Traveling through the airport can be an absolute hassle. Long lines, crowded waiting areas, and constant security measures can make even the most seasoned traveler feel overwhelmed. That’s why more and more people are signing up for TSA PreCheck—a program that allows passengers to bypass long lines, avoid tedious security procedures, and enjoy a much smoother travel experience. In this blog post, we’ll break down exactly what TSA PreCheck is, how to get it for free, and how to renew it once it expires.
- What is TSA Precheck?
- How TSA PreCheck Works
- How Can I Get TSA PreCheck For Free?
- How Do I Renew TSA PreCheck?
What is TSA Precheck?
TSA PreCheck is a program offered by the Transportation Security Administration that allows approved travelers to go through airport security without having to remove shoes, laptops or liquids from their carry-on bags or take off light jackets. Approved travelers also get access to special lanes with shorter wait times at selected airports around the country. To become eligible for TSA PreCheck you must provide your personal information and pass a background check. The cost of enrolling in the program is only $78 and membership last for 5 years. There are also some ways you can get it for free or at a discounted rate.
If you’re a frequent flyer or only fly once per year, acquiring TSA Pre-Check is an absolute must. It’s the only way to make your travel experience effortless and stress-free each year!
With TSA PreCheck, you do not need to remove:
- 3-1-1 Liquids
- Light Jackets
How TSA PreCheck Works
You do not need to apply if you already have Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI or hold an active TWIC or Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) with HME and meet TSA PreCheck eligibility requirements.
1. Apply Online
You can submit your application swiftly and conveniently online within minutes. Then you set up an appointment at any one of their 500+ enrollment centers nationwide.
2. Enroll in person
Your legal name must match exactly on all identification documents that you bring to your enrollment appointment. Plan to be fingerprinted for a background check during an in-person appointment.
During my appointment, we simply reviewed the information that I already provided online, had my passport scanned (you can provide other forms of identification if you don’t have a passport), underwent fingerprinting and paid the fee. This entire process took under five minutes.
After submitting your information, they will perform a background check and notify you of the outcome in two to three weeks through traditional mail. You can verify your TSA Pre-check status online sooner though—I got approved within just one week!
3. Travel with Ease
After being approved, you will be allocated a Known Traveler Number (KTN). Make sure to use this number when making your flight bookings; there is typically an area on the booking page where they require your frequent flyer mileage program ID details – just include your KTN in that section.
Now, whenever you get your boarding pass, the “TSA Precheck” logo will be proudly displayed above your name – as seen on my ticket from last time.
The best part? You’re all set to go for an entire five years after being approved – that’s only $15.60 a year! Not only will you save hours in lines at TSA checkpoints, you’ll now have more time to take advantage of the airport bars! For just over one dollar per month, it’s definitely worth it.
How Can I Get TSA PreCheck For Free?
If you want to avoid paying out-of-pocket for TSA PreCheck, there are a few ways you can do it. Using points or miles from loyalty programs is one option; another (and usually better) choice is taking advantage of credit card benefits that reimburse your application fee or renewal fee.
For those looking to avoid the TSA PreCheck application fee, several hotel and airline loyalty programs offer the opportunity for members to redeem their points. If you have a FoundersCard, it is even easier to earn points and miles quicker at the loyalty programs below.
With IHG Rewards, you can redeem 30,000 points to pay for the TSA PreCheck application fee. FoundersCard members receive a complimentary upgrade to IHG One Rewards Gold Elite Status.
To earn a free TSA PreCheck voucher code, Marriott Bonvoy members must redeem 25,000 Bonvoy points. FoundersCard Members have the opportunity to earn Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status
Orbitz Rewards is free to join and lets you earn hotel savings and exclusive travel perks. Platinum members can apply for a TSA PreCheck membership at no cost.
To complete enrollment for TSA PreCheck, members are required to redeem a total of 65,000 points. Unless you have no plan to use your Radisson points for any other purpose, we advise against getting TSA PreCheck with them as the conversion rate is not in your favor.
With United’s MileagePlus program, you can redeem 11,000 miles to cover the cost of TSA PreCheck. FoundersCard members receive special offers including bonus points and funds as well as discounts on flights.
Credit Card Options
Looking for a way to receive TSA PreCheck without paying the fee? Using an eligible credit card could be your answer! Numerous cards offer reimbursement of both the application and membership fees when utilizing that same card to make payment.
Two lesser-known credit cards offer a free statement credit to cover both the TSA PreCheck application and renewal fees – yet neither one of them charge an annual fee for using their services.
- If you live in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, the Arvest Visa Signature Credit Card reimburses you up to $100 for either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees.
- HSBC Premier checking account holders can get a HSBC Premier Credit Card for a $0 annual fee that contains a $78 statement credit every 5 years to reimburse your TSA PreCheck application fee.
There are other credit cards that charge an annual fee that offer PreCheck as a perk. Click here to see if any of those pertain to you.
