Validation of Wells Fargo Propel American Express® credit cards (2023)

Full Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Credit Card Review

Table of contents

  • benefits explained

  • Disadvantages explained

  • Onetime offer

  • Details on earning rewards

  • Reward Redemption Details

  • How to maximize your rewards

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  • Outstanding Benefits

  • cardholder experience

  • security features

  • Our verdict


  • 3 points per dollar spent across a variety of popular spending categories

  • Decent bonus for a card with no annual fee

  • Introductory offer with 0% APR

  • Phone protection

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  • Wells-Fargo's customer satisfaction for credit cards is below average

  • Rewards have minimum redemption thresholds

benefits explained

  • Earn 3 points per dollar spent across a variety of popular spend categories: While the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card offers modest rewards on most of its spend, the bonus spend category rewards are outstanding for a card with no annual fee. They offer unlimited 3 points per dollar spent and do not rotate or have spending caps like the high reward categories on some competing cards. The 3-point categories are travel, gas and food, and spending on streaming services Apple Music, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, SiriusXM, and Spotify.
  • Decent bonus for a card with no annual fee: This card's 20,000 point bonus after spending $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of card membership is worth $200 at most redemption options and is a strong offer for a card with no annual fee. While there are larger bonuses in excess of $500, they're almost always found on cards that charge an annual fee for the first year or beyond.
  • Introductory offer with 0% APR and cash bonus: The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card offers an introductory offer of 0% APR on balance transfers valid for 12 months as long as the transfer is requested within four months of card receipt. While that term is a bit below the norm for such deals, even for a card with no annual fee, it still gives you a year to pay off high-yield credit card debt without paying interest fees. The annual percentage rate is also 0% for 12 months.
  • Phone protection: When you use your Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card to pay your monthly phone bill, you can get up to $600 in protection for your cell phone, subject to a $25 excess. Several other credit cards also offer cell phone protection, but most if not all charge an annual fee, so this is an unusual benefit for a fee-free card. As welcome as this coverage is, it comes with limitations. While theft is covered, simple loss of the phone is not. And any justifiable damages must impair the functionality of the phone, which precludes repairs solely for cosmetic reasons or for electronic or software failures not related to physical damage. After all, it's secondary coverage, which kicks in after you've received benefits from another insurance policy, including home or car insurance (although it will cover any deductibles you incur on that other coverage).

Disadvantages explained

  • Wells Fargo's customer satisfaction is below average: Most people don't interact with their credit card issuer very often. But when you need to do this, it's often a matter of urgency and even stress, and you want a satisfying experience. Unfortunately, Wells Fargo is less likely to do that than almost any other card issuer, the company saidJD Power Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Study. In its 2020 survey, Wells Fargo ranked eighth out of 12 card issuers, with a score that puts it as one of the least satisfactory companies for credit card customer service.
  • Rewards have minimum redemption thresholds: Many other credit cards allow you to redeem rewards as long as you have a cent of them in your account - so there are no redemption thresholds to meet. However, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® is one of those cards that require awards to reach a certain minimum before they can be redeemed. Cash redemption options, such as deposits into a checking or savings account, can only be redeemed in 2,500 point increments ($25 value) over the phone or online, or in 2,000 point increments ($20 value) at an ATM. While these requirements aren't a huge issue, they're an inconvenience and a minor disadvantage compared to many cards.

This card is best for

  • Validation of Wells Fargo Propel American Express® credit cards (1)

    Resists or refuses an annual fee on principle or for reasons of cost

    Annual fee Averse
  • Validation of Wells Fargo Propel American Express® credit cards (2)

    Attempts to maximize points or miles earned across spend categories

    reward strategist
  • Validation of Wells Fargo Propel American Express® credit cards (3)

    Eats regularly when traveling or in the hometown

    Frequent dinner
  • Validation of Wells Fargo Propel American Express® credit cards (4)

    Gasoline or other travel costs are incurred every month

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This card is best for people who want to earn unlimited premium rates in a selection of popular categories without having to carry multiple credit cards or worry about premium caps.

In particular, people who regularly dine out and travel (or simply commute) can take advantage of this 3-points-per-dollar-spent card on dining and a wide range of travel purchases, including local spending like public transit. It's also ideal if you're spending more than the norm (averaging $29 per month) on streaming services that also qualify for this premium plan.

