Tuesday, 24 November 2020

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card: What You Need to Know

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card: What You Need to Know
16 Aug
10:34

Wells Fargo is officially replacing the Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Credit Card with the new Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card — just in time for folks looking for a new travel rewards card this summer. Applications for the new card have been open since July 16, and existing Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Credit Card cardmembers have already been transferred to the new card.

The biggest change for the new Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is the expansion of categories where you can earn higher points per $1 spent — all with a $0 annual fee. These higher earning categories happen to be dining, travel and streaming services, all which will likely appeal to the millennial consumer.

Millennials want credit cards that offer rewards in the categories they value the most, along with perks that enhance value, and they want it all on a card with low to no annual fees. Wells Fargo is using the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card to muscle in on a population segment that’s growing so fast, it will soon overtake the Baby Boomer generation. It’s also taking advantage of American Express’s recent brand overhaul that includes millennials as a target audience, using mobile, social platforms, podcasts and video streaming outlets to reach them.

The big question is whether the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has the right balance of rewards and perks attractive enough to entice millennials (and others) to apply — the points per $1 spent you earn on the card’s expanded definition of travel is better than many competitors in the market, making it a compelling option for anyone who favors this spending category. We’ll look at what this upgraded card offers and see if it stands up to competitors in the rewards category.

Card benefits: At a glance

3x categories

What the category includes

Other card benefits

Eating out and ordering in

Restaurants, from fast food to bistros and fine dining.

  • Welcome offer: Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months

  • 0% for 12 months variable APR purchase intro rate

  • 0% for 12 months variable APR balance transfer intro rate (after, 14.24%-26.74% (Variable) APR)

  • $0 annual fee

  • No foreign currency conversion fee.

Travel and transit

Airfare, car rentals, hotels and homestays, cruises, gas stations, ride sharing, railways, parking, taxis and tolls.

Online streaming

Apple Music
Hulu
Netflix
Pandora®
Sirius XM Radio Inc.
Spotify Premium

3x points on travel. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is appealing not only because of its higher points per $1 on travel, but its broader definition of travel. Most traditional travel-branded cards tend to only cover things like airfare and hotels. This card includes airlines, car rentals, hotels and homestays, cruises, gas stations, ride sharing, railways, parking, taxis and tolls.

3x on dining. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card’s dining category, which covers everything from fast food to fine dining and food takeout and delivery, targets millennials who tend to eat out more.

3x on streaming. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card also helps fuel millennials’ enthusiasm for streaming services by targeting more points per $1 spent popular ones like Apple Music, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora®, Sirius XM Radio and Spotify Premium for higher points per $1 spent.

What we like about the card

$0 annual fee. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card comes packed with a welcome offer that lets cardmembers Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months, higher points per $1 spent, along with travel and purchase benefits — all with a $0 annual fee.

Expanded spending categories. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has raised the bar on the categories where you earn more points per $1 spent. Earn 3X points for eating out and ordering in, 3X points for gas stations, rideshares and transit, and 3X points for travel including flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals. Earn 1X points on other purchases.

Good purchase and balance transfer intros. The card offers a 0% for 12 months variable APR purchase intro rate, which is hard to find on many no-fee rewards cards these days. It also comes with a 0% for 12 months variable APR balance transfer intro rate (after, 14.24%-26.74% (Variable) APR). The balance transfer fee is 3% Intro for 12 months, then 5%.

Travel perks. The card comes with emergency help covering medical, legal, personal and travel; roadside assistance; rental car loss and damage insurance; lost or damaged baggage insurance; travel accident insurance; retail purchase protection; extended warranty; return protection; and cellular telephone protection. These are pretty generous for a credit card with no annual fee.

What could be better

Pay to play. If you want to book an airline ticket on the Go Far® website, you may end up paying a non-refundable $24 fee for the privilege. And you can only use your rewards to pay for a hotel room and corresponding taxes; you can’t use them to pay for other incidentals.

No way to transfer points. Unlike other American Express cards, you can’t transfer the points you earn on the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card to other airline or hotel loyalty programs.

Fewer cash options for non-Wells Fargo customers. If you want to turn points into cash, you can’t withdraw it from a Wells Fargo ATM unless you have a checking or savings account at the bank.

