How Much Is CLEAR®? Is It Worth The Cost?

How Much Is Clear®? Is It Worth The Cost?
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CLEAR® Plus typically costs $189 per year, but not everyone pays the same price. CLEAR® offers a high-tech approach to solving the long security line problem—for travelers privileged enough to be able to pay for it. Read ahead to learn more about how CLEAR® works and whether or not its yearly fee might be worthwhile for you.

What Is CLEAR®?

CLEAR® is a technology company using biometric data to verify identity in a variety of everyday contexts. Its flagship program, CLEAR® Plus—often referred to simply as “CLEAR®”—allows members to skip the security line at U.S. airports with a fingerprint or iris scan. Travelers can sign up right at the airport, as only an online form and a preliminary scan are needed to enroll.

CLEAR® vs. TSA PreCheck

CLEAR® is different from TSA PreCheck, which offers both a faster line and quicker passage through the physical screening process but still requires queuing to provide identity credentials (such as a driver’s license or passport). By contrast, CLEAR® members are escorted straight to the physical screening. Some travelers enrolled in both programs can continue through the rest of the PreCheck security process after using CLEAR®.

How Much Does CLEAR® Cost?

CLEAR® Plus typically costs $189 per year, but not all enrollees pay the same price. Discount programs and credit card and airline loyalty programs offer both discounts and complimentary membership.

Is CLEAR® Expensive?

Expensive is subjective, but CLEAR® costs significantly more compared to other preclearance programs for air travelers. While the government-run TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and NEXUS programs charge $100 or less for five years of enrollment, CLEAR® is a for-profit business and its pricing reflects it.

How To Get a Discounted or Free CLEAR® Membership

Several airline credit cards, travel cards and airline loyalty programs offer preferred rates or reimbursements for CLEAR®. Here are some of the most common ways to avoid full sticker price.

With Delta SkyMiles

Members of Delta Airlines’ SkyMiles program, which rewards frequent Delta passengers, can enroll in CLEAR® for $119 per year. SkyMiles members who have achieved “Medallion Status” pay even less: CLEAR® is $109 per year for the Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers, while Diamond Medallion passengers and Delta 360° members can enroll for free. Cardholders of the airline’s Delta SkyMiles American Express credit cards may be eligible for the $109 per year rate.

With United MilagePlus

Similarly, preferred rates offered to members of MileagePlus, United Airlines’ frequent flyer rewards program, offer deep discounts. A $119 yearly rate is also offered to regular members, while “Premier” members at the Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers pay $109. Enrollment is free for “Premier 1K” and “United Global” members. Eligible cardholders of United’s co-branded credit cards can also enjoy the $109 rate.

With American Express Credit Cards

The travel rewards-focused American Express® Green Card* offers a $100 discount on CLEAR® enrollment. This comes in the form of a statement credit when the card is used to purchase CLEAR® enrollment at full price. Better yet, The Platinum Card® from American Express offers a $189 statement credit (terms apply), which covers the cost of enrollment. The same applies to its The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. (Terms apply.)

With Vocational Discounts

CLEAR® offers reduced annual enrollment fees of $60 for students and $99 for active military and veterans, as well as an unspecified discount for federal, state and local government employees upon request.

How Much Does It Cost To Add Family Members to CLEAR®?

CLEAR® enrollees can receive discounts for additional accounts by adding up to three friends or family members to the account for $60 each per year—less than a third the cost of a full-price membership.

How Much Does CLEAR® Cost for Kids?

Family members under 18 can join an enrolled adult using CLEAR® free of charge, so long as they travel together. Once children are no longer minors, they can register through a parent’s account at the friends and family rate or enroll separately.

Is CLEAR® Worth It?

Given CLEAR®‘s significant annual fee and somewhat limited availability, it’s common to wonder if the benefits outweigh the price. The most important factors in running this calculation for yourself are frequency of travel and whether or not CLEAR® exists at the airports you use the most.

CLEAR®‘s $189 yearly fee breaks down to just under $16 a month. It can break down to about five dollars per round trip for those who travel a few times per month, but well over $50 per trip for those who only travel a few times a year.

Bottom Line

CLEAR® offers a solution to one part of the ever-unpopular airport security experience that other pre-clearance programs don’t address. Like any “special treatment” option for travelers, though, the cost vs. benefit comes down to the individual. It’s worth taking a close look at one’s own travel patterns and budget plus all the other options available before splurging on this high-price membership.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s better: or TSA PreCheck?

CLEAR® and TSA PreCheck address different parts of the airport security process and are often used in tandem. CLEAR® is significantly more expensive and currently offered at far fewer airports. It’s easier and quicker to sign up for and is more accepting of child passengers.

How long does it take to get approved for ?

Unlike other programs offering expedited passage through security, enrollment in CLEAR® may take only a matter of minutes. Because CLEAR® only serves to verify identity ahead of the physical screening, a background check is not required; travelers can sign up at the airport and take advantage of membership immediately.

Which airports have ?

The list isn’t huge, but it’s growing—CLEAR® is currently present at about 45 U.S. airports. It’s also starting to be used for identity verification at stadiums and other entertainment venues. CLEAR® offers this finder resource on its website to locate airports and venues where the program is in use.

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