Unlocking the Skies: How to Get TSA PreCheck for Free

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Travel can be an exhilarating experience, bringing your fantasies to reality. But it comes with some snags too. And it starts before you even leave your location. Air travel is where dreams of exotic destinations meet the harsh reality of long lines, shoe removal, and the dreaded airport security shuffle.

However frustrating, an airport security check is a must for obvious reasons. But there exists a golden ticket that can whisk you through security with the grace and ease of a seasoned jet-setter.

Yes, I speak of none other than TSA PreCheck, the VIP lane of the skies. Believe it or not, you can snag this coveted privilege without spending a dime. So, sit back, relax, and prepare to learn the art of unlocking TSA PreCheck for free.

What is TSA PreCheck?

How to get TSA PreCheck for free

TSA PreCheck is a highly sought-after program administered by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to streamline the airport security experience for enrolled travelers. Participants in this program are granted expedited passage through security checkpoints. This eliminates the need to remove shoes, belts, or light jackets, as well as electronics and small liquids from carry-on luggage.

TSA reports that an impressive 99 percent of PreCheck passengers breeze through security in 10 minutes or less, significantly reducing stress and wait times. Available at over 200 airports across the United States and accepted by more than 90 different airlines, TSA PreCheck offers unparalleled convenience for frequent flyers.

To enroll, you must complete an online application, undergo fingerprinting and document verification at an enrollment center, and pay a fee to receive your Known Traveler Number (KTN). Once obtained, you can easily add your KTN to future reservations, ensuring seamless access to TSA PreCheck benefits.

New applicants typically incur fees ranging from $78 to $85, renewals can be obtained for as little as $70, making TSA PreCheck an attractive option for savvy travelers looking to optimize their airport experience.

Who is eligible for TSA PreCheck?

TSA PreCheck membership is available to a wide range of individuals, including U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and permanent lawful U.S. residents. Also, members of the U.S. Armed Forces, certain government employees, and military academy students qualify for this expedited screening program.

Is TSA PreCheck free for children?

how to get TSA PreCheck for free

Families traveling with children under 18 may find some relief in the TSA PreCheck program. While children under 18 can utilize the TSA PreCheck lane when accompanied by a parent or guardian who is a member, there’s a catch for those between 13 and 17.

Despite traveling with an enrolled adult, teenagers in this age group might still face the possibility of being directed to the regular screening lanes. To streamline the airport experience, parents should enroll their teens in the TSA PreCheck program.

However, there’s no special pricing for children, and they must undergo the standard application and approval process. Any child traveling solo, regardless of age, must have their own TSA PreCheck membership to access the expedited security lane.

So how can you get a TSA PreCheck for free?

Now that you are acquainted with TSA PreCheck and its fees, it’s time to get savvy. Here are a couple of ways to get a TSA PreCheck for free;

Opt for a credit card with TSA PreCheck credit

Many credit cards offer reimbursement for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application fees, alleviating the financial burden of enrollment. Simply use your eligible card to pay for the application fee, and within weeks, you’ll receive a statement credit on your account.

For example, the Arvest Visa Signature® Credit Card extends up to $100 reimbursement for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees, although it is limited to consumers in select states. Similarly, U.S.-based HSBC Premier checking account holders can pair their account with an HSBC Premier Credit Card, which offers a $85 statement credit every five years to cover TSA PreCheck fees.

On the other hand, the Truist Enjoy Travel credit card provides a statement credit for the TSA PreCheck application or renewal once every four years. We advise that you read the terms and conditions before leaning towards any. Some cards may restrict reimbursements to specific intervals, typically every four to five years, and may cover only TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, not both.

Use points or miles to get your free TSA PreCheck

how to get TSA PreCheck for free

Have you been racking up frequent flyer miles like a boss? Well, it’s time to put those miles to work. Many airlines offer TSA PreCheck reimbursement as a perk for their elite-status members. If you’re a United Airlines MileagePlus member looking to breeze through airport security without breaking the bank, you’re in luck.

With just 11,000 MileagePlus miles, you can cover the application fee and skip the hassle of shelling out cash. Sure, it might not be the most glamorous use of your miles, but when convenience and savings are on the line, it’s a win-win situation.

Leverage your military status

For those in the military, obtaining TSA PreCheck is free as a reward for your dedication and sacrifice. Active-duty service members, reservists, National Guard members, and even cadets and midshipmen of esteemed military academies are entitled to this privilege with their Department of Defense ID card.

Department of Defense civilian employees can opt-in through MilConnect to enjoy this benefit. However, retirees or those who have left the Department of Defense are not eligible for complimentary TSA PreCheck.

Enjoy TSA PreCheck nirvana

The path to TSA PreCheck nirvana need not be paved with gold. With a little savvy maneuvering and a touch of ingenuity, you too can join the ranks of the elite flyers who breeze through security with a smile on their faces and a skip in their step. So, go forth, my friends, and may your journeys be swift, your lines be short, and your TSA PreCheck status be forever free. Safe travels!

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