At the end of last year I was granted access into the TSA PreCheck program as a Delta Diamond Medallion. I’ve been able to use the benefit only a single time – in Atlanta. My travel most always originates in Savannah (where TSA PreCheck would be a waste), and I just haven’t been originating my return at Delta hubs.
In February, during my last round of apps, I applied for The Platinum Card® from American Express. The $450 annual fee is hefty, but the following benefits make it worth it for me:
- Targeted 100,000 point sign-up bonus (standard is 25,000)
- $200 Incidental Airline Credit (got mine with AA.com)
- $100 Global Entry Fee Reimbursement
- Hertz #1 Gold Club, National
- Access to American, Delta, and US Airways clubs (Already have access to Delta through Delta Reserve card and/or Delta DM status)
This past week, I was in Boston and ended up in New York on Thursday/Friday. Thursday afternoon I went to JFK Terminal 4 to the Global Entry office. Six CBP officers were sitting at desks talking to one-another or interviewing others for the Global Entry program.
I had brought copies of all of my paperwork, including my receipt, application, and appointment confirmation. The CBP officer highlighted my Global Entry Membership Number and indicated I should keep this filed if needed. This information is also available on GOES (Global Online Enrollment System – User management system for Trusted Traveler programs).
I had assumed we’d review my application, and then some level of grilling … it was a bit easier than that. The officer asked my to verify my address and how long I had lived there. From that point we discussed how lovely Savannah was, how I had somewhat adapted to allergies in the South, and that my allergies in the north were kicking my butt. The conversation then went on how to remedy allergies and I indicated that I used local Savannah honey. A couple of teaspoons every morning seems to manage it for me; I got a quart from a local farmers market. He laughed and said his grandmother had told him the same thing… and that he should probably listen to her.
After about 10 minutes of discussing allergies and why I moved from Central Massachusetts to Savannah (Snow; thank you very much), he placed a small CBP sticker on the inside of the last page of my passport. In the event of a problem with a Global Entry machine, I’m supposed to show this to a CBP officer to get assistance.
I then had a closeup picture of my face taken, my four right fingerprints scanned, my four left, and my thumbs together. We then turned around and he showed me how to use the Global Entry machine.
- Approach the machine, and slide in my passport (much like we do at self-service check-in kiosks)
- Look at the camera to take my picture
- Place either my right four or left four fingers on the fingerprint scanner
Citi Prestige® Card
- Annual Fee: $450 fee
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The increase to 50,000 ThankYou points for the Citi Prestige card may be a signal that Citi wants back in the game, big time. The sign-up bonus has just been increased to 50K points from the previous 30K offer. An added benefit is a $250 annual air travel credit each calendar year -- so, if you sign up in April, you'll receive the credit this year, and again in January of next year -- which more than covers the $450 first year fee. When you add in lounge access for you and up to two of your guests, you’ve added another $400+ in value. One more benefit worth mentioning is the fourth night free for any four-night hotel stay booked through Wagonlit Travel. And lastly is the $100 statement credit when you sign up for Global Entry and pay for it using the Prestige card. Don’t forget the ever-growing number of airline transfer partners that work with the ThankYou points program.
- $250 Air Travel Credit each year
- Complimentary 4th Night for any hotel stay
- Earn 50,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.
- Points are redeemable for an $800 flight on American Airlines or US Airways®, a $665 flight on any other airline or $500 in gift cards.
- Transfer points to a variety of travel loyalty programs from airlines to hotels.
- Earn 3x points on Air Travel and Hotels
- Earn 2x points on Dining at Restaurants and Entertainment
- 1 ThankYou® Point per $1 spent on other purchases