Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card review: Earn 3X points in a number of popular everyday categories
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
CardRatings Editor's Analysis: Pros & Cons
- Earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months, worth $200 in cash redemption value. Plus, you'll earn three points per $1 spent on travel purchases (that is, flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals) as well as on dining out/ordering in, gas station, transit and rideshare purchases, and on popular streaming services.
- Enjoy up to $600 in cell phone protection against covered damage and theft if you pay your cellular bill with your card.
- Take advantage of the 12 month intro offer of 0% interest on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (then, 14.49%-24.99% Variable).
- This tiered credit card leaves out a category many other tiered cards offer bonus points in – groceries. If you spend much on groceries, you might consider a different card for maximum rewards.
The relaunched Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card is designed as a rewards credit card with nice travel-related features, and its generous balance transfer benefits, solid rewards offered for everyday purchases and some extra perks and features thrown in for good measure could make this generally an excellent addition to your wallet.
This card offers you three points for every $1 spent on travel-related purchases including flights, hotels, gas stations, homestays, rideshares, transit and car rentals. You also pick up three points for every $1 spent on dining purchases, which the card refers to as "eating out and ordering in" and three points per $1 spent on popular streaming services. All other purchases are worth one point per $1.
With an earning structure like that, you could find yourself pulling this card out of your wallet pretty often. Plus, you don't have to worry about offsetting an annual fee because there isn't one!
- Earn a $300 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
- $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95.
- 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
- 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
- 3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more).
- 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
- Plan It® gives the option to select purchases of $100 or more to split up into monthly payments with a fixed fee.
- Cash Back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
- Terms Apply.
New cardholders can earn a welcome bonus of 20,000 points, valued at $200 in cash redemption, after spending $1,000 in the first three months of opening an account. This bonus isn't as eye-opening as some other rewards credit cards on the market, however, it is quite solid for a card with no annual fee. Thanks to that 20,000 point kickstarter and three points earned in various categories, your points are sure to add up in no time with the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card.
Additonally, new cardholders can enjoy a decent balance transfer option that could save big money on interest. With this card, in addition to the bonus points, there's an intro offer of 0% APR on purchases and qualifying balance transfers for 12 months (then, 14.49%-24.99% Variable).
Unlike some other rewards cards, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card doesn't limit you much when it comes time to redeem points (though travel redemption could prove to be where you'll get the most value; more on that below).
You can redeem points for travel, merchandise, gift cards, digital downloads or cash back. You can also donate your points to charity, a family member or friend. This flexibility gives you the option to decide what's best for you at that moment. Let's say you're planning an international trip. That would be a good time to redeem points for travel; however, another time you might need those points for cash back or gift cards for holiday shopping. This card gives you that flexibility.
Now, here's a perk that will interest consumers with some other Wells Fargo cards. The company's Go Far® Rewards program lets you combine this card's rewards with Go Far® Rewards you earn using other Wells Fargo cards in the program. You can also pool rewards with family and friends. Think about the kind of trip you and your family could enjoy if you pool those resources.
Furthermore, if you happen to be a Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Card member your Go Far® Rewards are worth 50% more when you redeem them for airfare. Here's why that matters when we talk about the Wells Fargo Propel:
Open a new Wells Fargo Propel card and, first things first, make sure you spend $1,000 on the card in the first three months in order to earn that 20,000-point welcome bonus. Then, continue using the card for your everyday purchases, but particularly for purchases that will earn you three points per $1 spent – that is, travel (flights, hotels, homestays and car rentals); gas station, transit and rideshare purchases; eating out/dining in; and popular streaming services.
When the time comes to redeem your points for airfare, simply pool those points under your Wells Fargo Signature® card. Each point will then be worth 1.5 cents toward your airfare reward rather than the standard $.01 each. That means the 20,000-point bonus could be worth as much as $300 toward airfare if you employ this strategy.
The Go Far® Rewards program additionally lets cardholders earn bonus rewards by shopping in the Earn More Mall. Shop there and see your Go Far® Rewards accumulate at a higher percentage per $1 spent when you shop with particular retailers or book travel through particular sites.
Lastly, if you pay your cellular phone bill with your card, you'll be protected against covered damage and theft for the primary phone as well as up to three additional phones on the account. The coverage is subject to a $25 deductible and is limited to no more than two claims in a 12-month period, with a maximum benefit of $600 per claim ($1,200 per 12-month period).
Between the rewards-earning, the redemption options, the cellular phone protection and the fact this card doesn't charge an annual fee, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card truly has a lot going for it.
Though Wells Fargo doesn't explicitly state what credit score is needed to receive the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card, it does say that this card is reserved for those with good to excellent scores. A good FICO score is typically anything above 670, according to the credit scoring agency Experian, but having a score above 740 or even 800 may further increase your chances of approval. Please note though that these numbers can vary between different bureaus and other factors may be taken into consideration while your application is being reviewed.
