How to Get TSA Precheck Free

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The Transportation Security Administration plans to "significantly reduce" access to Precheck lanes for travelers who haven't paid to join the program. Here's how to score Precheck for free.

In recent years, the Transportation Security Administration has surprised and delighted many travelers by giving them free access to TSA Precheck, an expedited security process that allows them to breeze through airport security. But the days of the freebie are coming to a close.

“Starting early February 2017, TSA will significantly reduce access to [TSA PreCheck] expedited screening for non-enrolled travelers,” TSA spokesman Mike England told CNBC in an emailed statement.

To make sure you can access TSA Precheck, you need to apply for the program and fork over $85 for a five-year membership. Applicants must pass a background check and agree to give their fingerprints. Precheck members don’t have to remove their shoes, belts, light jackets, laptops or liquids when moving through airport security.

“In the future, we intend to only have enrolled or pre-vetted passengers, or those screened by K9s, in the expedited screening lane,” England says.

A total of 30 airlines now participate in Precheck, including new airline partners Spirit, Virgin Atlantic, Aruba Airlines and Emirates, among others.

If $85 seems a little steep to you, you’ll be happy to note that you can get the TSA Precheck fee waived. Here are two ways to score free Precheck:

Reimbursement for application fee

According to The Travel Sisters, a number of credit cards provide a statement reimbursement credit for the $85 application fee if you use the card to pay for Precheck. These include:

  • Citi Prestige Card
  • Citi/AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard
  • Platinum Card from American Express
  • Business Platinum Card from American Express OPEN
  • Centurion Card from American Express
  • American Express Corporate Gold Card
  • American Express Corporate Platinum Card
  • U.S. Bank FlexPerks® Gold American Express® Card
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve

Traveler perk

The Expedia+ Voyager Card from Citi reimburses TSA Precheck fees. Orbitz Rewards Platinum members also receive Precheck for free, according to The Travel Sisters.

For more about getting through the airport quickly, check out “5 Tips to Avoid Long Airport Security Lines.”

Have you tried TSA Precheck? What do you think of the program? Sound off below or on Facebook.

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