How I Made My Amex CLEAR Credit Go Twice as Far
I know it’s now been more than a week since American Express announced a litany of changes to its Platinum card — but I’m honestly still digesting all of them and taking action in a bid to make the most of them. Since the new credits were announced, I’ve been doing my research on places to stay in order to use my hotel credit, moving my SiriusXM and Audible subscription charges over to me Plat, and looking into CLEAR. What I found was that I could actually use my $179 CLEAR credit to not only cover my annual membership but also cover my wife’s as well. How? Well, it starts with my domestic airline of choice: Delta.
Even before this Amex credit popped up, I had briefly considered signing up for CLEAR thanks to marketing emails sent to me as a Delta Silver Medallion member, offering me a discounted rate. While I thought that service — which allows for an expedited experience at airport security, even allowing you to skip the TSA Pre✓ line at times — sounded interesting and would be willing to give it a try for review, the problem was that I didn’t often fly to airports that offered CLEAR. Nevertheless, that special Delta pricing stuck in my mind, leading me to do some poking around when the Platinum credit emerged.
So here’s the deal: as a regular Delta SkyMiles member, you can get an annual CLEAR membership for $119 versus the typical $179. Note that this doesn’t even mean you need to have medallion status — you can just open a SkyMiles account. Alternatively, the same offer is also available to United MileagePlus members. In the event that you do have status with either airline (Silver/Gold/Premier Platinum for United or Silver/Gold/Platinum for Delta) or you have a Delta SkyMiles Amex card, the price drops even further, coming in at $109 annually. If you’re a United MileagePlus Premier 1K or Delta SkyMiles Diamond Medallion member, then your membership is $0.
Now, you may be asking, “Why bother ‘saving money’ on a membership if Amex will cover the full $179 anyway and won’t give you the difference if you spend less?” Well, that’s where the next step comes in: adding a family member. In my case, after unlocking the $109 rate with my Delta SkyMiles number, I was able to add a membership for my wife at a cost of $60 for the year. If you’re doing the math, this means I spent a total of $169 for the two of us instead of paying $179 just for myself. It also means that, as a free Delta or United loyalty account holder, you could do the same thing and essentially get two memberships for the price of one!
I will warn that, while I’ve seen reports from others who were on the same page as me and have confirmed that this plan does indeed work, my credits have yet to post to my account. However, it’s only been a couple of days since I decided to sign-up. Therefore, I’m pretty confident that this will work — but I’ll be sure to update this post accordingly. UPDATE: I’m pleased to report that my plan did indeed work. CLEAR posted my purchase as two transactions (one for the $109 and another for $60), so they were also credited separately and a few days apart. It must be mentioned that this can always change, but hopefully this gives you some peace of mind if you pursue this option.
Of course, while I’m excited that my wife and I will now both get to explore the benefits of CLEAR, I’m still not exactly sure when we’ll get to do so, seeing as we don’t currently have plans to travel to any airports or stadiums that employ the service. On that note, however, I’m anxious to see if the likely influx in memberships coming from Amex coupled with CLEAR’s recent IPO ($YOU) allow it to expand to more locations, including some I might actually visit. So while still won’t assign any value to this $179 American Express Platinum credit for now, perhaps by the time my renewal rolls around, it will be a different story.
Also published on Medium.