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Monday, September 28, 2020

2020 Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card Review

Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card

credit card advice

Brittney Mayer
By: Brittney Mayer
Updated: April 8, 2020
Advertiser Disclosure

As a consumer, few things are as disappointing as thinking you’ve found the perfect deal — only to be let down by the fine print.

Many of the best rewards credit cards, for example, offer high-rate bonus rewards for popular purchase categories — but they also charge big annual fees that can make those rewards a lot less valuable.

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card breaks the cycle, offering robust rewards without an equally robust annual fee. Cardholders can earn triple points for spending in a variety of useful bonus categories, plus enjoy a slew of other perks and benefits, all without paying a single annual fee. Read on for our review of the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card in which we also look at the card’s perks such as dining, travel, and gas points, signup bonuses, and purchase benefits.

Rewards | Signup Offers | Other Benefits | Credit Requirements | Alternatives

Earn Triple Points on Dining & Travel, Including Gas

With nearly every credit card on the market offering some kind of purchase rewards, it’s obvious that rewards are big business these days. In fact, credit card issuers spend billions each year on cardholder rewards, thanks in part to more consumers becoming educated on how to maximize their earnings.

But most issuers don’t seem bothered by the drive to maximize rewards — at least, not if the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card and its triple-points bonus categories are any indication. The card offers 3X points per dollar on travel, dining, and select streaming services — broad categories that will likely suit the spending habits of many consumers.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

  • Receive 0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers for 12 months
  • Earn 3x points on eating out and ordering in, gas, and travel
  • Pay $0 annual fee

The card’s categories contain a variety of merchant types to cover a huge number of purchases. The travel rewards category, for instance, includes the typical travel purchases, like airfare and hotel stays, but it doesn’t stop there.

Unlike most travel rewards credit cards — like the hugely popular Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card’s travel category includes one important addition: gas stations. Given that the average driver spends over $1,000 a year on fuel, that’s a potentially lucrative inclusion. Wells Fargo offers a full list of eligible travel purchases:

  • Gas stations
  • Rideshares
  • Transit
  • Flights
  • Hotels
  • Homestays
  • Car rentals

And it gets even better. The dining category is equally encompassing, including dine-in restaurants, as well as take-out purchases and ordering in, so you can earn triple points on nearly any dining purchase.

All in all, the streaming services category is the most restrictive, limiting bonus rewards to a few select services. While the list is limited, however, users can earn bonus points for many of the most popular services:

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

Purchases made outside the bonus categories receive 1X point per dollar, and there’s no limit to how many points you can earn no matter the category. As with most cards, purchase rewards are only awarded on net purchases, so returns and refunds are excluded along with balance transfers and cash advances.

As do most rewards cards issuers, Wells Fargo has its own in-house points program called Go Far Rewards®. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card earns Go Far Rewards® points that can be redeemed for travel, gift cards, digital downloads, merchandise, or a statement credit.

Screenshot of Go Far Rewards® Homepage

Go Far Rewards® can be redeemed for a variety of things, including travel, gift cards, digital downloads, auctions, merchandise, or a statement credit.

Go Far Rewards® points can be redeemed for a value of 1¢ per point no matter how you redeem them, giving you a 3% return on your travel, dining, and select streaming purchases. That’s solid savings, especially considering there’s no annual fee to cut into your profits.

New Cardholders Can Enjoy a Signup Bonus & Intro-APR

If the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card’s rewards categories alone aren’t enough to give it a try, the new cardholder incentives certainly sweeten the pot. New applicants are eligible to earn a very competitive signup bonus double the size of that offered by most no-annual-fee cards.

Cardholders can earn the signup bonus by reaching the reasonable minimum spending requirement within the first 90 days. Only net purchases count toward the spending requirement, which means balance transfers and cash advances won’t count.

Keep in mind that Wells Fargo limits how frequently you can earn a signup bonus on a Wells Fargo credit card:

“If you opened a Wells Fargo credit card within the last 15 months, you may not be eligible for introductory annual percentage rates, fees, and/or bonus rewards offers.” — Wells Fargo

This means you may not be eligible to earn the bonus for the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card if you’ve opened another Wells Fargo credit card account within the last 15 months. If you have a recent Wells Fargo account, be sure to check when the account was opened to verify that you are eligible for the signup bonus.

In addition to the ability to earn a chunk of bonus points, new cardholders can also enjoy an intro APR offer on both new purchases and balance transfers. The deal provides a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months of account opening and a pretty standard APR thereafter.

Balance transfer requests must be made within 120 days from account opening to qualify for the introductory APR. Each balance transfer made within 120 days of account opening will incur a transfer fee of 3% (or $5, whichever is greater).

Receive Cellphone Protection & Purchase Benefits

As is standard these days, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card also comes with a variety of perks and benefits beyond the purchase rewards offered by Wells Fargo and Mastercard. This includes charging no foreign transaction fees, offering $0 fraud liability, and EMV chip security.

