CLEAR membership isn’t something I’d been too worried about getting in the past, but with Amex handing it out for free to all Platinum personal and business cardholders and some other targeted cardholders with a CLEAR Amex Offer, I’m sure many of you are in the same
boat plane of being much more interested in getting CLEAR.
If you’re concerned about it being a bit of a hassle like Global Entry where you have to schedule an appointment many months in advance and attend an interview, don’t worry – it’s infinitely easier than that process. Five minutes online and five minutes in person at the airport just before our flights was all it took to register and subsequently speed through the lines at the airport yesterday.
Here’s a quick rundown of what was involved with setting up CLEAR memberships for me and my wife.
Step 1 – Register Online
The CLEAR benefit on Amex Platinum cards doesn’t require enrollment unlike some other Platinum benefits, although the Amex Offer version of the offer does require enrollment.
My wife and I both have Platinum cards, so rather than enrolling two of us under one benefit like you can do with Delta or United, we paid for our CLEAR memberships separately. That’s because TopCashback is offering $10 when paying for memberships, so we were able to get a total of $20 cashback for our two memberships.
Having clicked through from TopCashback, registration was incredibly fast and required very little information. You just provide some very basic registration information and pay for CLEAR.
They’ll then send you an email welcoming you to CLEAR which includes a link to set up your account online.
Step 2 – Verify Identity At CLEAR Location
The second – and final – step in registering for CLEAR is to go to one of the 50+ locations around the country to provide your biometric information. Most of these are at airports, but there are some stadiums with CLEAR lanes too where you can perform the same function. For non-airport locations though, I don’t know if you can verify your identity outside of sporting or special events. For example, Coors Field in Denver is one such CLEAR location, but I don’t know if you can rock up on a random Tuesday morning outside of baseball season to finish your enrollment.
We flew out of Denver airport yesterday, so we sorted out our ID verification there instead. There were two different CLEAR lanes either side of the security entrance (more about that in a mo), with the CLEAR Enrollment section between the two. This had something like half a dozen kiosks; they’re not self-serve, but there were a couple of CLEAR employees there to assist people with the enrollment process.
Using the touchscreens we entered our names and dates of birth and it picked up our details from our online registrations.
The next step was taking our biometrics. The kiosk did an iris scan, took our fingerprints from both left and right hands and then took a photo of our entire face. After that the CLEAR employee scanned our drivers licenses. I think in theory the kiosk prepopulates your address details, but we had to manually enter some of our information. That’s likely because the Florida DMV unhelpfully insisted that our car’s license plate had to be the first line of our address on our licenses rather than the first line of our mailing service seeing as we don’t have a physical home address. I’m guessing that for most people it’ll pick up your address with no issue, but this only added about 30 seconds to the process.
After no more than five minutes, that was it! The final screen displayed the optimal biometrics for us to provide when using CLEAR lanes. For both me and my wife an iris scan is best, with fingerprints on our left hand being the second best option.
Using CLEAR Lanes
Having completed our enrollment, we were able to use CLEAR lanes immediately. As mentioned earlier, there were two different CLEAR lanes. One was a regular CLEAR lane…
…and the other was for CLEAR members who also had TSA Precheck. I don’t know if all airports with CLEAR lanes have this dual setup or if it’s only larger airports.
We both have TSA Precheck thanks to also having Global Entry, so we were able to take that left lane to get through even more speedily. We scanned our irises and boarding passes and then we were good to go. In total, it didn’t take more than 15 minutes from the moment we arrived to finish our CLEAR enrollment before we were completely through security. Considering how long the non-CLEAR and non-Precheck lines were at Denver Airport yesterday, this saved us a significant amount of time which meant even more time to spend in the excellent Centurion Lounge they have there.
If the prospect of a lengthy process to complete your CLEAR enrollment at the airport has put you off applying, don’t worry – the process is incredibly fast and you don’t even have to make an appointment. Just go to the CLEAR enrollment lane any time to finish getting it sorted out – you won’t regret it!
Based on discussion not sure which is best strategy for signing up myself and wife: Platinum for one Gold for other vs just Platinum ; what advantage through United or Delta for discounts?; I do get TopCashback benefit of using two cards.
For the first year it wouldn’t make much difference going through United or Delta, although you’d be better off enrolling separately to get the 2x $10 from TopCashback.
However, if you’re going to want to keep CLEAR for the long term then that would likely be the wrong strategy. That’s because the Gold offer is a one-off Amex Offer and so probably won’t be around again when you renew. That means it’s likely better to get a discounted membership via United or Delta and add P2 as a family member and covering the cost with the Platinum card; that way when you renew you’ll continue getting that preferred pricing and having $179 covered by the Platinum card.
The CLEAR website indicates that you can link your CLEAR account to your United or Delta accounts and then you will get the lower price at your next renewal. It also says that if you link the accounts within 60 days of creating or renewing your account, you will get a refund for the difference. Since I’m getting CLEAR for “free” by using the Amex Gold offer, I’m just going to wait until the 60 days have passed in case a refund would affect either the TopCashBack payout or the Amex Offer (i.e., avoid an Amex clawback).
