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Even if you have TSA PreCheck®, now might be the time to add Clear® to your list of ways to get through airport security faster. A Clear® Plus memership works like this: After signing up online and completing a short in-person biometric scan to verify your identity, you’ll be able to walk up to a Clear® kiosk at any airport where there is one and scan your fingerprints or eyes (no need to scan your license or passport). Then a Clear® representative will escort you straight to the security checkpoint, bypassing the regular line where the TSA agents check your ID.
With airport security lines commanding extra-long waits nowadays and even TSA PreCheck lines getting longer, Clear® delivers a faster and more efficient airport experience. And with the right credit card or frequent flier affiliation, you can score a free or heavily discounted annual membership.
How much does Clear® Plus cost?
It typically costs $189 for an annual Clear® Plus membership, but there are several ways to lower this number through frequent flier memberships, promotional codes, or credit card statement credits. You can also add up to three family members and friends to your account for an extra $60 each per year. Those family members and friends don’t need to be traveling with you or together to use their memberships. Relatives under 18 years old can always join in the Clear® lane alongside a member at no cost.
Is Clear® Plus worth it?
Overall, a Clear® Plus membership is worth it if you regularly fly through any of the dozens of U.S. airports it currently serves, including JFK, LAX, and Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. If you’re a sports fan, your Clear® membership also allows you to skip the line at many major sports stadiums throughout the country, including Oracle Park in San Francisco and Denver’s Coors Field.
Additionally, Clear® has some tools that may expedite your pandemic-era trip. You can store your digital vaccination card through Clear® as well as sometimes upload documents to create a Health Pass for air or cruise travel (when required).
How to get Clear® Plus for free
In addition to offering statement credits covering Global Entry and TSA PreCheck® fees, the Platinum Card® from American Express (annual fee $695, see rates and fees) also offers up to $189 in statement credits each year toward an annual Clear® Plus membership fee. Same goes for the Business Platinum Card® from American Express (annual fee $695, see rates and fees). While the American Express® Green Card provides a statement credit up to $189 annually, there is, interestingly, no Clear® benefit for Gold cardholders.
You first must enroll for this benefit online or by calling the number on the back of your card. After enrolling, simply charge your annual membership to your Platinum or Green card and days or weeks later a statement credit will appear for the amount paid, up to $189. It’s important to note that while Global Entry and TSA PreCheck credits extend to each additional Platinum card holder, the Clear® credit does not.
It’s also possible to get a free membership as a top frequent flier. If you hold Delta’s coveted Diamond Medallion status, you can get a Clear® membership for free. Likewise, those with United Premier 1K status also receive complimentary membership.
Clear® discounts for Delta SkyMiles members
Anyone with a SkyMiles account (which is free to sign up for) can pay $179 for an annual Clear® membership—a savings of $10 off the full price. If you’re a Platinum, Gold, or Silver Medallion member on Delta, or have a Delta SkyMiles credit card, you’ll only pay $149. To enroll, simply sign up at clearme.com/partner/delta using your SkyMiles account number.
Clear® discounts for United MileagePlus members
Anyone with a Mileage Plus account (which is also free to sign up for) qualifies for a discounted $179 annual Clear® membership. Those with United Premier Platinum, Gold, or Silver status and United U.S. credit card members can obtain membership for $149 annually. To link your frequent flier account with a membership, add your MileagePlus number when signing up at clearme.com/partner/united.
Combining Amex and airline benefits
It’s possible to combine airline discounts with Amex statement credits to maximize a Clear® membership for yourself, family, and friends. Here’s how. First, enroll for your Clear® credit as a Platinum or Green card holder. Then, sign up for a membership through either Delta’s or United’s partner links for discounted pricing. This way, your membership costs $179 at most. Platinum and Green cardholders will get the full $179 credit. Cardholders can then consider adding a family member or friend for $60, which $10 will be reimbursed since Clear® credits with the Platinum max out at $189 per year.
Which airports have Clear®?
At press time, the following airports have Clear® kiosks:
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, TexasBaltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, MarylandBirmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, AlabamaBoston Logan International Airport, MassachusettsChicago Midway International Airport, IllinoisCincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, KentuckyCleveland Hopkins International Airport, OhioDallas Love Field Airport, TexasDallas/Fort Worth International Airport, TexasDenver International Airport, ColoradoDetroit Metro Airport, MichiganDulles International Airport, Washington, D.C.Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, FloridaGeorge Bush Intercontinental Airport, HoustonGreenville-Spartanburg International Airport, South CarolinaHarry Reid International Airport, Las VegasHartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, GeorgiaJFK International Airport, New YorkJohn Glenn Columbus International Airport, OhioLaGuardia Airport, New YorkLos Angeles International Airport, CaliforniaLouis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, LouisianaMiami International Airport, FloridaMilwaukee Mitchell International Airport, WisconsinMinneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, MinnesotaNashville International Airport, TennesseeNewark Liberty International Airport, New JerseyNorman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport, CaliforniaOakland International Airport, CaliforniaO’Hare International Airport, ChicagoOntario International Airport, CaliforniaOrlando International Airport, FloridaPalm Beach International Airport, FloridaPalm Springs International Airport, CaliforniaPhoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, ArizonaRonald Reagan Washington National Airport, Washington, D.C.Sacramento International Airport, CaliforniaSalt Lake City International Airport, UtahSan Antonio International Airport, TexasSan Diego International Airport, CaliforniaSan Francisco International Airport, CaliforniaSeattle-Tacoma International Airport, WashingtonSt. Louis Lambert International Airport, MissouriWestchester County Airport, New YorkWilliam P. Hobby Airport, Houston
Is Clear® better than TSA PreCheck?
Although people see Clear® and TSA PreCheck as competitors, they are meant to complement one another. TSA PreCheck is free with over a dozen credit cards and is an essential for travel through U.S. airports. Clear® is an added time-saving service on top of TSA PreCheck at select airports.
If you still feel the need to choose one, TSA PreCheck always wins. PreCheck lines are far shorter and faster than regular airport security lines. The annual fee is $85 for five years (and reimbursed by many credit cards). Not having to remove shoes, electronics, or 3-1-1 liquids makes airport security a breeze.
We don’t recommend getting a Clear® membership without a TSA PreCheck membership. You’ll still fast track to the front of the regular airport security line but will need to take off your shoes and remove your electronics from your bag while going through the checkpoint. This means your time savings are kind of out the window.
In total, the optimal situation is to have both TSA PreCheck and Clear®. It’s the most you can do to make today’s airport experience as fast and efficient as possible. Those who carry the Platinum Card® from American Express can score both for free, while frequent flier members of both Delta and United can land deep discounts on a Clear® membership.
While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available.
This article originally appeared online in 2018; it was updated most recently on May 23, 2023, to include current information.
Paul Rubio Paul Rubio is an award-winning travel journalist and photographer. His byline appears in AFAR, Conde Nast Traveler, Fodor’s, LUXURY, MSN, NerdWallet, Palm Beach Illustrated, Yahoo Lifestyle and more. He has visited 133 countries (and counting) over the past 20 years and won 27 national awards for his writing and photography. When he’s not plotting out his next trip, Paul loves to spend time at home watching reruns of Portlandia and Parks and Recreation with his husband and rescue dog, Camo.