About Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card is a cash rewards credit card that offers three different ways to earn points on purchases as well as a yearly bonus for Wells Fargo account holders.
Cash rewards credit cards emphasize how much cash you can earn with every purchase and so when you encounter a new cash rewards card, it’s important to understand how much money you can earn based on your spending.
As you figure that out, you’ll also want to understand how your Propel AmEx from Wells Fargo compares to other cash back cards.
We’re going to help you figure out those two major areas: cash back and comparison.
To do that, this review is going to cover the Wells Fargo Propel’s:
- Short-term benefits
- Long-term benefits
- Rates and fees
- Expert and consumer reviews
Each one of these sections will help you understand what you’re getting into. Once we work through those topics, we’ll wrap up with the pros and cons.
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express’ Short-Term Benefits
In all of our reviews on credit cards, we include a section on short term benefits because they’re usually the ones that create the buzz about a particular card.
For example, in late 2016 the Chase Sapphire Reserve became a viral sensation among major financial websites, Millennials and credit card rewards experts because of its 100,000 introductory bonus points for hitting a $4,000 spending requirement in the first three months.
This sizeable bonus alone was enough to draw in thousands of customers. Understandable, too – you can transfer those points to Hyatt, Southwest, United and several other hotel and airline loyalty programs.
20,000 Bonus Points
The Wells Fargo Propel gives you 20,000 bonus rewards points if you can spend $1,000 in the first three months of owning the card.
Those points are worth $200, which is something we’ll get into in the next section. According to Wells Fargo’s fine print, those points will take one to two billing cycles to show up in your account.
The Propel offers new cardholders 0% interest on all purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months of owning the card.
At the time of publishing, this 12-month offer was the standard for the credit card we reviewed in our Best Cash Back Rewards Card of 2018 article.
The Bank of America BankAmericard Cash Rewards, American Express Blue Cash Preferred and Discover it all had 0% interest for 12 months. The only two cards with longer intro APR periods were the Citi Double Cash and the Chase Freedom Unlimited – 18 and 15 months, respectively.
These 0% interest rates are really helpful if you have a big expense coming up that you can’t cover with cash. For example, if you know you have to get the transmission repaired on your card, you can use your Wells Fargo Propel to pay for the purchase and then use the remaining 0% period to pay it off before interest kicks in.
Another way to use this interest rate is for medical bills. Most medical facilities can give you an idea of how much a procedure will cost ahead of time.
The Wells Fargo Propel could be a big help to families who are preparing for birth and don’t have enough money to pay the average out-of-pocket cost of $2,700.
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express’ Long-Term Benefits
This is where the Propel gets really interesting. The card’s short-term benefits – 0% APR and 20,000 bonus points – are average to above average. The card’s points-earning potential is just as strong.
Three Levels of Points Bonuses
Whenever you talk about cash rewards credit cards, it’s a matter of identifying exactly how much cash you’re earning and what types of purchases get you more rewards than others.
Here’s how the Wells Fargo Propel’s points bonuses work: 3x on gas, 2x on restaurants and 1x on everything else.
So, if you spend $50 on gas, you get 150 rewards points. A $100 tab at your favorite restaurant will get you 200 rewards points.
Each rewards point you earn is worth $0.01; 1,000 points is worth $10.
In our review of the Wells Fargo Visa Signature, we lay out how many points you can expect each year for a household of three people.
Our conservative estimation of $24,000 in spending would equate to 24,000 points without bonuses. Here’s how things look on a yearly basis using our calculations derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ numbers for the average American household:
- Gas: $2,460/yr = 7,380 points
- Eating out: $3,008/yr = 6,016 points
Your total bonus for gas and eating out could be as high as 13,396 points. The rest of your spending will get the 1x bonus, which, based on a conservative estimate, would be about 18,500 points to bring your yearly total to about 32,000 points, or $300.
Pro tip: Rewards can only be redeemed in increments of $25.
The 10% Bonus
That 32,000 points a year could get a 10% boost if you have a checking, savings or Portfolio by Wells Fargo account.
Those points are automatically deposited to your account the month following your cardmember anniversary.
When you add this bonus and the 20K bonus points we mentioned earlier, there’s a good chance a family of three could earn you about 55,000 points your first year.
Additional Information About Wells Fargo Rewards Points
According to Wells Fargo, there is no cap on how many points you can earn in a year and your points expire five years after you earn them.
Wells Fargo’s fine print also says that any points you rack up during a billing cycle will be deposited to your account within one or two billing cycles.
Another thing to keep in mind: Your points can be redeemed for travel booking, merchandise, and gift cards through the Go Far Rewards portal on Wells Fargo’s website.
Cell Phone Protection
Wells Fargo’s credit cards have a sneaky little benefit that can help virtually any cardholder: cell phone protection.
If your phone is damaged or stolen, Wells Fargo will reimburse you up to $600 for the phone as long as you pay your monthly cell bills with your Propel card.
The benefit has limitations, though: You can only use it twice a year for a total of $1,200 in claims. Also, you’ll pay a $25 deductible when you make a claim.
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express Rates and Fees
Here’s a quick list of the interest rates and the fees you can expect with this card:
- APR: 13.99-25.99%
- Annual fee: None
- Balance transfer fee: 3-5%
- Foreign transaction fee: None
- Late/returned payment fee: Up to $37
The Wells Fargo Propel’s APR spread is a little wider than what you’d see with other cash rewards cards. While the 13.99% low-APR is competitive, the high APR of 25.99% is higher than the five cash-back cards we reviewed.
Also, notice that the balance transfer fee goes up from 3% to 5% after the first year.
Expert and Consumer Reviews of the Wells Fargo Propel American Express
The expert reviews we read through praised the Wells Fargo Propel for its bonus rates on gas purchases and for its decent low-end APR.
One site knocked the card because the balance transfer fee increases after the first year.
Consumers give the card average reviews, with one user saying that the points bonuses for gas and eating out didn’t seem like that much.
Our Closing Thoughts About the Wells Fargo Propel American Express
The Wells Fargo Propel doesn’t make it into many discussions about the industry’s best cash-back rewards cards, but it certainly has enough benefits to earn a spot in that dialogue.
Pros of the Propel Card
We’d say the strongest perks of this card are the 20,000-point bonus, the 10% bonus for Wells Fargo account holders and the 3x rewards for gas purchases.
Based on average spending habits, this combination of bonuses could earn a cardholder more than $500 in rewards the first year and around $350 in following years.
Cons of the Propel Card
The main downside to this card is that it’s high-end APR is higher than all the cash-back cards we reviewed in our 2017 Best Of article. This means that consumers will average credit scores may get this high APR.
If that’s the case, then the card loses a lot of value if you carry a balance and get hit with that high APR.
Who Is This Card Good For?
The consumer who spends at least a couple of hundred dollars a month on gas and on eating out and who is also has a checking, savings, or investment account with Wells Fargo.
The Final Word: A Good Cash Rewards Card
The Wells Fargo Propel’s intro bonus of 20,000 points is worth $200, which ranks second among the cash back cards we’ve reviewed. Only the Discover it’s first-year matching could lead to a better reward bonus in year one.
As for ongoing rewards, the Propel’s 3x/2x/1x bonus structure proves most lucrative for cardholders who spend a couple of hundred dollars a month on gas and eating out.
If you don’t spend a lot on gas or eating out, then you may want to read our review of the Citi Double Cash, a credit card that offers a flat 2% rewards rate: 1% when you make the purchase and 1% when you pay it off.
See Also: The Best Rewards Credit Card of 2018