Frequent Traveler Programs
The best way to get TSA PreCheck for free is by signing up for a frequent traveler program such as Global Entry or Nexus Trusted Traveler. These programs offer additional benefits beyond just TSA PreCheck such as access to exclusive lounges and discounts on car rentals. Typically, you will need a valid passport in order to qualify for these programs but there may be other requirements depending on your country of citizenship. Once enrolled in one of these programs, you will automatically be granted access to TSA Precheck and won’t have to pay any additional fees for the service.
How Do I Renew TSA PreCheck?
TSA PreCheck memberships are valid for 5 years from the date of issuance and must be renewed before they expire in order for travelers to continue receiving its benefits at airports. To renew your membership, simply log into your account on the Transportation Security Administration website and follow the instructions provided there. The renewal fee for another 5 years is only $70. When submitting your renewal application make sure all information provided is accurate as any discrepancies between old and new applications could cause delays in processing time or result in denied access privileges entirely so double check all information carefully before submitting! You may need need to provide updated personal information including fingerprints if necessary so that your identity can be verified again against the Secure Flight database.
Here are some frequently asked questions about TSA PreCheck:
Is TSA PreCheck worth it?
TSA PreCheck is definitely worth it if you’re a frequent traveler. It can save you time on the security line and provide peace of mind when travelling.
Do I need to renew my TSA PreCheck membership?
Yes, your TSA PreCheck membership is only valid for 5 years and must be renewed before it expires in order to continue receiving its benefits.
What documents do I need to apply for TSA PreCheck?
In order to apply for TSA PreCheck, you will need a valid form of ID such as a driver’s license or passport. You may also need to provide fingerprints if necessary.
Can I get TSA PreCheck for free?
Yes, there are several ways to get TSA PreCheck for free including a number of credit cards that reimburse the PreCheck application and renewal fees. You can also sign up for a frequent traveler program such as Global Entry or Nexus Trusted Traveler which offer additional benefits beyond just PreCheck.
Is there an annual fee?
No, the TSA PreCheck fee is a one-time fee that covers you for 5 years.
Does TSA PreCheck take walk ins?
No, TSA PreCheck is an appointment-only service. You must schedule an appointment online or by phone before visiting a local enrollment center.
Is there a way to expedite the application process for TSA PreCheck?
Yes, some credit cards offer priority processing for PreCheck applications and renewals, allowing you to skip the line and have your application processed more quickly.
Which is better TSA PreCheck or Global Entry?
It depends on your individual travel needs. Global Entry provides the same benefits as PreCheck, plus some additional features such as access to exclusive lounges and discounts on car rentals.
Do I need to be a US citizen or permanent resident to apply for TSA PreCheck?
No, you do not need to be a US citizen or permanent resident to apply for TSA PreCheck. However, some programs may have additional requirements for non-citizens.
Does the TSA PreCheck program cover international flights?
Yes, some airlines do accept TSA PreCheck on international flights. However, it is always best to check with your airline before flying to confirm if they accept PreCheck for the specific route you are taking.
Can I use my TSA PreCheck membership for all my domestic flights?
Yes, as long as your TSA PreCheck membership is valid you can use it for all domestic flights. Some airlines may require additional identification and/or screening requirements so always check with your airline before flying.
How do I renew my TSA PreCheck membership?
Renewing your PreCheck membership is easy and can be done online or by mail. The renewal fee for 5 years is $70 and you will need to provide updated personal information, including fingerprints if necessary.
What happens if I forget to renew my TSA PreCheck membership?
If your TSA PreCheck membership expires, you will no longer be able to enjoy its benefits and may have to go through the standard security screening process at airports. To avoid any inconvenience we recommend renewing your membership before it expires.
How do I check the status of my TSA PreCheck?
You can check the status of your PreCheck application by using the TSA website. You will need to provide your reference number or other information associated with your application. You can also call the TSA PreCheck office for assistance in checking the status of your application.
Is CLEAR faster than TSA PreCheck?
While both CLEAR and TSA PreCheck can help expedite your security screening process, CLEAR may be faster as it does not require you to remove items from your bag and it does not require you to provide identification. However, both programs offer the same benefits in terms of expediting the security check process.
Where can I schedule my TSA PreCheck interview?
You can schedule your TSA PreCheck interview at a local enrollment center. To find an enrollment center near you, visit the TSA website and enter your zip code to view a list of nearby locations.
Do I need to take an exam for TSA PreCheck?
No, you do not need to take an exam for PreCheck. The application process is simple and only requires basic information such as name, address, and fingerprints.
Do I need to bring any documents with me to the TSA PreCheck interview?
Yes, you will need to bring a valid form of identification such as a driver’s license, passport, or military ID. You will also be asked to provide proof of address such as a utility bill or other official document. Finally, you may be asked to provide additional documentation depending on your personal circumstances.
TSA Precheck has become increasingly popular among frequent flyers who want an easier way through airport security lines without having to go through all the hassle of traditional methods like removing laptops or heavy coats etcetera. Not only does it save time but there are also ways that travelers can get it free making it an even more worthwhile investment! So if you’re looking for an easier way through airport security lines then look no further than TSA Precheck!