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2021 Review: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® Card – Solid Travel Rewards

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By Kat Tretina May 12, 2020 | Updated Jan 22, 2021
Our rating
Min. credit level: Good
Annual Fee: $0
Regular APR: 14.49%-24.99% Variable

Our Rating: 4 Out of 5 Stars

We give the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card 4 out of 5 Stars for being a solid rewards card with interesting bonus categories that include streaming services.

Why We Like It

  • 3X points for gas, dining out, travel, and eligible streaming services
  • Intro bonus offer of 20,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • Redeem points for cash, gift cards, or travel
  • No expiration date on rewards points
  • 12 months at 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers (then 14.49%-24.99% Variable)
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee

Why It Could Be Better

  • Limited travel benefits other than protections
  • Selection of streaming services eligible for 3X points is limited
  • Poor reviews of customer service

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR14.49%-24.99% Variable

If you’re new to credit cards and looking to earn rewards, the Wells Fargo Propel could be a strong starter option. It’s one of several rewards cards issued by Wells Fargo.

Offering 3X points per dollar spent on gas, restaurants, travel, and streaming services, you can also earn 1X point per dollar on all other purchases. Those points are worth 1 cent each, so you could earn as much as 3% cash back.

There’s an offer of 20,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, which has a $200 cash redemption value. Plus, you can get 0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers for quite a while.

Cardholders get access to a nice suite of benefits, including travel protections and up to $600 in coverage for your cell phone.

With no annual fee, it’s a smart choice for beginners looking for a new rewards card. Like any good travel card, there’s no fee on foreign transactions.

However, Wells Fargo is known for less-than-stellar customer service, so you should keep that in mind before applying for a card.

Insider Advice: Getting the Most Out of Your Card

  • Use it for travel, food, and entertainment: Use the card for gas, dining out, travel, and select streaming services to earn 3X points per dollar spent. Consider using a different reward card for other purchases to earn more points.
  • Pay no interest fees: You’ll get 12 months at 0% APR for both purchases and balance transfers, giving you a year to pay off some debt without accruing interest. Then your rates will be 14.49%-24.99% Variable.
  • Take advantage of your benefits: The Propel card offers some valuable benefits that many other cards don’t, such as up to $600 in cell phone coverage if your phone is stolen or damaged.
  • Redeem for cash or statement credits: Using your points for cash or statement credits will be the quickest and easiest redemption methods, providing 1 cent per point.
  • Don’t pay fees when traveling: The Wells Fargo Propel card has no foreign currency conversion fees (i.e., foreign transaction fees), making it a useful option for international travelers (see other great cards without foreign transaction fees).

The Rewards

You can earn the equivalent of 1% to 3% cash back on your purchases, depending on what you buy.


Spending Rewards
  • 3X points per dollar on:
    • Dining
    • Gas
    • Travel
    • Streaming services
  • 1X point per dollar on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 20,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months

You can rack up rewards quickly for certain purchases, such as buying gas or dining out. A fairly unique feature is the 3X category for popular streaming services, a rare find on credit cards today but something we expect to see more going forward.

Since your points are worth 1 cent each, you’ll be earning a cash back equivalent of 3% when spending at the 3X rate. Other purchases will earn just 1% back.

The travel category is quite broad and covers a wide variety of purchases, which are shown below. The streaming services category is more limited, restricted to the services shown below.

“Dining” includes restaurants and bars, but does not include bakeries, grocery stores, and other merchants that may sell food. And “Gas” includes gas stations and automated fuel pumps, but it doesn’t include other places that may sell gas, like membership clubs, auto repair stores, or grocery stores.

Travel Category
Airlines Hotels Car rentals Travel agencies
Taxis Railways Parking lots and garages Toll bridges
Cruises Campgrounds Timeshares
Streaming Services
Apple Music Hulu Netflix
Pandora Sirius XM Radio Spotify Premium


Your points are always worth 1 cent each, regardless of the redemption method. Points never expire as long as your account is open, so you can build up a wealth of rewards without worrying about losing them.

