Marriott Now Lets You Redeem Points For TSA Pre-Check (But Don’t Do It)

Airline and hotel loyalty programs have increasingly been adding opportunities for members to enroll in TSA Pre-Check. Some airlines have given TSA Pre-Check memberships away to elite members for free, while others have been allowing members to redeem points for them. On top of that, several credit cards offer Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check fee credits.

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For example, about a year ago I wrote about how Alaska Airlines lets you redeem 10,000 miles for the $85 TSA Pre-Check enrollment fee. That’s a horrible value at 0.85 cents per mile, given that I value Alaska miles at ~1.8 cents each. A few months later, Club Carlson also began letting members redeem points for TSA Pre-Check. Specifically, they were charging 65,000 points for TSA Pre-Check, which is a horrible value.

Well, the latest loyalty program to let you redeem points for TSA Pre-Check is Marriott Rewards. You can now redeem 25,000 Marriott Rewards points for TSA Pre-Check.

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Personally I value Marriott Rewards points at ~0.8 cents each. So that means that 25,000 points are worth $200, which is a lot more than the $85 TSA enrollment fee. This doesn’t even address the fact that getting TSA Pre-Check as such represents a terrible value for most:

  • You can instead spend $100 to get Global Entry, which gets you expedited immigration; this comes with TSA Pre-Check, so it’s well worth spending the extra $15 and getting it all bundled
  • The very best value is signing up for NEXUS, which costs just $50, and gets you expedited screening at US and Canadian borders; on top of that it also comes with Global Entry and TSA Pre-Check, so it’s the best kept secret, as it’s the most comprehensive membership

Ultimately more options for redeeming points are a good thing, and surely some people will take advantage of this. However, I’d never recommend redeeming Marriott Rewards points for 0.34 cents each. Lastly, if loyalty programs do offer the opportunity to redeem points for such things, I wish they’d also include Global Entry, which at least represents an all around better value.

Comments

  1. I really should jump onto the NEXUS bandwagon for how often I’m abusing the USD-CAD arbitrage these days.

  2. Wait so Nexus provides the same benefits as Global Entry along with expedited screenings at land crossings between US and Canada and is 50% cheaper than Global entry? What am I missing?

  3. ^ You’re not missing anything. It’s a great deal. Signed up for NEXUS a few years ago myself and it’s wonderful.

    The only hangup is that you have to do your in-person interview with BOTH US and Canadian CBP, so all the interview locations are along the border. But if you live near enough (or will travel nearby – say, DTW – sometime soon) you really can’t beat NEXUS over Global.

  4. @PR – trick is you have to interview by both US and Canada “customs” agencies. So for everyone who doesn’t go to Canada or doesn’t live near the border, its not worth a trip just for this.

    Also most premium cards ($450+) in U.S. offers statement credits for GE, PreCheck, but don’t cover Nexus.

  5. Ah that explains it. I live in Texas so Global Entry is probably my best option for now. But yes, great deal for those close enough to the northern border. Maybe there will be Nexus at the southern border once that “beautiful” wall is built 🙂

  6. @PR, the program for the southern border is called SENTRI. Unlike Nexus, however, it actually costs more than Global Entry (although with SENTRI you can add kids under 14 for free).

  7. Good to note that this is mainly for US Citizens & select countries, since citizens from many other countries can’t sign up for Pre Check/Nexus/Global Entry unfortunately 🙁

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