This card is also worth considering if you don't have any other insurance for your cell phone, as it offers $600 of coverage as long as you use Wells Fargo Cash Wise to pay for your cell phone bill. While the protection comes with some limitations, including the fact that it only covers total loss if the phone is stolen, it still provides a level of security for the most valuable item most of us will ever carry.

With a 12-month 0% APR offer on balance transfers, the Wells-Fargo Propel is also a decent option if you're looking to pay off a debt you acquired on another card or make new purchases that'll take a while to pay off can . Note, however, that balance transfers come with an introductory fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each balance transfer for 120 days from account opening, whichever is greater. After that, up to 5% for each balance transfer.

One-time offer on Wells Fargo Propel American Express® credit cards

If you have not opened a new Wells Fargo credit card within the past 15 months, you may qualify for a 20,000 point bonus if you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months of opening your account.

While the bonus is issued at 20,000 points, according to our score, those points are worth $200 when used toward travel, gift cards, cashback, or experiences. The bonus points will show up as redeemable within one to two billing cycles after they are earned. Compared to other cards with no annual fee, this bonus is considerable. Most cards with no annual fee offer anywhere from $50 to $250 in bonuses, if they offer one at all.

Details on earning rewards

This card offers unlimited 3 points per dollar spent that do not expire on dining, travel, gas stations, and select streaming purchases.

Wells-Fargo's definition of travel is quite broad. It includes not only spending on airlines, hotels, cruises, rental cars, and passenger trains, but also timeshare, commuter trains, local taxi and limousine services, campgrounds, ferries, vehicle tolls, and parking fees.

Gas stations primarily involve the purchase of fuel from actual gas stations, but not that from warehouse clubs and other retailers that may not be coded as gas stations.

Similarly, restaurant purchases include not only spending at restaurants, both upscale and fast food, but also at drinking establishments. However, spending at other dining establishments such as caterers, bakeries, and grocery stores do not qualify for the dining award.

Select streaming services that qualify for the premium plan include Apple Music, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, SiriusXM, and Spotify.

This card also offers unlimited 1x points on all other purchases.

Reward Redemption Details

Your rewards can be redeemed in many ways, but cashback is usually the best option. You can request cash at Wells Fargo ATMs, as a paper check, or by depositing or crediting a qualifying account. Cashback redemptions start at 2,000 points for $20 cashback at ATMs or 2,500 points for $25 cashback for online or phone redemptions.

You can also redeem your cash rewards for travel arrangements such as flights or hotel through GoFarRewards, Wells-Fargo's rewards program. According to Wells-Fargo, there are no blackout dates on these bookings.

Gift certificates, trips and experiences all add up to a value of one cent per point when redeemed. A notable exception to this ratio is when purchasing Apple merchandise, when each point is worth just 0.712 cents.

How to maximize your rewards

Maximizing rewards with the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card is pretty easy. Be sure to put all your qualifying purchases in food, travel, gas and fuel, and streaming on the map as you'll earn unlimited 3 points per dollar in these categories with no spending caps.

It's especially important to make sure you maximize spending on this card in the first few months of owning it. This way, you can ensure that you meet the required $1,000 spend within three months that qualifies for the card's 20,000 point bonus. And these purchases can either be from the rewards categories or from other spends whose 1 point per dollar rewards can also help increase your points balance.

One strategy for maximizing revenue with this card is to consider areas where you could increase spending in categories that qualify for premium rewards. One is to consider the 3-points-per-dollar bonuses you earn on streaming services when choosing your TV service provider.

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For example, you could ditch your cable or satellite service and instead subscribe to Hulu+ Live TV, which combines a suite of 60 broadcast and cable channels and Hulu's streaming service, for $45 a month. That spending would net you $16 a year in rewards — admittedly hardly a windfall, but you could also save money compared to what you're paying for live TV services now.

Another tip, if you're traveling or dining out with friends or family who aren't interested in earning rewards, you can opt to pay in cash and then use your card to pay the entire bill to earn even more points. You can also ensure that other household members' purchases that you end up paying for anyway are rewarded by giving you free authorized user cards.

average case

Even if your expenses are extremely normal, this card can be attractively rewarding. Accordinglythe Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household spent $294 per month on restaurants in 2019, $80 per month on travel (for accommodation away from home), and $174 per month on gas stations. Over a year, those spends can earn 19,728 points worth about $197 with this card.

