If you consider time to be one of the greatest assets when traveling, you probably cringe at the thought of an extra-long wait at any point during a trip. For over a decade, several complementary programs have aimed to optimize your travel experience and expedite the time it takes to get through security, allowing members to get to their gates quicker.
An increasing number of airports now offer CLEAR® to expedite the identification process at security checkpoints, while TSA PreCheck speeds up the screening process. Meanwhile, Global Entry reduces wait times at immigration for travelers entering the U.S. Good news for the frequent traveler: You don’t have to choose just one of these programs. All three services are complementary, and we’re breaking down how you can use each one to your advantage.
CLEAR’s goal is to get you through security quicker by speeding up the identification process. The service has grown to 27 airports around the country since 2010. But it’s not just for airport security: CLEAR is also at stadiums across the U.S. and powers the Hertz Fast Lane location at the Atlanta airport (with many more Hertz locations launching in 2019).
How does CLEAR work?
CLEAR uses biometrics to identify members, transforming the unique patterns of their fingerprints, face and eyes into an encrypted code. CLEAR links your identity to your unique code, so instead of pulling out your driver’s license at airport security, members identify themselves in a few moments at a CLEAR pod.
At airports, you enter the designated CLEAR Lane and use your eyes or fingertips to confirm it’s really you, and then proceed to security screening – and if you have TSA PreCheck, you can keep your shoes on, laptop away, etc. At participating Hertz locations, Gold Plus Rewards® members who have linked their account to their CLEAR account can simply use their face to make a quick exit at the gate.
What type of traveler needs CLEAR?
If you don’t like a long wait at security (who does?) and you travel often, CLEAR might be for you. It can be used with TSA PreCheck, helping you save time during both the identification and physical screening steps at security – more on that below. And as it rolls out at more airports, stadiums, and Hertz locations, there will be even more ways to save time with your membership.
The cost for CLEAR is $179 per year, however Hertz Gold Plus Rewards members are eligible for a complimentary airport membership trial and preferred pricing of $129 per year. Using Hertz Fast Lane powered by CLEAR is always free for Gold Plus Rewards members – the annual fee is only charged if you choose to upgrade to the airport membership.
While CLEAR’s mission is to expedite identification, TSA PreCheck is aimed at speeding up the screening process at airport security. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the government agency that keeps us safe during U.S. travel, and yes, administers that complicated-but-important screening process at security checkpoints. In 2011, the agency introduced TSA PreCheck to reduce wait times at checkpoints to less than five minutes on average.
How does TSA PreCheck work?
When you become a member of TSA PreCheck, you’re seen as a known and trusted traveler, which allows the TSA to focus their efforts instead on unknown and high-risk passengers to better protect everyone. When you become a member, you enter a separate line at the security checkpoint labeled TSA PreCheck. As you go through screening, you get to keep your jacket, belt, and shoes on, and keep your liquids and laptop in your bag.
What type of traveler needs TSA PreCheck?
TSA PreCheck is highly recommended for any frequent flier. It reduces time and stress at security and can be used in tandem with CLEAR. The membership costs $85 and lasts five years. To enroll, you must have a passport book or card and driver’s license issued by a state or outlying possession of the U.S. Visit tsa.gov/precheck to start the enrollment process.
While CLEAR and TSA PreCheck aid in optimizing the identification and physical security screening process, respectively, for domestic travelers, Global Entry is all about reducing wait times at U.S. customs. The program is administered by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency and allows pre-approved travelers entering the U.S. from another country to use an expedited line at passport control and customs. The service is available to more than just U.S. citizens. Citizens of Germany, Switzerland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Panama, South Korea, India, Colombia, Singapore, and the UK are all eligible to apply.
How does Global Entry work?
When you return to the U.S. from an international trip, you head straight to a Global Entry kiosk where you swipe your passport and provide a fingerprint verification. After filling out an electronic customs declaration card, you can go straight to baggage claim. Like TSA PreCheck, when you become a member of Global Entry, you receive a Known Traveler Number (KTN) that you enter when reserving a flight. Bonus: Once you get Global Entry Status, you’re automatically enrolled in TSA PreCheck.
What type of traveler needs Global Entry?
This program is designed for people who travel overseas frequently. If you are considering TSA PreCheck, but you also find yourself taking international trips a few times a year or more, you may want to consider Global Entry since you get the benefits of both programs. The cost is $100 for five years. To start the enrollment process, visit ttp.cbp.dhs.gov.
Are you excited to save time during your next trip? Learn more about how you can save time with Hertz Fast Lane powered by CLEAR: hertz.com/CLEAR.