Citi Prestige and Global Entry Application Fee Reimbursement Experience

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After researching the details for my Citi Prestige Card review, I went ahead and applied for one since I felt I could get over $1,400 of value in exchange for the $450 annual fee. Part of that would come from the $100 application fee credit they give you when you apply for the Global Entry Program.

(Side note: I applied for the card and actually got an instant rejection online. Naturally, I was disappointed and planned on calling their reconsideration line in a few days. But before I got the chance, I was sent the card in a fancy welcome package via Next-Day Air. Curious!)

Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check Highlights. Here is a brief description of the Global Entry program from the Citi Prestige page:

Global Entry Membership allows international travelers expedited entry upon arrival in United States, by using automated kiosks when entering the United States. Once approved, Global Entry members can use automated kiosks in most major U.S. airports, rather than having to go through the traditional arrival process. There is a $100 application fee payable to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) which administers the program. As a benefit of the Citi Prestige Card, Citi will provide one statement credit for this $100 application fee, once the fee is charged to the account. The $100 application fee credit will reset once every 5 years.

Global Entry automatically includes membership to TSA Pre-Check, which provides expedited security screening at participating airports in the US for eligible travelers. If in the (ideally shorter and faster-moving) TSA Pre-Check line, you won’t have to remove your belt, shoes, light jacket, or take out your your laptop from carry-on. See this Trusted Traveler Program comparison chart for details. TSA Pre-Check is open to U.S. citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents.

You can also just apply to TSA Pre-Check separately, but that costs $85 on its own and also only lasts 5 years. Considering it would be reimbursed either way, it was a no-brainer for me to just apply to Global Entry for $100. Here is a brief summary of the qualification criteria for Global Entry:

To qualify you must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent residents of the U.S., and citizens of certain other countries are eligible for Global Entry membership provided that they:
*Have never been convicted of a criminal offense in any country
*Have never been found in violation of customs, immigration or agricultural laws
*Do not provide false or incomplete information on their application
*Are not the subject of an investigation by any Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency.

Global Entry Application Process. I applied on 5/6 and was given “conditional approval” on 5/10. That meant that I was allowed to go online and schedule my in-person interview at my nearest Global Entry Enrollment Center, which for me (and probably most people) was at the US Customs and Border Patrol office at an international airport. I could have gotten a spot in under a week, but based on my availability the best time was 8 days later on 5/18.

The interview involved bringing my passport and one additional form of identification, answering some brief interview questions, standing for a mugshot and thumbprints, and finally watching a short 5-minute video on the rules of Global Entry. It took about 30 minutes including wait time.

That same day, I was notified online that I was approved and given my Global Entry membership number which can be used as part of the Trusted Traveler Program. I quickly typed this number into my frequent flier accounts in the hopes of getting expedited TSA Pre-Check lines for my upcoming travel. A few days later I received a physical membership card via US postal mail. The Global Entry card can be used for border crossing by car or boat.

Citi Prestige Fee Reimbursement Timeline. The terms and conditions state the following:

Citi Prestige® account cardmembers are eligible to receive one (1) statement credit per account, every five (5) years up to $100, for either the Global Entry or the TSA Pre Check® application fee. Cardmember must charge the application fee of at least $85 to their Citi Prestige® Card to be eligible for the statement credit. Cardmembers will receive a statement credit for the first program (either Global Entry or TSA Pre Check®) to which they apply and pay for with their eligible card, regardless of whether they are approved for Global Entry or TSA Pre Check®.

The one (1) statement credit every five (5) years for the application fee charged to the Citi Prestige® credit card account is applied by Citi directly to the card account. Please allow 1-2 billing cycles after the qualifying Global Entry or TSA Pre ? ® is charged to the eligible account for the statement credit to be posted to the account.

Even though the terms tell you to allow 1-2 billing cycles, I was credited the $100 right before the close of the statement cycle in which I made the $100 application fee charge (along with my $450 annual fee). For example, my first statement cycle closed 5/18 and here is a screenshot from my account:

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People with kids should note that while TSA Pre-Check allows children 12 and under to go with you in line without separate membership, Global Entry requires every single person (no matter the age) to have their own separate Global Entry membership in order to use the special kiosks.

Comments

  1. Global Entry is nice, but Pre-Check is a game changer. So worth it!

  2. Great Post! I will travel with child in two months. Will 50K points be posted after 3 months or right after 3K requirement is met?

    • Nick R. says:

      Oleg, after $3000 requirement is met. On your billing date. For example, if you apply for the card today, then your billing date will be July 6. If you spend $3000 before July 4, you will get 50000 points on July 6.

  3. josefismael says:

    Great card, got accepted 2 weeks ago and have already used the 4th night free twice to book honeymoon hotels 🙂 Will be looking into global entry/pre-check next week.

    Oleg: In my experience with signup bonuses (including Citi cards), they typically show up as soon as you hit the minimum spend. Can’t say for sure with Prestige, but I’ll be hitting that minimum soon so I guess we’ll see 🙂

  4. FYI, US military personnel can get Pre-check for free when traveling officially or on leave. You just need to add your DOD ID number off the back of your CAC in the “Known Traveler” section when you buy the tickets. If you didn’t get it on there when you bought it, you can usually login to the airline’s website and add it or even call the customer support service for that airline and get it added. Military family members need to purchase Pre-check just like everyone else.

    Quick story: I was flying Alaska Airlines and had already printed my boarding pass. However it did not say Pre-check on it. I called Alaska’s customer help desk and they added the known traveler number over the phone. I went back to the kiosk, reprinted by boarding passes, and now they said Pre-Check on them. Took about 2 minutes and saved me 15 minutes waiting in line. I’m definitely buying Global Entry + Pre-check for my wife so she can go with me through the fast lanes.

  5. I’ve had Global Entry (& Pre-check) for about 2 years – and couldn’t live without it. I travel to Europe 2-3 times a year and GE has saved me hours. Last fall, I was coming back with only hand luggage and made it from the plane to getting into the car in 6 minutes.

    Likewise, pre-check saves not only time, but hassle – no fishing around for your liquids, taking out computers, taking off shoes, etc — make it feel like traveling in the 80s or 90s.

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