Great news— there isn't one! Whether traveling near or far, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card is a great card to bring along as it doesn't charge you extra for any foreign transactions that you make.
Many cards charge around 3% on foreign transactions, which might not seem like much, but can add up in a hurry if you travel internationally often. To put things into perspective, if you travel abroad three times a year, spending on average $3,000 each time, you'll end up paying $270 in fees if using a card with a 3% foreign transaction fee. With the Propel card you don't have to worry about this though, as it doesn't charge you fees on purchases made abroad.
CardRatings conducts a survey annually to learn what actual cardholders think of their cards. Here are the results:
|2020 Scores||2019 Scores|
|Rewards Program Satisfaction||7.9||8.0|
|Likelihood of Continuing to Use||8.0||8.3|
|Recommend to a Friend/Colleague||7.9||8.1|
Wells Fargo Propel vs. Citi Rewards+® Card
The Citi Rewards+® Card is a no-annual-fee card which earns bonus rewards on gas and supermarket purchases. With this card cardholders can earn two ThankYou® Points at supermarkets and gas stations for the first $6,000 per year and then one point thereafter, plus one point on all other purchases.
What's unique about this card is that it automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on each purchase you make. So for example, say you spend $55 at a local restaurant, you'll earn 60 points instead of just 55, or you spend $102 at the supermarket, you'll earn 210 points instead of 204. When it comes to point earning, every little bit helps, which makes this a nice perk. Another unique feature is that Citi will give you a 10% rebate on the first 100,000 ThankYou® points you redeem each year. In other words, if you redeem 20,000 points, Citi will put 2,000 points back into your ThankYou® account.
This card also offers new cardholders an opportunity to earn 15,000 bonus points once spending $1,000 within three months of opening an account, and 0% intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months (then 13.49% - 23.49% (Variable)).
Wells Fargo Propel vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred®
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is an alternative worth considering because of its excellent new cardholder bonus. The Sapphire Preferred® is offering new cardholders 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening an account— worth up to $750 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate® Rewards. Plus, earn up to $50 in statement credit toward grocery store purchases.
Compared to the Propel card’s current new cardholder bonus of 20,000 bonus points when spending $1,000 on purchases in the first three months (worth $200 in cash redemption value), the Sapphire Preferred®’s bonus is much higher, albeit with a higher minimum spend.
We never recommend choosing a credit card based solely on bonuses though, so let's break down how else these two cards compare.
In addition to having no annual fee compared to the Sapphire Preferred®’s $95 annual fee, the Wells Fargo Propel card bests the Sapphire Preferred® in everyday spend points earning. The Propel card earns three points per $1 spent on travel purchases (including flights, hotels, and homestays) as well as on dining out, gas station, transit, and on popular streaming services. The Sapphire Preferred® has a tiered earnings rate of two Ultimate Rewards® points earned per $1 spent on travel and dining purchases as well as on up to $1,000 spent monthly on grocery store purchases through April 30, 2021, and one point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
Wells Fargo Propel vs. Cash Wise
For flat rate rewards earning without an annual fee, the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa® card is a great alternative to the Wells Fargo Propel card. The Cash Wise earns 1.8% cash back for the first 12 months when making qualifying digital wallet purchases (like Apple Pay® or Google Pay™) and all other purchases earn 1.5% cash back. There are no rotating categories or tiers to worry about; when you make a purchase you earn this flat cashback rate.
The Wells Fargo Propel card earns three points on dining, travel, gas stations, rideshares, transit, and popular streaming services including Netflix as well as one point earned on all other purchases. Compared to the flat cash back earned by Cash Wise card, the Propel card offers a tremendous value albeit in specific spending categories.
The Cash Wise card has an introductory cash-back bonus of $150 after spending $500 in the first three months while the Wells Fargo Propel card is currently offering 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first three months– which is worth $200 in cash redemption value. While the value of the Propel’s new cardholder bonus is twice the value of the Cash Wise, it is worth noting that the Propel card requires a higher minimum spend to get the bonus.
The combination of a broad rewards program coupled with no annual fee and no APR for 12 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers opens the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card up to many different types of cardholders. However, you'll want to make sure you travel, dine out and fill up at the pump often to take full advantage of it. People who use their card for those activities will get the most out of the rewards program.
Given that there's no annual fee to worry about offsetting and you're potentially eligible for free cellular phone protection, this card isn't a bad one to have in your wallet, even if you aren't an everyday credit card user.
Survey Methodology: CardRatings commissioned Op4G in September and October 2020 to conduct surveys among 1,746 cardholders nationwide. CardRatings website analytics from Jan. 1, 2020-Aug. 31, 2020 were used to determine a selection of the most popular cards and additional cards were added to add survey breadth. Responses to each of nine questions were given on a scale of 1-10 and respondents' scores were then averaged under broad topics. To determine the overall score, responses from questions 1-8 were summed and the answer to "How likely are you to recommend this card to a friend, coworker or family member?" was double weighted.