The Basics

Global Entry – A Family Timesaver

Global Entry
Written by Charlie

I have written about my thing for Global Entry a few times. Quite frankly, I love Global Entry! It is such a convenience and timesaver and is definitely something to consider for anyone thinking about/doing international travel. Here is just one of the reasons I love it and why it’s value went up even higher in my eyes.

Global Entry And Families

Yesterday, we returned to NY for a little while. Our flight got us into JFK late Tuesday night and we had to spend the night before flying out yesterday morning (which is why I never got around to getting a post up yesterday).

Our flight arrived at the gate a bit after 10PM. With our children (5, 4, and 2), this was a long-trip. They only slept for a little bit on the plane, which was good for quicker time adjustment but not good for that moment for having them be ready to go when we landed. We headed out of the plane (seated near the back, so we knew there were already many people in front of us) and saw other planes unloading hundreds of international travelers as we all were funneled towards the Passport and Immigration area. The line was already backed up to the hallway for US travelers, so we had to squeeze by all of them as we headed toward our Global Entry kiosks.

There was no line for the kiosks so we were able to march right up and start the process. It seriously took all of 1 minute for each of us with only our youngest (2 year old) getting the X on his ticket (it meant we had to go to an agent). There was an agent nearby so I took him over there. As I thought, it was his fingerprints (he had it done when he was only 1 so it did not take too well) and we were soon on our way.

After exiting the mass of waiting humanity at passport control, we went to wait for our luggage. Unfortunately, elite passengers do not always have their luggage come off the plane in front of non-elites, so we had to wait a little bit for our stuff (not an elite complaint at all – just an observation!) When our bags did come out, we loaded them up on one cart and headed for the loonng line at customs. Once again, we went right to the front for Global Entry and we were walking right through.

My best guess of time savings for those lines was an easy 1.5 – 2 hours – something that would have been very difficult to manage with three tired children. Not impossible, but not preferable!


The next morning, we went to JetBlue for our flight to Rochester. After we checked our bags in and got our boarding passes, we were able to walk pass another line of hundreds of people (even dozens in the elite line) to the TSA Pre line. Thanks to having Global Entry, we also qualify for TSA Pre which allows us to go back to pre-9/11 security lines. That meant not having to take shoes off, not taking anything out of our bags, not removing liquids – just walk right through! Again, another big time saver – an easy 30 – 45 minutes!

But is it worth it?

At $100 for 5 years, it is definitely not going to be for everyone, but should be a consideration if you do have international travel upcoming. For our family, it would have cost us $500, but we did not have to pay thanks to our American Express Platinum cards. If we had to pay for half of them, it would still have been a good deal since we live outside the US most of the time now.

Should you get it? Mommy Points has a good write-up on how children can get Global Entry for free (children are no longer waved to the front of the line if their parents have it – everyone must have it to use the kiosk or go to the front). Here is another post that gives all the different ways you can get it for free. One of the best ways for multiple people is to add authorized users on to your American Express Platinum account. It costs $175 for three additional cards (total) and each of them get the $100 Global Entry credit! So, you can get 3 Global Entry applications for $58 a piece (instead of $100). That is a good deal!

Do you have it? Have you used it with your kids? How much do you value it?

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About the author


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.


  • If only I have Global Entry, can I take my family (wife and 9 month daughter) through for TSA Pre-check?

    Thanks Charles!

  • My wife and I are going to Europe this fall and we are going STL-ORD-YUL-MUC. On the way back it’s MUC-YYZ-ORD

    This will probably be our only International flight for awhile thought there maybe one more but that’s ify. Would it make sense for us to get Global Entry?

    • @patrick
      I don’t think it’s worth it ($100 for 5 years vs. NEXUS $50 for 5 years)
      You’d need to clear Canadian immigration in YUL (GE is no help for that), and re-enter security
      As for return YYZ-ORD, you’d go through a “dedicated” USA transit area where US agents will see you and identify bags (You shouldn’t need to pick up) and GE may save you little time there

  • Had nearly the same experience at Dulles coming home from spring break with 3 kids. We paid for 2 of the 5 of us to get it, the other 3 were from AmEx/United promos. Absolutely worth it. Saved at least 1.5 hours. My kids think I’m some sort of magician.