Wells Fargo Business Elite Card: Is It the Best Choice for Your Company?

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff
Published on: Dec 19, 2018

The Wells Fargo Business Elite Card is a business credit card with a tremendous sign-up bonus and is reserved for companies with at least $1 million in yearly revenue.

What makes this card unique and certainly different than the other business cards that Wells Fargo offers is that it’s only available to companies with $1 million in yearly revenue or more.

If you qualify for this card by virtue of your company’s revenue, then it’s important for you to take a moment to understand the Business Elite’s rewards, benefits, and rates and fees.

Understanding these factors and comparing them to similar offerings from other credit card companies will help you understand how this card fits your particular situation and, in some cases, why other cards may be a better fit.

In this review, we’re going to show you what the Business Elite offers in the way of rewards and benefits. We’ll analyze its rates and fees. Then, we’ll compare this card to cards from Wells Fargo, Chase, Discover, and Bank of America.

In our conclusions, we’ll help you understand how best to leverage this card to your advantage.

The Wells Fargo Business Elite’s Rewards

This card offers you two simple ways to earn rewards. The first is a one-time reward called a sign-up bonus. It provides you with $1,000 in credit card rewards if you can spend $25,000 in the first three months. However, you’ll only get this bonus if you choose to earn cash rewards with your card, which we’ll talk about in a few seconds.

Based on our research, we find this reward extremely interesting. First, most cards provide a $200 - $500 bonus for spending amounts between $500 and $3,000. The fact that this card gives you a $1,000 reward for spending at least $25,000 is, by our analysis of other cards, not quite proportionate.

For example, the Chase Ink business Unlimited card has a $500 sign-up bonus for spending $3,000 in the first three months. The Business Elite requires you to spend more than eight times as much as the Chase card to get only twice as much bonus cash.

The second way to earn rewards with this card is through set rewards rates Wells Fargo gives you for your daily spending. Unlike other business cards we’ve reviewed, Wells Fargo gives you the choice between earning cash-back for your purchases or earning rewards points you can redeem in the Wells Fargo Business Rewards Portal.

Cash Back: 1.5% Rewards Rate

If you choose the cash back option, you’ll earn $0.015 for every $1 you spend. So, if your business uses the card to make $50,000 in purchases, then you’ll earn $650 in cash back. You can choose to have the rewards sent to your Wells Fargo checking or savings account or give Wells Fargo permission to automatically add your rewards to your statement as a credit each month.

As we mentioned earlier, the $1,000 bonus is available only if you choose to earn cash back and not rewards points.

Rewards Points: 1% Rewards Rate

The second option you have is to earn Wells Fargo rewards points at a rate of $0.01 per $1 you spend. In addition to this, you’ll earn an extra 5,000 points for any month in which you spend at least $10,000.

Remember, if you choose this option, you won’t get the $1,000 sign-up bonus.

Redeeming these points requires that you shop in the Business Rewards portal Wells Fargo provides its business credit card customers. Though this portal you can buy gift cards, merchandise, airline tickets, TSA PreCheck and other things.

Choosing rewards points over cash back has a couple of other perks, too:

  • 10% bonus when you redeem the points online
  • Extra bonuses and points in the Earn More Mall

Wells Fargo’s Earn More Mall is a portal in which all customers can go and make purchases from a variety of well-known online retailers. If you’re using a rewards card, then Wells Fargo will give you added bonuses of varying levels when you purchase from certain retailers.

At the time of publishing, the Earn More Mall provided 2% bonuses for purchases at Macy’s and Nordstrom Rack and 8% bonuses for purchases at Fossil. Remember, you have to make the purchases through the Wells Fargo portal and not through the retailer’s website.

The Wells Fargo Business Elite’s Benefits

Most business card benefits cater to small and large business and, therefore, have general perks that aren’t as powerful as what you get with the Business Elite. Here’s a quick list of two of the card’s benefits, after which we’ll explain what they are:

  • Custom spending reports
  • Category-specific spending controls

The card’s custom spending reports will allow you to make reports about how much you spend on your card, how much you spent at individual merchants and how much you spent in particular spending categories.

