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6 Reasons to Get the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card

July 27, 2018
7 min read
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Update: This card is no longer open to new applications. Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.


Not everyone is interested in paying a lot of money for a credit card. Yes, some cards today come with fantastic perks and luxury benefits, but those same cards also come with high annual fees and often complex points programs. So if you're looking for a card that's simple and cheap, yet rewarding, the enhanced Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card could make sense for you.

The Propel Amex offers solid rewards on travel, dining, gas station purchases and even select streaming services, as well as one unique protective feature not available on many credit cards. So let's take a look at six reasons why this card designed in "encapsulated metal" could steal a spot in your personal card roster.

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1. Welcome Bonus

New Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card cardholders receive 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months. Since the points on this card — known as "Go Far Rewards" points — are worth 1 cent each, the bonus has a cash value of $200. That may not sound like a huge amount, but the Propel bonus is actually near the top of the list among credit cards with no annual fee.

Before you apply, though, remember that Wells Fargo places restrictions on how often you can claim a bonus. You're not eligible for this or any other Wells Fargo bonus if you've opened a credit card with the issuer in the last 15 months and have received "introductory pricing, fees, and/or bonus rewards offers."

2. Potential for Boosting the Travel Redemption Rate

Go Far Rewards points earned with the Propel Amex can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, charity donations or cash back. You can redeem points for cash in $25 increments by automatically applying the cash to your Wells Fargo deposit account, credit products that are qualified to receive cash redemptions or by requesting a paper check.

However, you can actually boost the redemption rate on the Propel when you apply the points to airfare, though it requires you to have a second Wells Fargo credit card, specifically the no-annual-fee Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card. That card values points at 1.5 cents each when redeemed for airfare via its travel portal, and since the Go Far Rewards points you earn on the Propel can be combined with other Wells Fargo cards that earn Go Far Rewards, if you have both cards, you can simply move the points over and use them for airfare at the higher rate.

If you spend $50,000 in a calendar year on the Wells Fargo Visa, that redemption rate jumps all the way to 1.75 cents per point, which would make the 3x categories on the Propel Amex points worth as much as 5.25 cents per dollar when redeemed for airfare. That's quite a bargain on two no-annual-fee cards. (The information for the Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card has been collected independently by ThePointsGuy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.)

3. Streaming Rewards

SOPA Images / Contributor / Getty Images
(Photo by SOPA Images / Contributor / Getty Images)

Wells Fargo says it wants to make sure the new Propel Amex "complements (the) lifestyles" of its cardholders, so along with adding travel and dining rewards, the issuer also has included a 3x category for select streaming services. Pay your bill for one of these services with your Propel card to earn 3x points:

  • Apple Music
  • Hulu
  • Netflix
  • Pandora
  • Sirius XM Radio
  • Spotify Premium

There are only a handful of credit cards that include streaming services as a bonus category, and the Propel return ranks favorably against the Uber Visa (2% cash back). The Citi ThankYou Preferred Card (2x points worth 1.7 cents apiece) can get you slightly more value on streaming service purchases, but the ThankYou Preferred card currently has no welcome bonus, and you'd need an additional ThankYou card — one that charges an annual fee — to maximize those ThankYou points by making them transferable to Citi's travel partners. So you'll do better overall with a new Propel card.

4. Cell Phone Protection

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card is one of a very select few credit cards that offers cellphone theft and damage protection as a benefit. Wells Fargo will reimburse cardholders who pay their cell service bill with their card if the phone is damaged or stolen. Reimbursement is limited to the repair or replacement of your original cell phone, less a $25 deductible, with a maximum benefit limit of $600 per claim and $1,200 per 12-month period.

Note that this benefit is supplementary to any other insurance you may have for your phone and doesn't cover lost phones, only stolen or damaged ones. Still, it's a very useful feature to have, and Wells Fargo is the only issuer to add this perk to a credit card that charges no annual fee.

5. Gas Station Rewards

(Photo by Getty Images)

Wells Fargo has left untouched its Propel Amex bonus rewards on gas purchases — you'll earn 3x points per dollar spent in this category. So if you're redeeming points and you don't have a second Wells Fargo credit card, that puts Propel on par with a card like the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which offers 3% cash back at US gas stations. It's not quite as good as a few points earning cards like the Amex EveryDay® Preferred Card from American Express (2x points worth 1.9 cents apiece with a 50% points boost when you make at least 30 transactions with your card in a month) or the Citi Premier® Card (3x points worth 1.7 cents apiece, according to TPG), but both of those cards carry annual fees and have points that require more work to redeem for maximum value.

Wells says to be careful about where you choose to fill up your tank, as "purchases at warehouse/membership clubs, grocery stores, car washes, auto repair stores and superstores that sell gasoline may not be coded as gas stations or automated fuel dispensers."

6. Dining Rewards

The enhanced Propel Amex received a boost in its dining rewards category from 2 points to 3 points per dollar spent. This change lifts Propel onto the list of the best cards for dining. You'll earn those bonus points when you eat at or or order in from "eating places and restaurants, drinking places or fast food restaurants." Among dining rewards cards that charge no annual fee, only the Uber Visa and Citi ThankYou Preferred can do better with the total earned per dollar spent clocking in at 4 cents and 3.4 cents respectively.

Bottom Line

The retooled Wells Fargo Propel American Express card has a mix of multiple — and in some cases unusual — high-earning bonus categories, along with an excellent welcome bonus for a no-annual-fee card. Also, the option to boost the value of airfare redemptions makes this card an intriguing pick to play around with, especially if you're looking for high-value cards that don't involve transfer partners or potential blackout dates or restrictions.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases