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Barclaycard Arrival Plus vs. Southwest Premier Visa

by on June 8, 2014 · 8 comments

in Arrival Plus, Barclays, Chase, Credit Cards, Southwest, Sunday Reader Questions, Video Blog Post

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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?”

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, Barclays 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.

Barclaycard Arrival Plus points are both versatile and valuable for travelers

Barclaycard Arrival Plus points are both versatile and valuable for travelers

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 Barclays, which offers Arrival Plus. If you’re interested in getting more than one card from Barclays – like the Hawaiian Airlines World Elite MasterCard, the US Airways Premier World MasterCard or the Wyndham Rewards Visa - 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 [email protected]

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.

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  • Teri Ross

    You state that Chase doesn’t limit the number of cards you can get. That is not my experience. I have 3 cards (SW personal, Amazon & Marriott) and they won’t let me get a SW business with the argument that I have reached my limit of Chase cards. The SW business card is the only card application I have ever had rejected.

  • thepointsguy

    You can always have them shift credit lines from other cards to get it approved if you’ve hit your maximum credit

  • Teri Ross

    My phone call to customer support was interesting. They confirmed the refusal was because I had too many Chase cards (3). I pressed them, they requested further financial information and told me I had been approved for the business card with a transfer of $5,000 credit line from my personal card. They then called me back to tell me they were not going to transfer the credit, but were going to give me additional credit. Not sure what to make of this (other than calling customer service on rejections, which you always recommend), but am happy with the outcome.

  • dande

    Can you get the bonus offer from BOTH the Barclay Arrival card 20,000 AND the Arrival Plus 40,000?

  • Joshua Gourgues

    Quick Question (I Hope lol) I’m a songwriter and I live in Louisiana. I have a full-time job here and that only allows me to do co-writes in Nashville 1 weekend per month. I ONLY fly with Southwest (Wanna-Get-Away) and I’m needing to know if I would be better off getting a Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier card or should I get another card??? I plan to use the card for grocery shopping, fuel, paying bills, and pretty much anything else I do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, but again, I’m only planning on flying Southwest. Please help, I’m so confused!!!

  • Joshua Gourgues

    Anyone??? PLEASE HELP!!!

  • vega25

    What about after the first year when the fee on the Barclays Arrival becomes due? Assume that I cannot get either fee waived and that I can keep only one – which card would you recommend?

    Or, would you argue that the Chase Southwest Premier $99 fee is offset considerably (about 85% or thereabouts) by the 6000 annual miles bonus and therefore terrific value in and of itself? Should I think of the Chase Southwest Premier as being nearly equal to a no-fee card and keep it irrespective of the fee? And consequently should not consider it in “competition” with the Barclays Arrival on the matter of the annual fee?

    Would love to hear your recommendations.

  • CheshireLCD

    I’m debating between getting the Southwest Premier Rapid Rewards and Barclaycard Arrival card. I Really want the Companion Pass, but the versatility of Barclaycard Arrival is also quite appealing. Your “Top 11 Ways to Top Up Your Account for the Southwest Companion Pass” post mentioned the Dining Program and the Shopping Portal as ways to accrue Southwest Rewards points, no matter what card you use– would you recommend getting the Barclaycard Arrival, and linking Southwest rewards that way, or could that somehow result in stretching myself too thin?

    Also, considering a) I already acquired (and love) the United Explorer card (and Global Services) late last year; b) Southwest’s 50,000 mile bonus is best-accumulated later in the year- but I want to make sure they still have the $2K/3 months deal when I apply; and c) I am still hoping that Barclaycard Arrival will someday repeat their 40,000 mile bonus after spending $1000 in 3 months offer (rather than their $3K offer right now): when would be the best time to apply for either of these?

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