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TSA PreCheck vs. Global Entry vs. CLEAR: Cost and benefits of each

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We travel internationally about twice a year, nationally about 10 times per year.  We used CLEAR on a free promo.  The only benefit we saw was in very busy airports [ATL] you went to the front of the TSA PreCheck line.  We thought it was too expensive since we live in CLE and the precheck line is never that busy.

As for Global Entry, I doubt that I'd want to pay for it, given that we enrolled in Mobile Passport [app] and cleared customs without paperwork in Newark in about 2 minutes flat.

We love having TSA PreCheck.  It suits us perfectly.

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5 minutes ago, OHCruiser said:

We travel internationally about twice a year, nationally about 10 times per year.  We used CLEAR on a free promo.  The only benefit we saw was in very busy airports [ATL] you went to the front of the TSA PreCheck line.  We thought it was too expensive since we live in CLE and the precheck line is never that busy.

As for Global Entry, I doubt that I'd want to pay for it, given that we enrolled in Mobile Passport [app] and cleared customs without paperwork in Newark in about 2 minutes flat.

We love having TSA PreCheck.  It suits us perfectly.

 

5 minutes ago, OHCruiser said:

We travel internationally about twice a year, nationally about 10 times per year.  We used CLEAR on a free promo.  The only benefit we saw was in very busy airports [ATL] you went to the front of the TSA PreCheck line.  We thought it was too expensive since we live in CLE and the precheck line is never that busy.

As for Global Entry, I doubt that I'd want to pay for it, given that we enrolled in Mobile Passport [app] and cleared customs without paperwork in Newark in about 2 minutes flat.

We love having TSA PreCheck.  It suits us perfectly.

If you travel fairly frequently internationally, Global Entry is well worth the investment. 

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17 minutes ago, rafinmd said:

With regard to renewal I was late renewing my NEXUS card.  When I went for my interview I was told that once the conditional approval was given the card remained valid until the appointment, even if the expiration date had passed.  I would assume GE works the same way.

 

Roy

 

It’s a bit muddy on the GE side.  Technically the website says if you let your GE lapse by even one day you have to reapply from the beginning.   I haven’t seen any feedback or posting I remember if that is a hard and fast rule.  Now on the other side if you apply for renewal before your expiration date your status is extended up to six months past the original expiration date pending review and hopefully approval.  

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1 hour ago, Randyk47 said:

 

We applied for renewal two weeks ago tomorrow (2 June).  Per the feedback that’s been posted on another travel forum the average renewal process seems to be taking about 90 days.  Our GE expirations are February and March of next year and initially we were going to wait until later in the year around September.   After seeing it was taking 90 days and that you may or may not have to be reinterviewed we decided to apply.   I will keep you posted.  

Thanks.  Good to know.  Appreciate your help.

 

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10 hours ago, cowmilker said:

Do you have to be arriving at an airport that does GE interviews FROM overseas?  We're flying to FLL in a few months, domestically, and I thought we could do the interview upon arrival there. 

 

I would drop into the GE office when you’re at the airport to see if they have time to see you.  I did that, one time, when there was a processing error with my GE, tied to my NEXUS, and they saw me with about a 5 minute wait.

 

After seeing this thread I remembered I needed to update my new drivers license information.  When I logged in I saw I am due to renew again.  The last renewal my husband got approved and I got called for another interview.  I hope I can get approved without an interview this time.  Except they’re moving to facial recognition, now, so I may not be so lucky.  I always seem to get the grouchy ones.

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5 hours ago, rafinmd said:

With regard to renewal I was late renewing my NEXUS card.  When I went for my interview I was told that once the conditional approval was given the card remained valid until the appointment, even if the expiration date had passed.  I would assume GE works the same way.

 

Roy

Roy, you are correct. GE is the same. 

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11 hours ago, cowmilker said:

Do you have to be arriving at an airport that does GE interviews FROM overseas? 

