Editorial Review

Wells Fargo Propel AmEx Review: No Fee, So Much Value

No other card lets you rack up such rich rewards on such a wide swath of common spending categories while paying nothing to carry it. Just be aware of the trade-offs.

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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Our Take

3.8

NerdWallet rating

The Bottom Line: If you're looking for exclusive travel perks, this isn't the card for you. But if you want excellent rewards for an unbeatable price, it's hard to do much better than this.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

on Wells Fargo's secure website

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
14.49% - 26.99% Variable APR
Intro APR
0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
14.49% - 26.99% Variable APR
Intro APR
0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • No annual fee
  • Sign-up bonus
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Intro APR period on Purchases and Balance Transfers
Cons
  • American Express isn’t accepted at as many merchants as Visa or Mastercard
  • Requires good/excellent credit

recommended credit score

Alternate Pick: Straight cash back

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

No categories to remember: 2% everywhere

If you prize simplicity in a rewards credit card, this is a good option. You get an unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase: 1% when you buy something and another 1% when you pay it off. No categories to remember or points to mess around with. The annual fee is $0.

Read our review

Full Review

If you’ve been yearning to earn a big pile of travel points but can’t stomach the thought of paying a hefty annual fee to do so, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card might be what you’ve been looking for.

The main trade-off with the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card is that in exchange for an annual fee of $0, you’re giving up some swanky premium travel card perks like travel credits, airport lounge access, travel transfer partners, or reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA Precheck. If those extras are important to you, you’re likely better off with a different travel credit card.

But for pure points-earning potential, we can’t think of another card without an annual fee that offers as many lucrative incentives to apply.

Key features of the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card

  • Annual fee: $0
  • New-cardmember offer: New! Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months that's a $300 cash redemption value. Terms Apply.
  • Rewards: Earn 3 Go Far Rewards points per $1 spent on the following categories:
    • Eat & Drink. This category includes restaurant dining, takeout and bars.
    • Ride & Drive. This category includes gas stations, rideshares and transit.
    • Fly & Stay. This category includes flights, hotels, homestays and more.
    • Watch & Listen. This category includes eligible streaming services such as Apple Music, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora and Spotify Premium.

All other eligible spending earns 1 point per $1 spent. There’s no cap on the amount of points you can earn, and rewards never expire as long as your account is open. Points are worth a penny each and can be redeemed for things like travel, cash back or gift cards through the Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards portal. You can book travel using a combination of points and a payment card.

  • APR: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49% - 26.99% 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).
    • Travel accident insurance and lost luggage insurance.
    • Auto protections and insurances including roadside assistance and car rental coverage.
    • Purchase protections including return protection and extended warranty.

Nerd tip: You can pool Go Far Rewards among Wells Fargo cards, so if you also have the Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Credit Card, you can take advantage of that card’s enhanced redemption value on airfare, a Wells Fargo representative confirmed. The Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Credit Card is not available via NerdWallet.

» MORE: Wells Fargo credit cards mobile app review

Highlights of the card

  • Annual fee of $0. Some of the best rewards cards — especially those that offer generous welcome offers and high ongoing rewards — come with an annual fee. That means that for a card to be worth it, at a minimum you’d have to earn enough value in rewards to break even with the annual fee. That’s not an issue with the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card. It’s rare to find a travel rewards card that offers this much upfront and ongoing value at no yearly cost (assuming you don’t rack up interest charges).
  • Rich welcome offer. Speaking of upfront value, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card has plenty of it: New! Earn 30K bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months that's a $300 cash redemption value. Terms Apply. The card also has an introductory APR of 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 12 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49% - 26.99% Variable APR. Just make sure you pay your bill in full and on time; otherwise, what you’ll pay in interest fees after the promo period will eat away at the value of your rewards.
  • Rewards categories are widely inclusive. Unlike some other travel cards, the reward categories for the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card are both lucrative and broadly appealing. It’s not the only travel rewards card to include certain less-considered categories like campgrounds, tolls and taxis. But the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card also earns triple points on discount travel sites, not to mention homestays and rideshares. Before this card’s makeover, bonus rewards for travel weren’t even offered. The streaming services category is also a differentiator and could be valuable to the right kind of user.

» MORE: Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards program review

Drawbacks to consider

  • Redeeming for cash back is limited. You can redeem your rewards for cash back via a Wells Fargo ATM, but it has to be in $20/2,000-point amounts. You can also redeem by phone or online in $25/2,500-point increments, which can be applied directly toward any eligible Wells Fargo account, or you can request a check. If you have less than 2,000 points, those rewards will have to wait until you reach the minimum redemption amount.
  • It lacks some perks of traditional travel cards. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card doesn’t come with an annual fee, but it also doesn’t come with perks like Global Entry/TSA Precheck reimbursement, airport lounge access, or the ability to transfer your rewards to hotel or airline partners.
  • As an American Express card, it may have limited acceptance internationally. While the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, American Express isn’t as widely accepted outside the U.S. as are Mastercard and Visa. So for overseas travel, this card might not be your best bet.

Possible alternatives

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

If your goal is travel rewards plus perks, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a strong contender. The card earns 2 points for every $1 spent on travel and dining, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. It has an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95, but it also offers a rich sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 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 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.

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card offers simple and flexible redemption for your travel rewards. It charges an annual fee of $0 for the first year, then $95, but it, too, offers a generous sign-up bonus: Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel. This card also allows you to redeem your miles (at a penny each) for credit on your statement against any travel purchase you make. It earns 2 miles per $1 spent on every purchase, and it also offers the ability to earn 10 miles per dollar spent when booking stays through Hotels.com/venture.

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

If you’re not much of a traveler and you’re seeking a simple rewards structure, you might want to consider a flat-rate cash-back credit card, like the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. It has an annual fee of $0, but instead of tiered rewards, it offers 2% cash back on everything — 1% back when you make a purchase, and another 1% back as you pay for it.

If you’re looking for more information on how your credit card options might stack up, check out NerdWallet’s best credit cards page.

Should you get the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card?

As a travel credit card, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card packs an impressive combination of punches: rich rewards on a wide swath of spending categories, not to mention a handsome welcome offer, all for an annual fee of $0.

Keep in mind, though, that you might be able to get just as much value, or more, out of other travel cards that do charge annual fees. Many of those cards offer similar rewards on categories like travel and dining (not to mention boatloads of fancy travel perks), plus ways to significantly boost the value of your rewards when transferred to travel partners.

If you’re seeking a card that offers benefits like these — or if much of your spending isn’t aligned with the rewards categories of the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card — you might be better off with another option.

Information related to the Wells Fargo Visa Signature® Credit Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.