards which offer $85 statement credits which offset the application fee. All you have to do is charge the $85 fee to an eligible credit card, and the bank should issue you a credit. Note that most banks will offer this credit once every five-years. The following cards offer this benefit:

Finally, know that if you have Global Entry (another program which offers expedited customs and immigration screening when you enter the USA) you automatically get TSA Pre-Check for free. Given that Global Entry comes with more travel perks and comes with TSA Pre-Check, that’s usually the better option. I’ll have another post on the site shortly to compare the two programs.


Featured Image Courtesy of Getty Images