 

I had my initial interview in the international terminal at Logan airport in Boston. I was not flying internationally, I just scheduled the appointment online a couple of months ahead for a time I knew I’d be at the airport. 

 

Did my renewal last fall for expiration this August. It took about 3 months as I got caught in the ‘shutdown’, but since I had until August it didn’t matter. Happily, I didn’t have to interview again.

 

Interesting- a friend applied for renewal a couple of weeks after me. Hers was expiring this past March. She got her renewal within 3 weeks, mine continued to say ‘pending’ for a couple more months.  We chalked it up to hers being prioritized due to closer expiration. 

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6 minutes ago, LF23 said:

 

I had my initial interview in the international terminal at Logan airport in Boston. I was not flying internationally, I just scheduled the appointment online a couple of months ahead for a time I knew I’d be at the airport. 

 

 

Thank you all for this information. We'll go ahead and apply and then make an appt to coincide with our time there. That was what I hoped I could do.  Driving several hours just to be interviewed wasn't something we wanted to do.

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For those of you talking about the cost....many of the airline credit cards reimburse you the $100 fee. United being one of them. I am not sure which others as we only have the UAL one. 

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12 hours ago, *Miss G* said:

 

I would drop into the GE office when you’re at the airport to see if they have time to see you.  I did that, one time, when there was a processing error with my GE, tied to my NEXUS, and they saw me with about a 5 minute wait.

 

After seeing this thread I remembered I needed to update my new drivers license information.  When I logged in I saw I am due to renew again.  The last renewal my husband got approved and I got called for another interview.  I hope I can get approved without an interview this time.  Except they’re moving to facial recognition, now, so I may not be so lucky.  I always seem to get the grouchy ones.

 

Had to smile about your comment about getting grouchy agents.   There are lots of reports of difficult interviews but then again reports that people have been in and out in five minutes.  Personally the agent I got four years ago noticed I was a retired Federal employee.  He was thinking of retiring and asked which pension system I was in.  Turns out he was also in he older system so we spent more time with him asking questions about how that had worked out for me than questions about my travel.   He did say something about me cruising a lot as my list of countries visited had many Caribbean islands and Med port cities.   

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21 hours ago, DougandEric said:

(you supposedly have to have the card but the agents tell you to put it away since everything is tied into your passport - or at least that has been our experience).  

No need to bring the card burnt is a form of government ID if you don’t have the enhanced or real drivers license when flying. 

 

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39 minutes ago, drneal said:

No need to bring the card burnt is a form of government ID if you don’t have the enhanced or real drivers license when flying. 

 

 

True but once in awhile you’ll run into an airport employee line sorter/guard who will ask to see your NEXUS/GE card to get in the GE line.   They can be quite insistent.  When we travel outside of the US we carry our cards and just slip them into our passports when reentering the US.    I know some people who like to use their cards at TSA checkpoints for the very reason the cards have so little personal information on them.   

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47 minutes ago, Randyk47 said:

 

Had to smile about your comment about getting grouchy agents.   There are lots of reports of difficult interviews but then again reports that people have been in and out in five minutes.  Personally the agent I got four years ago noticed I was a retired Federal employee.  He was thinking of retiring and asked which pension system I was in.  Turns out he was also in he older system so we spent more time with him asking questions about how that had worked out for me than questions about my travel.   He did say something about me cruising a lot as my list of countries visited had many Caribbean islands and Med port cities.   

 

My initial interview was not so pleasant.  With NEXUS you are required to interview with both the Canadian as well as the US agencies.  It may have been a combination of a new program, coupled with a lack of education on certain matters, but the CBSA officer was extremely harsh.  Or he could have just been a prat and that is where they sent him to retire out.

 

My husband, on the other hand, was in and out in minutes.  He said it was a piece of cake.  

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21 minutes ago, *Miss G* said:

 

My initial interview was not so pleasant.  With NEXUS you are required to interview with both the Canadian as well as the US agencies.  It may have been a combination of a new program, coupled with a lack of education on certain matters, but the CBSA officer was extremely harsh.  Or he could have just been a prat and that is where they sent him to retire out.

