Why TSA PreCheck is a Must-Have for Frequent Flyers

Money Works By Jenny Horowitz July 12, 2017

It’s amazing how most of us stand in an airport security line and watch as TSA PreCheck holders sprint through the express lane, but still wonder if it’s worth applying? The answer is YES, you absolutely should.

In June 2017, 96% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than five minutes in security. As you might’ve noticed, members don’t have to remove liquids or electronics from their bags. They also get to keep their jackets, belts, and shoes on. And according to a Global Business Travel Association report, 66% of business travelers cutting through the coveted express line are actually satisfied with their airport security experience. It may have to do with these lesser-known TSA PreCheck benefits.

It’s easy to apply

All you need is internet connection to fill out the online application and schedule your in-person appointment. TSA has 380 enrollment centers so you can conveniently find a location near you. In only ten minutes, you’ll complete a background check, fingerprinting, and identity verification. And the best part is you won’t have to reapply for another five years.


You don’t have to worry about a membership card

When making a flight reservation, add the “Known Traveler Number” (KTN) assigned to you by TSA. Participating airlines will print an indicator on your boarding pass if TSA PreCheck is eligible on your flight. Look out for any of these codes: TSAPRECHK, TSA PRE, or TSA Pre✓®. If you’re using a third party to book your flights, contact the airlines and tell them your KTN.


You can get this service for free

Many credit cards offer loyalty programs that cover the $85 application fee or allow you to use reward points towards it. Find out if your card offers this perk here.

CAC holders don’t even need an application

If you’re an Active Duty Military and DoD civilian, you can simply enter your DoD identification number from the back of your Common Access Card (CAC) into the “known traveler number” field of your flight reservation.


The little ones are free

As long as an eligible parent or guardian with TSA PreCheck is with them, anyone under the age of 12 doesn’t have to apply to get expedited screening. This can save you time getting the whole clan through security; however, anyone over the age of 13 must have their own credentials.


You don’t have to be a natural-born citizen

Foreign citizens can apply for TSA PreCheck as long as they’ve become a lawful permanent resident.

Most airlines offer expedited processing

More than 180 airports and 37 participating airlines nationwide offer TSA PreCheck. Find out if your local airport or go-to airline is one of them here.

It’s available for international flights

You’ll also be able to use TSA PreCheck for departing flights out of the U.S. In order to receive expedited customs processing when you return, apply for Global Entry. If you already have Global Entry, TSA PreCheck is free.

For more tips on traveling, check out our tips for avoiding common travel mistakes and packing for a budget airline.


Note: TSA prides themselves in using “unpredictable security measures, both seen and unseen, throughout the airport.” For your safety and the safety of those around you, travelers are not guaranteed expedited screening even with TSA PreCheck.