My CLEAR Experience: Reactivating Membership, Adding Family Member, & Airport Biometric Process

Good afternoon everyone, I hope your week is going well.  A month ago, American Express added a $179 CLEAR credit to AMEX Platinum Cards.  I had an old / dormant CLEAR account that I signed up for and used a few years ago, so I figured I would reactive my CLEAR membership.  Frequent Miler has a great resource on 5 ways to get CLEAR for less and one of the ways is to be an AMEX Delta credit card holder and add a family member for less than the cost of a single membership.  In this post, I will cover my experience reactivating my CLEAR membership, adding Laura as a family member to my CLEAR account, and her experience with the airport biometric process (getting her fingerprints and eyes scanned).

If you are a Delta Airlines elite member, have an AMEX Delta credit card, or just have a Delta SkyMiles account, you can get a discounted CLEAR membership (click here to learn more).

If you are a United Airlines elite member, have a Chase United credit card, or just have a United MileagePlus account, you can get a discounted CLEAR membership (click here to learn more).

Unfortunately, reactivating an existing CLEAR membership and adding my Delta SkyMiles number to my account proved difficult for me, so I reached out to CLEAR.  I sent an email to CLEAR explaining that I wanted to reactivate my account and get the discounted Delta price.  After waiting 3+ days with no response, I called CLEAR (1-855-253-2763) for help.  The wait time was about 45 minutes, but the agent was very friendly and helpful.

At the end of my call, my CLEAR membership was reactivated, my Delta number was added to my account to get the discounted price, and Laura was added as a family member to my account.  The rep actually added 2 months free to my CLEAR account in order to give Laura time to get to the airport to do the biometric process, so that is why my renewal date is 9/18/21.  I made sure to update my payment method to my American Express Business Platinum Card in order to use the $179 CLEAR credit when the charge goes through.

A few weeks ago, we flew through Seattle on our way to Hawaii and had a long connection.  We left security and found a nearby CLEAR line (all CLEAR locations) near the TSA and PreCheck security lines.  I explained to the CLEAR agent that I just added my wife to my CLEAR account and I needed to get her fingerprints and eyes scanned into the system.  He walked us over to a nearby CLEAR machine, signed in with his badge, and then helped Laura get her fingerprints and eyes scanned.  Due to her fingerprints or the touchpad scanner, the machine had issues reading her fingerprints.  After a few attempts, the system finally recognized her fingerprints.  Luckily, the eye scan worked the first time.  After providing the biometric information, the agent found Laura’s account in the system and added the info to her account.  The order seemed backwards to me since I would have assumed you would find her account in the system first and then do the biometric scanning, but it worked fine the other way too.

I then asked the agent if he could pull up my biometric info to see if my fingerprints and eyes were still in the system and linked to my account.  Finding my account was easy and all my biometric data was still on file.  I saw my fingerprints on file were low quality so I asked if I could try to upload new fingerprint scans to my account.  After a few failed attempts to get a high quality fingerprint scan, I gave up and decided to just use my eye scan going forward.  The agent said we were all good to go and pointed us to the nearby CLEAR line.  We thanked the agent for his help and walked over to the nearby CLEAR line.

Image source: https://www.businessinsider.com/clear-expedited-airport-security-2017-10

There were 4 CLEAR machines and 2 CLEAR agents there to help us.  We showed them our boarding passes, they told us to scan the boarding passes on the CLEAR machine, and then we verified ourselves with our eye scan.  The CLEAR machines recognized our eyes right away and we proceeded to the front of the nearby TSA PreCheck line and went through security.

Image source: https://www.businessinsider.com/clear-expedited-airport-security-2017-10

Reactivating my old CLEAR membership and adding Laura as a family member to my account was not too difficult and the biometric process only took a few minutes.  Now that the hard work is behind us, I look forward to using CLEAR in conjunction with my TSA PreCheck for the next year.  Assuming AMEX keeps the $179 CLEAR credit going forward, I will keep renewing my CLEAR membership.  If you have any questions about my CLEAR experience, please leave a comment below.  Have a great day everyone!

