Arizona has a Bonus Point system which is different than preference point system. In essence, under the BP system the more points you have the better your odds of receiving a tag. Sort of like buying a bunch of lotto tickets versus just one. You can win (or draw) with just one (most units) but your odds increase the more you have. Those units that are very popular (9, 10, 1, 27, etc.) may be affected by the 20% max BP rule, which means that 20% of the tags will go to max point holders......which often times means all of the non-resident tags as there are only up to 10% for non-residents to draw. However, for those archery units that are not as popular (smaller bulls) you have a chance to draw every year. I've drawn 4 archery bull elk tags in 20 years.
To receive a bonus point you must buy a point or enter the drawing and not draw your first or second choice. If you request a refund on your application, you will NOT receive a bonus point. If you take Arizona's hunter safety course, you can receive a permanent bonus point for all species. Furthermore, if you enter the elk draw for 5 years straight, you will gain a loyalty point as well. Both points will always be issued to you, providing you do not miss a draw.
Is this an investment? Sure is. However, I bowhunt rut crazed desert mule deer every January in Arizona, so I already have the license. Since I hunt mule deer in the winter, I'm already getting use out of my license......so putting in for elk is a easy choice. There is no other place in the country like Arizona for public land, DIY type elk hunts, IMO.