The Best Credit Cards for the CLEAR Expedited Airport Security Program

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One of the downsides of travel can be navigating through airport security. The process often involves waiting in long lines to have your ID checked, removing items from your luggage, taking items off of your body, and reassembling yourself and your belongings when you’re done.

With Global Entry and TSA PreCheck, the process of entering and departing via the airport has become faster and less stressful. The addition of CLEAR expedited airport security membership can also help you bypass airport and other prominent venue security lines.

While the service can be expensive, CLEAR can be a real time-saver for the frequent traveler.

It would be beneficial if such a valuable service for travelers could be secured complimentary or at a discount — but is that even possible? Yes; let’s explore the ways to secure CLEAR membership complimentary or at a discounted price.

What is CLEAR?

The CLEAR Program

The CLEAR program is a security clearance process available to U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents 18 years or older. CLEAR membership expedites security screening by accessing your pre-stored personal biometric information, allowing you to bypass normal TSA security and even TSA PreCheck lines.

The primary function of the CLEAR program is to expedite you through the ID process at airport security. You do not get to skip TSA security entirely — the service simply expedites the ID portion of security screening and eliminates waiting in those lines.

Additional uses are being added all the time including using CLEAR to access sports stadiums for events, enter airport lounges, for alcohol purchases, and to fast track rental car pickups without waiting in line.

Bottom Line: CLEAR does not come with Global Entry or TSA PreCheck. For the best possible travel experience, check out the best cards that offer complimentary Global Entry and TSA PreCheck. Then, enroll in CLEAR separately.

The Cost of CLEAR

A full annual CLEAR membership, which includes expedited airport security, is $179 per year. You can add up to 3 family members for an additional $50 each per year.

There is no cost for an annual CLEAR Sports membership, which gives you access to select stadiums throughout the country.

Hot Tip: The CLEAR Sports member can also bring 1 guest with them through the CLEAR lane at stadiums.

Best Credit Card for Complimentary CLEAR Membership

At this time, there is only 1 card with the promise of complimentary CLEAR membership.

The Centurion® Card from American Express will be offering complimentary CLEAR membership to cardholders, which includes a limited number of their family members, beginning in April of 2020.

Unfortunately, few will experience this benefit as the card is only available through an exclusive invitation to big spenders.

Let’s look at additional opportunities for free or discounted CLEAR membership.

CLEAR membership line staff
CLEAR membership eliminates having to stand in long TSA security lines. Image Credit: CLEAR

The Best Credit Cards for Discounted CLEAR Membership

There are several ways to avoid paying the full $179 annual CLEAR membership fee.

Let’s start by taking a look at which credit cards offer a discount on the cost of CLEAR membership.

Delta Air Lines-Branded Credit Cards

Delta has created a strong partnership with CLEAR and offers discounted memberships through their branded credit cards.

Normally CLEAR membership costs $179 per year. However, cardholders of any of these Delta branded credit cards will pay a discounted price of $109 per year:

You can sign up for qualifying Delta discounted CLEAR membership here.

American Express® Green Card

If you hold the Amex Green Card you can receive $100 statement credit each calendar year when you use the card to pay for your CLEAR membership.

United Airlines-Branded Credit Cards

United branded credit cardholders also receive discounted membership. Instead of the $179 annual membership fee, United cardholders pay just $109.

Some examples of United branded cards that offer this discount:

To enroll in CLEAR as a United cardholder, use this link.

CLEAR Fingerprint
You should never have to pay full price for CLEAR membership. Image Credit: CLEAR

Additional Ways to Secure Complimentary or Discounted CLEAR Membership

Complimentary CLEAR Membership

Delta Air Lines SkyMiles Medallion Elite Status

For those frequent Delta travelers who have Diamond Medallion elite status, CLEAR membership is complimentary.

United Airlines MileagePlus Premier Elite Status

United Airline MileagePlus Premier 1K Elite Status members also receive a complimentary CLEAR membership.

Refer a Friend

If you have an existing CLEAR membership you can refer a friend for a free trial membership and in return receive additional free months on your membership.

Even if you have a complimentary membership, you may also receive offers to refer friends to receive as many as 6 free trial months.

Free 2-Month Family Trial

Receive 2 months of CLEAR free for your entire family via this link.

Discounted CLEAR Membership

Frequent Flyer Elite Status

Both Delta Air Lines and United Airlines offer discounted CLEAR membership to their elite members.

Instead of the $179 annual membership Delta Silver, Gold, and Platinum Medallion members can purchase the same membership for a discounted price of $109.

United Premier Silver, Gold, Platinum elite status members can also qualify for the same $109 discounted membership.

Frequent Flyer Program Member

Even if you don’t have elite status with a frequent flyer program, if you are simply a member you can qualify for discounted CLEAR membership.

Sign up for a Delta SkyMiles or United MileagePlus frequent flyer program account or use your current account number if you’re already a member and pay just $119 per year for CLEAR.

Student Membership

Have a valid school email address and student ID and you can save big on your CLEAR membership. Remember, CLEAR gets you into stadiums across the country as well as through airport security. A CLEAR student membership costs $50 per year for up to 4 years if you qualify.

Combining Discounts and Statement Credits

If you qualify for certain discounted CLEAR membership, such as Delta or United elite status for example, you could also use your Amex Green card to pay for your membership and receive the $100 statement credit.

This combination would drop the price of your membership to a net $19 each year.

Final Thoughts

Having a CLEAR membership can be a real advantage for helping you get through security quickly. However, you should never have to pay full price for CLEAR.

Through credit card discounts, statement credits, frequent flyer programs, referrals, and student discounts, it’s possible to secure CLEAR affordably if it’s a benefit you can utilize to make your travel more efficient.


The information regarding the American Express® Green Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 


Frequently asked questions

What is CLEAR?

CLEAR is an expedited security program that allows you to bypass the lines associated with checking your ID at airports, sporting venues, and other participating facilities where security screening is necessary.

CLEAR stores your own personal biometrics and subsequently allows you to be screened using just your eyes or your fingerprints. No actually physical ID is necessary.

In order to use CLEAR, you must be a member.

How much does CLEAR cost?

Full CLEAR membership costs $179 per year but there are several ways to receive discounted, even complimentary, membership.

There is no cost for a CLEAR Sports membership which gives access to participating stadiums.

How can I get free CLEAR membership?

There are a few ways to receive complimentary CLEAR membership.

Centurion cardholders will be receiving complimentary membership in 2020. Cardholders will receive notification when it is available.

Delta Diamond Medallion elite members and United 1K Premier Elite members receive complimentary CLEAR membership.

You can receive a heavily discounted CLEAR membership by stacking the $100 statement credit that comes with the Amex Green card and joining Delta or United’s frequent flyer program. Members of these programs receive a discounted membership for $119. Use your Amex Green card to pay for the membership and receive CLEAR for net $19.

You may also receive a free short-term trial CLEAR membership when referred by someone who currently has a CLEAR membership.

Does The Platinum Card® from American Express come with CLEAR?

Unfortunately the Amex Platinum card does not come with complimentary or discounted CLEAR membership.

The card does offer a statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck fee reimbursement.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.

2 comments

  1. The student price is incorrect – it is $50/year for up to 4 years.

    Reply

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