Wells Fargo Propel Amex: In-Depth Review

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Other than the Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card, Wells Fargo hasn’t been discussed very much compared to other major card issuers such as American Express, Chase and Citi. This partially stems from the fact that Wells Fargo doesn’t have a flexible points program that competes with Membership Rewards, Ultimate Rewards or ThankYou Points.

However, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card just might deserve a little more attention. It comes with useful bonus categories that extend beyond the typical dining and airfare categories and a couple other perks you might not think about too often.

While I’m very much focused on earning flexible points — if you’ve read other reviews of mine, you know this by now, you can count me as somewhat impressed with the effort Wells Fargo put into making the Propel Amex Card standout a bit.

Let’s dig into it and see what it has to offer.

Welcome bonus

The Wells Fargo Propel Amex comes with a welcome bonus of 30,000 Go Far Rewards points and a minimum spend requirement of $3,000 in 3 months. I think the welcome bonus can best be described as “fine.” It’s not awful but it’s not really something that has me busting down the door either.

Keep in mind that Wells Fargo does restrict how often you can receive a welcome bonus to once every 15 months. So, if you’ve received a bonus recently, you won’t be eligible. Additionally, Wells Fargo will only approve you for one card per 6 months. That’s a little tricky since you become eligible for a new card 9 months before you become eligible for a welcome bonus.

Redeeming with the Go Far Rewards program

The points you earn with the Propel Amex are Go Far Rewards points. Similar to Venture miles and Arrival miles, this is a fixed-value points program. You can redeem for statement credits, gift cards or travel at 1 cent per point. If you’re redeeming for travel and are short the required points for a booking, you can pay the remainder with cash.

Now, there is one way in which you can get up to 1.75 cents per point with the Go Far Rewards program. If you have the Wells Fargo Visa Signature Card, you can pool your points in one Go Far Rewards account and your points will automatically be worth 1.5 cents per point — this matches what you would get in the Chase travel portal if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve®.

If you happen to be a big spender and put $50,000 in spend on the Wells Fargo Visa Signature in a calendar year, your points will be worth 1.75 cents per point which is a fantastic value for fixed-value points. Of course, for many people, putting that kind of spend on Wells Fargo Visa Signature won’t be worth it.

Earn points faster with multiple 3X bonus categories

Wells Fargo Propel Amex Bonus Categories

While I’m not blown away by the welcome bonus, I am impressed with Wells Fargo’s thought process behind the Propel Amex Card’s bonus categories. Many cards that earn fixed-value points earn 2X points across the board or on specific bonus categories. Wells Fargo has taken a more creative approach by offering 3X points on a number of categories including:

  • Dining — eating places and restaurants, drinking places and fast food restaurants
  • Travel — airline, passenger rail, hotels, rideshare, timeshares, car rentals, cruises, travel agencies, discount travel sites, campgrounds, passenger trains, taxis, ferries, tolls, parking
  • Gas stations
  • Streaming services — Apple Music, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Sirius XM Radio, Spotify Premium

While I’m guessing most people won’t spend a ton on streaming services, I still like that Wells Fargo is thinking a bit outside the box. Honestly, it seems like its going for a younger customer. With that in mind, I think grocery stores would have been a better choice than gas stations.

No annual fee

Normally, I wouldn’t give the annual fee its own section but the fact that this card doesn’t have one is a big plus. Most of the solid credit card options for earning fixed-value points are close to annual fees of $95. While I don’t think that is a deal breaker, the fact that the Wells Fargo Propel Amex doesn’t have one makes it easier for people to give it a shot.

When you consider that the Wells Fargo Visa Signature doesn’t have an annual fee either, this could be a useful 1-2 punch to redeem Go Far Rewards points for cheap fares.

Cell phone protection

There aren’t many credit cards that provide cell phone protection but the Wells Fargo Propel Amex is one of them — the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card and the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa also provide protection.