Image of Broken Phone

Cellphone protection covers your phone in case of theft or damage.

The card also comes with Wells Fargo’s popular Cellphone Protection. With Cellphone Protection, your phone is covered in the case of eligible damage or theft (simply losing your phone typically won’t qualify for coverage).

To qualify, you’ll need to pay your entire cellphone bill with your Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card and pay a $25 deductible. Claims are limited to a total of $600 per claim and up to $1,200 per 12-month period.

Cardholders can also enjoy convenient mobile banking, with the ability to view transactions, redeem rewards, track your FICO credit score, and make payments conveniently from the mobile banking app.

And users can set rapid alerts to track purchases and receive notifications for unusual activity, as well as to turn cards on and off with just a few swipes.

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card also offers a range of purchase and travel protections, including retail protection that covers eligible items against damage or theft for up to 90 days after purchase.

Users can also double the original manufacturer’s warranty on qualifying products with warranties of less than one year purchased with the card.

Screenshot of Wells Fargo Mobile App Card On/Off

Cardholders can turn their cards on and off instantly through the Wells Fargo mobile app.

What’s more, using your Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card to pay for your next trip can unlock travel perks that include lost luggage reimbursement (capped at $1,000 per insured party per covered trip) and auto rental collision and liability insurance.

Keep in mind that baggage and auto coverage is secondary, meaning it will only kick in after other responsible parties have paid.

For example, if your luggage is worth $1,000 and your airline reimburses $500, the coverage from your Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card will only cover up to $500.

Additional benefits include access to roadside assistance, travel emergency assistance, and emergency cash advances, though some additional fees may apply. For example, requesting a tow truck be dispatched to your location is free, but you’ll be charged for the services rendered by the tow truck company.

A final feature of the card that’s worth a mention is the card’s composition, which has a metal core. While this isn’t necessarily a perk, but it may add a little extra incentive for some cardholders, as it is one of the few metal credit cards that doesn’t charge an annual fee.

Good to Excellent Credit Typically Required

Given its robust rewards, profuse perks, and lack of an annual fee, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has few downsides — except for the credit requirement. In general, you’ll need at least good credit to qualify, which typically means a credit score of around 680 or higher.

Of course, the higher your credit score, the better your chances of being approved. That said, your entire credit profile will be taken into consideration when your application is reviewed. Even a bankruptcy on your credit report may not be an automatic rejection, provided it’s well-seasoned.

“Anything over 700 should give you good chances. Remember that your score alone will not grant you approval no matter what. Wells Fargo will also look at your income and employment, past negatives, credit utilization ratio, and the number of hard inquiries placed on your credit report in the past few months.” — Propel Review on WalletHub.com

Some reports state that their credit scores were calculated using the most recent FICO Score 9 model, which is often considered to be more favorable for consumers than other scoring models. For example, the FICO Score 9 model may take into account certain types of alternative scoring data, such as your rental history.

Some forum posts and reviews seem to suggest that you need a prior relationship with Wells Fargo to be approved for the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, but there are a number of accounts that contradict that rumor. At the same time, having an existing relationship with the bank does seem to make it more likely that qualified applicants will be instantly approved, rather than having to wait several days for identity verification.

In addition to making it easier to be approved, a higher credit score can also help approved applicants receive a higher credit limit, with the highest limits reserved for applicants with credit scores in the 800 range.

The data suggests the minimum credit limit for approved applicants is $1,500. At the other end of the spectrum, some reviewers have reported receiving credit lines as high as $20,000.

Of course, income will also play a big role in the credit limit you are offered, with low-income applicants being approved at the lower end of the credit limit range. Reviews indicate that credit limit increase requests may be granted shortly after applying, and that credit limit increases result in a soft credit pull.

Alternatives to the Propel Card

You can find comparable points cards to the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card, specifically ones that use different payment networks — i.e., Visa or Mastercard. These cards provide rewards in similar categories or a simple flat-rate rewards structure to help you earn on everything.

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That's 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
15.99% - 22.99% Variable
$95
Good/Excellent

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

This card is currently not available.

Bank of America® Rating

★★★★★
N/A

OVERALL RATING

N/A
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

EXPERT'S RATING

★★★★★
4.8

OVERALL RATING

4.8/5.0
  • Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.49% - 25.49% variable APR after that
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
0% for 15 months
N/A
15.49% - 25.49% (Variable)
$0
Excellent, Good

+ See More Points & Gifts Cards

Propel Your Earnings to the Next Level

Sometimes it can feel as though there’s always a catch. You find a great rewards card, for instance, only to be bogged down by its annual fee.

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card eliminates that worry, offering triple points in three great bonus categories, without a big annual fee eating into your earnings. If you’re looking to maximize your dining and travel rewards but can’t justify a hefty fee, this card may be a great addition to your wallet.

(The information related to Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has been collected by CardRates.com and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service.)

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