How to redeem your rewards

There are eight ways to redeem your rewards:

  • Cash back. Go to MyWellsFargoRewards.com or call rewards customer service at (877)-517-1358 to set up a cash redemption option. With that option, the cash can automatically go into your qualified checking or savings account or receive a paper check. You can also take out cash at Wells Fargo ATMs if you’re a bank customer.
  • Statement credit. After setting up your redemption option via MyWellsFargoRewards.com, you can have your points go toward your credit card balance.
  • Online auctions. Go to the auction website and use your points to bid on items including event tickets, experiences and brand-name merchandise. You’ll get updates on your bid status and points are automatically deducted from your account if you win.
  • Travel. Use your points at the Go Far Rewards website to pay for flights, hotels, cruises, car rentals or vacation packages.
  • Merchandise and gift cards. Buy gift cards from dozens of major brands or more than 800,000 merchandise items on the Go Far Rewards website.
  • Digital downloads. Redeem your points at the Go Far Rewards site for music, ebooks, emagazines, games and audiobooks.
  • Pay down a credit card, loan or mortgage. Use your Go Far Rewards points to serve as a credit to Wells Fargo mortgage, credit card, personal or direct loan or home equity loan accounts.
  • Share your rewards. You have three ways to do this — pool your rewards with other Go Far Rewards customers, donate then to charities or give them as a gift to friends or family.

Alternatives to the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card:

While the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card offers generous rewards on travel and dining, it’s not the only option for foodies and frequent travelers.

Here are some other cards to consider:

Uber Visa Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Uber’s secure website

Uber Visa Card

Regular Purchase APR
16.74%-25.49%

Variable

Annual fee
$0 For First Year
$0 Ongoing
Rewards
4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else

The Uber Visa Card is one of the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card’s closest competitors, since it offers higher rewards in popular categories favored by millennials — 4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else. You get all of this with a $0 annual fee. The sign-up bonus allows you to earn $100 after spending $500 on purchases in the first 90 days. You’ll have to do the math to find out which card gives you the most bang for your buck.

There aren’t any travel perks with this card, but you do receive a $50 yearly credit for online subscription services if you spend at least $5,000 a year on your card, which is less generous than the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card. You also get $600 in protection insurance for your mobile phone in case of damage or theft if you pay the bill with your card.

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card – 25,000 Bonus Points Offer

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

APPLY NOW Secured

on Bank Of America’s secure website

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
16.74% – 24.74% Variable APR
Intro Purchase APR
0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

If you’re looking for a simpler cashback rewards card, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card – 25,000 Bonus Points Offer is an option to consider. It offers 25,000 online bonus points if you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening, which converts into a $200 statement credit to use toward travel purchases. You Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases and there’s a $0 annual fee.

While you don’t have to register for different categories to get your rewards, the points per $1 spent is lower than the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, especially in the travel and dining categories. Redeem your points via a statement credit. You can earn bonus points if you have a relationship with Bank of America. The only real perk with this card is access to a free FICO® score.

Discover it® Miles

Discover it® Miles

APPLY NOW Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Discover it® Miles

Regular APR
13.74% – 24.74% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 14 Months
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
unlimited 1.5x Miles per dollar on all purchases, every day
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good Credit

The most appealing thing about this card, aside from its $0 annual fee, is its . If you spend regularly with this card during your first year, that cashback match can add up.

Redeeming the miles you earn on this card is easy. You get cash back as an electronic deposit to a bank account or as a credit for travel purchases, including airline tickets, hotel rooms, car rentals, travel agents, online travel sites and commuter transportation. Your miles don’t expire, and there’s no cap on how many you can earn. Again, compared to the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, there aren’t any travel or purchase benefits, although you do get a free FICO® score.

Our final take

If you’re looking for a new credit card, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, with its higher points per $1 spent in expanded categories and no annual fee, is a good option. It’s especially appealing when spending regularly on dining, streaming services and the card’s expanded definition of travel. There are cards with more generous welcome offers, but the rewards you can earn with this one balance that out.

You’re offered different options to cash in your points, but most of them are tied to Wells Fargo’s Go Far ® Rewards website, which gives you a little less flexibility. Travel and protection benefits on the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card are not bad when compared with other cards, especially those that charge annual fees.

In the end, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is a solid option for those who spend in its top categories and want good travel and protection perks — all without paying an annual fee. But you may want more flexibility in how you redeem your points or want the chance to earn more in other categories like gas and supermarkets, so study all your options before making a final commitment.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Benét J. Wilson

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