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Global Entry or United Mileage TSA PreCheck?

Can someone comment on if they are similar? Which would be better? As a Mileage Plus member I'm leaning towards the TSA PreCheck. Thanks.

Posted by
7463 posts

If you travel outside the US you want Global Entry which also includes TSA PreCheck. GE expedites you through passport control quickly by using a machine. You need to be interviewed by Border patrol and fingerprinted to get one.

Posted by
6513 posts

PreCheck is about getting you through security at US airports. Global Entry is about getting you through Immigration on re-entry to the United States. Two entirely different objectives. GE just happens to give you PreCheck as a bonus.

Posted by
10951 posts

Mileage Plus doesn't give you any special privilege with TSA Precheck. You can just use mileage to pay for it.

TSA Precheck normally costs $85 and is good for five years. For $15 more, you can apply for Global Entry. It allows you to have expedited screening when returning to the U.S. It literally takes minutes as you do everything at a kiosk. Global Entry includes TSA Precheck.

For Global Entry you have to apply on line and then go for a short interview with U.S. Customs and Border Protection at designated centers around the U.S.

It's really worth it. The last time I entered the U.S. at JFK a few weeks ago, from the time I stepped off the plane, walked to Immigration, used the kiosk, handed in the slips and walked to get on the AirTrain was 15 minutes. It took that long because there were a couple of people ahead of me at the kiosks

Posted by
7080 posts

It is very simple :

Do you fly a lot internationally, and can not handle the varying possibility of long lines after a flight coming back into the USA;
get Global Entry.

Do you fly a lot anywhere, and a hate the long security lines at TSA?
get TSA pre-check.

Posted by
478 posts

I travel internationally every year or so. Is the Global Entry only helpful for re-entering the US? or is outbound travel overseas also part of it? I've heard conflicting info. And if only on the return, is TSA Precheck good both for outbound and return travel?

Posted by
1077 posts

Hi Alexandra. If you travel internationally only once a year, seems to me Global Entry may be overkill; i.e. more time, expense, hassle to get signed up than you would be saving. We came back from Europe thru Chicago last month with no Global Entry or any other special plan, and were directed to an automated kiosk (with somebody available to help if we had questions), then somebody stamped our passport; the whole thing took about ten minutes. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
10951 posts

Global Entry effects immigration when returning to the U.S.
TSA Precheck allows expedited airport security within the U.S. This is before you board your flight.

They are two separate things.

Global Entry allows expedited immigration clearance at many U.S. airports when re-entering the country or at most U.S. pre-clearance airports around the globe (Preclearance airports are in Aruba, Bahamas, Canada, Ireland and the UAE.) It has nothing itself to do with airport security. Global Entry itself does not offer expedited immigration in other countries. (However, there are some exceptions but they involved separate applications and payments to those countries.)

As part of Global Entry, you get TSA Precheck. However, TSA Precheck is only in the United States and has no effect at foreign airports. (TSA Precheck will not get you through any lines faster outside the U.S.)

Is that what you meant when asking if Global Entry was valid for "outbound travel?" There is no immigration check leaving the U.S.

Lastly, not all airlines offer TSA Precheck. However what airline you fly has no affect on Global Entry, just as long as your airport offers Global Entry.

Posted by
11613 posts

Not all US airports offer TSA pre check, either.

Posted by
2526 posts

So, for $15 more (Pre-Check v. Global Entry) you have five years of access to automated passport control upon returning to the U.S. That's $3/year..an easy choice.

Posted by
7463 posts

Yesterday, upon landing in the US with the hordes of travelers going through passport control, I said that my $100 Global Entry was worth it even if only for that one time! We were theough in 5 minutes rather than an hour. Get Global Entry if you travel overseas at all during the five years it is valid.

Posted by
358 posts

As others have pointed-out Pre-Check is only used at US airports when getting through security on your way to your terminal/gate. It's run by the TSA.