There are multiple ways to redeem your points.

Redemptions for cash or statement credits tend to be the fastest and easiest methods, so we suggest sticking with those. But you can redeem your points in three basic ways:

  • Cash or statement credits
  • Flights, hotels, or car rentals via the Go Far Rewards program
  • Gift cards

The cash method will deposit your point value into a Wells Fargo deposit or credit account, or provide you with a paper check. The statement credit option will simply reduce your credit card account balance, and we typically recommend this method over cash.

Redemptions must be in increments of 2,500 for each method, which will provide $25 in value. To earn 2,500 points you’d need to spend $834 at the 3X rate.

If you redeem your points through the Go Far Rewards program there are no blackout dates on air travel. But this method requires quite a bit of planning and takes longer than the other options, without providing more value per point, so we suggest just sticking with statement credits.

The Benefits

Although the value of the Wells Fargo Propel card comes mainly from its rewards, it does offer some nice benefits to cardholders, too. One of the biggest highlights is its Cell Phone Protection program.

For more information, check out the Wells Fargo Propel Card’s Guide to Benefits.

  • Entertainment Access: You’ll get access to special offers and presale tickets to major events in cities around the United States. This feature can help you snag Hamilton or Wicked tickets you’d otherwise miss, although it’s mostly limited to big cities.
  • Free FICO Credit Score: Check your FICO Score 9, based on your Experian credit report, for free whenever you want. Although many credit cards offer this benefit, it’s still a nice feature that lets you monitor one of your FICO scores.
  • Cell Phone Protection: Pay your monthly cell phone bill with your Wells Fargo Propel card and you’ll get up to $600 in protection for your phone, with a $25 deductible.
  • Extended Warranty: Eligible manufacturer’s warranties can be extended by up to one year.
  • Purchase Protection: Eligible purchases made with the card are protected against accidental damage or theft for up to 90 days.
  • Return Protection: If you want to return an item within 90 days of purchase and the retailer won’t take it back, you may be eligible for a full refund, up to $300 per purchase and up to $1,000 per year.
  • 24-Hour Roadside Assistance: If you’re in an accident or if your car breaks down, get help with services like towing.
  • Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance: Provides coverage against damage or theft for eligible rental vehicles, as long as you decline the rental company’s insurance
  • Worldwide Travel Accident Insurance: When traveling by common carrier, you, your spouse, and your children are covered against accidental damage or dismemberment, up to $150,000.
  • Worldwide Travel Inconvenience Insurance: If your bags are lost or damaged when you’re traveling with a common carrier, you can receive up to $1,000 in coverage per trip.
  • Lost Luggage Reimbursement: Provides reimbursement if your luggage is damaged or lost by a common carrier, in eligible situations
  • 24/7 Personal Travel Assistance: Call any time, day or night, to get non-emergency help or information, such as passport requirements or business etiquette.
  • 24/7 Emergency Assistance Hotline: When you’re outside the country and have an emergency, get access to interpreters, urgent message relay, cash/bail assistance, and more.

The Terms & Fees

Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR
0% for 12 months, then 14.49%-24.99% Variable 0% for 12 months on qualifying balance transfers, then 14.49%-24.99% Variable 23.99%–25.99% Variable
Annual Fee Foreign Transaction Fee
$0 None
Balance Transfer Fee Cash Advance Fee
3% intro for 120 days, then 5% See Terms
Penalty APR Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
None Up to $37 Up to $37

Unlike many credit cards, the Wells Fargo Propel card does not have an annual fee, so you don’t have to worry about spending a certain amount to make it worthwhile.

The card also includes special promotional offers on new purchases as well as balance transfers. You’ll get a 0% introductory APR on purchases for 12 months. After that, your APR will be determined based on your creditworthiness.

