I used to hate going to the airport. It was the worst part of travel. I hated layovers even more. So what changed my mind?
There are so many programs and companies out there that are making going to the airport an amazing part of the journey, instead of just a total hassle. Read on to learn how we take full advantage of credit cards and companies to have the best airport experiences possible.
1. Credit cards, credit cards, credit cards!
The absolute number one way to do the airport like a VIP is to get one of the many credit cards that provide incredible benefits. Our favorites are the American Express Platinum and the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Take the AmEx for example. Did you know you have 24/7 access to a free concierge that you can call when your flight gets cancelled or just need dinner reservations somewhere? Did you also know that this card gives you access to over 1,000 airport lounges around the world, including the Centurion lounges? If that’s not reason enough to take the plunge, then consider the often neglected benefit of paying for your global entry.
My favorite benefit is the lounge access. It is a rare day that I don’t swing by a lounge on my way to the plane for a quick bite to eat, a glass of wine or a snack. It’s particularly helpful on long layovers as many of the lounges have showers to rid yourself of that plane feeling. I can honestly say that I have not spent a dime in an airport since I got these credit cards. For the record, the benefit is called “Priority Pass” and is a free membership from several of the high end credit card companies.
Check out my experience at the Centurion Lounge at San Francisco International just the other day:
2. Global entry
If you don’t have global entry, it’s worth it even if your credit card doesn’t pay for it. Global entry allows you to speed through customs on your way back into the United States after an international trip. What’s the difference between TSA precheck and Global Entry? Well, GE includes TSA precheck so it’s worth the extra 20 bucks.
TSA precheck has become increasingly popular over the last few years but lets you keep your shoes, sweaters, etc on and your laptop and toiletries in the bag for a quicker time through security.
The Points Guy has a great article about the 5 things to know about Global Entry that you can check out here.
So as good as Global Entry is…nothing will beat my love for Clear. Clear + Global Entry is an unstoppable combo. You might have noticed at several major airport security screening areas, there is a company with a blue logo and NO LINE. It’s true. There is never a line.
Clear requires a screening similar to TSA Precheck and GE where you submit some information online. The next time you go to the airport, you head to a clear checkpoint and they scan your fingerprints, eye and take a photo of you. An agent escorts you past the security line straight to the metal detectors and the whole ordeal lasts about 2 minutes.
The addition of Clear to my arsenal has been a game changer. Airport security is a breeze every time.
Pro tip: if they do not have Clear at your home airport, email them for a discount.
You can do a trial with them if you sign up at Clearme.com.
With the combination of our credit card perks and security programs, getting to the gate is easy. Dealing with layovers sitting in an uncomfortable chair, eating expensive food has been replaced with free drinks, food and comfort in a nice lounge.
Do you have any airport secrets that make travel more comfortable?