10 thoughts on “My CLEAR Experience: Reactivating Membership, Adding Family Member, & Airport Biometric Process

  1. paul

    Stop talking about how great CLEAR is :) seriously, at lax, den, jfk, las… it’s a lifesaver. but shhh stop talking about it.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Haha, I will keep it quiet, we don’t want the CLEAR lines to get too busy. At SFO, the CLEAR lines and TSA PreCheck are basically the same (empty), but at Denver, the TSA PreCheck line can be 50-100 people deep, while the CLEAR line has nobody. Looking forward to using CLEAR in Denver for my next trip there :)

      Reply
  2. Sho'nuff

    CLEAR’s website is terrible. Like you I had to email them to be able to reactivate my membership since the site was of no use and then I changed my card to AMEX. You said it was easy but you emailed, waited 3 days with no response, and then had to call to give them your money. That doesn’t sound too convenient to me! So far I haven’t received the credit from AMEX and it’s been 3 weeks since the charge posted.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      With the exception of the email that didn’t get a response, the phone call to CLEAR was pretty easy. The phone reps know exactly what to do on the back end to make it right for the customer. Strange that you still haven’t received the credit after 3 weeks. I haven’t see any data points on how long it takes most people.

      Reply
  3. D T

    Somewhat different experience here, I got my wife’s and mine account opened and used her Platinum card for free membership w/o problems.
    Then we got additional offers on Amex Gold cards for $179 off Clear membership and I offered my son and his wife to get their fee charged to our card.
    I got his account credentials and after Googling how to add SkyMiles number to an existing Clear account i was able to do it on my own. But even after that their fee stayed at $229. As it wouldn’t change I sent an email to their support and only after 2-3 weeks got an answer. I needed to explain again that the SkyMiles number was already added and that we needed just price adjustment. 2 days later their fee was adjusted to $159 (should have been $169) and everything was taken care of.
    Somewhat slow customer support but it all worked out in the end.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hi DT, thanks for sharing your experience. I think CLEAR works much better if you are a new customer setting up a new account. Dang, 2-3 weeks for a response is terrible. Maybe they should hire more CSRs after all the new business from AMEX Offers.

      Reply
  4. Jono

    Exact opposite experience as Grant. Went through emails and phone calls with no meaningful response. Multiple hours waiting on phone. CLEAR must have 1 phone rep for the entire country. Finally used new email to start from scratch. Disaster with CLEAR. Went through Vegas airport. CLEAR could not handle deleting old account and biometrics automatically link to both accounts. Vegas CLEAR said they would fix my account. one week later went through San Jose airport account still not fixed at this point it’s a complete mess . Agree 1st time users might be OK but renewal’s buckle up you’re in for a bumpy ride if you want to use partner discounts. CLEAR IS CLOUDY AT BEST.

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Jono, that sounds like a very frustrating experience. I really think CLEAR needs to hire more CSRs with all the new business coming from AMEX. Working with an old account adds a lot of issues and I think you’ve encountered most of them. I do love your line that CLEAR is cloudy at best :)

      Reply
  5. Colin

    Reactivating and adding my partner’s account as family member took way longer than expected, but it was pretty straightforward — just send them an email (or two if they don’t respond within a week). Found the process of linking a Health Pass to travel.hawaii.gov in order to get the “Clear Exception” did not work at all no matter what I tied. Any suggestions on that?

    Reply
    1. Grant Post author

      Hi Colin, I’m glad you were able to add a family member to your CLEAR account. I think the issue I had was that you cannot add a family member unless you are an active / paying CLEAR member and that would have messed up the pricing. As far as visiting Hawaii, I was in Hawaii 3 weeks ago and uploaded my vaccine scan and details to the https://travel.hawaii.gov/ website. I don’t think going through CLEAR makes the process any faster or easier.

      If you need help with the Hawaii travel website, I can help you. It took about 15 minutes per adult to enter all the info.

      Reply

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