And that's before all other purchases are factored in at one point per dollar spent, which could easily add as much or more if that card was also used for those spends. The benefit of increasing other spend would be great, especially in the first three months of the card when the introductory bonus can be earned. The above expenses would quickly cover the $1,000 required to earn the 20,000 bonus points. This would bring the premium value for the first year to just under $400.

challenging case

Let's imagine a more travel-loving family, making multiple trips per year, which would add $1,500 per year to their travel expenses and $1,500 to their meal expenses (on top of the $780 ($65 * 12) for accommodation, which we have included for our average family). above). The resulting $3,000 spend would add 9,000 points to the annual premium income at a profit of 3 points per dollar. At its $90 redemption value and $194 earnings from our average scenario, spending on these trips would increase the annual value of this card's rewards to $284. (Again, earnings at the rate of 1 point per dollar and the annual bonus are not included in this total.)

The outstanding advantages of the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® credit card

  • Phone protection
  • Refund for lost baggage:Provides up to $1,000 in secondary reimbursement per covered trip for travel inconveniences caused by lost or damaged baggage when booking travel with the card.

standard services

  • Early access to purchase tickets to concerts, theater and special events (as part of the American Express program)
  • Extended Warranty
  • Insurance for stolen or damaged purchases
  • Rental car collision insurance (in addition to your own policy)
  • return protection
  • Hotline for roadside assistance
  • Travel Emergency Assistance

cardholder experience

When looking for a new credit card, it helps to consider the issuer's customer service. Unfortunately, Wells Fargo doesn't have a great reputation when it comes to customer service.

Ocean 2020JD Power Credit Card Customer Satisfaction Study, Wells Fargo ranked 8th out of the 12 card issuers surveyed. Its score of 800 is below the average of 810 for all issuers.

Customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can contact customer support through their online platform or by calling 1-800-642-4720.

Also remember that this is an American Express card. That means it may not be as widely used as a Visa or Mastercard credit card when traveling in the United States, or especially abroad.

security features

This American Express card is issued by Wells Fargo, so not all traditional American Express benefits apply.

Rather than giving you access to free credit reports and report alerts like some cards do, Wells Fargo only gives you free access to your FICO score. Your FICO Score is updated monthly.

Otherwise, Wells-Fargo's numerous security features are typical of most credit cards. It offers account monitoring for suspicious activity and sends you alerts when there are fraudulent transactions. You're covered by Zero Liability protection, which means you're not liable for unauthorized transactions.

If your card is lost or stolen, Wells Fargo offers an emergency card replacement and cash alternative.

Fees to watch out for

This card's fees are mostly in line with its competitors, with a few notable exceptions. First, you can find cards that don't charge a transfer fee, which these and some other cards charge with introductory offers of 0% APR. Lower cash advance fees can also be found. However, of course, finding cards with lower fees for these features is only important if you plan to use them.

Our verdict

What sets this card apart is that it offers a whopping three points per dollar reward on food, travel, gas, and select streaming subscription purchases with no annual fee. There is no spending limit on this income. That's why the Wells-Fargo Propel American Express® is a versatile card that offers generous rewards for many purchases without having to track earnings for an annual fee or enroll in rotating tiers to maximize rewards.

While this 3 points per dollar rate is generous, some other no annual fee cards offer even better rewards in certain categories. However, you'll likely have to trade Wells-Fargo Propel American Express®'s wide range of best rates for richer rewards that are more focused. For example, some cards with no annual fee offer 4% cashback (or 4 points per dollar spent) on restaurant purchases, but only 1% cashback (or 1 cent per dollar spent) for almost all other categories, or 5%. Cashback/5 points per dollar rewards on a selection of bonus tiers that rotate quarterly.

Since the best rewards with this card are limited to a few categories, you should also consider adding another broad-based card that offers rewards for all other purchases higher than the 1-point-per-dollar Wells makes -Fargo Propel offers American Express ® deals. For example, the Citi Double Cash Card offers 1% cashback on purchases plus an additional 1% when you pay for those purchases. Using this card for purchases in the non-bonus category would be an amazing addition to the 3x points you earn with the Wells Fargo Propel Card.

While many other cards offer more generous introductory offers of 0% APR, the card with Wells-Fargo Propel American Express® is still a decent added perk for those primarily drawn to the card's bounty rewards, but also a high-interest balance have another card. It allows you to transfer these balances and carry them interest-free throughout the year, as well as avoiding interest on new purchases for 12 months from the account opening date.

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There's also the fascinating benefit of coverage against damage to or theft of your cell phone, which comes automatically when you pay your monthly carrier bill with the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card.


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