For balance transfers, you’ll get 0% APR for 12 months as long as you complete the balance transfer within 120 days of opening the account. 0% balance transfer offers can help you save money and pay off your credit card debt faster because you won’t accumulate interest.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that you may not be eligible for the introductory APRs if you opened another Wells Fargo credit card within the last 15 months of applying for the Propel card and received another introductory APR offer or bonus points. You could be ineligible for the Propel’s introductory APRs even if you have since closed that other card.

There are no foreign transaction fees, making it a good option for those who travel internationally.

The Bottom Line

If you’re willing to overlook customer service reviews and want to earn rewards in certain categories, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card may be a solid choice.

You’ll likely get a lot of value from the card if you use it frequently to earn 3X points for gas, dining out, or travel. And, if you want a card to earn rewards on streaming services, this is one of the few you’ll find with that bonus category.

With an introductory bonus of 20,000 bonus points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months, a $200 value, you can get a reward in the form of cash, a statement credit, or a gift card. And with no annual fee, you don’t have to worry about spending minimums to make the card worth carrying.

However, if you’re looking to earn more cash back for routine purchases, like at grocery stores or wholesale clubs, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card will be inadequate. It would make more sense to look for another card, like the alternatives listed below.

How to Apply for the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card

To apply for the Wells Fargo Propel card, click on the Apply Now button below and complete the online application. Once you finish it and submit, you’ll typically receive a decision from Wells Fargo right away. However, there are some cases where it can take a few days or even longer to hear back, such as if the company needs to verify your information.

If approved, you’ll get a notification and it will list your credit limit. If you’re not approved, you’ll receive a letter in the mail detailing why you were denied.

What Credit Scores Do You Need for the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card?

The Wells Fargo Propel is designed for people with good credit.

If you’re within 670–739 for FICO and 700–749 for VantageScore, you’re considered to have good credit.

However, you could still be approved even if you have lower credit scores than what are recommended. Or, even if you have high enough credit scores, you might not be accepted. Credit card issuers rely on more than just credit scores when determining approval, including factors like income.

Qualifications and Requirements

  • Must be 18 to apply
  • Personal identifying information: Birth date, Social Security number, phone number
  • Financial information: Total household income, source of income, monthly mortgage/rent payment
  • You may not qualify if: You have opened a Wells Fargo credit card in the last six months

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR14.49%-24.99% Variable
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Alternatives to the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card

Citi® Double Cash Card - 18 month BT offer

Our rating
Min. credit level Excellent
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
Apply Now

securely on the issuer's website

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer (Review) is one of the best flat-rate cash back cards on the market.

You’ll earn 2% cash back: 1% when you make a purchase, and another 1% when you actually pay for it. This flat rate is good for any spending that doesn’t fall under the bonus categories of other reward cards. You’d normally get just 1% back for those non-category purchases, so the Double Cash will be more rewarding.

Unlike the Propel, the Citi Double Cash does have a foreign transaction fee. Additionally, you’ll have fewer protections and benefits with the Citi card, but you’ll be able to earn a good deal of rewards without having to pay attention to specific categories.

If you like, you could combine this card with the Wells Fargo Propel American Express. Use the Propel for all of your dining, streaming, gas, and travel needs, and the Citi card for everything else.

Spending Rewards
  • 2% cash back for every purchase you make (must pay at least the minimum due on time)
    • 1% back when you make a purchase
    • 1% back when you pay for that purchase
  • Free FICO credit score: See your FICO Bankcard Score 8, based on your Equifax credit report, on statements, online, and by mobile app.
  • Citi Concierge: Get restaurant suggestions, reservations, travel arrangements, shopping research, and more.
  • Citi Entertainment: Get preferred access and pre-sale tickets to events and experiences, from music to movies.
  • Balance Transfer APR: 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers, then 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
  • Purchase APR: 13.99% – 23.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign transaction fee: 3%
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
  • To earn cash back, pay at least the minimum due on time.
  • Balance Transfer Offer: 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers for 18 months. After that, the variable APR will be 13.99% – 23.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfers do not earn cash back.
  • If you transfer a balance, interest will be charged on your purchases unless you pay your entire balance (including balance transfers) by the due date each month.
  • There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.99% – 23.99% based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi’s discretion.

