The possible existence of a compensation effect, i.e. concurrent changes in activation energy and prefactor, is investigated for the hydrogenation and dehydrogenation kinetics of metal hydrides, by analyzing a series of reported kinetic studies on Mg and LaNi5 based hydrides. For these systems, we find a clear linear relation between apparent prefactors and apparent activation energies, as obtained from an Arrhenius analysis, indicating the existence of a compensation effect. Large changes in apparent activation energies in the case of Mg based hydrides are rationalized in terms of a dependency of observed apparent activation energy on the degree of surface oxidation, i.e., a physical effect. On the other hand, we find the large concurrent changes in apparent prefactors to be a direct result of the Arrhenius analysis. Thus, we find the observed compensation effect to be an artifact of the data analysis rather than a physical phenomenon. In the case of LaNi5 based hydrides, observed scatter in reported apparent activation energies is less pronounced supporting the general experience that LaNi5 is less sensitive toward surface contamination.