The bottom line: If you want excellent rewards for an unbeatable price, it's hard to do much better than this. But if you're looking for exclusive travel perks, this isn't the card for you.
Best No-Annual-Fee Travel Credit Card
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
13.99% - 25.99% Variable APR
0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers
Recommended Credit Score
- Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value
- $0 annual fee and no foreign currency conversion fee
- Earn 3X points on eating out and ordering in
Pros & Cons
No annual fee
No foreign transaction fee
Intro APR period on Purchases and qualifying Balance Transfers
American Express isn’t accepted at as many merchants as Visa or Mastercard
Requires good/excellent credit
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.
If you're 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 is one of the top options on the market.
The $0-annual-fee card features a rich rewards rate on travel and dining that rivals what you would find on several high-priced premium cards, and it extends that rate to other categories such as gas stations and even eligible streaming services.
Unlike those more expensive cards, you won't find swanky perks such as travel credits, airport lounge access, travel transfer partners or reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA Precheck. But it does come with a generous welcome offer, a 0% intro APR period, and extras like cell phone protection and supplementary rental car insurance. That's a ton of value for a card that costs nothing to carry.
Key features of the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Card type: Travel.
Annual fee: $0.
Welcome 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. Terms apply.
Rewards: Earn 3 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 multiple eligible streaming services, such as Amazon Prime, Apple Music, Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Now, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Sirius XM Radio, Spotify Premium and more.
All other eligible spending earns 1 point per $1 spent.
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. For cash back, you can redeem via a Wells Fargo ATM, as long as it's 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.
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 isn't available via NerdWallet.
APR: Get 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% - 25.99% Variable APR.
Foreign transaction fees: None.
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 reimbursement.*
Auto protection and insurance including roadside assistance and car rental coverage.*
Purchase protections including return protection and extended warranty.*
* Terms and conditions may apply.
Highlights of the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® 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, you would 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 ongoing value at no yearly cost (assuming you don't rack up interest charges).
widely inclusive reward categories
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. The streaming services category is also a differentiator and could be valuable to the right kind of user.
Rich welcome offer
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card features the following bonus for new card members: Earn 20,000 bonus points when you spend $1,000 in purchases in the first 3 months - that's a $200 cash redemption value. Terms apply. The card also has an introductory APR of 0% APR for 12 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 13.99% - 25.99% Variable APR.
Drawbacks to consider
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 Propel American Express® card doesn't come with an annual fee, but it also doesn't come with goodies like Global Entry/TSA Precheck reimbursement, airport lounge access, or the ability to transfer your rewards to hotel or airline partners.
Potentially limited international Acceptance
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.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
If you want rewards from a travel card without annual fees but find the idea of tracking 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 qualfy for the bank's Preferred Rewards program can earn bonuses on their earnings of 25% or more.
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 (the card earns 5X the points on Lyft through March 2022) and dining, and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. 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 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.
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.
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 looking for more information on how your credit card options might stack up, check out NerdWallet's best credit cards page.
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.
Frequently asked questions
This card earns points in Wells Fargo’s Go Far Rewards program. You earn 3 points per dollar on a range of common expenses: restaurant dining, takeout and bars; gas stations, rideshares and transit; travel purchases like flights, hotels and homestays; and eligible streaming services such as Apple Music, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora and Spotify Premium. All other spending earns 1 point per dollar. Points are worth 1 cent apiece.
You can redeem your rewards through the Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards portal. Points are worth 1 cent apiece. You can redeem them for travel, cash back or gift cards. However, when using them for cash back, you can redeem only in $25 increments — or $20 increments at a Wells Fargo ATM.
There’s no limit to the number of points you can earn on the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card, and rewards never expire as long as your account is open.
This card operates on the American Express payment network, although it is not actually issued by AmEx.
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card requires good to excellent credit. Generally speaking, good credit means a credit score of 690 or better. But a credit score alone isn’t enough to qualify for any credit card. Issuers take into account your income, existing debts and other information.
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