BEST CREDIT CARDSBEST CREDIT CARDSWELLS FARGO AUTOGRAPH℠ CARD REVIEW: BIG REWARDS, NO ANNUAL FEE

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card Review: Big Rewards, No Annual Fee

Cardholders can 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.
Gregory Karp Author Avatar
May 29, 2024 6:24 p.m. PDT
Edited by
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The Bottom Line

4.5

NerdWallet rating

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

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1x-3x
Points
Intro Offer
20,000
Points
Recommended credit score
Intro APR
0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months from account opening
Regular APR
20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR
Recommended credit score
Annual Fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1x-3x
Points
Intro Offer
20,000
Points
Recommended credit score
Intro APR
0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months from account opening
Regular APR
20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR
Recommended credit score
  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Rewards rate

    1x-3x

  • Bonus offer

    Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value.

  • Intro APR

    0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months from account opening

  • Ongoing APR

    APR: 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR

    Cash Advance APR: Refer to Important Credit Terms

  • Balance transfer fee

    up to 5%, min: $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

View Rates and Fees
  • Select “Apply Now” to take advantage of this specific offer and learn more about product features, terms and conditions.
  • Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value.
  • Earn unlimited 3X points on the things that really add up - like restaurants, travel, gas stations, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans. Plus, earn 1X points on other purchases.
  • $0 annual fee.
  • 0% intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases. 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% variable APR thereafter.
  • Up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft. Subject to a $25 deductible.
  • Redeem your rewards points for travel, gift cards, or statement credits. Or shop at millions of online stores and redeem your rewards when you check out with PayPal.
  • Find tickets to top sports and entertainment events, book travel, make dinner reservations and more with your complimentary 24/7 Visa Signature® Concierge.

Pros and 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

Detailed 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. Plus, those points are flexible; you can even transfer them to a limited number of travel partners.

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 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.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Some Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card holders were moved to the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card when the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card was discontinued in 2023.

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card: Basics

Card type: Travel.

Annual fee: $0.

Sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value.

Rewards: Unlimited 3 points per dollar spent on:

  • Restaurants.

  • Travel and transit.

  • Gas stations (and electric vehicle charging stations).

  • Popular streaming services.

  • Select phone plans.

Plus, 1 point per dollar spent on 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. Points can also be transferred to eligible travel partners. More on that below.

APR offer: 0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months from account opening, and then the ongoing APR of 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fee: 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).

  • Hotel and airline transfer partners

  • My Wells Fargo Deals retail offers.

The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card vs. the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card

The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card has a $95-annual-fee sibling, the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card. The cards have different reward structures, but some of the same benefits.

Empty Table Header

Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card

Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card

Annual fee

$0

$95

Sign-up bonus

Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value.

Earn 60,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s $600 toward your next trip.

Rewards

  • 3 points per $1 on restaurants.

  • 3 points per $1 on travel and transit.

  • 3 points per $1 on gas stations and electric vehicle charging stations.

  • 3 points per $1 on popular streaming services.

  • 3 points per $1 on select phone plans.

  • 1 point per $1 on other eligible purchases.

  • 5 points per $1 on hotels.

  • 4 points per $1 on airlines.

  • 3 points per $1 on other travel and dining.

  • 1 point per $1 on other eligible purchases.

Travel credits

None.

$50 airfare statement credit each year (with $50 minimum airline purchase).

Travel transfer partners

Yes.

Yes.

APR

0% intro APR on Purchases for 12 months from account opening, and then the ongoing APR of 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR.

The ongoing APR is 21.24%, 26.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR.

Foreign transaction fee

None.

None.

Compare to Other Cards

ANNUAL FEE
$0
REWARDS RATE
1x-3x
Points
INTRO OFFER
20,000
Points
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
ANNUAL FEE
$0
REWARDS RATE
1.5x
Miles
INTRO OFFER
Discover Match®
Miles
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
ANNUAL FEE
$95
REWARDS RATE
1x-5x
Points
INTRO OFFER
60,000
Points
RECOMMENDED CREDIT SCORE
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Benefits and Perks

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.) 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.

Ample redemption options

No matter how you redeem your rewards, the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card has plenty of options. Points are generally worth a penny each when used toward a statement credit, gift cards or booking travel through Wells Fargo's portal.

But for travelers willing to put in the work, transferring points to the card's transfer partners can provide outsized value:

Airlines

Hotels

To be sure, that list of partners isn't as broad as you'll find on other cards that earn transferrable point currencies — such as Chase Ultimate Rewards® or American Express Membership Rewards. But it's a pretty rare and remarkable feature for a $0-annual-fee travel card.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Points can be combined among Wells Fargo primary-cardholder accounts. For example, if you hold the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, cash-back rewards earned on that card can also be combined with rewards from the Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card and the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card. However, if you hold only the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, you cannot transfer rewards to travel partners.

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 and Considerations

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 or airport lounge access.

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 a free checked bag for you and a companion, plus priority boarding on United flights with the United℠ Explorer Card, which has an annual fee of $0 intro for the first year, then $95.

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 of America 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.

How To Decide If It's Right For You

The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card is not only a good travel credit card, but it's also a good card for everyday spending, too. There are plenty of redemption options, including access to travel transfer partners.

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.


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.

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