Citi is a Credit Card Insider advertiser.

Discover it® Cash Back

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR See Terms

The Discover it® Cash Back (Review) allows you to rack up cash back rewards on routine purchases like gas and groceries, at restaurants, and even at

And as an enticing bonus, Discover will double your rewards for your first year. However, you’ll get fewer protections with this card. So while this will be a rewarding option, especially during your first year of use, you’ll have less coverage for purchases and while you travel.

Like the Wells Fargo Propel, the Discover card has no annual fee or foreign transaction fee. But keep in mind that Discover cards don’t have very wide acceptance outside the U.S., so you may want to travel with another card as well.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back in categories that rotate every three months, up to $1,500 spent per quarter, then 1% (activation required)
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • Cashback Match: Get double cash back for the first year, provided at the end of the first year

Here’s the 5% cash back calendar for 2021, including categories from 2020.

Quarter 2020 Categories 2021 Categories
January – March
  • Grocery Stores
  • Walgreens
  • CVS
  • Grocery Stores
  • Walgreens
  • CVS
April – June
  • Gas Stations
  • Uber
  • Lyft
  • Wholesale Clubs
  • Gas Stations
  • Wholesale Clubs
  • Select Streaming Services
July – September
  • Restaurants
  • PayPal
  • Restaurants
  • PayPal
October – December

Discover’s Cashback Match is an excellent introductory offer, giving you a cash back equivalent of 10% in the bonus categories for that first year. Non-category purchases will all get 2% back in that first year, which is twice as good as most cards.

  • Free FICO credit score: See your FICO Score 8, based on your TransUnion credit report, on statements, online, and by mobile app.
  • Cash at Checkout: When shopping at participating locations, you can get cash at the register by charging an additional amount over your purchase for no extra fee.
  • Refer a Friend: Receive a statement credit bonus when you refer someone you know to apply for a Discover card (if he or she is approved).
  • Free Social Security number alerts: Discover will let you know if your Social Security number appears on an extensive list of dark web sites.
  • Quick Freeze: Place a hold on your card if you misplace it.
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: See Terms for See Terms, then See Terms
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $0

Chase Freedom Flex℠

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Annual Fee $0
Regular APR 14.99% - 23.74% Variable

The Chase Freedom Flex℠ (Review) features high rewards in quarterly rotating categories. It also comes with generous introductory APR offers on new purchases.

You can earn a $200 bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months, which is quite a small spending requirement compared to many reward cards. Most people can hit that requirement just by using the card for gas and groceries.

There’s a foreign transaction fee, but there are also the helpful intro rates for purchases and balance transfers. You’ll get access to Shop through Chase and Chase Offers with this card, where you might be able to find some useful offers with select vendors.

