Credit Card Review: Wells Fargo Propel Amex

Jul 17, 2018

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APPLY HERE: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card (20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.)

Usually when a credit card’s online application page goes dark, it means one of two things: Either the card is gone, never to see the light of day again, or there are some serious changes going on behind the scenes.

We were left asking this exact question back in February when the application pages for the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card and the Propel 365 disappeared. Now we have our answers — specifically, a refresh to the Propel Amex card that breathes new life into the program. Let’s take a look at what makes this revamped offering compelling.

In This Post

Who Is This Credit Card For?

In many ways, this card has a little something for everyone. The lack of an annual fee makes it perfect for beginners who aren’t ready to commit to an expensive premium card or who may not feel as comfortable redeeming transferable points. The ease of redeeming your Go Far Rewards for cash back (or air travel — more on that later) is also great for anyone who doesn’t want to put too much time or effort into dealing with credit card rewards.

The 3x bonus categories — travel, dining,  gas stations and popular streaming services— are well-suited to people who are looking to maximize some of their common everyday purchases. The latter two are especially interesting in that you won’t find them on most other credit cards (especially ones with no annual fee), and you’ll likely be able to utilize them every single month.

Another exciting development is that this card is quite literally for everyone. Previously, it had been difficult for customers without established banking relationships with Wells Fargo to get approved for Propel cards. That changes with the revamped Propel card, as Wells Fargo has told us it’s now available to customers and non-customers alike.

Welcome Bonus

APPLY HERE: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card (20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.)

One of the most important factors in selecting a new card is the welcome offer. The revamped Propel Amex is offering a bonus of 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months, which works out to $200 in cash back, travel rewards or gift cards. And if you have the right one-two combo of Wells Fargo credit cards, you might be able to even get 50% more value out of this bonus, bringing your haul up to $450. Again, more on that in a moment.

Wells Fargo has a slightly confusing restriction on welcome bonuses, so be sure to check your application history carefully before applying. You can only earn one Wells Fargo welcome bonus every 15 months across all products, and can only get one Wells Fargo card every six months even by forgoing the bonus. This rule does apply to the Propel Amex, meaning some people won’t be able to earn the bonus, but even if you’re not eligible, it still might be worth applying to get these bonus categories with no annual fee.


The Propel Amex does a great job blending standard bonus categories with some new and exciting ones. You’ll earn 3X bonus points on travel, including flights, hotels, taxis, ride-sharing and car rentals among others; dining, which Wells Fargo defines as “eating out and ordering in”; gas stations and popular streaming services. You’ll also earn 1X points back on other purchases.

(Photo by vgajic/Getty Images)
(Photo by vgajic/Getty Images)

This last category (popular streaming services) is especially interesting. So far, Amex has taken the lead by offering millennial-friendly perks like Uber credits and SoulCycle benefits, but only on credit cards that cost $550 a year. The Propel Amex has zero annual fee and offers bonus points on a number of popular streaming services, such as Netflix, Spotify Premium, Hulu, Apple Music and more. In fact, when we speculated about the one card missing from Chase’s lineup, millennial-friendly perks ranked high on our wishlist.

Another positive here are the broad definitions given to these bonus categories. “Travel” means more than just flights booked directly with the airline, and “dining” includes restaurants as well as fast food and “drinking places.” The fact that all the bonus categories are the same uncapped 3x points means the Propel card can function as a one-stop shop for many people, offering a competitive rewards structure without requiring too much work or any annual cost.


Your Go Far Rewards points, the name of the Propel rewards currency, are worth a fixed 1 cent each. You can redeem your points for travel, gift cards, charity donations or cash back, but no matter how you plan on spending your rewards, most redemptions will get 1 cent per point. This means while you don’t have the ability to score better-than-average redemptions (at least not just with this card alone), you also don’t need to agonize over award charts, award availability or always getting the best redemption value.

But since you can pool your Go Far Rewards between Wells Fargo cards, you do have the ability to earn a higher value from your points if you hold the right card combination. Specifically, the Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card lets you redeem for airfare via its portal at a rate of 1.5 cents per point, and this jumps to 1.75 cents per point if you spend $50,000 a year or more on the Wells Fargo Visa Signature. Using this combination, your standard 3x bonus categories can multiply to 4.5x points or even as high as 5.25x points depending on your spending patterns, making these some of the most valuable bonus categories on the market. That’s virtually an unprecedented return for a pair of cards with no annual fees.

The Wells Fargo Visa Signature currently comes with a non-traditional welcome bonus. Instead of earning a fixed amount of points, you can earn 5x on your first $12,500 spent at gas stations, grocery stores and drug stores during your first 6 months of card membership. Wells Fargo appears to be counting this 5x as a welcome bonus, so if you want to earn the bonus on both the Wells Fargo Propel and Wells Fargo Visa Signature you’ll have to wait 15 months in between. (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.)


(Photo by @criene via Twenty20)
Cell phone protection provides some peace of mind. (Photo by @criene via Twenty20)

Beyond its earning rates, the standout benefit of the Propel Amex is cell phone protection, which is also available on several other Wells Fargo cards. When you pay your monthly bill with the Propel, you can get up to $600 in protection (subject to a $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft. That’s definitely something to consider and an impressive benefit for a card with no annual fee.

The Propel also comes with standard purchase and travel protections, including extended warranty coverage, return protection, coverage for lost or stolen items purchased with the card, travel accident insurance, lost baggage coverage and secondary car rental insurance in the US.

Which Cards Compete With the Propel Amex?

The key to remember when you’re comparing other credit cards to the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card is that there’s no annual fee on this card. That means it’s already ahead of the usual suspects that charge $95 to $550 a year.

But there are three cards on the market that you can contrast with the Propel Amex. One is the Citi® Double Cash Card, which offers a fixed 2% return on all purchases — 1% when you purchase and 1% when you pay. It has no annual fee and you redeem your rewards as cash back, letting you do as you please with them. But while it’s a very simple and straightforward card, it doesn’t offer any bonus categories or other options to maximize your rewards like the Propel Amex does.

The other two cards you might look at in comparison to the Propel Amex are the Chase Freedom and the Discover it® Cash Back, both of which have rotating sets of 5% capped quarterly categories (after enrollment and up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter). Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases. Those cards are good for people who are highly organized and like to plan out and track their card spending each month, but if you’re looking for simplicity, the Propel Amex is by far a better choice since its 3x point bonus categories never change and are never capped like the bonus categories on Chase and Discover’s offerings.

Bottom Line

APPLY HERE: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card (20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.)

It’s always nice to see a relatively uninteresting program make changes to become competitive, and that’s exactly what Wells Fargo has done. I’m excited when I see a rewards card with no annual fee and both easy and advanced options for redeeming rewards. That along with the decent welcome bonus, a simple yet rewarding set of bonus categories that includes two spending areas you won’t find on many other cards, and a neat cell phone protection feature makes the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card a solid value proposition.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

One of the most unique benefits of this card is that you can get up to $600 protection on your cell phone (subject to $25 deductible) against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly cellular telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Propel Amex. This card is also a great option for gas purchases since you'll earn 3X points and the 20,000 point sign up bonus is worth $200 cash back.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s a $200 cash redemption value
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign currency conversion fee
  • Earn 3X points on eating out and ordering in
  • Earn 3X points on travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals
  • Earn 3X points on gas stations, rideshares and transit
  • Earn 3X points on popular streaming services
  • Earn 1X points on other purchases
  • Select "Apply Now" to learn more about the product features, terms and conditions
  • Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% for 12 months
Regular APR
15.49%-27.49% (Variable)
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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

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