This Free Workaround Zips You Through Airport Security

The one thing you can never count on while traveling is how quickly the security screening will go. Some airports can waste enough time that you nearly (or actually) miss your flight, no matter how early you arrive. But you've also seen the fast lanes for TSA Precheck — and it turns out there are ways around its signup fee.

More than 5 million fliers have enrolled in TSA Precheck, which lets you sail through security screenings without even taking off your shoes. The Transit Security Administration says 96 percent of TSA Precheck users waited less than five minutes to pass through security. It's not just a matter of enrolling and paying $85, though — you have to sit through an interview at a specially designated location, and you're required to hand over fingerprints and a photo.

If you're okay with sharing that information ("The government knows all this stuff about you already," travel writer Joe Brancatelli told Nerd Wallet), you may be able to take advantage of another perk. Some credit cards will reimburse the TSA Precheck registration fee, but there's a catch: They tend to be premium credit cards, with already-high annual fees.

If you're not a cardholder for Chase Sapphire Reserve or the Citi Prestige Card, don't close out the tab yet. The TSA provides a list of credit cards that offer loyalty programs that cover the enrollment fee or that allow you to use frequent flier miles to pay.

"I don't think I can overstate the value of these programs," Brancatelli said. "And the more you travel, the more valuable they are."