I agree the TSA Pre is very nice, but it's not a huge deal. You do get to keep your shoes on, and you don't have to take anything out of your carry-on (laptop, liquids, etc.). You don't get to carry anything that standard-check passengers wouldn't, like big bottles of fluids (or guns, ammo, radioactive waste, etc.). In my experience the security line isn't much faster than the regular lines, though sometimes, yeah. At some small airports it isn't implemented yet, so it does no good at all then.
I'm not complaining at all. My company paid the fee (something like $80), so why not? I'm something of a "nervous worrier" traveler, so anything to relieve a little stress at the last second is a godsend.
I hope Mark confined his itinerary to the eastern USA. Out west here, there's quite a bit in the way of unstable weather. And as Brink noted elsewhere, the northern plains are descending into a deep freeze.