DDFB Question Of The Day: Global Entry Or TSA PreCheck?

In 2008 the DansDeals Forums (DDF) was launched for people to be able to discuss deals, miles, and destinations at length and the DansDeals Facebook group (DDFB) was founded to provide email alerts about hot deals. Facebook took away the ability to send out email alerts, so Twitter took over that feature and the Facebook group has remained as an alternate, far messier version of DDF. Eventually I also made a Facebook page for people looking for Facebook notifications of new deals and finally opened an Instagram account where I post some pictures from my travels.

I spend hours every day browsing DDF and DDFB looking for tips and trying to help people out. I’ve occasionally featured questions here that are relevant to a wide audience, and perhaps I should do that more often.

Today this question on DDFB caught my eye,

“Should I get the global entry or the TSA pre? I could either one for free with my platinum AMEX”

TSA PreCheck is the best thing since sliced bread. It makes flying bearable once again and I can’t imagine not having it.

Without a doubt, it’s better than having low-tier elite status on an airline.

After an in-person interview you are assigned a known travel number. You just enter that number into your reservation and PreCheck will appear on your boarding passes when flying on domestic airlines (except for Frontier and Spirit currently).

PreCheck lines are significantly shorter than regular lines. I’ve walked right through security when the regular lines have been over an hour long. Without a doubt I’ve made flights that I would have otherwise missed thanks to PreCheck.

In San Francisco, after watching the Cavs win their first NBA Finals, the PreCheck line seemed significantly longer than the already long regular line. I had never seen that before and was almost tempted to join the regular line with my brother JJ who didn’t have Pre-Check. I stuck with Pre-Check though and finished a full half an hour before he came through security.

But aside from that, PreCheck allows you to keep your shoes, belt, and jacket on. You can keep your laptop in your bag. And you get to go through the old style metal detectors rather than assuming the position for a nude-o-scope.

Adults that have PreCheck can also bring their kids with them even if their kids don’t have PreCheck.

PreCheck costs $85 for a 5 year membership. Many premium credit cards, including the AMEX Platinum Consumer Card, AMEX Platinum Business Card, Citi PrestigeCiti Executive AAdvantage, Chase Ritz Carlton, and the upcoming Chase Sapphire Reserve will refund that fee.

But you shouldn’t use that credit to signup for PreCheck.

Global Entry offers everything that PreCheck offers and it also allows you to skip the lines when you return from abroad.

With Global Entry you don’t need to fill out the blue form when you return to the US, you skip the long line and go right to special Global Entry kiosks where you just scan your passport.

You also get a Global Entry card, though you don’t need that when you fly, it only helps when you drive into the US as it allows you to use the Nexus lane when returning from Canada to the US or Sentri lanes from Mexico to the US.

I still carry the card with me when I fly and it came in handy earlier this month when flying on Cathay Pacific from Vancouver to JFK. That flight has customs and immigration after you land in JFK, but the regular security line in Vancouver airport had a 30 minute wait. There was a no first class line, but there was a Nexus line with no waiting and they accepted our Global Entry cards to use the Nexus line.

Kids of any age are required to have their own Global Entry membership in order to use the kiosks when returning from abroad. However you can still bring kids that don’t have their own memberships with you in the PreCheck security line even if you have a Global Entry membership rather than a PreCheck membership.

Global Entry costs $100 for 5 years and is also refunded by those premium credit cards.

You can even add 3 additional users to your AMEX Platinum Consumer Card for $175 total ($58.33 each) and each of those cards will also get a Global Entry/PreCheck fee refund in addition to full Airspace, Centurion, Delta, and Priority Pass lounge access.

The only advantage to PreCheck over Global Entry is if you are paying for them out of pocket to save $15 over 5 years. But that savins will only be worthwhile if you never leave the country. Aside from that, PreCheck also allows walk-in applications while Global Entry applications must be scheduled in advance.

Finally there’s also Nexus. Nexus allows expedited entry into Canada in addition to full Global Entry and PreCheck privileges.

And get this, despite offering the most benefits of all 3 memberships, it only costs $50 every 5 years!

However for whatever reason, the credit cards don’t officially refund Nexus membership fees.

I originally enrolled in Nexus on my AMEX Platinum card. Of course it didn’t automatically credit the $50, however a chat agent was able to manually refund the $50 fee.

The main caveat of Nexus is that you must apply for it at the Canadian border. I had planned to apply in Detroit or Buffalo, but in the end I wasn’t able to make it up there. I wound up applying for Global Entry for myself, my wife, and our 2 kids as we were able to apply for it locally in Cleveland and those fees were automatically refunded.

It’s the best money I never spent.

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44 Responses to “DDFB Question Of The Day: Global Entry Or TSA PreCheck?”

  1. Yitti Says:
    1

    Global entry gives you tsa precheck. So what’s the question ?

    ReplyReply
  2. Fafa123 Says:
    2

    What does Global Entry offer that Mobile Pass doesn’t?