Spending Rewards
  • 5% cash back on:
    • Travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards
    • Lyft purchases (through March 2022)
  • 5% cash back on the first $1,500 spent per quarter (then 1%), in categories that rotate throughout the year (see calendar below)
  • 3% cash back at:
    • Restaurants
    • Drugstores
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • $200 bonus for spending $500 in the first 3 months
Quarter 2020 Categories 2021 Categories
January – March
  • Gas Stations
  • Streaming Services
  • Internet, Cable, Phone Services
  • Wholesale Clubs
  • Internet
  • Cable/Phone Services
  • Select Streaming Services
April – June
  • Grocery Stores
  • Streaming Services
  • Fitness Club & Gym Memberships
  • TBA
July – September
  • Amazon
  • Whole Foods Market
  • TBA
October – December
  • Walmart
  • PayPal
  • TBA
  • Three-month DoorDash membership: Subscribe for a free DashPass for three months, which provides free shipping and reduced service fees on orders over $12. You’ll be automatically enrolled in DashPass for 50% off for the next nine months.
  • Shop through Chase/Chase Offers: Earn extra cash back and find discounts with select retailers.
  • Chase Credit Journey: Monitor your credit with free access to your VantageScore 3.0, based on your TransUnion credit report, and receive helpful insight into the factors influencing the score.
  • Shopping and travel protections: Purchase protection, extended warranty protection, travel and emergency assistance services, roadside dispatch, auto rental collision damage waiver, and trip cancellation/interruption insurance
  • Purchase APR: 0% for 15 months, then 14.99% - 23.74% Variable
  • Balance Transfer APR: 14.99% - 23.74% Variable
  • Annual fee: $0
  • Earn a $200 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!
  • Earn 5% on travel purchased through Chase, 3% on dining at restaurants and drugstores, and 1% on all other purchases.
  • No annual fee.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, then a variable APR of 14.99 – 23.74%.
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back. Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Our rating
Min. credit level Good
Annual Fee $95
Regular APR 15.99% - 22.99% Variable

The main features of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (Review) are wide-ranging opportunities to earn points, a large signup bonus, and the ability to transfer your points to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs.

This card does have an annual fee of $95, but it comes along with a nice set of benefits (including Shop through Chase) and more redemption options for your rewards than the Wells Fargo Propel offers. Some of those options could give you more value for your points. Usually, if you can find a value of 2 cents or more, it’ll be a pretty lucrative deal.

So it’s more expensive than the Propel card, with similar bonus categories. But it also features the valuable ability to transfer your points to other programs, and excellent travel protections.

Spending Rewards
  • 2X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent on:
    • Travel
    • Dining at restaurants
  • 1X Ultimate Rewards point per dollar spent everywhere else
Introductory Bonus Offer
  • 60,000 bonus points for spending $4,000 in the first 3 months, plus up to $50 in statement credits toward grocery purchases

Ultimate Rewards (UR) points are generally worth 1 cent each. But redeem them through the Chase Ultimate Rewards program for travel expenses and you’ll get 1.25 cents per point.

That would give you a cash back equivalent of 2.5% for travel and dining, with 1.25% everywhere else.

You can also transfer your points to an airline or hotel program, where you might get as much as 2 cents per point or more. That’d give you a cash back equivalent of 4% for travel and dining.

  • 25% point bonus: When redeeming for travel expenses through Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Point transfer: 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value
  • 15,000-point referral bonus: Receive a 15,000-point bonus for every friend you refer who applies and is approved, up to 75,000 bonus points per year.
  • Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection: Book through this program to get perks like daily breakfast for two, complimentary WiFi, room upgrades, early check-in or late check-out, and a unique gift.
  • Shop through Chase/Chase Offers: Earn more points by shopping at participating retailers with the Shop through Chase and Chase Offers programs.
  • Chase Preferred Experiences: As a Sapphire Preferred cardholder you’ll have access to exclusive events and experiences provided by Chase.
  • Visa Signature Concierge: You can call 1-800-953-7392 to speak with your Visa Signature Concierge, 24/7.
  • Travel and shopping protections: Trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, purchase protection, and more.
  • Dedicated customer service specialists: Get 24/7 access to a dedicated customer service line.
  • Purchase and Balance Transfer APR: 15.99% - 22.99% Variable
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Annual fee: $95
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases.
  • 2X points on dining at restaurants including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash’s subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 2x total points on up to $1,000 in grocery store purchases per month from November 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. Includes eligible pick-up and delivery services.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

Our rating
Min. credit levelGood
Annual Fee$0
Regular APR14.49%-24.99% Variable

Looking to maximize rewards on your next trip? See some other great card options in the Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards.

Do you use the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card? Let us know how you like it in the comments below!

At a glance

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express card will reward you for buying gas, booking travel, subscribing to streaming services, and eating out. There’s no annual fee along with standard shopping and travel protections.

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