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Update: Some of the offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here: Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard, Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card

It’s been a busy couple of months in the credit card world, with sign-up bonuses increasing across the board. Amidst all this excitement, TPG reader Ignacio tweeted me to ask: @thepointsguy Between two credit cards – Arrival Plus World Elite (4o,ooo-point sign-up bonus, $89 annual fee waived in the first year) OR Southwest Premier Rapid Rewards Visa (50,000-point sign-up bonus, $99, non-waived annual fee) – which is a better value?”

A comparison between these two cards depends largely on whether or not you fly a Southwest on a regular basis. The Southwest Premier Rapid Rewards card – even with its $99 annual fee – can provide an incredible value over time, with a 50,000-point bonus (after a $2,000 spend in the first three months) that is not only worth over $750 in Wanna Get Away fares, but also counts towards the 110,000 Rapid Rewards points required to earn the lucrative Southwest Companion Pass. The card  gives you 2 points for every $1 you spend on Southwest and AirTran travel, as well as partner hotels and rental cars, and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases.

The biggest perk of the Southwest Premier Visa is the 50,000-point bonus that counts towards the qualiification for the Southwest Companion Pass
The greatest perk of the Southwest Premier Visa is the 50,000-point bonus that counts towards the Southwest Companion Pass.

The 40,000-point bonus for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus isn’t as high, but it’s still really valuable. In addition to an $89 annual fee that’s waived for the first year, the bonus points are worth $440- those Arrival Plus points can be redeemed for travel at 1 cent apiece, plus you get a 10% rebate for travel reimbursements. The key advantage of Arrival Plus points over other types of loyalty currency are that they’re basically the same as cash. They allow you to book the airfare you want from anywhere, without having to redeem them at a portal or jump through any hoops. You just make your travel purchase, log into your Arrival account, and report any charge (over $25) for reimbursement – effectively wiping the charge off your statement. In addition, Barclaycard just added Chip and PIN capability to the Arrival Plus, which was personally helpful to me on my most recent trip to Europe, allowing me to easily purchase tickets at train kiosks.

Note that these two cards are offered by different banks. Southwest is from Chase, which does not limit the number of cards you can get, unlike Barclaycard, which offers Arrival Plus. If you’re interested in getting more than one card from Barclaycard – like the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard, the US Airways Premier World MasterCard or the Wyndham Rewards Visa Card – it might be a good idea to focus in and get a little picky. Overall, both of these cards have solid offers, but again, I’d lean towards the Southwest Premier Card only if you’re a Southwest frequent flyer. If you don’t fly Southwest often, definitely go with the Arrival Plus. I hope that answers Ignacio’s question.

If you have additional questions, please message me on Facebook, tweet me @ThePointsGuy, or send me an email at info@thepointsguy.com.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

With great transfer partners like United and Hyatt, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Named Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, July 2016
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
16.49% - 23.49% Variable
Annual Fee
Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95
Balance Transfer Fee
5.00%
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.