Global Entry, is for entry into US airports via international flights, it's run by Customs & Border Patrol (CBP), thus it's use is when you're deplaning into the US and lining up prior to getting your luggage. It also provides TSA PreCheck privileges when you fly out of a US airport. For $100/5-years, equates to $20/year, fly five times a year over the five years, throw-in a couple of international flights and it's well worth it. Depending on airport, just the one international trip, returning and bypassing the long line-up can be worth the $100.

There is a new faster method to getting your Global Entry pass. The hang-up has been scheduling an interview in a timely manor, here in NorCal, I've had family members wait 6-months from scheduling to sit-down with a CBP officer. Now, if you fly into SFO, AUS, IAH, HOU and YVR from an international destination, you can get your interview done right then.
CBP Launches Global Entry Enrollment on Arrival at 5 International Airports

How to get Global Entry faster

Posted by
3487 posts

Of course since United will only let you use mileage to convert for payment forTSA Pre Check applications and not Global Entry, financially it is a better deal (i.e. no cash out of your pocket) to just get PRE. If you go for Global entry, the entire amount is cash out of your pocket.

The TSA Pre you end up with is the same as if you paid for it with your own money and is usable with any airline that participates in TSA Pre.

But as others have mentioned, GE does save you lots of time. So how much is your time worth?

Posted by
191 posts

Can I hop on here to ask a question? Once we have applied for Global Entry, is it possible to schedule the interview a few months out? We're in eastern Washington but will be in Phoenix by mid-January and it would be so much easier to interview at Sky Harbor rather than SeaTac. Thanks so much!

Posted by
21650 posts

You can schedule the interview anywhere at anytime provide that the time slots are available. Get on the web site and see what is available at different offices. Many times the interview scheduled is filled months in advance.

...Not all US airports offer TSA pre check, either....... That is probably technically correct but TSA pre-check has been offered at every major airport that I have been in during the past few years. And some have several lines available. There may be some small out of the way airports that don't use it but then you don't need it either if only a couple planes a day are passing through.

Posted by
5697 posts

Also, I have had my United tickets marked for "TSA PreCheck" a number of times because I have Mileage Plus membership -- but that freebie isn't guaranteed.

Posted by
10951 posts

Also, I have had my United tickets marked for "TSA PreCheck" a number of times because I have Mileage Plus membership -- but that freebie isn't guaranteed

After your information was sent to Homeland Security, it came back as being offered TSA Precheck. You just also happen to have Mileage Plus membership.

There are people without FF membership who sometimes get offered Precheck and there are FF members who don't.

Posted by
75 posts

Another option for returning to the US is to use the Mobile Passport app on your smartphone. Not as fast as Global Entry but it is free. And certainly much faster than waiting in line to use the kiosks.
Download from the app store and enter your passport details before your trip.
Immediately upon landing power your phone and connect to cell/wi-fi; start the app; select "New Trip" and follow the prompts.
Once you have your QR code you go to the front of the line. There usually is a special line for Mobile passport.

Posted by
1930 posts

For the person who asked about the appointment wait times for Global Entry and also for Alexandra's benefit:

When we applied for Global Entry, appointments were filled for months out. But, the local Homeland Security office rep advised us to keep checking the appointment schedule, as it was normal for people with appointments to have to cancel for various reasons. I sort of stalked the site several times a day, and I was able to ultimately change the appointments for both myself and my husband to about two-weeks out (instead of months out). Our appointments were are different times, but we were finished with the process within one month of application. Likely by watching appointment availability for your location, you might have equal good luck.

While we often travel out of the country more than once a year, I would keep Global Entry even if I traveled internationally only once per year. Well worth it to avoid those really, really long immigration lines, especially when multiple large planes arrive at the same time. And, it could make the difference if you have a tight connection to the next US destination (especially if your arriving flight is delayed).

Posted by
990 posts

Coming back into JFK last summer, Mobile Passport was faster than Global Entry.