Get The Vacationer Newsletter

Get highlights of the most important news delivered to your email inbox

Get The Vacationer Newsletter

Get highlights of the most important news delivered to your email inbox

Advertiser Disclosure

If you make a purchase or sign up for a credit card after clicking a link on this site, The Vacationer may receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The Vacationer does not review or include all possible offers, credit cards or credit card companies.

CLEAR Expedited Airport & Stadium Security Program 2020 – Cost & Tips

Phil Dengler
CLEAR Expedited Airport Security Program

Even if you have TSA PreCheck, the security line to reach the agent who checks your ID and boarding pass can be very long. If you are not a PreCheck member, you may have to deal with an even longer line as well as go through the traditional security screening area. CLEAR is a program designed for both PreCheck and non-PreCheck travelers to get to the actual screening area faster.

You still have to go through airport security, but the time spent waiting in line should be drastically reduced. Additionally, CLEAR can help you get through security much more quickly at various sports stadiums and arenas.

What is the CLEAR Expedited Airport Security Program?

CLEAR uses biometrics (your eyes and fingerprints) to verify your identity via an encrypted code. Getting through airport security involves two steps — verifying your identity and the actual physical security screening. CLEAR helps with the first step, which is often the reason going through security can take so long. 

Instead of waiting in the regular line and showing the TSA agent your physical ID and boarding pass, you simply use the CLEAR pod (or kiosk) via a CLEAR lane to verify your identity. After verifying your identity, a CLEAR employee will escort you to the actual security screening area, whether it be the PreCheck one or the traditional one.

Is CLEAR Run By The Government and Safe to Use?

Unlike TSA PreCheck, which is run by the Transportation Security Administration, and Global Entry, which is run by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), CLEAR is run by a private company. There is no background check, and approval is fast and easy for those eligible.

Its website states it is fully committed to protecting members’ information as well as never selling it or renting it. Additionally, it states its technology is SAFETY Act certified by the Department of Homeland Security. Information collected is stated to be only used to provide the service.

Privacy and data collection by companies is a huge concern. Before deciding if CLEAR is right for you, we recommend reading its complete privacy policy.

How Much Does Clear Cost and is It Worth It?

CLEAR Kiosks and Pods

Photo: clearme.com

CLEAR Standard costs $179 per year for a membership. This includes access to CLEAR lanes and pods at more than 65 airports, stadiums, and arenas. Your membership also allows you to add as many as three family members or friends to your account for $50 per year each. Any children under 18 can use CLEAR lanes for free when they are with you.

CLEAR Sports is free but only allows access to CLEAR lanes at sports stadiums. As noted above, this is also included in your CLEAR Standard membership. With a CLEAR Sports membership, you can bring one other person through the special lanes with you.

Student Discounts

Verified students can enroll in CLEAR for only $50 per year for four years. That is a savings of $516 from the usual price for four years. You will need to register with a school email address and a valid student ID. You will also have to enter the name of your college or university. Be aware, a third-party service called SheerID will receive your personal information to verify it. Students can enroll here.

Coupon Codes

CLEAR regularly offers coupon codes to save money on your annual membership. We will share updated offers here.

The Vacationer Tip

There are a variety of different ways to save on a CLEAR membership. Check the latest coupons and see if your rewards status for Delta, United Airlines, and Hertz gives you a special discount.

Special Rates for Partners

Members of select rewards programs from Delta, United Airlines, and Hertz receive special rates on their membership.

Delta SkyMiles Members

New CLEAR members can enroll here. You will need your SkyMiles account number. Existing members should add their SkyMiles account number to their current CLEAR account. The discounted rate will be applied for the next renewal.

  • Diamond Medallion Members – Free Membership
  • Platinum, Gold, and Silver Medallion Members – $109/annually
  • Delta SkyMiles American Express Card Members – $109/annually
  • General SkyMiles Members – $119/annually

As you can see, Diamond Medallion Members save $179 per year. Platinum, Gold, and Silver Medallion Members as well as Delta SkyMiles American Express Card Members save $70 per year. Finally, General SkyMiles Members save $60 per year.

United Airlines MileagePlus Members

New CLEAR members can enroll here. You will need your MileagePlus account number. Existing members should add their MileagePlus account number to their current CLEAR account. The discount rate will be applied for the next renewal.

  • Premier 1K Members – Free Membership
  • Platinum, Gold, and Silver Premier Members – $109/annually
  • United U.S. Credit Cardmembers – $109/annually
  • General MileagePlus Members – $119/annually

The discounts offered to United Airlines MileagePlus members are very similar to what Delta SkyMiles members are receiving. Premier 1K members get their membership for free, which saves them $179 per year. Platinum, Gold, and Silver Premier Members as well as United U.S. Credit Cardmembers pay $109 annually, which saves them $70 per year. General MileagePlus Members pay $119 annually, which saves them $60 per year.

