Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card: A top pick for everyday travel
It’s tough to earn ongoing rewards in this many categories with a single no-annual-fee card
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Wells Fargo Autograph Card Overview
The latest addition to Wells Fargo’s consumer credit card lineup, the Wells Fargo Autograph Card is the bank’s third new credit card since 2021. Boasting no annual fee and a solid rewards rate on restaurants, gas stations, transit, travel and more, this card also comes with a generous sign-up bonus and decent perks, making it worth considering if you need an everyday rewards card in your wallet.
That said, if you’re a foodie or traveler who prioritizes earning flexible points or cash back, you may need to find an alternative or pair this card with another reward or travel card to maximize your earnings.
What are the advantages and disadvantages?
- There is no intro APR offer on balance transfers, so it won’t be helpful if you need to chip away at an existing balance
- If you have a low credit score, your interest rate after the intro APR period for purchases could be up to 27.24 variable APR (17.24 percent, 22.24 percent, or 27.24 percent variable APR), which is pretty steep
- You can’t transfer points to airline and hotel loyalty programs, so the value of your rewards is limited
A deeper look into the current card offer
- Rewards rate: Earn unlimited 3X points on restaurant, travel, gas station, transit, popular streaming service and phone plan purchases. Plus, earn 1X points on other purchases
- Welcome offer: Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,500 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s a $300 cash redemption value
- Annual fee: $0
- Purchase intro APR: 0 percent intro APR for 12 months from account opening on purchases.
- Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
- Regular APR: 17.24 percent, 22.24 percent, or 27.24 percent variable APR
Current welcome offer
The Autograph card offers a generous welcome bonus of 30,000 bonus points when you spend $1,500 in purchases in your first 3 months, worth $300 in redemption value.
That’s quite impressive for a no-annual-fee rewards card, as many competing cards only offer bonuses worth $200, including popular cards like the Citi Custom Cash℠ Card (which offers a 20,000-point bonus worth $200 cash back) and the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card (which offers a $200 cash bonus). That said, the Autograph card’s bonus spending requirement is also much higher at $1,500 in your first three months, double the Custom Cash card’s $750 requirement in the first 3 months and triple the Quicksilver card’s $500 requirement in the first 3 months.
The Autograph Card offers a terrific mix of staple bonus categories, with rates that remain the same month-to-month, making it a lucrative and practical option for everyday spending, especially if you spend a lot on dining, commuting or phone plans. Plus, there is no cap on the number of rewards points cardholders can earn.
How you earn
The Wells Fargo Autograph Card awards 3X points spent on:
• Gas stations
• Popular streaming services
• Phone plans
• Transit and travel
All other purchases earn 1X points.
This is a terrific mix of bonus categories. While several other rewards cards feature categories like gas, dining, travel and transit, the Autograph card is perhaps the only rewards card that earns points in all of these lucrative everyday categories at once. The card’s phone plan bonus category is also unique and potentially valuable, as some families spend as much on their phone plan as others spend on dining out. These categories are also eligible for 3X rewards year-round, so you won’t need to track or enroll in rotating categories.
The Autograph card’s spending categories are an especially good fit for everyday travel and mimic those of popular travel rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® card and Citi Premier® card. On the downside, however, unlike those cards, the Autograph card doesn’t offer a higher rewards rate on travel purchases (just 3X points, like it offers in its other categories). The card is also lacking a grocery rewards category — one of the average person’s biggest spending categories — so it could fall short if it’s the only rewards card in your wallet.
How to redeem
In order to redeem for purchases, you must have at least 100 Rewards Points or $1 in Cash Rewards in your rewards account. Depending on the reward, rewards can be redeemed through a manual request or automatically. Redeeming points automatically is only available in increments of $25 in cash rewards or 2,500 points.
Among your options for redemption are:
• Redeeming through PayPal
• Redeeming through an eligible redemption account
• Redeeming through getting a paper check in the mail
You can redeem directly to an eligible Wells Fargo Account or Wells Fargo ATM using a Wells Fargo debit or ATM card, but only in increments of $20 in cash rewards or 2,000 points.