The CLEAR website also allows you to change the card on file in your account so you could use the Gold offer this year and then use the Platinum credit next year at renewal. I just used my Gold to sign up for CLEAR at $149 so that I could get the $10 from TopCashBack and to use up the Amex Offer on my Gold, and then I’ll use my Platinum later this year to add my daughter for $60 when she turns 18. Then I’ll still have some Platinum credit to use later in 2021 if I find a need for it for a different family member.
I have a real problem giving so much information, including bio-metrics, to a private company, I think it is a security issue. TSA Pre-Check through Nexus has been working fine for me.
Small world… I completed my Clear application in Denver as well yesterday. While the setup machines were glitchy, still a simple experience. One made better for me as Amex Platinum was picking up the $179 tab.
Clear + Precheck = go to the head of the line.
And then yes, off to the Centurion club as well, where the ambiance is noisy College Cafeteria. So much for exclusivity … yipee.
(Suggestion: train Centurion Staff at the Qantas departure lounge in L.A. – they know how to do clubs right.)
But having done this, how is this better security?
Immigration and Naturalization (pre-9-11) already did bioauthorization, scanning the mass of your hand. That was cool, and with the green light it was even faster than Global Entry to reenter the USA
But Clear and precheck is for departure. Now you STILL have to go into a bag xray line.
What I am saying is we are solving the LAST problem… likely modern terrorists would hijack one of those timeshare private jets that seems to be popular with the moderately rich, because smaller airports and no security.
But back on topic: yes, Clear is a deal, when it’s free.
All in all its ALMOST as fast as the premium line at A Bridge on your way to the Admirals Club.
@Vin_Zebraitis on twitter
Really small world…we reactivated my dear Wife’s account and added my adult daughter application on DW account in Denver as well yesterday.
We then headed to the new Centurion Lounge…. I agree while they seemed to have adequate staff numbers on the floor and kitchen – lunch was still being prepped at 11:50 (11:30 was the scheduled time. I will say despite being famished – it was probably the most so-so and blah tasting CL menu – I’ve had). Thankfully we had time and not on a tight schedule (would have been annoying to not be able to pick up food if only had time to pass thru, which is the case from time to time.
I digress back to CLEAR
We originally took advantage of the 6 month trial in Dec. 2019 used it a few times before COVID19.
Then it was a toss up on time getting through security – eldest daughter went thru without.
I picked up the green card in April 2021 with 50K MR and a referral bonus, added my United MP to Clear for $119 pricing. For some reason it wasn’t billed till the end of May almost a month later when my renewal was displayed was ( but we never paid for the original trial – vaguely something about CLEAR being extend 3 months).
We planned on using the new Platinum CLEAR benefit for DW and paying to RENEW at the kiosk and add my adult daughter. We accomplished all but couldn’t pay, so I added DW United Mileage plan number to CLEAR and could see that my daughter was added to my wife’s account. We got a
We couldn’t see my 17 YO daughter on my account, but they added he DL and took her Bio-metrics at the Kiosk.
One key point – when I added my Wife’s MP # for the “exclusive pricing” they opened a case Number and said would contact us in 24 HRs.
I think that my DW was not charged as HAD AUTO RENEW TURNED OFF so I think that is why they couldn’t process her at the airport, the whole process was under 5 minutes and the CLEAR “AMBASSADOR’S” we at a loss on why she was “CLEARED” despite an inactive account, and couldn’t figure out how to add her payment.
So far nothing has even posted as pending since yesterday.
My youngest turns 18 and I’m thinking when she does we will be billed at that point, my Clear renewal will post – a few weeks before my CS Plat AF is but I’m but not planning on keeping at $695.
FWIW the $100 CLEAR credit for the Green Card counted toward MSR.
I assume that it will be the same as GE/TSA-PC fee counting toward MSR (even with the $85/$100 credit) for the Platinum $179 credit.
@Zebratitis I agree that free CLEAR is worth it when it is “free” but since PDX doesn’t have CLEAR – it is far less valuable than GE/TSA PC.
Assuming our visas are approved, we are moving to Portugal in September, flying TAP out of Terminal B at EWR. However, CLEAR only seems to be in operation at Terminal C. I’m trying to think how to make that work for us. We could go to Terminal B, check our bags, hop on the (exterior) shuttle to Terminal C, complete our registration, go through the CLEAR express lane and then through security, then on the other side of security, take the internal shuttle train over to Terminal B, but that seems like a LOT of hassle for not much benefit, especially if the line for TSA Pre Check security is short at Terminal B. If CLEAR was at Terminal B, that would be a no-brainer. Frustrating that it isn’t available at the terminal we are flying from…
The Green Card has offered $100/yr CLEAR credit since launch almost 2 yrs ago.
