The Basics

A New Way to Waste Your Points, Hilton Edition

TSA precheck
Written by Charlie

Airlines and hotels always seem to come up with ways that you can waste your miles and points. This new one is from Hilton and it is for TSA Precheck.

TSA Precheck is a really nice program, even when it gets really crowded at the security lines. Sure, it is a pain to see those lines longer but I will often stay in that line rather than go to the regular line because I don’t have to take things out of my bags. There are many, many ways to get TSA Precheck without paying the $85 that the program costs. And many of those ways are pretty bad ways to waste points or miles. Here is a way that Hilton is offering this for a waste of points.

Another Way to Waste Your Points on TSA Precheck

TSA Precheck

A way to waste points from Hilton!

For those that are not familiar with TSA Pre, it is a pre-clearance program for airports that allow Precheck passengers to go through a special security line. They do not have to take off their shoes, jacket, belt, take liquids out of their bags, or take their computers out. It is currently available for passengers flying on these airlines from airports in the US:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air Canada
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Allegiant Air
  • American Airlines
  • Cape Air
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Etihad Airways
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Lufthansa
  • OneJet
  • Seaborne Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Sun Country Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin America
  • WestJet

The cost is $85 and it lasts for 5 years. If you wanted to, the better option would be to go for Global Entry which costs $100 for 5 years and includes TSA Pre while letting you breeze through passport control and customs when re-entering the US. I renewed my Global Entry last year and I can tell you it is an incredible, time-saving program (yes, one of those from the US government! 🙂).

Wasting Points

Airlines have been “offering” to let their customers use miles to wipe out the cost of the TSA Precheck – at a rate like 10,000 miles for the $85 fee. That is a terrible value for miles and one that should not (generally) be considered. Well, Hilton is also offering the opportunity to let you waive the fee by using Hilton HHonor points – and it “only” costs 30,000 points! Hilton points are generally regarded as being worth about $.005 per point but it is always possible to do better than even that. So, using 30,000 points to wipe out a $85 fee is really bad – a rate of $.0028 per point!

When you login to your Hilton account, you may be offered this “deal” – please do not take them up on it! Consider what I recently used points on as an example of the kind of value you could achieve through the Hilton HHonor points.

screen-shot-2016-09-25-at-12-08-10-am

The Waldorf Astoria can give great value for your Hilton points

The above rate of $470 is pre-taxed so the total is around $495. If you paid the 80,000 points for the free night, you could get a value of $.0061 per point – reasonable enough. If you went for the Points and Money, you would do even better. It would be a rate of 1 cent per point! Definitely a better use than wasting the points on a $85 fee!

Other Ways to Get TSA Precheck or Global Entry

Many premium credit cards do offer reimbursements for Global Entry or TSA Precheck. Cards like the Citi Executive AAdvantage, Citi Prestige, American Express Platinum (all flavors), the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and the Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator Silver are some of those cards that will give you a single reimbursement. Another option is if you have high elite status with Delta – you can select Global Entry reimbursement as one of your perks.

Global Entry is certainly something every traveler who goes international should seriously consider and the above cards will let you get that (and by that, TSA Precheck) for free.

But please, don’t use your Hilton HHonor points for TSA Precheck! 🙂

Summary

The card bonuses for Hilton have been at 75,000 on two of the cards and 100,000 on another. If you were to value your points at this price for a TSA redemption, it would be as if you are getting a new card for a total value of $212 or $283! It has been a while since I signed up for a card that only gave me that in value and I think the same is with many of you!

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

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