    ReplyReply
  3. Dumbest question Says:
    3

    Sorry Dan but anyone that can even ask that question is on the same level of those that might think it’s a legit question. tSA pre-check was made for those that were denied global entry, that’s the whole answer, anyone that signs up for TSAp over GlobalE if they have the choice is a moron.

    ReplyReply
  4. David Says:
    4

    I love Global Entry and Pre-check… like you said very well worth the time to get it!

    ReplyReply
  5. ShlockDoc Says:
    5

    I’ve done all of my family Global Entry Memberships via Walk-In appointments. You may have a to wait a while but it’s an option.

    Also, JJ doesn’t have Precheck?!?!

    ReplyReply
  6. yudig Says:
    6

    @dan

    I recently asked the CBP agents what to do as my wife and I have GE but not for the infant.

    They told us to head to the kiosks and complete a form for the child.

    After we’ve checked thru, there is usually a booth next to the kiosk where you hand in the form for the child and they let you pass.

    I’ve done this a couple times at EWR without issue.

    ReplyReply
  7. Anonymous Says:
    7

    With Global Entry you don’t need to fill out the blue form when you return to the US, you skip the long line and go right to special Global Entry kiosks where you just scan your passport.

    untrue for JFK where all lines have kiosks now and there is no need to fill out the form (however im sure ELAL will continue giving them out for the next 10yrs.)

    ReplyReply
  8. Anonymous Says:
    8

    TSA Pre closes off early @JFK so most of the time i fly i share the same line as anyone else

    ReplyReply
  9. Liltazie Says:
    9

    Couldn’t imagine travelling without NEXUS.

    ReplyReply
  10. Anonymous Says:
    10

    for the blue slip we now have a mobile app

    ReplyReply
  11. MosheD Says:
    11

    Just a bit of info.
    even if you have precheck it doesnt guarantee that you will get to use it every time (confirmed with the TSA agent on my last trip)

    ReplyReply
  12. shaya Says:
    12

    How long does it take to get approved? I’m flying in 2 weeks would I have enough time if I sign up now?

    ReplyReply
  13. Infant ? Says:
    13

    How do the Global Entry people interview an infant?

    ReplyReply
  14. Platinum over a year old? Says:
    14

    Didn’t use the credit yet. Can I still get Global Entry for my kid?

    ReplyReply
  15. Living in small city Says:
    15

    One advantage of pre check over global entry is for those living in small cities that don’t have global entry offices around. I’d like to sign up for Global entry when i visit NYC or LA, but it sounds like you have to book an appt weeks in advance. Is that correct?

    ReplyReply
  16. Anonymous Says:
    16

    @Anonymous: You still don’t have to take out your 3-1-1 bag, take off your shoes, etc.

    ReplyReply
  17. Ra Says:
    17

    Even if you’re stuck in the regular security line, you don’t need to take off your shoes or light jacket if your boarding pass says precheck.

    You do still have to take your laptop out of its bag though.

    ReplyReply
  18. Yoel Says:
    18

    I have Nexus but never get access to the special security line. Do you know why? Do I need to do something special?

    ReplyReply
  19. Dan Says:
    19

    @Yitti:
    This question comes up often, not everyone knows the differences.

    @ShlockDoc:
    At least in CLE they don’t take walk-ins.
    I’ve read the same for some other locations as well, but it may be YMMV.

    @MosheD:
    Sounds like BS. I’ve flown hundreds of times and never missed PreCheck.
    That’s only true if you had the old system without a known traveler number or if there’s a typo in your name/middle name.

    @shaya:
    Depends on the location. Nothing to lose by trying.

    @Infant ?:
    They take fingerprints and that’s about it.

    @Platinum over a year old?:
    Yes.

    @Living in small city:
    Depends on the location. There are cancellations and their schedules change multiple times a day.

    @Yoel:
    You need to enter the Nexus number into the known traveler number on your reservations.

    ReplyReply
  20. Steven Says:
    20

    Even better is Nexus–it includes TSA-Precheck and is only $50 for 5 years and free for kids under 18, AND for Canadians applying through the paperform, $50CDN–but it isn’t covered with AMEX Plat benefits and maybe not with the new Chase Sapphire card coming out.

    ReplyReply
  21. Jay Says:
    21

    Can you use the nexus lane if only the driver is enrolled in Nexus? I have it, my wife doesn’t.

    ReplyReply
  22. Anonymous Says:
    22

    @Dan Nexus under 18 is free. I think that Sentri requires that your vehicle is approved as well. If you have GE you can apply by some other countries as well for their equivalent programs.

    @yoel in Canada IIRC you need to show your card to get access to their faster lanes – for the USA PreCheck you need to add the number to the reservation

    @Anonymous I’m sure many airlines give them out as not always you can use the kiosk, and don’t put a white sheet on Elal, Swiss didn’t understand when I told the FA I don’t need the form cuz I have GE

    @Jay everyone must have a GE Card

    ReplyReply
  23. BW Says:
    23

    Southwest gave me TSA Pre check automatically, maybe because i fly them a lot, i dont know. Every time i print my boarding pass, it says “TSA Precheck”

    ReplyReply
  24. Dan Says:
    24

    @Steven:
    Did you read the post?

