TSA Pre✓® Changes for Airline Elites
TSA Pre✓® is an amazing program. It allows you to bypass the airport scanners, you can keep your shoes and belt on and your laptop doesn’t need to come out of your bag. It really does make the airport security experience more relaxing.
Pretty much since the beginning of the program, elite members of airline frequent flyer programs have been given access. For example, when I was an AAdvantage Platinum member, I received TSA Pre✓® 100% of the time even though I wasn’t yet a trusted traveler.
It seems now that the TSA is going to be tightening things up for airline elite members in an effort to get them to sign up for trusted traveler programs such as Global Entry or Pre✓. In an email sent out to members today, American Airlines said the following:
This month, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is making changes to the TSA Pre✓® Trusted Traveler Program that will impact which travelers receive expedited screening. If you’re not already a member of one of the Trusted Traveler programs like Global Entry or the TSA Pre✓® Application Program, you will probably see a decline in how often you receive expedited screening, even if you’ve previously “opted-in” through a frequent flyer program.
The best way to increase your chances of receiving TSA Pre✓® on a regular basis is to register for a Trusted Traveler Program with the Department of Homeland Security at dhs.gov/tt. Once you receive your Known Traveler Number (KTN) from TSA, be sure you update your AAdvantage profile.
This is good news in my opinion since it should mean shorter lines at TSA Pre✓®. If you don’t have TSA Pre✓® then wholeheartedly recommend Global Entry which is well worth the $100 fee for five years. Not only does it save massive amounts of time when entering the country, but you also get TSA Pre✓® (which costs $85 by itself) and many cards credit the enrollment fee. I got Global Entry for free for my entire family last year with the Ameriprise version of the Amex Platinum for example.
While this letter pertains to AAdvantage, it seems to indicate that these changes will apply to all airlines.
I couldn’t find a mention of this change on the TSA Blog or in their press releases (see below), so it will be interesting to see how this works out in practice. Either way, the next time you travel, the TSA Pre✓® line may be shorter than it has been in a while.
Update: Here is an article on the TSA Blog that explains the changes further.