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Members

In addition to paying $129 per year ($50 savings) for a CLEAR membership, Hertz Gold Plus Rewards Members can also get extra free months. Platinum members receive an extra six months, President’s Circle receives three months, Five Star receives two months, and Gold receives one month.

Who Can Join?

All U.S. citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents who are 18 and older can join. You must have one of the following valid and unexpired forms of identification to be eligible.

  • U.S. Driver’s License, 
  • U.S. Passport or Passport Card
  • U.S. Permanent Resident Card
  • State Issued ID
  • United States Military ID
  • Global Entry Card

By October 1, 2021, you will need a REAL ID to use CLEAR. Until that time, you can still enroll and use the service with the forms of ID listed above.

As previously mentioned, you can add up to three family members or friends with a family plan for $50 per year for each person. Every person you add must also be 18 or older and have one of the accepted forms of identification. The good news is anyone on your family plan does not have to be with you when using CLEAR lanes at airports and stadiums.

How Do I Join CLEAR

Enrolling in CLEAR is simple and can be done online in about five minutes. First, decide if you want to enroll in CLEAR Standard or CLEAR Sports. As a reminder, CLEAR Sports comes with a CLEAR Standard membership.

CLEAR Standard

Go to CLEAR’s enrollment page. Enter your first and last name, email address, zip code, and date of birth. 

Hit continue, and you will see the “Plan and Payment” section. Here, you have the option to add up to three people to your family plan for $50 per year per person. If you do not add any a friend or family member, you will owe $179 for a one-year membership. You can pay via credit card or debit card. Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover are all accepted.

CLEAR Program Cost

Photo: clearme.com

After payment, you will have to finish your application at one of CLEAR’s over 65 locations. You do not need an appointment to complete your enrollment, and it should only take a few minutes. Bring a valid form of identification and expect to answer a few questions to verify your identity.

Your biometrics will be linked to your account, and that includes your fingerprints and pictures of your eyes. If you did not pre-enroll online before your in-person meeting, you should also bring a valid form of payment.

CLEAR Sports

Joining CLEAR Sports is similar to the process outlined for the standard version. Start by going to the special Sports enrollment page. Enter your first and last name, email address, zip code, and date of birth

CLEAR Sports Enrollment

Photo: clearme.com

As CLEAR Sports is free, you will click the continue button in the Sports Membership section showing a $0 per month charge. After completing your enrollment, you still have to complete the process in-person at one of CLEAR’s stadium locations.

How Do I Use CLEAR

Using CLEAR at airports and sports stadiums is a straightforward process. 

Airports

1. Find the special CLEAR Lane. You can generally find it near the traditional TSA security line

2. A representative will assist you in finding an open pod (aka a kiosk) where you will scan your boarding pass and biometrics to verify your identity.

3. After your identity is verified and linked to your boarding pass, the CLEAR representative will escort you to the front of the line for the actual physical screening. Remember, you no longer have to check in with the TSA agent and show them a physical copy of your identification or boarding pass.

4. If you have TSA PreCheck, the representative will escort you to the PreCheck screening area. If you do not, they will take you to the traditional screening area. You will still have to still go through the body scanner and remove your shoes, belt, liquids bag, laptop, and jacket. 

Sports Stadiums

1. Find the CLEAR lane at the entrance of the stadium or arena.

2. Scan your finger and allow the machine to read your eyes.

3. After your identity is verified, you will be free to bypass the normal, long line and enter the stadium or arena.

4. If you are in an eligible stadium, you can also use CLEAR Concessions. This allows you to use your biometrics to purchase food and drinks without having to use a credit card or cash. Currently, this is only available at Century Link Field in Seattle, Citi Field in New York, and T-Mobile Park in Seattle.

Clear Locations

CLEAR Locations

Photo: clearme.com

CLEAR is located at more than 65 airports, sports stadiums, and arenas as of May 2020. We will update this list as more locations are added.

