Wells Fargo Autograph Review: Big Rewards, No Annual Fee

Cardholders can still rack up triple points across a wide swath of common spending categories like dining, travel, gas stations and streaming — all while paying no annual fee.
Aug 1, 2022

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Our Take

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
The bottom line:

This card offers excellent rewards for an unbeatable price. It doesn't offer the perks of an airline- or hotel-branded card, though.

Jump to: Full Review
Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Credit Card
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
17.24%, 22.24%, or 27.24% Variable APR
Intro APR
0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months
Rec. credit score
690-850 (Good - Excellent)
Apply now

on Wells Fargo's website

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No annual fee

  • Bonus categories

  • No reward caps

  • Cell phone insurance

  • New cardholder bonus offer

Cons

  • No free checked bags

  • No free anniversary night

  • No luxury perks

  • Requires good/excellent credit

Compare to Other Cards

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$0

Annual fee

$95

Regular APR

17.24%, 22.24%, or 27.24% Variable APR

Regular APR

13.49%-24.49% Variable APR

Regular APR

17.49%-24.49% Variable APR

Intro APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months

Intro APR

0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
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Full Review

If you'd love to earn valuable rewards on your travel credit card but hate annual fees, consider putting your autograph on an application for the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card.

The card, which has an annual fee of $0, is primarily positioned in the market as a travel credit card because of its triple points on travel spending. But its other bonus-reward categories are highly useful for everyday spending, too. They include 3 points per dollar spent at restaurants and gas stations, as well as on transit, streaming services and phone plans.

That makes this card a candidate to be a primary — even front-of-wallet — credit card to carry with you, as well as one you can “set and forget” for recurring streaming and phone payments. And rewards are unlimited, unlike some competing cards that cap bonus rewards. That’s a big deal for big spenders.

You won’t get the transfer partners or upscale perks of high-annual-fee travel credit cards, or brand-specific perks like free checked bags that airline credit cards often offer. But a healthy sign-up bonus and nice-to-have cell phone insurance on the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card add to its allure as a top pick among not only no-fee travel credit cards but cash-back cards as well.

The same bank also offers an ideal companion — an excellent flat-rate rewards card called the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card.

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card: Basics

Card type: Travel.

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,500 in purchases in the first 3 months.

Rewards: Unlimited 3 points per dollar spent on:

  • Restaurants.

  • Travel and transit.

  • Gas stations.

  • Popular streaming services.

  • Select phone plans.

Plus, 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.

Redemptions: Points are worth 1 cent each. Cardholders can redeem points for travel, gift cards or statement credits — or when checking out online with PayPal.

APR offer: 0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 17.24%, 22.24%, or 27.24% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Other benefits:

  • Cell phone protection of up to $600, minus a $25 deductible, for damage to or theft of your phone (when you use the card to pay your monthly cell phone bill).

  • My Wells Fargo Deals retail offers.

Highlights of the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

Annual fee of $0

Some of the best rewards cards — especially those that have generous welcome offers and high ongoing rewards — come with an annual fee. You usually have to earn enough value in rewards to break even with the annual fee. That's not an issue with the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card. It's rare to find a travel rewards card that offers this much ongoing value at no yearly cost (assuming you don't rack up interest charges).

Useful reward categories

Reward categories for the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card are lucrative and broadly appealing. The 3 points per dollar spent apply to many spending categories you might use in a single day, even when you’re not traveling. They include restaurants, transit and gas stations. And nowadays, most people are paying for popular streaming services and phone plans, so you may as well get rewarded for it.

Travel and transit definitions are broad and include: airline, hotel/motel, timeshare, vehicle/auto rental, cruise lines, travel agencies, discount travel websites, campgrounds, passenger railway, taxis, limousines, ferries, toll bridges and highways, parking lots and garages. The gas stations category includes electric vehicle charging stations. And the restaurant category specifically includes caterers.

Adding to its everyday shopping appeal are retail offers. Cardholders have access to My Wells Fargo Deals — a merchant-funded platform that offers cash back in the form of a statement credit when shopping, dining or enjoying an experience. You must activate the deal first.

