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Capital One just added TSA PreCheck or Global Entry reimbursement to the Venture card. It’s not the first card to offer this of course but it’s another benefit for an already strong rewards card. And it’s the second new benefit already added this year. That’s important because they’re improving the value proposition on the card while several other cards are seeing things taken away.
The card currently offers an initial bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel. And then your spending earns unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.
Empty Security Line at TSA PreCheck, West Palm Beach
Capital One Venture Adds TSA PreCheck/Global Entry Reimbursement
Capital One announced this morning that Venture customers can apply for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry and receive up to $100 back as a statement credit on their account covering the full application cost when they pay with their card.
That’s great because it’s more value for the card without taking anything away. And for those of us like myself who already have TSA PreCheck it’s still valuable. Something several readers have told me they didn’t realize is that the statement credit can be used to sign up anyone you wish. The credit is triggered by the charge to the card, without respect to who is using it. So you can sign up family members or friends just by having them pay the application fee using your card.
Global Entry is a program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. The fee is $100 (covered by this statement credit) and comes with TSA PreCheck. TSA PreCheck is $85 (covered by this statement credit if you choose TSA PreCheck instead of Global Entry) and doesn’t come with any border benefits.
TSA PreCheck is easier to get than ever before. Back in April we learned that beginning this summer enrollment would become available at Staples office supply stores, so you don’t even have to go to the airport.
And if you don’t want to wait for a Global Entry appointment you can sign up when you arrive in the U.S. off an international flight with no advance planning whatsoever.
Overall the benefit matches well with Capital One’s narrative about flexibility — in how you use your points and in how you experience travel.
It goes along nicely with Capital One card features like Card Lock to freeze and unfreeze your account; Second Look which prompts you on possible problems like duplicate charges; the Amazon Alexa skill (you can interact with your card through Alexa!); and Eno which lets you use virtual card numbers when shopping online. They’ve built a package into Venture Rewards that’s about both convenience and rewards.
Making The Most of Your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Benefit
I almost never use an airline lounge in my home airport of Austin, because I leave home for the airport as late as possible. TSA PreCheck means I usually have a 1-2 minute wait to get through security, but it’s never been more than 10 minutes there (naturally I whine about lines when they’re close to 10 minutes..).
If I need overhead bin space on my flight, I want to be at the gate right when boarding starts. Working backwards I want to give myself 10 minutes to get through security and 5 minutes to get to the gate (including making any stop I need to). I want to show up at the airport 50 minutes prior to departure. So I leave home 1 hour and 15 minutes out.
The real benefit here, I think, is reducing the variability in time to get through security which means I don’t need to build as much slack in my schedule. If I don’t need overhead bin space — my favorite way to travel is with just my laptop bag — then I aim to be at the airport 35 minutes out, leaving home an hour before departure.
Long security line in Philadelphia
Make Sure You Get the Benefits of TSA PreCheck When You Fly
You’ll want to make sure all participating airlines have your Known Traveler Number. Currently-booked tickets aren’t going to have your number in the booking. Don’t expect your Known Traveler Number to pass through from a US frequent flyer program to international airline partner automatically either. So if you use American AAdvantage miles to book on Etihad you want to confirm with Etihad that they have the number in your reservation.
Most people update their frequent flyer accounts with their Known Traveler Number, but if you’re flying without one or using another airline’s frequent flyer program, it won’t go in automatically either. So make sure each reservation gets the number.
When you check-in for a flight make sure your boarding pass indicates TSA PreCheck. If it doesn’t check your Known Traveler Number in the reservation and check in again. If your airline doesn’t support that, call and get ‘unchecked in’ and re-check in for an updated boarding pass.
53 airlines currently participate in TSA PreCheck, so if you’ve signed up and provide your ‘Known Traveler Number’ in your reservation you’ll generally qualify.
I’ve already renewed my Global Entry, which lasts 5 years, so I’m good to go with PreCheck for awhile. The only times I haven’t received TSA PreCheck on my boarding pass are:
- When I’ve been flagged for extra screening in Paris (‘SSSS’), my connecting boarding pass didn’t have it.
- When I’ve checked in with a foreign airline, my connecting US airline boarding pass didn’t have TSA PreCheck on it — but a quick visit to a kiosk for a replacement boarding pass still got me TSA PreCheck.
But What if There’s No PreCheck Lane Open at the Airport?
Whenever at an airport which doesn’t offer TSA PreCheck, or TSA PreCheck lanes are closed (after hours), TSA may provide for expedited screening, which in my experience has meant:
- You keep your shoes on
- Your bag of liquids stays in your bag
- Your laptop and other large electronics are still supposed to come out of your bag
- You go through the metal detector
Maintaining Global Entry and TSA PreCheck
Once you have TSA PreCheck you don’t want to lose it. When coming into the country be sure to declare chocolates, candy bars, chips, or any various items of sustenance whether open or closed, for personal consumption at the airport or meant as gifts. Even if it’s just chocolates from your flight. Violating customs rules can cause you to lose Global Entry (and TSA PreCheck).
And be sure to keep your profile up to date for instance if you get a new passport you need to link it with your government account.
Finally don’t wait until your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck expires, you’ll want to renew it several months in advance. Kudos to Capital One with the new statement credit benefit on the Venture card because they provide reimbursement every four years and not every five like some credit cards do.