Advertiser Disclosure
X

Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which MoneyCrashers.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. MoneyCrashers.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.

By

Shares

12

Dig Deeper

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card Review

Shares

12
At a Glance
wells fargo propel american express credit card
4.3 / 5
Rating

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

  • Welcome Offer: Earn 20,000 bonus points (worth up to $200) when you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Rewards: Unlimited 3 points per $1 spent at U.S. gas stations; Unlimited 2 points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants; Unlimited 1 point per $1 spent on everything else
  • Intro APR: 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • Fees: Greater of $5 or 3% for balance transfers (intro for first 12 months, then $5 or 5%); Greater of $10 or 5% for cash advances
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Credit Needed: Good/Excellent

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is a practical, no-annual-fee credit card with a points-based rewards system that favors gas station and restaurant spending. The rewards program is fairly generous, and a relationship bonus further sweetens the deal for moderate to heavy spenders. Plus, Propel has a fairly long introductory APR promotion for purchases and balance transfers.

If you’re looking for a rewards credit card that pays you back on everyday spending and lets you redeem for a wide range of items, including cash, Propel is worth a closer look. It’s worth noting that Propel has much in common with the similarly-named Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express Card. Propel 365’s rewards program is identical, but it has a relationship bonus worth up to 50% and no foreign transaction fee. These added benefits are made possible by a $45 annual fee that’s waived in the first year.

Key Features

Welcome Offer

Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend at least $1,000 in the first three months. That’s worth up to $200 when redeemed for cash at Wells Fargo’s online rewards portal.

Earning Rewards

Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card earns 3 points per $1 spent at U.S. gas stations, 2 points per $1 spent at U.S. restaurants, and 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere. All point earnings are unlimited. In the 2x and 3x categories, point earnings are divided into “base points” and “bonus points”: 1 base point and 2 bonus points for the 3x category, and 1 base point and 1 bonus point for the 2x category. All points earned in the 1x category are base points. This distinction is relevant for the relationship bonus, as explained below.

Redeeming Rewards

You can redeem accumulated points by phone or through Wells Fargo’s online portal for cash (statement credits, paper checks, and Wells Fargo bank account deposits), gift cards, travel purchases (including airfare and hotels), and merchandise. If you have a Wells Fargo debit or ATM card, you can also redeem for cash at Wells Fargo ATMs. Points are generally worth $0.01 apiece at redemption, though point values for merchandise redemptions can vary.

The minimum redemption threshold for cash and gift cards is 2,500 points ($25 value), and 2,000 points ($20 value) at ATMs. Redemption thresholds for travel and merchandise vary.

Introductory APR

Wells Fargo Propel American Express features a 12-month 0% APR promotion on purchases and balance transfers. The balance transfer rate applies to transfers made at any time during the promotional period.

Annual Relationship Bonus

Every year your account remains open and in good standing, and you maintain a Wells Fargo deposit account in good standing, you get a 10% bonus on base points earned during the preceding 12 months. For instance, if you earn 10,000 base points during a 12-month period, you get a 1,000-point bonus. Note that this bonus doesn’t apply to bonus points earned in the 2x and 3x categories.

Overdraft Protection

This card comes with Wells Fargo’s overdraft protection service, which lets you link your credit card account with your Wells Fargo checking account to protect against checking overdraft. If you initiate a checking transaction that results in an overdraft, Wells Fargo covers the negative amount with a cash advance on your Propel card’s available credit line.

Each transfer (or, if multiple transfers occur in a single day, each day on which a transfer occurs) carries a $12.50 fee if the total transfer amount is less than $50, and a $20 if the total transfer amount is greater than $50. The regular cash advance interest rate, depending on prevailing rates and creditworthiness), applies to all overdraft protection transfers.

Important Fees

There is no annual fee or foreign transaction fee. During the first 12 months, balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 3%. After that, balance transfers cost the greater of $5 or 5%. Cash advances cost the greater of $10 or 5% from day one. Late and returned payments both cost $37.

Travel Discounts

Propel cardholders enjoy a wide range of potentially deep travel discounts: up to 25% off rack rate at 18,000 hotels worldwide, up to 20% off car rentals with major rental companies, and special fares on select cruises with major cruise lines.

