Why I spent $450 to save $100

When I first thought about getting Global Entry, there wasn’t even an airport where I could get an interview within hundreds of miles. I ended up setting up an interview during a layover in Detroit and was approved for the program. At a cost of only $20 a year, it was money well spent to skip the long immigration lines.

My membership is due for renewal in September and I had already planned to renew again for $100.

You have to know a little about how my brain works. I have this habit, some may say obsession, with trying to squeeze as much value out of my money as possible.

An example – recently Chipotle offered a free burrito if you purchased a $25 gift card. Most people would be satisfied with having a free burrito for a place they already patron. For me, however, I purchased the gift card to see about squeezing more value out of it, even if it meant waiting a little bit. I signed up for Chipotle’s text club and a couple of weeks later, they sent out a text for a buy one get one free. I now felt like I could actually use the gift card as I was getting a deal on top of a deal.

Which brings me to the Global Entry fee. I was already planning on paying the $100 but I wanted to see if there was a way to extract more value out of it.

The Citi Prestige card, with a $450 annual fee, offers Global Entry reimbursement. As I was already planning to renew for $100, this brings the cost of the card down to $350.

It also comes with $250 airline reimbursement per calendar year on any airline which I could use in 2016 and 2017 before the next annual fee comes up.

The card brings access to the Admiral Club and also the Priority Pass Select eligible lounges, though as I don’t travel on American Airlines the Admiral Club benefit won’t be of much use. I was able to go into the KLM/Air France lounge in San Francisco with my entire family with my Priority Pass Select membership.

The card comes with three rounds of complimentary golf at over 2,000 courses worldwide.

Lastly, you receive 50,000 Thank You points after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months which is of value of $500-$800 depending on how you redeem them.

For these reasons, I was happy to spend $450 in order to save $100 on my Global Entry fee renewal and utilize the benefits of the Citi Prestige card and extract maximum value according to my cost saving brain.


  1. sorry. i’m an editor. subtract the “k” :

    “I “k”now felt like I could actually use the gift card as I was getting a deal on top of a deal.”

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