Get a $695 credit card annual fee waived in my Ultimate Military Credit Cards Course
The Platinum Card® from American Express card is annual fee waived for military. Terms apply.
Military Money Manual has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Military Money Manual and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Thank you for supporting my independent, veteran owned site.
Global Entry is not free for US military servicemembers or spouses but there are ways to get your application fee reimbursed through select premium travel credit cards. The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card both reimburse the application fee for Global Entry.
Military servicemembers and military spouses can get these premium travel rewards credit cards with waived annual fees thanks to the Military Lending Act or MLA.
Active duty, Guard, and Reserve US military servicemembers get TSA PreCheck for free.
Enter your DOD ID number from the back of your Common Access Card (CAC) into the Known Traveler Number (KTN) when you book your airline ticket and you will automatically get TSA PreCheck.
Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck, so I recommend military servicemembers and spouses apply for Global Entry rather than TSA PreCheck.
What is Global Entry?
Global Entry is a Trusted Traveler program offered by the Department of Homeland Security that allows you expedited screening when you return to the US through US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) lines.
In practical terms, Global Entry allows you to use automated kiosks that scan your passport and allow you to skip the much longer immigration lines. This can save you minutes or potentially even hours when entering the United States from OCONUS locations.
You can also use Global Entry overseas at CBP Pre-Clearance facilities to pre-clear customs and immigration before departing some international locations, like Ireland, United Arab Emirates, Canada, and some Caribbean nations.
How to Get Global Entry for Free
There are many credit cards that offer Global Entry credit for the application fee. When you sign up for Global Entry, pay for your application fee with one of these cards and the fee will be reimbursed in a few days.
Luckily for military spouses and active duty troops, most of these travel rewards credit cards waive the annual fee on the card. You will pay nothing for Global Entry.
The travel rewards cards that reimburse Global Entry application fee include:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
- Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
- IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
- Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
Global Entry Interview
Sometimes it is difficult to get a Global Entry interview, whether for a first time application or a renewal. An excellent service I've used to find Global Entry interview availability is Appointment Scanner.
I recently had to renew my Global Entry account, since it had been five years since I was last approved. I checked the Global Entry website once a week for 6 months. There were never any appointments available!
Luckily, I found Appointment Scanner. Appointment Scanner constantly scans the Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) page to find available Global Entry interview slots. After a frustrating 6 months of checking once a week for an interview slot, I never found availability!
Three hours after I signed up for Appointment Scanner, the app texted and emailed me there was availability for a remote interview at the LAX CBP office the next day. Within 16 hours of signing up for the app, I had an appointment found, booked, and completed and my Global Entry membership was renewed for another 5 years.
You can sign up for Appointment Scanner here or read my Appointment Scanner review here.
The Appointment Scanner app was a fantastic service for finding Global Entry remote and in-person interview availability. I cannot recommend it enough.
Global Entry Military Spouses
Military spouses do not get TSA PreCheck for free with a military ID, unlike active duty US military personnel. I recommend all military spouses apply for Global Entry, since it includes TSA PreCheck and is reimbursed by the credit cards listed above.
The easiest and cheapest way to get Global Entry if you're in the military is to open an annual fee waived travel rewards credit card that reimburses you for the Global Entry application fee.
As a military spouse, the best way to get Global Entry and TSA PreCheck for free is to apply for Global Entry with an annual fee waived travel rewards credit card. Make sure you use a card that will reimburse you for the Global Entry application fee.
Global Entry membership lasts 5 years from account approval. You can use your Global Entry Known Traveler Number for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.