The last time you booked a flight, you might have noticed the airline asking for an optional piece of information, called a Known Traveler Number (KTN). Most people skip over it without a second thought, but those who have this mysterious information are the ones who can skip the lines when they travel.
What Are the Benefits of the Trusted Traveler Program?
TSA PreCheck is a domestic US program that allows access to expedited security screening at most airports. Like the days before 9/11, you can keep your liquids and laptops in your suitcase, and leave your shoes, belt and a light jacket on. This program charges an $85 application fee and is good for five years.
Global Entry is run by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and allows expedited entry to the US at select international airports, seaports, and land crossings. This program has a $100 application fee, and members also receive access to TSA PreCheck.
NEXUS is also part of the US Customs and Border Protection program, which allows pre-screened travelers expedited processing when entering the United States and Canada. This program is $50, is open to Canadian and Mexican nationals, and includes TSA PreCheck. SENTRI is a separate program for US citizens and foreign nationals that allows expedited entry into the US from Canada and Mexico. It includes PreCheck and costs $122.50 to apply.
How Do You Become a Trusted Traveler?
Several credit cards offer a $100 credit towards a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application, typically every four years. These cards include:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express: Not only does this card offer the primary cardholder a credit of up to $100 towards a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry application, but it also extends to authorized cardholders. You can get up to three additional authorized users for a total of $175 annually. But you can also get additional Gold cards at no extra charge, with a $100 credit for each one. There’s a $550 annual fee for this card. (see rates and fees)
- The Business Platinum® Card from American Express: $595 annual fee. (see rates and fees)
- United℠ Explorer Card - $95 annual fee, waived the first year. This is one of the lowest annual fees for a card with this benefit.
- Chase Sapphire Reserve®: $550 annual fee.
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card: $250 annual fee. (see rates and fees)
- Delta SkyMiles® Platinum Business American Express Card: $250 annual fee. (see rates and fees)
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card: $550 annual fee. (see rates and fees)
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card: $550 annual fee. (see rates and fees)
- Mastercard® Black Card™: $495 annual fee.
- Mastercard® Gold Card™: $995 annual fee.
There’s no need to spend hours of your life every year standing in TSA lines, or arriving extra early at the airport to ensure that you don’t miss your flight. By using the right credit card to join Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, you can skip the lines and not even have to pay for the privilege.