Additional Benefits

Propel comes with an additional slate of useful benefits. The most noteworthy include:

  • Complimentary loss and damage coverage on rental cars charged in full with your card
  • Extended warranties on items with original warranties of 12 months or less
  • Travel inconvenience insurance, which includes reimbursement for lost or damaged carry-on and checked baggage
  • Cell phone protection, up to $600 per incident and $1,200 per year to cover costs associated with damaged or stolen cell phones

Credit Required

This card requires good to excellent credit.

Advantages

  1. No Annual Fee. Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card doesn’t charge an annual fee. That’s good news for thrifty cardholders who wish to avoid diluting their accumulated rewards.
  2. Very Good Welcome Offer. This card’s welcome offer is worth up to $200 when you redeem your points for cash. That’s twice as valuable as Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card‘s welcome offer, which is worth just $100.
  3. Long Introductory APR Promotion. Propel has a long introductory APR promotion: 12 months at 0% APR for purchases and balance transfers. This is equivalent or nearly so to some cards designed specifically for interest-free financing and/or balance transfers, including Wells Fargo’s own Platinum Visa and Chase’s popular Slate Card. However, neither of those cards have spending rewards.
  4. 10% Annual Relationship Bonus on Base Point Earnings. Propel’s 10% annual relationship bonus only accrues on base points – essentially, 1 point per $1 spent, regardless of category. But it’s still a pretty good deal: If you earn 10,000 base points in a year, which is definitely doable if Propel is your primary credit card, you get a 1,000-point bonus. Many competing cards, including American Express EveryDay Preferred ($95 annual fee), don’t offer annual relationship bonuses.
  5. No Limit on 3x Category Point Earnings. There’s no limit on points earnings with Propel, including in the 3x category. If you drive a lot, this is a great benefit that can really boost your Propel card’s value.
  6. No Foreign Transaction Fee. This card has no foreign transaction fee, which is great news for frequent international travelers.
  7. Potentially Powerful Travel Discounts. As a Propel cardholder, you can earn potentially deep discounts on travel purchases – up to 25% off hotel stays, 20% off car rental costs, and special discounts on airfare and cruise packages too. If you travel frequently, or if you’re saving up for a trip, these discounts can put your plans within financial reach quicker than you thought possible.

Disadvantages

  1. Minimum Redemption Threshold for Cash Redemptions. You need to accumulate at least 2,500 points ($25 value) before you can redeem for cash or cash equivalents. That’s a drawback relative to competitors such as Chase Freedom Unlimited and Discover it, which allow you to redeem for cash in any amount.

Final Word

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is a surprisingly versatile card that doesn’t get much attention outside the admittedly large universe of existing Wells Fargo customers. It certainly targets several common types of cardholders: heavy drivers, frequent diners, regular travelers, those planning large purchases, and those with existing high-interest debt. If you fall into any of those categories, do yourself a favor and take a closer look here.

Verdict
wells fargo propel american express credit card
4.3 / 5
Rating

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is an everyday spending card that’s great for people who spend a lot at gas stations (especially) and restaurants. It’s also a worthy option for new cardholders who wish to finance large upfront purchases or transfer high-interest balances from other credit cards, and for cardholders who travel frequently (and can thus take advantage of the travel discounts). If you drive, dine out, or travel a lot, and have existing high-interest credit card debt to boot, this card is definitely worth a look.

This card’s lack of an annual fee, its long 0% APR intro period, annual relationship bonus, unlimited point earnings, and solid travel discounts are all helpful. The minimum redemption threshold for cash redemptions hurts its prospects. Overall, it’s a great card for heavy drivers and frequent diners, as well as those seeking interest-free financing and low-cost balance transfers.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  • Next Up on
    Money Crashers

    Scam Wooden Blocks Letters

    7 Government Imposter Scams to Watch Out For

    Pretty much every successful scam depends on misplaced trust. To get money out of you, scammers have to get you to trust them, and one...
    Piggy Bank Calculator Savings Budget Planning Finances

    How Kakeibo (Japanese Budgeting Method) Can Save You More Money

    We live in a world where pretty much anything that can be automated is. You can subscribe to grocery delivery so fresh food shows up...

    Popular on
    Money Crashers

    Sign Up For Our Newsletter

    See why 218,388 people subscribe to our newsletter.

    What Do You Want To Do
    With Your Money?

    Make
    Money

    Explore

    Protect
    Money

    Explore

    Save
    Money

    Explore

    Borrow
    Money

    Explore

    Manage
    Money

    Explore

    Invest
    Money

    Explore