Travel-friendly

The lack of foreign transaction fees is welcome on the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card — and, really, should be table stakes for all travel credit cards. Plus, it's a Visa, which has worldwide acceptance.

Unlimited rewards

Sometimes underappreciated is whether a card’s bonus rewards are unlimited. The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card has no caps on its 3x rewards. That makes it even more lucrative for bigger spenders who would hit the bonus rewards cap with other cards and then be relegated to earning a mere 1 point per dollar spent.

For example, the Chase Freedom Flex℠ with an annual fee of $0 is a cash-back card, but it can be used as a travel card, too. (It offers 5% back on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.) While excellent in many ways, the card’s 5% rotating bonus categories are capped at $1,500 per quarter before dropping to 1% cash back.

Notable too: the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card points don’t expire so long as the card account is open.

The Wells Fargo one-two punch

A bonus rewards credit card like this one in conjunction with a good flat-rate credit card can dovetail nicely to amp up overall rewards. Wells Fargo has two of the better cards for such a pairing: this Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card for its bonus categories and travel perks, plus the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card for its high 2% cash back on all spending and a healthy sign-up bonus.

As an example, you would use the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card at restaurants and gas stations, earning 3 points per dollar spent, while pulling out the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card to pay the dentist, florist and other vendors who don’t fit into the bonus categories, earning 2 points per dollar spent.

Drawbacks of the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

Few premium perks

If you're seeking a card with exclusive travel perks and other benefits, you're probably going to have to pay for it. The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card doesn't come with an annual fee, but it also doesn't come with goodies like Global Entry/TSA PreCheck application reimbursement, airport lounge access or the ability to transfer rewards to hotel or airline partners.

Debatably, that knocks it down a step from many travel credit cards that offer those perks but also charge an annual fee.

For example, you would get free checked bags and early boarding on Delta flights with the Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card, which has an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $99.

Or, a hotel card like the World of Hyatt Credit Card, with an annual fee of $95, gives you an automatic free night annually.

Bonus categories to remember

If you want rewards from a travel card without annual fees but find the idea of remembering bonus categories unpalatable, the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card is a solid choice. Cardholders earn an unlimited 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases. You also earn 3 points per dollar spent — twice the card's usual rate — at the Bank of America® Travel Center. Rewards can be redeemed for credit against any travel purchase. Those who qualify for the bank's Preferred Rewards program can earn bonuses on their earnings of 25% or more.

And, again, if simple cash back is more your taste, you’ll have trouble beating the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card with 2% cash back on everything and a generous sign-up bonus.

No airline or hotel transfer partners

If your goal is to strategize with your travel points, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a strong contender. The card earns bonus rewards in various categories, including dining and travel (And through March 2025, it earns 5x the points on Lyft.) It has an annual fee of $95, but it also offers a rich sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. The secret sauce with this card is that points take on 25% more value when used to book travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal. So if you've accrued, say, 10,000 points, you can redeem for $100 cash back or $125 worth of travel. And because the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card allows you to transfer points to multiple airline and hotel partners, you might be able to squeeze even more value out of your rewards.

If you're looking for more credit card alternatives, check out NerdWallet's best credit cards page.

Should you get the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card?

The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card is not only a good travel credit card, but it's also a good card for everyday spending, too.

It won’t give you higher-end travel perks, like lounge access or free checked bags at the airport. But those premium perks come with a premium price.

If you don’t like annual fees, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better travel credit card than the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card, whether you’re on a far-flung journey or staying near home.

on Wells Fargo's website

Methodology

NerdWallet reviews credit cards with an eye toward both the quantitative and qualitative features of a card. Quantitative features are those that boil down to dollars and cents, such as fees, interest rates, rewards (including earning rates and redemption values) and the cash value of benefits and perks. Qualitative factors are those that affect how easy or difficult it is for a typical cardholder to get good value from the card. They include such things as the ease of application, simplicity of the rewards structure, the likelihood of using certain features, and whether a card is well-suited to everyday use or is best reserved for specific purchases. Our star ratings serve as a general gauge of how each card compares with others in its class, but star ratings are intended to be just one consideration when a consumer is choosing a credit card. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.