Which Trusted Traveler Program Fees Are Covered by a Statement Credit?

Jan 8, 2017

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TPG reader Nicole emailed me to ask about getting expedited immigration access

“Can I use the $100 credit on the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card to cover a SENTRI application instead of Global Entry?”

Global Entry and TSA PreCheck are popular among award travelers, not only because they help you move through airports more quickly, but also because several of the top rewards credit cards will cover the cost of your application. US Customs and Border Protection also offers other trusted traveler programs (like NEXUS and SENTRI) to expedite your entry into the country by land. Unfortunately, the fees for those programs aren’t directly covered by credit card benefits, but there’s still an opportunity to enroll at a discount.

Nicole is asking about the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card, which offers a statement credit of up to $100 every four years when you charge a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee to your card. The benefit terms don’t mention SENTRI or NEXUS, but the language implies that the credit doesn’t apply to those two programs, and anecdotal evidence backs that up. The charge is also ineligible for the $300 annual travel credit since it isn’t classified as travel, so you won’t be reimbursed if you use Sapphire Reserve to pay for a SENTRI application.

The same goes for other cards that offer a statement credit for expedited security programs. Most of them have similar terms that include Global Entry and TSA PreCheck without mentioning others, but some are more explicit. For example, the benefit terms for the Platinum Card from American Express state that programs including (but not limited to) NEXUS and SENTRI are ineligible for the statement credit benefit.

The good news is that you may be able to get the benefits of SENTRI even when you apply for Global Entry. Technically, Global Entry comes with SENTRI, but you have to register your vehicle and complete an additional inspection at one of the 10 SENTRI enrollment centers. There’s no additional fee for that inspection if you register your vehicle as part of your initial Global Entry application. You’ll still have to visit one of the enrollment centers (in Texas, California or Arizona), but that means you can effectively pay for SENTRI with your Sapphire Reserve (or other) credit, provided you don’t already have Global Entry.

Cars lined up to pass into America from Tijuana Mexico
SENTRI can help you avoid lines like this to enter the US from Mexico. Image courtesy of jgroup via Getty Images.

If you already have Global Entry, then you’ll have to pay a $42 fee to register your vehicle, and you’ll still need to undergo an inspection at one of the SENTRI enrollment centers. Your statement credit won’t help in that case, but you’ll only have to pay about one third of the normal $122.50 application fee.

For more on getting Global Entry and the other trusted traveler programs, check out these posts:

If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.


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