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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?”
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.
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.
- 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