Travel Snobbery at its Finest

Let’s make it clear that we’re discussing the merits of Global Entry and TSA Precheck here.

I feel weird writing about this kind of stuff, because it’s only for a few travel types (Americans and/or high-rolling flyers, to name a few).   But who’s to say you might not become a really-frequent traveler or start to value your time more than your precious cash?

(Me, and me.  Something the me-of-ten-years ago never saw coming.)


For $100, you can get five year’s worth of smooth sailing through U.S. re-entry and through all U.S. security lines.   If you’re at an airport ten times a year, that’s $2 each time you skip the long lines.

Top slow travel blog Half the Clothes author is really grateful that slow travel means she has to do a lot less queueing

I know you love this as much as I do.  photo: pixabay

Now, if your budget is stretched so thin that it’s basically transparent (e.g. the me-of-ten-years-ago), that $2 is better spent on two street meals in Bangkok.   Or city bus fare in Sydney.   Or a bottle of water in Rome.

But if your means aren’t quite that meager, and”¦

  • If you’ve been traveling long enough or frequently enough to be annoyed by the person in front of you who takes a FULL HOUR to remove their shoes, get out their laptop, find their liquids, forget their keys in their pocket, have to be told to take off their jacket, and then try putting themselves back together right in the middle of the conveyor exit instead of scooting to the end”¦ TSA Pre-check is for you.
  • If youv’e been traveling long enough or frequently enough to be frustrated by the hours one can sometimes stand in U.S. customs and immigration lines, Global Entry is for you.
  • If you’ve been pulled aside for “additional screening” every time you’ve re-entered the U.S. like me (even though once it was kind of my fault), Global Entry is for you.

The Difference?

TSA-Pre check speeds you through U.S. security lines.   Global Entry speeds you through U.S. Customs & Immigration.

You can have TSA Pre-check without Global Entry, but you can’t have Global Entry without TSA Pre-check.   For most frequent travelers, it makes sense to do both.

Hack That Shizz

Now, you can pay out of pocket for Global Entry, but frequent travelers would be wise to score even more bonuses in the process by getting the Chase Sapphire Reserve travel credit card.

(I’m not a Chase minion yet — you gotta be super-big-time before they’ll cut you in.   So I get nothing from telling you all this — aside from the joy of helping my fellow humans.)

The card involves a $450 annual fee”¦ but WAIT!   For travelers, all but $50 is essentially waived the first year1because they reimburse the first $300 of your travel expenses and pay for Global Entry every five years, and all but $150 is waived in consecutive years2because that $300 reimbursement keeps happening.   So for an average of $130 year 3$150×4 + $50 all divided by the 5 year Global Entry expiration, you can get:

  • Four round-trip domestic tickets
  • Global Entry (and therefore also TSA-Precheck)
  • The ability to earn hella points on all your travel and dining expenditures. Which – even if you’re a low-spender like me – adds up to at least one additional round-trip ticket a year.

That’s basically a whole bunch of $724the $650 in fees over five years divided by at least nine flights in that same time period. flights to wherever you want + not ever having to wait in line at the airport.   Not worth it if you aren’t a jetsetter.   TOTALLY WORTH IT if you are!

For Everyone Else

I don’t recommend the Chase Sapphire Reserve very often, because most of my readers are the me-of-ten-years-ago who are interested in moving toward a new lifestyle.  So y’all just put this Global-Entry-Chase-Sapphire-Reserve info in your back pocket and instead do this:

Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred!

It’s the second best travel credit card for me personally, but the first best credit card for pretty much everyone else.  Read here about the free-flights you’ll earn  plus the other benefits plus what to do if you’re among the few for whom this card isn’t a fit.

Happy Travel Hacking!  â™£


1 because they reimburse the first $300 of your travel expenses and pay for Global Entry every five years
2 because that $300 reimbursement keeps happening
3 $150×4 + $50 all divided by the 5 year Global Entry expiration
4 the $650 in fees over five years divided by at least nine flights in that same time period.

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