With Another Price Increase, Is CLEAR Still Worth It?
In 2021, the American Express Platinum Card was revamped — a change that came with a number of new perks but also a hike in annual fee. Among the numerous additions was an annual credit for CLEAR. This wasn’t completely unexpected as, by that time, the Green Card had also been relaunched and featured a $100 credit for the service (by the way, that’s now been raised to $189).
As for me, I’d heard a bit about CLEAR before this but hadn’t really dug into the details. Yet, once the Platinum credit took effect, I signed up the same day. In fact, while doing so, I learned that I could get a discount as a Delta SkyMiles member, add my wife to my account, and still come in below the total of my Amex credit. Alas, earlier this year, CLEAR adjusted their SkyMiles and United MileagePlus member discounts to be far less generous. Now, as I learned just ahead of my account renewal, the price to add a family member has also increased.
Effective as of June 1st, 2023, the price to add a family member to your account had increased from $60 to $70. On top of that, as mentioned, the service previously changed its airline loyalty member pricing. While top-tier elites (Delta Diamond & 360 and United Premier 1K & Global Services) still enjoy the service for free, all other status members along with airline co-branded credit card customers will now pay $149 per year versus the previous $109 and general program members will pay $179 instead of the $119 that it once was. Meanwhile, the public price rose to $189 last year — although the credit on the Amex Platinum was increased in response.
So what does this mean for me as my renewal arrives next month? Well, rather than paying $0 out of pocket for a membership that covers both me and my wife, I’ll now need to shell out a total of $30. That’s because my Delta Silver medallion status means I’ll now pay $149 for my subscription plus $70 to add a family member. With Amex covering $189, you get to my $30 net.
The good news is that, for us, that price still makes CLEAR worth keeping. Even though we always arrive at the airport with plenty of time, the ability to use CLEAR — especially in conjunction with TSA Precheck — has worked incredibly well for us. Thus, $30 for a year seems like a fair amount to pay.
With that said, I’m not sure how much more I’d be willing to pay. As much as I love the service, if I did have to pay for it completely out of pocket, I’d have no choice but to cancel. After all, when you compare what you get for CLEAR’s $189 for a year to the benefits that come with TSA Precheck (which only costs $78 for five years), the former starts to look mightily overpriced. To be sure, these two services aren’t competitors — but, if you had to choose one or the other, that’s an easy pick for me.
Ultimately, while this latest $10 hike isn’t something I’m too worried about, it does make me wonder how much longer I’ll be able to afford to have CLEAR. I suppose that means I should make the most of it in the meantime.