Marriott Titanium status provides United Silver status & a reduced CLEAR fee of $109. I signed myself up for CLEAR on 12.31 & my husband under my membership on 1.1 so we both receive (almost) free annual membership.
We just flew to MCO from Connecticut for a short trip, finished Clear sign up when we arrived then went to get our luggage.
On the way back to the airport we were delayed almost every way possible, Clear got us through instantly and precheck was empty, Clear definitely saved the day.
Can I go to the airport to complete enrollment if I’m not flying that day?
Yes, it’s before security and so you don’t have to be flying to complete enrollment – they don’t need a boarding pass at that stage.
Stephan you should get a family account no ?
It’s only me and my wife – we don’t have any kids. We both have Platinum cards and so CLEAR is completely free for us, so it made more sense to get separate accounts in order to get the 2x $10 cashback amounts from TopCashback.
Gotcha. In the future you can combine I guess. Also worth a mention that airline elites and cardholders at UA get discounts on membership
Funny you post this today. Went to T1 at STL this morning and the 3 kiosks there are next to a CLEAR sign that says “coming soon”, yet CLEAR is showing STL as one of the available cities already
One hiccup my spouse had, at the airport in Denver, was when registering at CLEAR, their machine couldn’t scan her license and she had to go to the CLEAR office nearby and they had to do some manual verification; added about 15 or 20 minutes.
Thanks, I felt like I had a lot of dumb questions about Clear and this helped. One more dumb question, I need to be the primary and want to enroll my parents in a family plan with me. I’m going to use the offer on my Gold for myself and my Platinum for my spouse and parents. My parents are going to be flying next before me. Do you know if I have to complete step-2 verification before adding family?
I don’t know for sure I’m afraid. Their FAQs state the following:
That suggests to me that they could complete enrollment before you, but no guarantee on that.
Why don’t you get additional Platinum cards for your parents? Dirt cheap, and lots of benefits.
Not sure I follow. I wouldn’t say $695 is dirt cheap and there are lots of hoops to jump through to get those benefits. Obviously I have it for myself, but it’s not a card for everyone. Plus they have Clear but no lounge at their home airport, so adding them as AUs for $175 doesn’t do much because that doesn’t get them their own Clear credits.
Hey Stephen, does Clear use the date you sign up as the start date for your membership year? Or is it the date that you finish enrollment at the airport?
For example, let’s say I do the online registration process on 7/15, but I don’t actually go to the airport to finish my enrollment until 8/22. Which of those two dates serves as the start date for my membership year?
It seems to be the date you sign up and pay for CLEAR rather than the date you finish enrollment at one of their kiosks.
It’s worth noting for the sake of using these credits that apparently additional members on your account are not charged to the card until they actually sign up at the airport
i signed up recently and added my husband to my account. I was charged for my membership ($119 through Delta Skymiles sign-up page) right away and my husband’s $60 add-on fee was charged a day or two later. Neither of us has been to the airport to finalize the membership yet. The entire $179 has already been rebated to my Amex Platinum.
Mary or Stephen, did it take a while for amex to issue a credit? mine was posted on 13th but have not yet seen a stmt cr
My transaction posted on July 1 and I got the credit on July 4. Although mine posted more quickly than yours has, I wouldn’t worry about it not showing up just yet.
My statement shows it posting the next day, but it’s possible Amex backdated it, because I don’t remember it showing up that fast.
thx to both for a reply; in fact, a cr is just posted to my acct earlier today; amex may have cr issued in batch by certain day(s)
That’s interesting because both I and a friend of mine signed up with our United discounts and the $60 extra fee for each of our wives has yet to show up on our Amex statements even though both of our clear accounts show that we were charged $169. I wonder if there’s a difference between how the United and the Delta ones are billed..?
Spike, what or how much was posted on amex acct? $169 or $109?
Only $109 posted on AMEX…
yours is likely similar to Mary’s; pls come back to post after a cr is issued for fam member’s
So after seeing Mary’s post I called back Clear.
1. Clear customer support is a mess, took forever to speak to someone and was given conflicting information.
2. Long story short, their automatic biller failed. After this second call in they manually processed the bill and I saw it show pending on my card within the hour.
Btw if you have multiple platinum and trying to use them to, say, add yourself then add 3 more family/friends you (supposedly) have to first add yourself (and one extra if you’re using a discount), wait for it to charge (conservatively wait for it to post) then go back into your account, change your payment method (only 1 card allowed at a time), THEN add the other people you want to add
Mary, for clar… Clear’s receipt shows a total with 2 separate charges, and the total amt was posted to ur amex acct, correct? or 2 separate charges were posted and amex credited for both?
My Amex bill was charged $119 for my membership, then $60 the next day for my husband’s membership. The rebates were applied as $119 and $60, one day after each charge.
gtk, someone on DOC also noted sep chages on amex & is nervous if a cr for 2 will be given, or only for 1…
I was not charged the $60 as well. Used the $109 United price.