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Wells Fargo isn’t a name that pops up too often on TPG. However, the bank does issue some worthwhile rewards-earning cards, like the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card introduced earlier this year.
Here’s a breakdown of this card’s main benefits and features:
- Earn 3x points on purchases at US gas stations.
- Earn 2x points on purchases at US restaurants.
- Earn 1 point per dollar on all other net purchases.
- Earn an annual 10% points bonus (based on your non-bonus reward points) if you maintain a Consumer Wells Fargo checking or savings account, or a PMA Package.
- You get five full years to redeem points from the the date you earn them.
- 0% intro APR for 15 months
- No annual fee
The points you earn with this no-fee card can be redeemed through Wells Fargo’s Go Far™ Rewards program, which includes categories such as travel, auctions for experiences and travel packages and merchandise.
Is it worth it?
With any travel rewards credit card, it’s important to consider the value of the points you earn and the variety of options you have for redeeming them. While Wells Fargo points aren’t listed in TPG’s valuations, they’re generally worth 1 cent apiece toward any of the awards available through the Go Far Rewards program or as cash back in the form of a statement credit, or 1.5 cents per point toward flight redemptions (if you have the Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card). Points earned with the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card can’t be transferred to travel partners, so you’re limited to the redemption options available through Go Far Rewards. That’s not to say the program doesn’t have value; TPG Contributor Richard Kerr recently used Wells Fargo points to book a business-class positioning flight for an AA mileage run, for instance, and you can book airfare on any carrier online or by calling Wells Fargo.
Unlike the Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express Card introduced back in 2014, this card doesn’t offer a sign-up bonus, so you won’t be able to acquire a nice stash of points quickly by meeting a minimum spending requirement in the first three months. Also unlike this card, though, the more recently released Propel Amex charges no annual fee. It offers the same 2x and 3x bonus categories (with a $45 annual fee that’s waived the first year), but points earned with the Propel Amex expire after five years, whereas with the Propel 365 they don’t expire.
Another difference between these two cards is the annual points bonus: With the 365 Card, you can get up to a 50% rebate on non-bonus rewards points if you own the primary checking account in a PMA Package, while with the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card you’re limited to a flat 10% bonus. If you’re deciding between these two cards, definitely consider whether you’d have a chance to earn a higher points bonus with the Propel 365, and try to determine whether the points expiration on the Propel Amex will affect your ability to redeem rewards.
As a Wells Fargo consumer cardholder, you also get the issuer’s Cellular Telephone Protection. Assuming you pay your cell phone bill with this or another Wells Fargo card, you’ll be covered up to $600 if your phone is damaged or stolen, up to the value of the phone (minus a $25 deductible).
In addition to its other benefits, the Propel Amex offers 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (three months longer than the Propel 365), though there is a balance transfer fee (within the first 15 months, it’s 3% or $5, whichever is greater, and 5% or $5 after that), which makes this a lot less appealing. While paying your balance in full is one of the top points and miles commandments, if you do find yourself in this situation, using a 15-month interest-free grace period to consolidate, manage and pay off debt could be a solid option. But because this card charges a balance transfer fee starting on day one, a better option to consider could be the Chase Slate, which waives these fees for transfers made within 60 days of account opening.
A final factor to consider is those previously mentioned bonus categories. You’ll get 3x points on all purchases at US gas stations and 2x points on all purchases at US restaurants, just as you will with the Propel 365. The ability to earn extra points is nice, but keep in mind that other travel rewards cards can offer a better return on spending within these categories. The Chase Ink Plus Business Card offers a lower bonus of 2x points on gas purchases (on the first $50,000 in combined spending at gas stations and hotel accommodations purchased directly from the hotel each account anniversary year), but based on TPG’s valuations these Ultimate Rewards points represent a 4.2% return, compared to a 3-4.5% return with the Propel. On the restaurant side, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card with its 2x travel and dining category offers a solid 4.2% return compared to a 2-3% return with the Propel, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s bonus category isn’t limited to restaurants in the US. It’s not like you’d want to use the Propel card abroad, anyway; it has a 3% foreign transaction fee.
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card offers generous bonus categories for a no-fee card along with an annual points bonus, but it does come with a few caveats. There’s no sign-up bonus; points expire after five years; and your travel redemption options are generally more limited/less valuable than what you’ll find with transferable point programs. If you’re a current Wells Fargo customer and can get solid value out of the points you earn — and you’ll be able to maximize the bonus categories — this card could be a good choice. Just don’t forget to consider the other travel rewards that earn you bonus rewards for dining and gas purchases as well.
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Credit Card
|Intro APR||Regular APR||Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Credit Rating|
|0% for 15 months||13.24%-25.24% (Variable)||$0||3.00%||Excellent/Good|