The Best $100 I’ve Ever Spent On Travel

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Overseas travel is fun, but coming back to the USA can be a little rough – the jetlag, the long transit times, and time zone changes always make me a more than a little cranky. But that all changed when I spent $100 applying for Global Entry last year, was accepted, and now I am one of the 1.3 million people in the USA who can speed thru U.S. Customs and Immigration upon arrival back into the USA.  And the best part about it – I never really spent the $100 because Global Entry fee was returned to me as statement credit as a benefit of the Platinum Card® from American Express. Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 8.18.51 AMAccording to the Global Entry website, “Global Entry is a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Though intended for frequent international travelers, there is no minimum number of trips necessary to qualify for the program. Participants may enter the United States by using automated kiosks located at select airports.”

Sounds good?  The Global Entry also lists these benefits:

  • No processing lines
  • No paperwork
  • Available at major U.S. airports
  • Reduced wait times

And oddly enough, I have found all of these to be true:

  • On the plane you don’t fill out the annoying little blue Customs Declaration Form since all of the information is electronically filled out at the kiosk
  • I have never had to wait at a Global Entry kiosk and I’ve used them at JFK, BOS, BWI, SEA, LAX even during peak periods
  • After placing your passport into the machine, you confirm your flight number, answer the Customs Declaration Form questions – which defaults to NO TO ALL – place your fingers on the biometric scanners to verify it’s you, and then out comes your receipt.

This receipt gets you ‘front of the line’ privileges – thru a separate line – to see the Immigration agent and then the same ‘front of the line’ privileges to see the Customs agent.Screen_Shot_2014-10-13_at_10_54_26_PMAnd the other amazing benefit to Global Entry is that it gives you a unique number that you can use for TSA PreCheck.  With  TSA PreCheck, you number that you give to your airline, and most of the time TSA PreCheck will print out on your boarding pass, allowing you to use the quicker TSA PreCheck screening method in 120 airports across the USA.

Bottom Line:

TSA Precheck and Global Entry have saved me countless hours thru the security checkpoint and then skipping potentially long lines coming back into the USA. This makes the $450 fee for the Platinum Card® from American Express even more worth it when you can reduce your times waiting in line.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. For details on current offers visit the card issuer’s site.

About Points, Miles & Martinis

Here at Points, Miles and Martinis, we love all things travel. We focus on topics relating to travel including destinations, airline, hotel, car rental and credit card reward programs. Our goal is to help people travel better. - See more at our About Us page.

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  1. While I agree with the general premise of your post, I don’t think that you can really say that you didn’t have to pay the $100.

    After all, when you signed up for the Platinum card for the $450 annual fee, you probably included the $100 Global Entry credit as a justification for paying the annual fee, right? I know I would have!!

  2. I like reading your blog normally but this article lacks info such as the cost of Global entry, How ones goes about getting it, how do you have Amex to refund, etc. You are just pumping the credit card. Thanks anyway.

  3. Please spare a thought for all the non-citizens living in US who are still ineligible for Global Entry and have to face one of the rudest Immigration officials on the planet. With Global Entry, the US Govt is trying to shield the citizens from this “toture” so that there is negligible hue and cry and they can continue to “torture” everyone else arriving at the Immigration facilities in airports. Why can’t US Govt open this up for frequent flyer expatriates who also contribute to the system by paying humongous taxes?

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