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.
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.
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.