Airports

  • Atlanta – Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • Austin – Austin–Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
  • Baltimore – Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)
  • Birmingham – Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM)
  • Boston – Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Charlotte – Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
  • Chicago – O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Cincinnati – Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
  • Cleveland – Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE)
  • Dallas – Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Denver – Denver International Airport (DEN)
  • Detroit – Detroit Metro Airport (DTW)
  • Fort Lauderdale – Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
  • Houston – George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • Houston – William P. Hobby Airport (HOU)
  • Las Vegas – McCarran International Airport (LAS)
  • Los Angeles – Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Miami – Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Minneapolis – Minneapolis−Saint Paul International Airport (MSP)
  • New Orleans – Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
  • New York – John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • New York – LaGuardia Airport (LGA)
  • New York – Westchester County Airport (HPN)
  • Newark – Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
  • Orlando – Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  • Phoenix – Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
  • Salt Lake City – Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
  • San Antonio – San Antonio International Airport (SAT)
  • San Francisco – San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • San Jose – Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC)
  • Seattle – Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • St. Louis – St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)
  • Washington D.C. – Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  • Washington D.C. – Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)

Stadiums/Venues

  • Atlanta – Truist Park
  • Austin – University of Texas
  • Baltimore – Oriole Park at Camden Yards
  • Cleveland – Progressive Field
  • Dallas – Globe Life Park in Arlington
  • Denver – Coors Field
  • Detroit – Comerica Park
  • Los Angeles – Banc of California Stadium
  • Los Angeles – STAPLES Center
  • Miami – AmericanAirlines Arena
  • Minneapolis – Target Field
  • New York – Citi Field
  • New York – Madison Square Garden
  • New York – Yankee Stadium
  • San Antonio – AT&T Center
  • San Francisco – Oracle Park
  • San Francisco – RingCentral Coliseum
  • San Jose – Earthquakes Stadium
  • Seattle – CenturyLink Field
  • Seattle – T-Mobile Park
  • Washington D.C. – Capital One Arena
The Vacationer Tip

You should only get a CLEAR Standard membership if you see yourself frequenting the list of above airports often. If only the stadiums and venues are practical for you, go with the free CLEAR Sports membership.

CLEAR Compared to Other Airport “Products”

CLEAR Benefits

Photo: clearme.com

CLEAR joins TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, and Mobile Passport, as a collection of airports products that may seem confusing. While they may all seem similar, CLEAR is actually much different than the others.

CLEAR vs. TSA PreCheck

As previously detailed, CLEAR actually complements TSA PreCheck. Instead of waiting in the PreCheck line to reach the TSA agent, CLEAR takes you right to the security screening area. While PreCheck lines are usually much shorter than traditional ones, they can still be rather long at some airports. Stacking CLEAR with PreCheck is going to get you through security extremely quickly on most occasions.

CLEAR vs. Global Entry

CLEAR and Global Entry do two completely different things, but you can still be members of both programs. Global Entry expedites you through customs when returning to the United States. CLEAR simply helps you reach the security screening area quicker when flying domestically. Global Entry includes TSA PreCheck, so you can use that to better your CLEAR experience.

CLEAR vs. Mobile Passport App

Mobile Passport is similar to Global Entry in the sense it helps expedite entry through customs when returning to the United States. It does not include TSA PreCheck, however. While CLEAR and Mobile Passport are both powerful tools, they are not used together.

CLEAR Members Are Never Excluded

As a CLEAR member, you will always be able to take advantage of the service. That means using the pods and verifying your identity using your biometrics.

TSA PreCheck and Global Entry members may sometimes be excluded for unknown reasons from using the service. This may involve additional questions and further screening. Despite the higher cost, CLEAR will not exclude you. Additionally, TSA PreCheck sometimes grant privileges to nonmembers. Only CLEAR members are eligible to use the service.

FAQ

Is there a way to get a CLEAR membership for free?

Not currently, but there are ways to get discounts. Students and members of select rewards programs from Delta, United Airlines, and Hertz receive special pricing. Additionally, various coupons are available for everyone.

Can only members use CLEAR lanes?

Yes, only members may use the special lanes and pods.

Do I ever have to take out my ID when using the service?

No, your ID is verified using your biometrics (fingerprints and eyes).

Do I have to go through a background check to get approved?

No, a background check is not required to become a CLEAR member.

Do I have to decide between CLEAR and TSA PreCheck?

No, both services can be used together. In fact, we recommend stacking them for an even faster experience.

Will CLEAR let me bypass security?

No, it will simply help you get to the screening area faster without having to show the TSA agent your ID.

What is the CLEAR Pass?

The CLEAR Pass is a Mobile Passport control app. It is a free app allowing you to expedite entry through customs when returning to the United States.

The Vacationer’s Final Thoughts

For the frequent traveler, CLEAR has a ton of value. While the annual price of $179 is steep, there are various ways to save money on it. If you only travel a few times per year, the cost may be hard to justify.

Featured Image by clearme.com

Phil Dengler The Vacationer Bio

By Phil Dengler

In addition to being a co-founder of The Vacationer, Phil Dengler is also the head of editorial and marketing. Previously, he ran a popular holiday deals website where he was a trusted source for all things Black Friday. With The Vacationer, Phil combines his knowledge of deals with his love of travel to help you plan the perfect vacation.