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TSA PreCheck is free for US military servicemembers with their DOD ID number or Common Access Card (CAC). Military spouses do not automatically get TSA PreCheck benefits, but there are ways to get TSA PreCheck for military spouses for free.
You can skip the regular airport security line and use the TSA Pre✓ lines like in the image below.
The Transportation Security Agency offers PreCheck to trusted travelers that sign up for the program and to US military personnel. These travelers are considered low risk and can enter the secure area with less intense screening.
PreCheck is included in the separate Global Entry program. Global Entry allows expedited immigration screening when you enter the US from a foreign country. This program can also save lots of time
In this post:
How To Get TSA PreCheck with a DOD ID or CAC
When you purchase your airline ticket, ensure you enter your DOD ID into the “Known Traveler Number” when you check out.
TSA PreCheck Military Spouse
If you are a military spouse, you have to sign up for TSA PreCheck and get a Known Traveler Number (KTN).
Military spouses and military dependents do not get TSA PreCheck for free since they do not have CAC IDs with a DOD ID number. I recommend military spouses purchase Global Entry with one of the premium travel cards that offer Global Entry and TSA PreCheck fee reimbursement. Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck and is great if you live or travel overseas.
Credit Cards That Provide TSA PreCheck Fee Credit for Military Spouses
- 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
When you return to the US, you can expedite your trip through US Customs and Immigration with Global Entry.
Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck, and since as a military servicemember you already get free TSA PreCheck, it makes sense to sign up for Global Entry if you have one of these elite travel credit cards.
Military servicemembers can get the Amex Platinum card with no annual fees. See my Amex Platinum card review or the links below for more details.
The Platinum Card® from American Express
Learn how to apply on our partner's secure site
- Annual fee of $695* See more details about military protections for you and your spouse
- Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
- Earn 5x points on airfare booked directly with airline or on amextravel.com up to $500,000 per calendar year
- Earn 5x points on prepaid hotels at amextravel.com
- $200 Annual Hotel Credit: Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Note that The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
- $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month when you pay for eligible purchases with the Platinum Card® at your choice of one or more of the following providers: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Peacock, Audible, SiriusXM, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
- $200 Uber Cash: Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on Uber Eats and rides
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: Up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at 1 qualifying airline
- $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR® Plus at 45+ airports nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®.
- $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back each year on an Equinox+ subscription, or any Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Membership subject to auto-renewal.
- $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax.
- Up to $100 annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit, enrollment required
- Access 40+ Centurion Lounges and 1,200+ Priority Pass airport lounge for free
- No foreign transaction fees
- The Platinum Card® from American Express – learn how to apply
- Read my full review of the Amex Platinum card for military, terms apply
Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card
Learn how to apply on our partner's secure site
- $550 annual fee waived to $0 for US military + spouses with Chase MLA policy
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
- $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
- Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually.
- 3x Points on other Travel (airfare, hotels) after earning the $300 travel credit
- 3x Dining restaurants, takeouts, delivery
- Chase Ultimate Reward Points redeemed through the Chase travel portal are worth 1.5 cents, a 50% bonus.
- Priority Pass lounge and restaurant access with over 1300+ airport lounges worldwide
- Up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry every 4 years
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Primary coverage with Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
- No foreign transaction fees
- Learn more in the Chase Sapphire Reserve review
TSA PreCheck Benefits
TSA PreCheck makes the hassle of airport security much easier to deal with. Benefits include:
- Expedited screening: 95% of TSA PreCheck customers were through security in less than 5 minutes
- Keep your shoes, belt, and light jackets on
- Leave your laptop and toiletries in your carry on bag
- Other electronics can remain in your bag
TSA PreCheck for Retired Military And Veterans
Military retirees and veterans are not eligible for free TSA PreCheck. However, if you have any of the premium travel rewards cards listed above, you can get an TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee waiver on most of the cards. That allows you to have free TSA PreCheck.
TSA PreCheck Frequently Asked Questions
US military servicemembers with a Common Access Card qualify for free TSA PreCheck. Military dependents need to sign up for PreCheck. I recommend using a military annual fee waived card like the Amex Platinum or Chase Sapphire Reserve to sign up for Global Entry, which includes PreCheck. You must be a lawful permanent resident (LPR or “green card” holder), US citizen, or US national to apply for PreCheck.
PreCheck is free for US military servicemembers. Just use your DOD ID number from the back of your CAC as your “known travel” number. You can also use credit cards that include TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit as a benefit.
TSA PreCheck is 100% worth it, even if you only fly once every 5 years! It can save you hours of time. How much do you value your time at? If you value your time more than $40 per hour, you need to get PreCheck.
TSA PreCheck normally costs $85 for a 5 year members. Global Entry is only an additional $15 for $100 total. US military servicemembers get PreCheck for free.
Yes! TSA PreCheck is free for US military with a CAC and DOD ID. Enter the DOD ID number from the back of your CAC into the “Known Traveler Number” when you purchase your ticket and you can go through TSA PreCheck. It's much faster and convienent.
Yes, the US military ID or Common Access Card (CAC) is a “Real ID” and is eligible for flying.