Compared to other rewards cards — especially those geared toward travel — the Wells Fargo Autograph Card doesn’t have a wide range of redemption options. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, allows you to redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards points earned with the Sapphire Preferred for cash back, statement credits (for which you can also earn a 25 percent boost on points, thanks to the Pay Yourself Back feature), gift cards, merchandise, travel, Amazon.com, Paypal and more.
Perhaps the card’s biggest limitation for frequent travelers is its lack of travel transfer partners. Competing travel cards from issuers like Chase and Capital One offer a long list of airline and hotel transfer partners, allowing you to move your points to another loyalty program and sometimes squeeze more value out of them. Indeed, some point transfers can even double the value of your points with these cards. Since the Autograph card doesn’t offer point transfers, your points are stuck at a flat value of 1 cent per point.
How much are the rewards worth?
Autograph card points are worth 1 cent apiece. In terms of cash value, this means the card will earn 3 cents back per dollar spent on purchases in its bonus categories and 1 cent per dollar back for all other purchases.
Other cardholder perks
In addition to earning points on purchases and having access to built-in zero liability protection, cardholders can get cash back as a statement credit through My Wells Fargo Deals, a merchant-funded platform that offers cash back on shopping, dining and entertainment (the deal must first be activated before receiving a statement credit).
You can earn decent reward points towards traveling with the Autograph card, however, unlike some travel rewards cards, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express, this one doesn’t offer any additional benefits that are useful for travel such as lounge access or free airport lounge day passes.
A few of the card’s standard benefits remain useful, however, including cell phone protection, collision damage waivers for auto rentals, travel and emergency assistance services, Visa Signature concierge service and luxury hotel collection access.
Cell phone protection
If your phone is damaged or stolen, you can be reimbursed up to $600 for the cost of repair or replacement (up to $1,200 per 12 month period) — but to use this benefit, you must consistently use the Wells Fargo Autograph Card to pay your monthly cell phone bill.
Auto rental collision damage waiver
If your rental car is damaged in an accident or stolen, you can be covered for up to $50,000 if you pay for the full cost to rent the car with the Wells Fargo Autograph Card and provide a letter of coverage with the rental agency (if required). Auto rental collision coverage is secondary in the U.S. and primary overseas.
Travel and emergency assistance services
Travel and Emergency Assistance Services such as medical and legal referral assistance, emergency ticket replacement, emergency transportation assistance, lost luggage locator services and more are made available 24/7, 365 days a year to help in case of an emergency while traveling away from home. When needed, a Wells Fargo benefit administrator can direct you to the appropriate local emergency and assistance resources.
Visa signature concierge and luxury hotel collection access
The Visa Signature Concierge service, which provides 24/7 assistance in booking travel, event tickets and dinner reservations, is complimentary with all Visa Signature cards. You’ll also get access to the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection, which comes with a premium collection of perks. Designed exclusively for Visa Signature cardholders, these benefits include automatic room upgrades (when available), complimentary in-room Wi-Fi, breakfast for two, a $25 food and beverage credit, and more.
Rates and fees
The Wells Fargo Autograph Card comes with no annual fee and offers a 0 percent APR on purchases for 12 months from account opening (17.24, 22.24, or 27.24 percent variable APR after that), which — while a welcome features — is a bit short even for a no-annual-fee rewards card. For example, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers 0 percent intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months with no annual fee (16.24 percent to 27.24 percent variable APR thereafter).
The card is also missing an intro APR on balance transfers, so it won’t be of much help if you need to chip away at existing debt. In that case, another Wells Fargo card, the Wells Fargo Reflect® Card would be a better fit since it offers one of the longest zero-interest intro APR periods on the market — up to 21 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers from account opening (15.24 percent to 27.24 percent variable APR thereafter, with on-time minimum payments during the intro and extension periods).