 

My husband, on the other hand, was in and out in minutes.  He said it was a piece of cake.  

 

I have heard or read that CBSA agents can be a little more picky and in fact NEXUS per se is more complicated because of the double interview requirement.  Obviously living in south central Texas NEXUS wasn’t a consideration for us.   If I still lived in the Seattle-Tacoma area I might have opted for NEXUS as I enjoyed going up to Vancouver or over to Victoria.  In my single days taking a lady on the ferry over to Victoria was a great date.   👍😀  As it is I haven’t been to Canada in almost 40 years.   

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1 minute ago, Randyk47 said:

 

I have heard or read that CBSA agents can be a little more picky and in fact NEXUS per se is more complicated because of the double interview requirement.  Obviously living in south central Texas NEXUS wasn’t a consideration for us.   If I still lived in the Seattle-Tacoma area I might have opted for NEXUS as I enjoyed going up to Vancouver or over to Victoria.  In my single days taking a lady on the ferry over to Victoria was a great date.   👍😀  As it is I haven’t been to Canada in almost 40 years.   

Have you considered SENTRI?

 

Roy

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26 minutes ago, rafinmd said:

Have you considered SENTRI?

 

Roy

 

Yes but the Mexico-Texas border towns are not attractive and sometimes are downright dangerous.   When I lived in El Paso in the early 1980s it started to change.  Initially we loved to cross the border for shopping, dinner, etc., but within a two year span Juarez actually became “off limits” for military personnel.   We do travel to Mexico but by air for resorts in places like Cabo but no land border crossings so GE works just fine for us.   

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On 6/15/2019 at 4:25 PM, OHCruiser said:

As for Global Entry, I doubt that I'd want to pay for it, given that we enrolled in Mobile Passport [app] and cleared customs without paperwork in Newark in about 2 minutes flat.

 

Just wanted you to be aware that they recently updated the app and unless you pay for the "plus" version ($15/year):

 

"Users of the free version will not be able to store passport information for upcoming trips or use the document scanner to automatically enter their document information. But, they will be able to manually enter and submit their details upon arriving at their port of entry."

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On 6/15/2019 at 3:25 PM, OHCruiser said:

We travel internationally about twice a year, nationally about 10 times per year.  We used CLEAR on a free promo.  The only benefit we saw was in very busy airports [ATL] you went to the front of the TSA PreCheck line.  We thought it was too expensive since we live in CLE and the precheck line is never that busy.

As for Global Entry, I doubt that I'd want to pay for it, given that we enrolled in Mobile Passport [app] and cleared customs without paperwork in Newark in about 2 minutes flat.

We love having TSA PreCheck.  It suits us perfectly.

 

Given the choice four plus years ago I probably would have gone with just PreCheck.  At the time there was a GE interview office at the airport nine miles away but the PreCheck office was 100 miles away.  Considering I had a big SUV that might get 22 miles per gallon, and gas was selling for over $3/gallon, I figured it would have spent way more than the $15 difference between GE and PreCheck to drive the 200 plus mile round trip.   There is a PreCheck office at the airport now but we’ve enjoyed GE so much it’s worth the difference to us.   

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Anyone have any anecdotal info on PreCheck turnaround times lately? Fingerprinted today.

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Posted (edited)
On 6/16/2019 at 6:28 AM, Randyk47 said:

 

True but once in awhile you’ll run into an airport employee line sorter/guard who will ask to see your NEXUS/GE card to get in the GE line.   They can be quite insistent.  When we travel outside of the US we carry our cards and just slip them into our passports when reentering the US.    I know some people who like to use their cards at TSA checkpoints for the very reason the cards have so little personal information on them.   

Same in the cruise ports that use GE. I keep my GE in my travel wallet for the same reason I bring my yellow fever vaccination, they are light, and they will do me no good at home. At FLL, I disembark wearing a little holder on my lanyard with my cruise card on one side and my GE card on the other.