With this card, you could be eligible for up to $600 in reimbursement (minus a $25 deductible) if your phone is damaged or stolen. “Stolen” does not mean “lost” or what Wells Fargo explains as “disappear without explanation.”

To be eligible for this benefit, you must pay your cell phone bill with this card.

Amex Offers

While the Propel Amex isn’t issued by American Express, it does have access to Amex Offers. These offers can be an easy way to save some cash on purchases you needed to make anyway. Some of the most fun offers are travel-related with opportunities to save on flights and hotels.

Recently, we saw an offer for $100 back if you spent $500 with Aerolineas Argentinas. If you could find a good cash fare to Argentina, this was an easy way to make the deal even better.

Amex Offer Aerolineas Argenetinas

Taste from American Express Invites

The Taste from American Express Invites benefit is one I’ve never tried, nor do you really hear talked about very often. The possible benefits include a free appetizer from an a la carte menu, a free bottle of wine or a 20% discount on the food bill. To utilize the benefit, you must identify yourself as an Amex cardholder when booking or before ordering.

I’m curious how this will play out at participating restaurants and would love to hear if anyone has experience with it. I wouldn’t be surprised if this causes a bit of confusion for restaurant staff but if the program is run well, it might be a really cool benefit.

Should you add the Wells Fargo Propel Amex to your wallet?

If you’re new to earning miles and points with credit cards, this won’t be a top priority. Because of the Chase 5/24 rule, starting with cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points is clearly a better choice — there are also other restricted cards that earn United MileagePlus miles, Southwest Rapid Rewards points, Marriott Rewards points, etc.

If you’ve already hit 5/24 and are looking for a simple card that earns fixed-value points for cheap cash fares — mostly likely in economy, then you might want to give the Wells Fargo Propel Amex a look. The sign-up bonus and 3X bonus categories are a useful combo and the cell phone protection is an uncommon credit card perk.

Other options that earn fixed-value points

Now, the Propel Amex isn’t the most simple option for earning fixed-value points as it has bonus categories and many purchases that fall outside of those categories will only earn 1X. If you’d prefer to just earn 2X on all purchases with a fixed-value points program then you might consider the Venture® from Capital One® or the Barclaycard Arrival® Plus World Elite Mastercard® (see terms).

Both Venture miles and Arrival miles can be for travel expenses after the fact at 1 cent per mile. The Venture Card is a bit easier to use in that the miles can be redeemed for travel purchases of any amount while you will need to make a travel purchase of at least $100 if you want to redeem Arrival miles.

Bottom line

Look, the Wells Fargo Propel Amex Card isn’t a game-changing card. However, it offers some compelling 3X bonus categories that will be useful to many people and the Go Far Rewards program is simple to use. While this might not help you fly Singapore Suites, it can be quite useful for cheap economy flights.

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Comments

  1. Instead of these increasingly arcane reviews for cards, why not do a trip report after you actually used some of the points that you earned?

  2. I picked up the information brochure in a Wells Fargo and noticed that they still offer a relationship bonus for qualifying Wells Fargo accounts. Can you verify that?

  3. All the published Wells Fargo credit cards carry a fee on foreign-currency transactions. As a long-time Wells Fargo customer, I inquired with a senior-level officer and was told that I could apply for a no-foreign-currency fee credit card ONLY if I held a rather large sum of investments with their Wells Fargo Advisors financial arm. I’ll be moving my banking relationship soon to a provider that is more customer-focused AND offers a no-exchange-fee credit card.

  4. Spencer, the business signature card does have a $50 annual fee–I know because I have one, although maybe it’s been dropped recently. The personal signature card doesn’t have a fee. On the other hand, there are no foreign transaction fees with the business signature card; there are with the personal one.

  5. Wow, if you click the link that has got to be one of the ugliest looking credit cards I have ever seen. I was livid when Wells Fargo changed the debit cards to this horrible ensemble of gold, silver and red, but this is 100x worse.

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