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How does a 10 percent rewards bonus sound as a thank you gift from your credit card company?
That's what Wells Fargo, a U.S. banking institution famous for its widely recognized logo featuring galloping horses pulling a stagecoach, is offering to its Wells Fargo Propel American Express® cardholders who also hold eligible accounts with Wells Fargo.
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card offers similar features to a couple of other Propel products in the Wells Fargo credit card family, but this card comes with one major difference: no annual fee.
What Our Editors Like Most about the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
Customer relationships are critical to big banks, and Wells Fargo is pinning the success of this credit card product on that exchange.
If you already have a Wells Fargo checking or savings account, you'll earn a 10 annual bonus on non-bonus rewards points (that's the first point earned for each purchase in each category). This perk also is available to cardholders who have a Wells Fargo's PMA® package (premier relationship package), which offers special benefits such as bonus interest rates on select FDIC-insured deposits, fee waivers on certain banking services and interest rate discounts on new loans and lines of credit.
Aside from the loyalty benefits, the card itself has decent rewards options, especially for a credit card with no no annual fee. Earn triple the points when you spend on gas (one point, plus two bonus points), double the points (one point, plus one bonus point) on restaurants and one point on all your other purchases. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card also has flexible redemption options, including depositing your earnings into a qualifying Wells Fargo checking or savings account, the option to redeem points for gift cards or travel or to send points to another Wells Fargo rewards customer as a gift.
The best rewards perk Wells Fargo offers, however, is the ability for cardholders to combine rewards accounts across the bank's different credit card products. Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card doesn't have a points sign-up bonus, but several of Wells Fargo's other cards do: Wells Fargo Propel World American Express® has a 40,000-point sign-up offer and Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® has a 20,000-point bonus. These two cards are best for frequent travelers, but using Propel American Express® as a companion card to one of them could help you stack up rewards more quickly.
Another possible "stacking" option is to use the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card, a tiered rewards credit card, in conjunction with another flat-rate, no-fee credit card. For instance, use your Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card to make all your gas and restaurant purchases since those categories offer bonus points, but use a card like Chase Freedom Unlimited℠ to earn 1.5 percent cash back on all your other purchases.
Potential Downsides of the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card
As mentioned above, there's no sign-up bonus, which does put a damper on the "new card" excitement. You should also note that there is a 3 percent foreign transaction fee and accumulated points do expire. Though five years is a long time to redeem points, other rewards programs, including Chase® Ultimate Rewards, don't put an expiration date on points.
Additionally, your points are less valuable if you redeem them for cash, gift cards or merchandise – they're worth at most one cent apiece with these redemption options. If you want to truly maximize their value, Wells Fargo offers exclusive discounts on airfare, hotels and other travel, so using points when these offers arise could provide more value. Also keep in mind that you might not earn bonus points if you use your card at online marketplaces like Amazon or eBay or if you pay for purchases using a mobile or digital wallet.
How the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card Compares to Other Credit Cards
The big difference between these two cards is the sign-up bonus. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers new cardholders a chance to earn 50,000 bonus points. Chase® cardholders can earn 2x points on dining and travel that can transfer to participating frequent travel programs, which include British Airways and Marriott. Chase® also offers a 20 percent discount when you use reward points to book travel through its portal, increasing your points value.
Wells Fargo says it offers the lowest airfare on domestic and international flights through its air program, but there's not a specific, ongoing discount. However, cardholders do get 20 percent off the best available rate at hotels. Another key difference is that Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has no annual fee, whereas Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card charges a $95 annual fee after a $0 Intro for the first year. Consider this a trade-off for getting a better sign-up bonus and more flexible rewards compared to the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card.
The The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express (American Express is a Cardratings.com advertiser) offers two times the points on groceries on up to $6,000 a year and one point on all other purchases, so it's a decent choice for people spend substantially at grocery stores. If you spend too substantially, however, (over than $6,000 cap), your points earning reverts to one point per dollar even at grocery stores.
Wells Fargo Propel American Express®, on the other hand, doesn't have a yearly cap so you'll earn bonus points on gas and restaurant purchases all year long. The The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express does have a 10,000-point sign-up bonus and offers cardholders a nice incentive to keep spending: 20 percent more bonus points when you use your card at least 20 times in a billing period. Like Wells Fargo Propel American Express®, the The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express has no annual fee. AMEX Everyday® does have a slightly lower foreign transaction fee: 2.7 percent compared to 3 percent for Propel American Express®. The cards are certainly comparable, but if most of your spending is at the pump or restaurants, Wells Fargo Propel American Express® is the better option.
If you're someone who is willing to strategize your credit card spending a bit, Discover it® - Cashback Match™ could reap you much higher rewards thanks to its rotating 5 percent cash back categories that change quarterly and for which you're eligible when you sign up. Outside of those bonus categories, you only earn 1 percent back with Discover it® - Cashback Match™, so if you aren't willing to keep up with the bonus categories, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card will offer you equal rewards in most categories and higher rewards in gas and restaurant purchases.
Discover it® - Cashback Match™ doesn't come with a foreign transaction fee, however, so it could be a better option if you plan to use your card while abroad.
Who Should Get This Card?
If you already bank with Wells Fargo, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is a nice everyday card to keep in your wallet given that there's no annual fee to carry it. There's nothing confusing about the card's points structure or value, and the annual 10 percent customer relationship bonus could be enticing if you're a current Wells Fargo customer looking for a card that offers simplicity.