When booking flights, you’ve probably noticed that there is a box where you can enter your Known Traveler Number (KTN).
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What Is a Known Traveler Number?
Your Known Traveler Number is your membership number with a Trusted Traveler Program. This number is what allows you to access TSA PreCheck security lanes and Global Entry lanes (depending on which Trusted Traveler Program you join).
How to Get a Known Traveler Number
To acquire a Known Traveler Number, you must participate in one of the Trusted Traveler Programs. These are:
- Global Entry
- TSA PreCheck
Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are by far the most popular options in the United States. The NEXUS and SENTRI programs also provide a Known Traveler Number, though these programs are much less commonly used in the United States.
In fact, many premium credit cards will reimburse you for the application fee for either Global Entry or TSA PreCheck (including American Express, Chase, and Citi, who each provide cards that offer an application fee reimbursement).
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Since several cards offer this benefit, make sure you consider the other benefits of your credit card options, such as the points they earn, trip delay protection, purchase protection, elite status, or airport lounge access.
If your priority is earning tons of valuable and transferable points on a daily basis, you might choose the Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card — it earns 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar on dining and travel purchases, and it comes with a Priority Pass Select membership for lounge access.
You’ll also receive a $300 travel credit that is automatically applied to your first $300 in travel purchases each cardmember year (this includes taxis, Uber, Lyft, train tickets, flights, hotels, and more).
If airport lounge access and elite status are your top priorities, The Platinum® Card from American Express provides access to Centurion Lounges and Delta Sky Clubs (when flying Delta) on top of a Priority Pass Select membership.
Additionally, cardholders also receive Gold elite status with both Hilton Honors and Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG). To top it off, you can earn 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar when booking flights directly with an airline.
Whichever card you choose, all you have to do is use it to pay for the Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, and you’ll automatically be reimbursed.
How to Find Your Known Traveler Number
You can find your PASSID — also known as your Known Traveler Number — on the back of your Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI card.
If you only have TSA PreCheck, log in to the Trusted Traveler Program website to access your PASSID/Known Traveler Number. If you lose your Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI card, you can use the Trusted Traveler Program site to find the number.
How to Add Your Known Traveler Number to Bookings
While it might not be clear at first, you’ll be happy to know that your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry number is, in fact, your Known Traveler Number. Simply enter your Known Traveler Number in the appropriate field when booking your flight. This can also be done later — even at the check-in desk at the airport.
You do not need to carry your Global Entry card to access TSA PreCheck or Global Entry lanes at the airport.
Hot Tip: Unlike when returning from most countries, if you want to access Global Entry lanes when returning from Canada, you will need your physical Global Entry card with you.
Global Entry or TSA PreCheck: Which One Is Right for You?
As anyone who’s been through airport security knows, it can be a frustrating hassle. To expedite the screening process at many U.S. airports, TSA PreCheck access provides a much better experience. If you are returning to the U.S. from an international destination, Global Entry can make getting through customs a breeze.
If you mostly travel within the United States, you might think that you only need to get TSA PreCheck — this is understandable, considering the fee is $85 compared to $100 for Global Entry.
However, a Global Entry membership also provides access to TSA PreCheck. When you take into account the application fee reimbursement offered by several credit cards, why wouldn’t you go ahead and get Global Entry? With the right card, the impact on your wallet is the same — neither should cost you a dime!
By getting Global Entry, you can enjoy a quicker security experience when boarding flights in the U.S….and just in case you decide to travel abroad, you can take comfort in the fact that returning to the U.S. will be easy.
Airports are becoming busier by the year, so having access to TSA PreCheck and Global Entry is vital for quicker and smoother security screenings. With so many credit cards offering to reimburse your for the application fee, there really is no excuse not to have a Known Traveler Number.
Whether you get TSA PreCheck or Global Entry, you’ll be all set for a better airport experience — just enter your PASSID/Known Traveler Number when booking your flight.