In the summer of 2018, Wells Fargo released a refreshed cash-back and travel credit card aimed at consumers who seek flexible rewards. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card comes with a giant signup bonus, 3x points in popular spending categories, and an important benefit many consumers truly crave — no annual fee.
While the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is fairly limited in terms of how you can redeem your rewards, it’s still a clear winner for anyone who wants to earn up to 3x points without an annual fee.
If you’re looking for a cash-back credit card or a rewards card that lets you redeem points for travel, keep reading to learn more.
Money360’s Key Takeaways:
- Big signup bonus. Earn 30,000 points worth $300 after you use your card for $3,000 in purchases within three months of account opening.
- No annual fee. Earn unlimited rewards without paying for the privilege.
- Excellent earning tiers. This card lets you earn 3x points in popular categories that include dining out, gas, rideshares, transit, flights, hotels, homestays, car rentals, and popular streaming services.
- No foreign transaction fees. Use your card for purchases made abroad without any foreign transaction fees.
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card: The Perfect Card for Millennials?
Over the last few years, the trend among rewards and travel credit cards has swung toward offerings with high annual fees. This includes the popular Chase Sapphire Reserve® with its $450 annual fee, the The Platinum Card® from American Express with its newly raised annual fee of $550 (See Rates & Fees), and several hotel cards that launched with $400+ annual fees in 2018.
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card goes against that trend by offering a large signup bonus, 3x earning categories, and no annual fee. With that in mind, I believe this card is ideal for young people who want to rack up points and miles for travel without paying several hundred dollars in fees each year.
This card’s 3x earning tiers are especially lucrative since they fall in line with categories almost everyone spends in. Being able to earn an unlimited 3x points on dining out, gas, rideshares, transit, travel, and streaming services could be a huge boon to anyone’s rewards game. The signup bonus, which is worth $300 in cash-back, travel, or gift cards, is also extremely generous for a card with no annual fee.
We also like how this card works similarly whether you hope to redeem for cash-back or travel rewards. You can redeem your points for cash-back at a rate of one cent per point, but you can also opt for gift cards. If you’re someone who hopes to use rewards for travel, you can also redeem points through a Wells Fargo program known as Go Far Rewards.
With Go Far Rewards and the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, you can redeem your points for airfare and other travel plans at a rate of one cent per point. However, you do have the potential to score a higher redemption rate if you also have the Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card. That’s because Wells Fargo lets you pool Go Far Rewards between your accounts, and the Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card lets you redeem points for airfare at a rate of 1.5 cents per point (or 1.75 cents per point if you spend $50,000 or more in a year on the Wells Fargo Visa Signature).
Believe it or not, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card also offers a few additional benefits consumers can benefit from. This includes zero fraud liability and chip technology. This rewards credit card also comes with:
- Cell phone protection up to $600 (with a $25 deductible) when you use your card to pay your monthly cellphone bill
- Retail protection on eligible items if they are damaged or stolen within 90 days
- Extended warranties on select products
- Lost luggage reimbursement
- Auto rental collision and liability insurance
- Roadside assistance
- 24/7 travel and emergency assistance
If you want to read up on all the travel coverage and benefits this card offers, including coverage limits, you can do so here.
Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card: Where It Falls Short
It’s difficult to find anything negative to say about a no-fee rewards credit card that offers a big signup bonus, 3x points in popular spending categories, and free travel insurance products. The only downside worth mentioning is that, for consumers who want a travel rewards card, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is fairly limited.
You can redeem your points for cash-back at a rate of one cent each and redeem them for travel expenses, but you can also redeem points for travel through Go Far Rewards at a rate of one cent each. Still, this card doesn’t offer the option to transfer points to hotel or airline partners. It also fails to offer travel perks many other travel cards offer such as airport lounge access or a Global Entry / TSA Precheck credit.
Then again, most of the cards that offer point transfer options and travel perks charge large annual fees. Since the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card doesn’t charge an annual fee, it’s hard to complain too much.
Who This Card Is Good For:
- Anyone who spends a lot in popular 3x earning categories
- Someone who wants to earn cash-back or travel rewards without an annual fee
- Consumers who don’t need a ton of travel perks
Who Should Skip It:
- Travel enthusiasts who want to transfer points 1:1 to airline and hotel partners
- Anyone who doesn’t mind paying an annual fee for bigger rewards
- Someone who craves important travel perks like airport lounge access
How Does It Compare to Other No-Fee Travel Cards?
While we love the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card for its no-nonsense approach to rewards and lack of annual fee, it never hurts to compare this card to competing cards that offer a similar value proposition.
Check out the chart below to learn how this card compares to the no-fee Discover it® Miles:
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card||Discover it® Miles|
|Signup bonus||30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 on purchases within three months||None|
|Earning structure||Earn 3x points on eating out and ordering in; |
gas, rideshares, and transit;
flights, hotels, homestays, and car rentals;
popular streaming services
|Earn unlimited 1.5x Miles for every dollar spent on all purchases; Discover will match all the miles you earn the first year|
|Redeem for:||Cash-back, travel, or gift cards at a rate of one cent per point||Cash-back, travel, or gift cards at a rate of one cent per point|
As you can see, both the Discover it® Miles and the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card offer a lucrative rewards scheme for consumers. However, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card stands out for a few reasons. First, it offers 3x points in valuable categories while you have the card ,and not just the first year. Second, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card comes with a big signup bonus you can earn right away.
The Discover it® Miles, on the other hand, matches all your miles the first year and 1.5 miles per $1 spent thereafter.
Since neither card charges an annual fee, they’re both good options for consumers.
Discover it® Miles
Want More Value for Your Points? Consider the Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card
While the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card offers plenty of value for consumers who want to earn rewards, it works better when you pair it with the Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card if you are angling for more free travel.
We already mentioned how Wells Fargo lets you pool points from your Go Far Rewards accounts. If you have both cards, you could pool your points in your Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card and redeem your points for airfare at a rate of 1.5 cents per point. Since the Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card also offers 5x points on your first $12,500 spent on gas, grocery, and drugstore purchases for the first six months, you could also optimize your spending to earn more rewards right away.
The Bottom Line
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is slightly confusing because it’s not really a cash-back card or a travel rewards card. It falls somewhere in between, making it a slightly odd offering among its competitors.
Still, this card is worth checking out if you want to earn a big signup bonus and 3x points in popular spending categories like dining out and travel. The fact that there’s no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees makes this card a smart option if you are against fees, and the fact you can redeem your points in more than one way (including for cash-back) means you’ll never be stuck with points you can’t use.
Holly Johnson is an award-winning personal finance writer and the author of Zero Down Your Debt. Johnson shares her obsession with frugality, budgeting, and travel at ClubThrifty.com.
More by Holly Johnson:
- Five Reasons to Get the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
- Five Reasons Everyone Should Get the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Best Travel Cards
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, please click here.
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