The spending controls allow you to limit various employee cards to specific types of spending and when they can spend. For example, according to Wells Fargo, you can limit a particular employee card’s spending to travel, driving or office administration transactions. At the same time, you can limit how much they can spend and when they can spend. Wells Fargo notes that you can set a card’s spending times to “business hours only.

Other benefits include choosing between one bill for all cards or individual bills for each card, custom-designed cards, and complimentary car insurance. You’ll receive a benefits guide along with your cards that you can read through to see the limitations of these various benefits.

The Wells Fargo Business Elite’s Rates and Fees

The following is a basic list of the card’s rates and fees at the time of publishing:

  • Yearly rewards program fee: $75 (waived the first year)
  • Purchase APR: 9.24%
  • Cash advance APR: 25.98%
  • Cash advance/balance transfer fee: Unknown
  • Foreign transaction fee: None
  • Annual fee: None

What jumps out at us is that you’ll pay a $75 fee to have all your cards enrolled in the rewards program, whether you choose to earn cash back or rewards points. So, while the card doesn’t have an “annual fee,” so to speak, you’re basically paying the equivalent of an annual by having to pay Wells Fargo a $75 rewards program fee.

The card’s APR is tremendous – a full 2% lower than the lowest APR we’ve seen from a business credit card. Furthermore, the card has a single APR, whereas most cards have a range of APR’s that start between 11% and 13% and can go up past 23%.

How the Wells Fargo Business Elite Compares to Other Business Credit Cards

We’ve created the following chart to help you see how the Business Elite compares to other business cards. We used a $120,000 yearly spend to calculate yearly rewards:

Wells Fargo Business Elite B of A Platinum Visa Wells Fargo Business Platinum Discover it Business Chase Ink Business Unlimited
Yearly Rewards $1,800 $0 $1,800 $1,800 $1,800
Sign-Up Bonus $1,000 $200 $500 $450 $500
0% intro APR None 7 months 9 months 12 months 12 months
APR 9.24% 11.24% - 22.24% 13.24% - 23.24% 14.99% - 22.99% 15.24% - 21.24%

Because the Business Elite has a 1.5x rewards rate for cash back, it earns the same rewards amount as the other cards that have rewards rates: Wells Fargo Business Platinum, Discover it Business, and Chase Ink Business Unlimited.

What those cards lack is the big sign-up bonus the Business Elite offers, which makes the card the best choice of the five in the chart when it comes to earning yearly rewards.

The drawback to the Business Elite in the context of other cards is that it doesn’t offer any 0% APR offers. So, if you have big purchases you need to make and you don't’ have the cash to pay off the resulting balance, the Business Elite may not bet the best choice.

APR is a category in which no other card in the chart comes close to the Business Elite. If you carried a $10,000 balance on your card for one year, the Wells Fargo card saves you $200 in interest payments over the next closest card.

How to Use the Wells Fargo Business Elite Card to Your Advantage

Based on our research of this card’s rewards and benefits, we believe your best bet for maximizing this card’s value is to be certain your business spends at least $9,000 a month and that you have a specific need for regulating the type of purchases your employees make with their cards, as well as when they make their purchases and how much they spend.

Of the cards we compared in the chart and even the ones we analyze in our ranking of the best business cards of 2018, we haven’t found a card that offers the sign-up bonus, yearly rewards and spending-control benefit this card has.

That being said, you’ll have to make a smart choice about whether you want cash rewards or rewards points you can use through Wells Fargo’s business and consumer shopping portals. Because we don’t have a Wells Fargo business account, we weren’t able to see what the redemption rates for gift cards were.

We were able to use a points calculation tool to discover that a 12-gallon Craftsman 5.5 HP wet/dry vac cost 20,000 points that you can earn from $20,000 in spending.

The retail value of the item was, at the time of publishing, was around $100 after taxes, which means that 20,000 points had a cash value of about $100.

Considering that the cash-back option for this card would result in $200 in cash rewards for $20,000 in spending, choosing cash-back seems like the smarter decision.

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