    @BW:
    Yup, though that system is being phased out.

    ReplyReply
  25. JMS Says:
    25

    @Dan: @MosheD: I’ve had occasions where although PreCheck appeared on my ticket, at the airport the PreCheck lane was closed. I think this is more common in smaller airports. Usually they will still let you keep on your shoes, belt and jacket as long as they know you are PreCheck. But on one recent trip, the lane was closed and I had to do everything that regular-security-goers do, shoes belt et al.

    ReplyReply
  26. Joe Says:
    26

    I’ve had Global Entry / TSA Precheck for about 4 years and love it. It’s saved me hours of line time.

    I just flew in from Israel this past Tuesday and for some reason the Global Entry kiosks were down at JFK! I tried twice at the kiosk before someone told me they weren’t working. Then I got stuck behind everyone who had already gotten on the regular line!

    ReplyReply
  27. juda Says:
    27

    I have global entry, if my wife fly’s together with me is she also included as far as TSA pre chk?

    ReplyReply
  28. flier Says:
    28

    @Yitti: The only advantage to PreCheck over Global Entry is if you are paying for them out of pocket to save $15 over 5 years. But that savins will only be worthwhile if you never leave the country. Aside from that, PreCheck also allows walk-in applications while Global Entry applications must be scheduled in advance.

    ReplyReply
  29. Eli Says:
    29

    If my mother has the amex platinum, can i get global entry instead of her and amex would still give the credit?

    ReplyReply
  30. Mendy Says:
    30

    The ritz Carlton card will refund the nexus fee as part of the $300 in annual travel credits

    ReplyReply
  31. Toan Says:
    31

    I have TSA but my wife and kids (5 and 1 y/o) don’t. When we fly domestic 1st class, they all get TSA. It’s printed on the boarding passes. You get TSA when you get GE. On my last return trip from Japan, I used an app called Mobile Passport on my iphone. It’s approved by CBP and allowed me to use the same line used by airlines crew members. If you fly mostly domestic then get TSA unless you want to pay the extra to get GE for occasional international flights.

    ReplyReply
  32. Dan Says:
    32

    @Eli:
    Yes.

    @Mendy:
    Why would you waste $50 on that when it will cover GE?

    ReplyReply
  33. Clueless Says:
    33

    Dan, can I currently have the amax platinum and used it already for global entry, can I use it now again for pre check and get refunded for that as well ?

    ReplyReply
  34. High end hobo Says:
    34

    I just flew CX F YVR-JFK.
    At security I told them I’m a premium Pax and they took me threw the crew screening line. Very quick

    ReplyReply
  35. YMW Says:
    35

    @Dan:
    Dan, it’s worth mentioning, that Nexus is ‘Free’ for children under 18! so you, your spouse & your entire family can have it for just 100.00! anyone traveling often to/from Canada it’s a must!

    ReplyReply
  36. JohnnieD Says:
    36

    Just an FYI on Nexus. I got Global entry which of course gets you prechek. But, I also got a global entry card that gives you Nexus when you return to the US. It also can’t be used at a Nexus only crossing like the Whirlpool bridge in Niagara Falls, but can be used at the other bridges. Small benefit but it would save a lot of time during busy weekend travel.

    ReplyReply
  37. naftali Says:
    37

    anyway i can apply for nexus from my house or do i need to stop at the border

    ReplyReply
  38. Steven Says:
    38

    Dan – why did you write: “But you shouldn’t use that credit to signup for PreCheck.” Was that specific to Sapphire? Were you just saying use it for Global Entry, not PreCheck?

    ReplyReply
  39. Ben Says:
    39

    Can someone clarify Global entry fee for me please.
    Is there a way to avoid the $140-$150 application fees?
    I have the platinum and CSR cards and want to get global entry for my wife and myself.
    Any advise will help.
    Thanks

    ReplyReply
  40. HT Moshe Says:
    40

    I just applied for TSA pre-check with my Amex platinum. While I was there we applied for my wife as well and paid with my same Amex platinum card.
    Amex issued 2 credits to my Amex!

    ReplyReply
  41. Mayer Says:
    41

    1) Does the Global Entry give you nexus too? If so what is the reason I would goto Nexus instead of Global Entry if I am getting refunded anyways?
    2) when using nexus by the Canadian border does everyone in the car need a Nexus?

    ReplyReply
  42. Question Says:
    42

    After I sign up for Global Entry is there another process I have to do in order to get PreCheck or will I automatically get PreCheck with global entry?

    ReplyReply
  43. Dan Says:
    43

    @Question:
    Automatic.

    ReplyReply
  44. dhaumaru Says:
    44

    Comparison Chartl: https://www.dhs.gov/trusted-traveler-comparison-chart

    ReplyReply

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