Home > 2016 > Credit Cards

The Trick That Can Help You Skip Long TSA Lines

Advertiser Disclosure Comments 0 Comments

Airport security lines have been, well, out of control lately.

Last week, a video of an extremely long Transportation Security Administration line at Chicago’s Midway Airport went viral. A few days later, about 450 American Airlines passengers missed their flights out of O’Hare International Airport, also in Chicago, thanks to “longer than ever” lines. And it’s not just folks flying out of the Windy City experiencing problems. Reports of long wait times also surfaced out of Atlanta, New York and New Jersey.

How Can I Avoid the Wait? 

The backups are being attributed to an influx of summer travelers, more carry-on luggage and TSA staffing issues. Fortunately, there are a few ways to bypass long lines at the airport. The TSA does offer a Pre-Check program that provides eligible, low-risk travelers with expedited security screening. To take part in the program, you fill out an application, visit an enrollment center to provide proper documentation and pay a non-refundable $85 fee (valid for 5 years).

You could also apply for Global Entry, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the U.S. The application process is similar and you have to pay a $100 non-refundable fee for the clearance (also valid for 5 years) whether you get it or not.

There is a chance, however, that the plastic in your wallet could cover your pre-approval. Some credit cards offer frequent flyers credits that can be put toward TSA Pre-Check and/or Global Entry (so long as you charge the fee to the card). Here are a few of them.

  • The Platinum Card From American ExpressAmex’s Platinum (see full review here) provides cardholders with one Global Entry ($100) statement credit or one TSA Pre-Check ($85) statement credit every 5 years for an application fee. This card has a $450 annual fee. American Express provides a similar credit for its corporate, consumer and business Centurion cardholders, corporate Gold cardholders, and corporate and business Platinum cardholders.
  • The Ritz Carlton Rewards Credit Card: This card from Chase offer cardholders a $300 annual travel credit that can put toward, among other things, Global Entry fees. The card has a $395 annual fee.
  • The Expedia + Voyager Card from CitiCardholders can use the $100 annual travel credit associated with this card to pay for either the Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check application fee. The card carries a $95 annual fee. (Full Disclosure: Citibank and American Express advertise on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)
  • Citi Prestige CardCiti Prestige (see full review here) cardholders receive a $100 Global Entry application fee credit. The card has $450 annual fee.
  • Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard: This Citi card touts a $450 fee and a $100 statement credit every 5 years that can be used for your Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check application fee.

The Perks of Travel Credit Cards 

Many travel credit cards offer other amenities, like a free checked bag, priority boarding and/or airport lounge access that can make flying more enjoyable. (You can learn more about the best airline miles credit cards here.) Of course, you’ll want to read the terms and conditions of any credit card you are considering so you know exactly what you are getting before signing up. As you can see from the list above, many of these cards carry a high annual fee that might not be worth paying if you don’t travel often enough.

You should also check your credit, as a good credit score will help you qualify for the better plastic on the market. You can view two of your credit scores, updated each month, on Credit.com.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

At publishing time, the Platinum Card From American Expressthe Expedia + Voyager Card from CitiCiti Prestige Card and Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

More on Credit Cards:

Image: Jodi Jacobson

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Certain credit cards and other financial products mentioned in this and other articles on Credit.com News & Advice may also be offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com will be compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards or products. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Our Owners

Credit.com is owned by Progrexion Holdings Inc. which is the owner and administrator of a number of business related to credit and credit repair, including CreditRepair.com, and eFolks. In addition, Progrexion also provides services to Lexington Law Firm as a third party provider. Despite being owned by Progrexion, it is not the role of the Credit.com editorial team to advocate the use of the company’s other services. In articles, reporters may mention credit repair as an option, for example, but we’ll also be sure to note the various alternatives to that service. Furthermore, you may see ads for credit repair services on Credit.com, but the editorial team isn’t responsible for the creation or implementation of those ads, anymore than reporters for the New York Times or Washington Post are responsible for the ads on their sites.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team