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Wells Fargo Rewards Points Review: A Worthwhile Program for Wells Customers

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Wells Fargo points: The basics

Wells Fargo Rewards points are earned on purchases made with select Wells Fargo Rewards credit cards. Points can be used for:

  • Cash back, in the form of a statement credit
  • Merchandise
  • Gift cards
  • Travel
  • Digital rewards (software, games, etc.)

Generally, Wells Fargo points are worth 1 cent each.

Cards that earn Wells Fargo points

Wells Fargo Propel World American Express

  • Earn 3 points per dollar spent directly with airlines.
  • Earn 2 points per dollar spent on hotel bookings.
  • Earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card

  • Earn 3 points per dollar spent at gas stations.
  • Earn 2 points per dollar spent on dining in restaurants.
  • Earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Wells Fargo Rewards Visa® card

  • Earn 5 points per dollar spent at gas stations, grocery stores and drugstores in the first six months after account opening.
  • Earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

How to get more Wells Fargo points

One of the easiest ways to get more Wells Fargo points is to make purchases online through the issuer’s shopping portal, called the Earn More Mall. With just a few clicks, you can be raking in extra rewards with every item you buy. You also earn bonus points on purchases when you shop with your card in-store at select retailers; use the Wells Fargo Rewards site to find participating merchants in your area.

You may also be able to earn more points by consolidating your banking and investment accounts with Wells Fargo. Customers with the Wells Fargo Propel World American Express and the Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card can get an annual relationship points bonus that’s based on the types of accounts you have with Wells Fargo and your deposit amounts:

  • You’ll get a 10% points bonus each year if you have a Wells Fargo checking or savings account.
  • You’ll get a 25% points bonus each year if you have a qualifying Wells Fargo PMA package with less than $250,000 in deposits.
  • You’ll get a 50% points bonus each year if you have a qualifying Wells Fargo PMA package with $250,000 or more in deposits.

Other than these two strategies, the best way to earn more Wells Fargo points is to use the credit card for as many purchases as you can.

How to redeem Wells Fargo points

Good redemption options

One of the best ways to redeem Wells Fargo points is for travel. When you redeem points by booking travel, you get 1 cent per point.

Another good option is to use your points to purchase a gift card or get a statement credit, which will also get you a value of 1 cent per point.

Bad redemption options

The value you’ll get out of your rewards for merchandise redemptions varies quite a bit, but it only goes as high as about half a cent per point. Saving up your rewards and redeeming them for a more expensive item appears to net a higher value per point than redeeming for smaller, less costly items.

Finally, using your points for digital rewards (like music downloads, e-books, etc.) will yield a value of half a cent per point. As a result, the Nerds think you’re better off cashing in your points for a statement credit, then using those funds to buy the digital items you’re interested in.

The fine print

With the Wells Fargo Propel World American Express and the Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card, there’s no limit on the number of points you can earn, and points never expire. With the Wells Fargo Rewards Visa®, unused points will expire at the end of the 60th month from the month they initially posted to your account. So, if points posted to your account on May 1, 2015, they would expire on April 30, 2020, if you don’t spend them.

If you pay late, your rewards account will effectively become suspended. This means you can’t redeem or transfer points, and any points you earn will be “held” until you get current. You’ll lose unredeemed rewards if you close your account.

Points can be transferred between Wells Fargo credit card accounts that earn the same rewards currency. Points can also be transferred or gifted to other Wells Fargo customers, assuming that the recipient has a Wells Fargo credit card that earns the same rewards currency (in both of these cases, the rewards currency is points).

Top cards that earn Wells Fargo points

For frequent flyers: Wells Fargo Propel World American Express

The Wells Fargo Propel World American Express is an outstanding card for people who spend a lot of time in the sky. With it, you’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent directly with airlines, 2 points per dollar spent at hotels, and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases. You’ll also get access to the Luxury Hotel Program, which makes you eligible for perks like complimentary room upgrades, free breakfasts and resort credits at almost 1,000 hotels worldwide.

One of the best features of this card is its annual $100 airline incidental fee allowance. This can help offset some of the nuisance charges that come with flying, like checked bag fees.

The Wells Fargo Propel World American Express is a good pick for international travelers, because it charges no foreign transaction fees and comes chip-enabled with PIN capability. To get you started, the Wells Fargo Propel World American Express comes with a signup bonus: 40,000 points when you spend $3,000 in net purchases in the first 3 months. Its annual fee is waived the first year and $175 every year thereafter, but remember that the $100 airline incidentals fee allowance will partially make up for this if you take advantage of it.

For road warriors: Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card

The Nerds love the Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card because it’s one of the few credit cards out there that provides unlimited rewards at the pump. With it, you’ll earn 3 points per dollar spent at gas stations, 2 points per dollar spent at restaurants, and 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Besides its impressive rewards, the Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card is helpful for planning a trip on the cheap. Cardholders may be able to get up to 20% off of hotel stays, and up to 25% off rental car reservations. These discounts could go a long way toward making your vacation more affordable.

The Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card also offers a signup bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in net purchases in the first 3 months. It charges no foreign transaction fees, and its $0 for the first year, then $45.

Methodology

The calculated value of these points is based on an estimated redemption rate, not a credit card rewards earn rate. Therefore, you may notice that these numbers don’t match the rewards rates on our credit card finder tool. Read on for how we estimated these points values.

To determine how much a Wells Fargo point is worth for travel redemptions, the Nerds logged into the Wells Fargo Rewards portal and reviewed available flights in March 2015. We then compared the points needed to redeem for a plane ticket to the price of the same ticket on Expedia. We found that each point was worth 1 cent, in every case.

We used a similar methodology for determining the value per point for cash redemptions. In order to get a $25 statement credit, 2,500 points need to be redeemed.

$25 / 2,500 = $.01 (1 cent per point)

The same goes for gift cards; a $25 gift card requires 2,500 points to redeem.

$25 / 2,500 = $.01 (1 cent per point)

For merchandise, we compared the number of points needed to redeem for certain items with the price of the same item on Amazon.com. For instance, a set of Cuisinart measuring cups cost $6.10, and required 1,601 points.

$6.10 / 1,601 = $.0038 (almost .4 cents per point)

However, we discovered that redeeming more points for more expensive items yielded a somewhat higher value per point. For example, a Sony 4K Home Theater ES Projector with HD Upscaling cost $10,299.00 and required 1,928,570 points.

$10,299 / 1,928,570 = $.0053 (about a half a cent per point)

Finally, for digital rewards, we compared the number of points needed to redeem for an item to its price on Amazon.com. For instance, Logo Design software cost $22.54 and required 4,484 points.

$22.54 / 4,484 = $.005 (half a cent per point)

This article was last updated June 2, 2016

Lindsay Konsko is a staff writer covering credit cards and consumer credit for NerdWallet. Follow her on Twitter @lkonsko and on Google+.


Image of Wells Fargo location in New York City via iStock.