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Living near a Southwest hub BWI airport in Baltimore, we could rack up 2x miles on their affordable flights with the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card. But what we found out may surprise you. You could earn more reward miles for all airlines and hotels, with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®. Here’s why.
Both credit cards are currently offering a sign up bonus of 40,000 miles after you spend $1,000 (Southwest) or $3,000 (Barclays) in the first 90 days your account is open. This bonus might seem like a wash until you start looking at redemption values.
According to the economic Policy Institute, 1 adult in the Baltimore area spends an average of $2,833 a month (excluding travel), which makes the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard’s overall benefits outweigh almost anything that Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card can offer. First of all, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® allows you to earn 2x miles on everything. Southwest, on the other hand, only pays 2x miles on Southwest spending and 1x miles on everything else.
When you redeem miles on Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, you get a 5% bonus toward your next redemption. For example, if you redeem $2,000 in travel statement credits, you get $100 worth of miles toward your next redemption. That increases the card’s rewards rate to 2.1%, making it a better redemption value than with the Southwest Rapid Rewards card that are worth 1.3 cents each.
We love that you can book a cool beachside hideaway through AirBnB and apply the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® travel credits to your purchase. Uber rides and train tickets are included with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, too.
The Annual Fee
The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is $99 right from the start. The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® waives the fee the first year and is only $89 the second year. You save $109 in the first two years with the Barclay card.
Arrival Plus Foreign Travel Benefit
If you frequently travel abroad the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® has one big advantage for international travelers because it’s a “chip and PIN” card. There are a growing number of kiosks and parking meters abroad that call for credit cards that can be authorized with a 4-digit PIN rather than a signature. If you don’t have one, you can’t use a standard card in these locations.
How Southwest Beats Other Cards
One way in which Southwest is unmatchable, though, is its companion pass benefit for anyone who earns over 110,000 Rapid Rewards miles or 100 qualifying one-way flights in a year. The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card could get you close to halfway to the points goal. To get to the rest, you’ll have to put at least $25,000 Southwest worth of travel on your card or fly 50 one-way Wanna Get Away flights. If you can reach that goal, you can bring a companion for free on unlimited flights for more than one year. This is an especially big advantage for couples or families who travel together.
So, if you’re currently searching for a card that offers you flexibility in redemption, and a good earnings value consider the Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®, even if you spend a lot of time on an another airline, or live in a Southwest hub like we do. It could be well worth it.
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Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
- Enjoy 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 90 days – that’s enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase.
- Earn 2X miles on all purchases
- Get 5% miles back to use toward your next redemption, every time you redeem
- Miles don’t expire as long as your account is open, active and in good standing
- No foreign transaction fees on purchases made while traveling abroad
- 0% introductory APR for 12 months on Balance Transfers made within 45 days of account opening. After that, a variable APR will apply, 16.99%, 20.99% or 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness. There is a fee for balance transfers.
0% Intro APR for 12 months
16.99%, 20.99%, or 23.99% variable
$0 first year; then $89