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Even if you have TSA PreCheck®, now might be the time to add Clear® to your list of ways to get through airport security faster. Clear® works like this: After signing up online and completing a short in-person biometric scan to verify your identity, you’ll be able to walk up to a Clear® kiosk at any airport where there is one and scan your fingerprints or eyes (no need to scan your license or passport). Then a Clear® representative will escort you straight to the security checkpoint, bypassing the regular line where the TSA agents check your ID.
With airport security lines commanding extra-long waits nowadays and even TSA PreCheck lines getting longer, Clear® delivers a faster and more efficient airport experience. And with the right credit card or frequent flier affiliation, you can score a free or heavily discounted annual membership.
How much does Clear® cost?
It typically costs $189 for an annual Clear® membership, but there are several ways to lower this number through frequent flier memberships, promotional codes, or credit card statement credits. You can also add up to three family members and friends to your account for an extra $60 each per year. Those family members and friends don’t need to be traveling with you or together to use their memberships. Relatives under 18 years old can always join in the Clear® lane alongside a member at no cost.
Is Clear® worth it?
Overall, a Clear® membership is worth it if you regularly fly through any of the dozens of U.S. airports it currently serves, including JFK, LAX, and Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. If you’re a sports fan, your Clear® membership also allows you to skip the line at many major sports stadiums throughout the country, including Oracle Park in San Francisco and Denver’s Coors Field.
Additionally, Clear® has some tools that may expedite your pandemic-era trip. You can store your digital vaccination card through Clear® as well as sometimes upload documents to create a Health Pass for air or cruise travel (when required).
How to get Clear® for free
In addition to offering statement credits covering Global Entry and TSA PreCheck® fees, the Platinum Card® from American Express (annual fee $695, see rates and fees) also offers up to $189 in statement credits each year toward an annual Clear® membership fee. Same goes for the Business Platinum Card® from American Express (annual fee $695, see rates and fees). You first must enroll for this benefit online or by calling the number on the back of your card. After enrolling, simply charge your annual membership to your Platinum card and days or weeks later a statement credit will appear for the amount paid, up to $189. It’s important to note that while Global Entry and TSA PreCheck credits extend to each additional Platinum card holder, the Clear® credit does not.
It’s also possible to get a free membership as a top frequent flier. If you hold Delta’s coveted Diamond Medallion status, you can get a Clear® membership for free. Likewise, those with United Premier 1K status also receive complimentary membership.
Clear® discounts for Delta SkyMiles members
Anyone with a SkyMiles account (which is free to sign up for) can pay $119 for an annual Clear® membership—a savings of $70 off the full price. If you’re a Platinum, Gold, or Silver Medallion member on Delta, or have a Delta SkyMiles credit card, you’ll only pay $109. To enroll, simply sign up at clearme.com/partner/delta using your SkyMiles account number.
Clear® discounts for United MileagePlus members
Anyone with a Mileage Plus account (which is also free to sign up for) qualifies for a discounted $119 annual Clear® membership. Those with United Premier Platinum, Gold, or Silver status and United U.S. credit card members can obtain membership for $109 annually. To link your frequent flier account with a membership, add your MileagePlus number when signing up at clearme.com/partner/united.
Clear® discounts with American Express® Green Card
While the Platinum cards offer statement credits up to $189 for Clear® memberships, the American Express® Green Card provides a statement credit up to $100 annually. Interestingly, there is no Clear® benefit for Gold cardholders.
Combining Amex and airline benefits
It’s possible to combine airline discounts with Amex statement credits to maximize a Clear® membership for yourself, family, and friends. Here’s how. First, enroll for your Clear® credit as a Platinum or Green card holder. Then, sign up for a membership through either Delta’s or United’s partner links for discounted pricing. This way, your membership costs $119 at most. Platinum cardholders will get the full $119 credit while Green card holders will end up paying only $19 out of pocket for membership. Platinum cardholders can then consider adding a family member or friend for $60, the entirety of which will be reimbursed since Clear® credits with the Platinum max out at $189 per year.
Which airports have Clear®?
At press time, the following airports have Clear® kiosks:
- Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Texas
- Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Maryland
- Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, Alabama
- Boston Logan International Airport, Massachusetts
- Chicago Midway International Airport, Illinois
- Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Kentucky
- Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, Ohio
- Dallas Love Field Airport, Texas
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Texas
- Denver International Airport, Colorado
- Detroit Metro Airport, Michigan
- Dulles International Airport, Washington, D.C.
- Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Florida
- George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston
- Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, South Carolina
- Harry Reid International Airport, Las Vegas
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Georgia
- JFK International Airport, New York
- John Glenn Columbus International Airport, Ohio
- LaGuardia Airport, New York
- Los Angeles International Airport, California
- Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, Louisiana
- Miami International Airport, Florida
- Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, Wisconsin
- Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Minnesota
- Nashville International Airport, Tennessee
- Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey
- Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport, California
- Oakland International Airport, California
- O’Hare International Airport, Chicago
- Ontario International Airport, California
- Orlando International Airport, Florida
- Palm Beach International Airport, Florida
- Palm Springs International Airport, California
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Arizona
- Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington, D.C.
- Sacramento International Airport, California
- Salt Lake City International Airport, Utah
- San Antonio International Airport, Texas
- San Diego International Airport, California
- San Francisco International Airport, California
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Washington
- St. Louis Lambert International Airport, Missouri
- Westchester County Airport, New York
- William P. Hobby Airport, Houston
Is Clear® better than TSA PreCheck?
Although people see Clear® and TSA PreCheck as competitors, they are meant to complement one another. TSA PreCheck is free with over a dozen credit cards and is an essential for travel through U.S. airports. Clear® is an added time-saving service on top of TSA PreCheck at select airports.
If you still feel the need to choose one, TSA PreCheck always wins. PreCheck lines are far shorter and faster than regular airport security lines. The annual fee is $85 for five years (and reimbursed by many credit cards). Not having to remove shoes, electronics, or 3-1-1 liquids makes airport security a breeze.
We don’t recommend getting a Clear® membership without a TSA PreCheck membership. You’ll still fast track to the front of the regular airport security line but will need to take off your shoes and remove your electronics from your bag while going through the checkpoint. This means your time savings are kind of out the window.
In total, the optimal situation is to have both TSA PreCheck and Clear®. It’s the most you can do to make today’s airport experience as fast and efficient as possible. Those who carry the Platinum Card® from American Express can score both for free, while frequent flier members of both Delta and United can land deep discounts on a Clear® membership.
While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available.
This article originally appeared online in 2018; it was updated most recently on August 30, 2022, to include current information.