Airport Security fast lane provider CLEAR had very favorable membership rates offered to United Mileage Plus members for many years, but this discount has now decreased sharply for non-top-tiers.
The membership rate, which has an original price of $189/year, has now increased to $179 for General members of the Mileage Plus program and $149 for various lower tiers (up from previous lower pricing).
I think overall, CLEAR has begun lacking in performance, staffing and also signed up way too many people, which in turn is now resulting in rather long lines at almost every CLEAR location I’ve visited in the past three months.
That being said, when I left Seattle a week ago, the airport was a complete mess, and CLEAR still saved me ~ 1-hour wait in security lines that I was then able to spend at the Amex Centurion Lounge.
This used to be a lot less and until recently, tier members were able to enroll in CLEAR for $109/year:
Now this price went up to $149 / $179 respectively, and it opens the question of whether it’s still worthwhile. There are a few ways to still get it complimentary, depending on your credit card memberships.
American Express Green & Platinum cardholders in the U.S. receive a $189 annual CLEAR credit which covers the entire membership, one of the reasons why I’ve always been a big fan of the Green Card as it only has a $150 annual fee.
CLEAR is running perioding sign-up offers where they offer United Miles or Travel Bank credit for signups such as this one:
It always took a bit of time to chase these bonuses, but they usually pop up once or twice a year. I wonder though if CLEAR has downgraded the importance of United’s partnership and hence the drop in discount or if they simply felt it was too cheap.
I really like CLEAR at the airports where it’s available, and just in the last month have used it like a dozen times. It can often be a lifesaver depending on how late you are for your flight and the CLEAR representative walks you to the front of the pre-check line.
However, if you don’t have PreCheck on your boarding pass then you still have to go through the regular screening procedure.
In order to activate the account and use it, you need to complete the sign-up process at the airport with a representative and present a U.S. driver’s license or state ID, leave your fingerprints, and take a picture.
CLEAR has made adjustments as to the discount members of United Mileage Plus are able to get when signing up for or renewing their membership. CLEAR now got a lot more expensive for General Members and Lower/Mid Tiers. 1K and Global Services are still able to sign up for free.
Using your American Express credit which is included for Green and Platinum charge card members makes CLEAR a completely free membership based on the annual $189 credit. You could also combine both the United discount and the Amex credit to add a family member to your CLEAR account at almost no expense.