Credit Cards

Credit Card Issuers: Global Entry Is Not a Game-Changing Benefit

southwest companion pass for 2017
Written by Charlie

There are many credit cards that offer Global Entry reimbursement now and it has gotten to the point that it is definitely not a game-changing benefit. Why do credit cards have it as a benefit? Here are some original benefits they could offer instead and chime in with your own!

Over the last couple of years, we have seen a move by many credit card issuers to include Global Entry reimbursement as a perk, even a headline perk, of a credit card offer. While I absolutely love Global Entry [Guide to Global Entryand find it to be the best thing for travel that the US government has done, the benefit of Global Entry reimbursement is not a game-changer for credit cards!

Credit Card Issuers: Global Entry Reimbursement Is Not a Game-Changing Benefit

I was thinking about this recently after the flood of posts came out about Capital One including Global Entry reimbursement to their Venture card. I was not alone in this thinking as Mark wrote about something similar over at Miles to Memories.

We have seen cards add this feature in great abundance, even on cards that waive the annual fee for the first year. This is great for anyone that does not have Global Entry or TSA Precheck yet, but the majority of us that have been in this for a while probably have at least two cards that give us that reimbursement.

The nice thing is that you can use the credit for anyone’s Global Entry application. So, even if you have it, you can use it for another family member/friend to let them get their Global Entry for free.

The $100 Is NOT Each Year

regular american express offers

The rant part about this, though, is what this actually means as a credit card benefit. Yes, it is a $100 credit but that credit only comes up every 4 yearsGlobal Entry is good for 5 years so this means you can pay to renew your card when the renewal period opens (1 year from the day of expiration).

So, in reality, this credit card benefit is like a $25 benefit over the course of the 4 years. Again, nice, but not game-changing. I would definitely not get a credit card for the purpose of a Global Entry reimbursement and I would not keep a credit card for that purpose. I am also very sure that I am not alone in that!

What Should Credit Card Issuers Offer Instead?

Why Do Cards Offer Global Entry Reimbursement?

I am not sure about this but my guess is that the credit card issuers are getting some kind of bounty from the government for signing people up or at least a discount – doesn’t really sound like the government, though. 🙂 But, there has to be a reason we are seeing this benefit popping up on so many cards! I know that credit card companies do like to offer the Global Entry credit for one big reason – they feel comfortable knowing that many people will not use it.

I mean, think about it. The credit cards that are marketed with this are likely being received by people who have other cards that have this. As a result, it may slip people’s minds to use it. From the number of people I have spoken with about card benefits, I can tell that there are many people that do not realize that it is a benefit on their cards! The airline gets to market it as a benefit and people forget to use it – perfect! 🙂

What Would Be a Better Benefit?

I would really like to see credit card issuers get original in their benefits, though. Even though I do not have it, I love that the Uber card went a different way with their benefits offering – (see this post for more about that).

I think more people would appreciate something like a $25 Uber credit each calendar year. That would work out to costing the same as the Global Entry credit and likely more useful to many.

Or, how about $100 luggage voucher every 4 years? It could be for a certain manufacturer (like Tumi, Briggs&Riley, or Travelpro) or for a retailer.

Or, since card issuers are enjoying going for the millennials, how about something like iTunes credit, Amazon digital credit, or a 5 month code for Netflix? These are all things that I think we could see as being quite different and even potentially more useful than the same-old Global Entry reimbursement.

How about it? What benefits would you like to see instead of Global Entry reimbursement? Or are you glad so many cards offer 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.


  • I think there could be some government benefit for doing this but mainly it’s an issue of spoilage. They know that only a select number of people will use this benefit and even those doing so can only do it once every few years and they may have other cards that they use more, etc. etc. To me it’s better than not offering it but I’d rather see it expanded to include other related fee’s for example you can use it for passport renewal, global entry, just TSA Pre, visas, etc. up to $100 annually.

  • I think some of the wisest benefits are ones that also generate incrementally revenue (more use of your card). If you’re getting a good deal & your card issuer is getting you to use your card more it’s a win-win. I know many people could take or leave the Uber credit on the Amex personal Platinum card, but I think it’s a great idea. I don’t end up just using the credit, but having the credit there makes my cost lower and makes me more apt to spring for a ride.
    The 50% points bonus I can get if I use my Amex Everyday Preferred card if I make at least 30 purchases a month moves it to the front of my wallet pretty frequently.

    I can’t say I’d use it a ton, but I bet lots of folks would be interested in discounted WiFi on planes. Perhaps 50% back when you purchase inflight WiFi. I’m sure an issuer could negotiate with air carriers for a discount if it drives traffic and makes it easier to re-coup the high cost of installing ever more sophisticated aviation WiFi systems.

    • I like the WiFi idea as well! It would make sense, especially on the airline cards. United will give you a 25% discount now with their new card so it could be useful to give like a number of flight passes or something like that.

  • Charlie, I got the venture a few months back. Is the benefit good for existing card holders or just those that apply now that it is an advertised benefit? TIA.