Edited by Wehwalt

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On 6/16/2019 at 7:28 AM, Randyk47 said:

 

True but once in awhile you’ll run into an airport employee line sorter/guard who will ask to see your NEXUS/GE card to get in the GE line.   They can be quite insistent.  When we travel outside of the US we carry our cards and just slip them into our passports when reentering the US.    I know some people who like to use their cards at TSA checkpoints for the very reason the cards have so little personal information on them.   

I got my first GE card when they came out.  At the time, the closest place to me for my interview was Las Vegas, a 7-hour drive.  I decided to make a weekend of it.  The interview and all took maybe 10 minutes.  I spent the rest of the time lounging by the pool at Mandalay Bay, having some good dinners, and playing craps.  Won enough to pay for the trip!

Back then, the TSA Smurfs somehow thought that only Drivers Licenses and Passports were legal ID for them.  When I'd show my GE card, I did get some pushback.  I'd just ask for their supervisor and ask the supervisor to bring the book which listed the legal IDs.  I'd direct them to the list and show that GE was like #4 on the list.    I haven't had any encounters with ignorant/untrained Smurfs in awhile.  But, I'm always willing to assist in their training...   

I always carry my GE card in my wallet.  If anyone asks for ID, it's what I show.  It doesn't have all the PII that a Drivers License has, so I'm more comfortable with it.  I have had some savvy travelers use their GE card as ID at the hotel - I nod knowingly.  

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44 minutes ago, slidergirl said:

I got my first GE card when they came out.  At the time, the closest place to me for my interview was Las Vegas, a 7-hour drive.  I decided to make a weekend of it.  The interview and all took maybe 10 minutes.  I spent the rest of the time lounging by the pool at Mandalay Bay, having some good dinners, and playing craps.  Won enough to pay for the trip!

Back then, the TSA Smurfs somehow thought that only Drivers Licenses and Passports were legal ID for them.  When I'd show my GE card, I did get some pushback.  I'd just ask for their supervisor and ask the supervisor to bring the book which listed the legal IDs.  I'd direct them to the list and show that GE was like #4 on the list.    I haven't had any encounters with ignorant/untrained Smurfs in awhile.  But, I'm always willing to assist in their training...   

I always carry my GE card in my wallet.  If anyone asks for ID, it's what I show.  It doesn't have all the PII that a Drivers License has, so I'm more comfortable with it.  I have had some savvy travelers use their GE card as ID at the hotel - I nod knowingly.  

 

Right after I got my GE card four plus years ago I tried to use it at a TSA security checkpoint.   The agent initially declined it and said I couldn’t use, they didn’t recognize ID issued by a “foreign country”.   He called for a supervisor who quickly corrected him and I was allowed to proceed.  The supervisor went back to his station at the end of the security checkpoint and as I cleared I caught his attention and smilingly said “foreign country?”  He smiled and thanked me for giving him the training opportunity.   Fast forward to today and I don’t remember a recent report of a TSA problem with GE cards.   

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11 minutes ago, Randyk47 said:

The agent initially declined it and said I couldn’t use, they didn’t recognize ID issued by a “foreign country”.

 

What was he doing with all the passengers from foreign countries?  😂

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5 hours ago, *Miss G* said:

 

What was he doing with all the passengers from foreign countries?  😂

Like New Mexico???  (yes, there were reports of smurfs thinking New Mexico was a country...)

 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/18/2019 at 9:26 PM, perditax said:

Anyone have any anecdotal info on PreCheck turnaround times lately? Fingerprinted today.

 

Hard to get a good average from my go-to frequent flyer forum that has a large section on Trusted Traveler Programs and PreCheck.   The majority of contributors are frequent International flyers so the tendency is to go with programs like NEXUS and GE.  The few posts on PreCheck look like it’s running around three weeks to get conditional approval which allows you to then schedule an interview.  That can take days to weeks depending on your local TSA office appointment schedule.  Once you’re interviewed and fingerprinted it can run from minutes to weeks before final approval.  

Edited by Randyk47

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