TSA PreCheck Drops Price Ahead of Holiday Travel: Is It Time to Apply?

TSA PreCheck Drops Price Ahead of Holiday Travel: Is It Time to Apply?

With a busy travel season ahead, the lower annual fee makes an even better case to sign up for TSA PreCheck
Family with TSA PreCheck going thru airport security

The cost of TSA PreCheck membership has long been $85, yet that all changed on Nov. 4, 2022. In a press release, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that the fee for a five-year membership has been reduced to $78, although the $70 charge for online renewals remains the same.

This surprising move comes just in time for the busiest travel season of the year, presumably to help holiday travelers ease through security faster and avoid travel delays that normally plague airports around the holidays.

"For individuals and families with plans to fly this holiday season, now is the time to enroll or renew in TSA PreCheck," TSA Administrator David Pekoske said in the press release. "TSA PreCheck offers significant benefits to those who meet its enrollment standards — less physical contact, fewer items on the conveyor belt and faster screening."

If you haven't signed up for TSA PreCheck yet and you're considering doing so in time for the holiday travel season, it may be a good time to apply.

What the lower enrollment cost means for consumers

If you don't have TSA PreCheck yet, the lowered membership fee of $78 instead of $85 may not be enough to get you to apply. After all, the savings between these two rates is only $7, and that's not enough for TSA memberships to start flying off the shelves.

That said, signing up for TSA PreCheck can be well worth the trouble, particularly if you're planning to fly over the holidays. With a busy and potentially chaotic holiday travel season ahead, you may spare yourself a long wait in a security line.

Government stats show that, as of September 2022, 93% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited for five minutes or less to get through TSA PreCheck airport security checkpoints nationwide. TSA PreCheck also allows you to keep your shoes, belt and light jacket on during the security screening process and your laptop and 3-1-1 liquids in your bag. Those who join TSA PreCheck now can get all of these benefits when traveling through more than 200 airports and flying with more than 85 participating airlines. You can check out a map of TSA PreCheck airports here.

Note that TSA PreCheck is available for U.S. citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents, and that children 12 and under can accompany their parent or guardian in the TSA PreCheck line without having their own membership.

You can begin the application process by filling out an online application and setting up an in-person interview at one of more than 500 enrollment centers nationwide. Once you show up for your in-person appointment, you'll show your citizenship documents and identification, get fingerprinted and pay the enrollment fee.

How to get TSA PreCheck for free with a credit card

You can completely waive the fee for TSA PreCheck by signing up for the right travel credit card. Many credit cards offer a fee credit for either TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership, and a handful of cards also offer statement credits for membership in the CLEAR or NEXUS airport security programs.

In fact, you might opt instead to sign up for Global Entry, which allows you to speed through customs and immigration when you arrive in the United States after international travel — you automatically get a TSA PreCheck membership as a part of this program. Your Global Entry membership lasts for five years, so the $100 application fee can be well worth it, especially if you have a credit card that covers the fee.