After the intro APR period ends, the Autograph card offers three potential APRs, depending on your creditworthiness. Its low-end variable APR of 17.24 percent is just lower than the average credit card APR, but its high-end variable APR is almost 10 percentage points higher (27.24 percent variable APR)
Though the card lacks an intro APR offer on balance transfers, you could still transfer a balance for a balance transfer fee of 5 percent of the transferred amount (or $5, whichever is greater). This fee is within the standard range for most credit cards (although it’s at the higher end), and there aren’t many rewards cards with a similar rewards rate or benefits that have a lower balance transfer fee.
The card also has no foreign transaction fee, which is great if you frequently travel abroad. Many cards charge a foreign transaction fee of 3 percent.
How the Wells Fargo Autograph Card compares to other rewards cards
This card offers some nice perks that make it worth considering if you’re looking for a new rewards card, but it’s not without flaws. Consider these alternatives, which offer rewards in other popular categories and more benefits.
Wells Fargo Autograph vs. Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards Card
Using the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards card, you can earn 3 percent cash back on the category of your choice (including online shopping, gas, dining and more) and 2 percent back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (on up to $2,500 in combined purchases across both 2 percent and 3 percent categories). You’ll also earn an unlimited cash back rate of 1 percent on all other purchases. Although the Customized Cash Rewards card offers rewards on grocery purchases (unlike the Autograph card), its bonus rewards rate isn’t unlimited like the Autograph card’s.
There may be some spending categories that you will be forced to miss out on with the Wells Fargo Autograph Card, but it has a less complicated structure than the Customized Cash Rewards card and no limit on reward earnings.
Wells Fargo Autograph Card vs. Chase Freedom Flex Card
The Chase Freedom Flex℠ card not only earns 3 percent back on dining (like the Wells Fargo Autograph Card), but also3 percent back at drugstores, 5 percent back on travel paid for through Chase Ultimate Rewards, and 5 percent cash back on up to $1,500 in bonus categories that rotate each quarter as part of the Chase cash back calendar (upon activation; purchases over $1,500 threshold earn just 1 percent back). This offers a great mix of cash back variety and consistency, allowing you to earn rewards year-round in major categories like dining and travel while also earning a much higher than average rate for part of the year in popular categories like grocery stores, wholesale clubs and online shopping.
If you like to strategize about where and when to earn rewards, choosing the Freedom Flex Card, could help you maximize your reward earnings across a wider range of spending categories, and its higher-earning travel category will be a big plus if you travel frequently. But if you don’t travel often or don’t want to keep track of varying rewards categories and how much cash back each category earns, the Autograph card may be a better fit.
Best cards to pair with this card
The best way to take advantage of this card is by pairing it with another rewards card that earns bonus rewards on groceries (one of the only major spending categories missing from the Autograph card) or a flat-rate cash back on all purchases (like a no–annual-fee 1.5 or 2 percent cash back card). This way you can earn 3X points at restaurants, gas stations, transit, and more, then use your other card to earn bonus cash back in a major spending category or an extra cash back on everything else you buy throughout the year.
For example, the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card would be a great choice because of generous 3 percent cash back rates on entertainment and groceries, two categories that would only earn 1X points with the Autograph card). You also won’t have to pay an annual fee or foreign transaction fees. Meanwhile, if you want a card that earns more back on general purchases and prefer to stick with one issuer, the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, which earns 2 percent cash rewards on purchases, would be the best choice.
Bankrate’s Take: Is the Wells Fargo Autograph Card worth it?
With no rewards limits and no annual fee, the Wells Fargo Autograph Card could be a great addition to your wallet, especially if you spend heavily on everyday travel and transit, dining or phone plans. It offers a great mix of practical bonus categories and a simple rewards program that makes it ideal for newbies and minimalists alike.
That said, the card’s APR range is on the higher end compared with some similar cards. And though the card’s bonus categories are a key part of its appeal, frequent travelers will likely find Wells Fargo’s rewards program cannot compete with those of Chase, American Express, or Citi in terms of rewards value or flexibility.
The Autograph card can be a great card to add to your collection if you’re looking for broad category coverage and value simplicity when earning rewards, but if you’re looking for more flexibility in rewards, redemption options and travel benefits, you might benefit more from a luxury travel card or a rewards card with tiered bonus categories.