Trusted Traveler Programs

My TSA Precheck is expiring so it is time to explore which program to get next.

I am likely to do some international traveling in the next 5 years so will opt for Global Entry over Precheck, but just learned there are other options. Are there any reasons for a US citizen to get something other than Global Entry if the expectation is travel outside of North America? Can just I get it, or should my wife also get it if all of our international travel will be together? If just one, does she opt for TSA Precheck (given the small price difference it seems like we might as well both get Global).

Your wife will need it, she cannot come with you just because you have it.

The biggest problem is getting an appointment for Global Entry, most locations are booked out like nine months. But if you can get an appointment, the process takes 20 minutes and it’s worth that.

I had TSA precheck for a long time automatically as a really frequent flyer, but when they made changes a few years back I lost it. I decided to go Global Entry, as the marginal cost vs TSA Pre seemed worth it to me. I haven’t been flying at all for 12+ months running though…

One additional thought…depending on what your timelines are, and depending on if/when the US/Canadian border reopens, if you are within reach of the US/Canadian border, NEXUS is a less-expensive alternative. It has the same privileges as Global Entry, and can be used with the equivalent Canadian program.

The downsides are that the application processing time is slower, since you’re working through both American and Canadian bureaucracies, and (pre-COVID, anyway) you had to go to the border or a Canadian airport with US preclearance to get it.

Since my kid will be back and forth to the UK, and United seems to have the best flights, I got a United credit card to rack up mileage for her. Plus she gets free checked bags and they reimburse you the cost of TSA pre-check or Global Entry.

I figure that’s a pretty good deal.


Wait, is ‘enroll upon arrival’ still a thing? If so, that may be an alternative way to get GE.

Yes. My daughter did it in Chicago last week upon arrival.

I b/c of crap like this I don’t travel.