Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card

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Great for gas station and restaurant rewards, but so-so for general spending.

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On paper, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card looks very attractive. It charges no annual fee and offers up to triple points for every dollar spent.

But you can only earn those 3x points at U.S. gas stations. For most consumers, gas probably isn’t in their top two or three spending categories annually, so this enhanced reward has limited value – especially when you consider this card’s rewards in other categories are average at best.

Review

It really pays to know your spending habits before signing up for this card. For those whose biggest expenses are gas and restaurant purchases, this may work out to be the best card for you. But typical suburban households are likely to spend more on groceries than restaurants, which means there are other, better options out there.

We like that Propel offers a 10% annual relationship bonus to card holders who also have a qualifying checking or savings account with Wells Fargo. The bonus is paid once a year and applies only to “non-bonus” rewards points. Bonus points are considered the second and third point earned for every dollar spent at a U.S. gas station, for example.

Who should get this card

If you spend a ton of time in your car, you’re probably spending big at the pump. The Wells Fargo Propel American Express card can help you keep more of your hard-earned cash with a best-in-class unlimited 3x points per $1 spent on purchases at U.S. gas stations. This card also pays 2x points at U.S. restaurants and 1 point all other spending. Anyone who is on the road a lot for work or for fun, could benefit from the rewards structure of this card.

Advantages
  • Earn 20,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 in the first three months.
  • There’s no annual fee.
  • For a no-fee card, the U.S. gas station and U.S. restaurant rewards are generous.
  • Terms apply.
Disadvantages
  • There are cards with bigger sign-up bonuses.
  • If you’ve opened another Wells Fargo credit card during the 16 months prior to applying for this card, you won’t be eligible for the points bonus or introductory APRs.
  • For categories outside of gas and restaurants, you can earn bigger rewards with other cards.

Fees and APR

  • This card charges no annual fee.
  • The introductory balance transfer fee is 3% of the amount transferred from another credit card for 12 months. After that, the fee is up to 5% for each transfer.
  • This card comes with a 0% APR introductory offer on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable 13.99% to 25.99% based on creditworthiness.
  • See Rates & Fees.

Extras, perks and using points

Wells Fargo card holders will receive early access to purchase tickets to select entertainment events including concerts and performances.

If you pay your monthly mobile phone bill with this card, you’ll get damage and theft insurance on your device up to $600, minus a $25 deductible. If you’re already paying for mobile phone insurance, this could save you some money.

This card also comes with American Express auto and travel protections and benefits.

If you have a Wells Fargo checking account you can link it to this card and get overdraft protection.

Points can be redeemed through Go Far Rewards, the Wells Fargo rewards portal, for travel, gift cards, cash redemption options or merchandise. Points are good for five years and the minimum amount to redeem is 2,500 points.

How this card compares

Citi® Double Cash Card
Card Details
  • Earn cash back twice on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back
  • 0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.49% - 24.49% based on your creditworthiness
  • Click 'Apply Now' to see the applicable balance transfer fee and how making a balance transfer impacts interest on purchases.
  • No categories to track, no caps on cash back, no annual fee*
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 14.49% - 24.49%* (Variable)
Annual Fee $0*
Purchase Intro APR N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 18 months*

When it comes to rewards value, the Citi Double Cash Card ranks among the very best cash-back credit cards that charge no annual fee.

So why, you might ask, does this card not receive a higher score from Bankrate? There are a couple reasons, but the main thing dragging this card down is this: Because Citi Double Cash offers no sign-up bonus, it struggles to compete with many cards in this category.

Longer-term, the Citi Double Cash Card may earn you more rewards. Earn an unlimited 1% cash back when you make a purchase and another 1% back when you pay for those purchases.

Card Details
  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate
  • Enjoy new 5% categories each quarter like gas stations, restaurants and drugstores
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases - it's automatic
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 15.99-24.74%. Balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
  • No annual fee
Credit Needed Good
Regular APR 15.99% - 24.74% Variable
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% for 15 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 15 months

If you’re up for the challenge of tracking bonus rewards categories, Chase Freedom can give you some real cash-back bang for your buck. For travel junkies and road warriors, this card is ideal when paired with an eligible Chase card to reap maximum travel rewards on your spending.

If you don’t want to do the work, get a card that offers a flat cash-back rate better than what you’ll find here.

If you’re someone who finds the challenge of bonus category worth the effort, you might be better off with a card like the Chase Freedom, which has quarterly rotating 5% bonus categories up to $1,500 in combined purchases and pays an unlimited 1% back on all other purchases.

Card Details
  • Intro Offer: Discover will match all the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically.
  • Earn 5% cash back at Amazon.com and Target now through December 2017, on up to $1,500 in purchases when you activate. Plus, 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Redeem your cash back for any amount, any time. Cash rewards never expire.
  • 100% U.S. based customer service.
  • Get your free Credit Scorecard with your FICO® Credit Score, number of recent inquiries and more.
  • New! Receive Free Social Security number alerts-Discover will monitor thousands of risky websites when you sign up.
  • No annual fee.
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 11.99% - 23.99% Variable
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% for 14 months
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% for 14 months

You won’t earn one of those huge sign-up bonuses other cards offer, but if you’re looking for a no-frills cash-back card, the Discover it credit card does come with one intriguing feature: Discover automatically matches all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card
Card Details
  • No annual fee
  • $150 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 on purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and 3% on gas for the first $2,500 in combined grocery/wholesale club/gas purchases each quarter
  • No changing categories and no expiration on rewards
  • 0% Introductory APR for 12 billing cycles for purchases and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days, then, 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR. 3% fee (min $10) applies to balance transfers
  • Get a 10% customer bonus every time you redeem your cash back into a Bank of America® checking or savings account
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards client, you can increase that bonus to 25% - 75%
Credit Needed Excellent
Regular APR 13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Annual Fee $0
Purchase Intro APR 0% Introductory APR on purchases for 12 billing cycles
Balance Transfers Intro APR 0% Intro APR for 12 billing cycles for balance transfers made in the first 60 days

In spring 2017, Bank of America modestly boosted the sign-up bonus value on its Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card (formerly known as BankAmericard Cash Rewards), but that was enough reason to move this card from a “no thanks,” to a “maybe.”

You’ll earn $150 in online cash rewards after you make just $500 in purchases during the first 90 days of account opening. That spending requirement is fairly low – even for a rewards card that carries no annual fee.

EDITORIAL NOTE

Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.