The Wells Fargo Propel is the best credit card for road trips
This no-annual-fee card is our top choice for drivers.
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The best things in life are never free. But, in the world of credit cards, the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card comes pretty darn close.
This is the no-annual-fee favorite of travelers, foodies, streamers, and spendthrifts—the kind of people who want to maximize their points-gathering without paying a dime. The Wells Fargo Propel offers more potential earnings than other rewards credit cards, so your run-of-the-mill purchases will earn you three points per dollar spent at places like gas stations and restaurants.
For that reason we’ve picked it as one of our favorite cards for everyday spending. It also nets a handful of basic perks to improve your everyday experiences, like cell phone protection and a lucrative sign-up bonus. And the best part? There’s no annual fee, so all these perks are at no cost beyond what you’d already be spending.
- Sign-up bonus: 20,000 points after spending $1,000 in the first three months
- Annual fee: None
- Introductory APR: 0% for 12 months
- Regular APR: Variable
- Points: 3x points on gas, dining (eating out and ordering in), transit, hotels, and select streaming services
- Introductory balance transfer fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater for the first 120 days after account opening
- Regular balance transfer fee: 5%
- Introductory balance transfer APR: 0% for 12 months
- Regular balance transfer APR: Variable
- Foreign transaction fees: None
- Late payment charge: Up to $37
Who should get the Wells Fargo Propel?
The Wells Fargo Propel AmEx card is great for those with good credit scores (think low 700s or above), and a bad pick for those who habitually sign up for new cards. Applicants with otherwise strong profiles (high credit score, strong credit history) have reported getting denied simply because they’ve signed up for too many new cards too recently. This includes cards outside the AmEx and Wells Fargo umbrellas.
You also should put your application on hold if you’ve opened a Wells Fargo card in the last six months. Per issuer policy, you may only open one every half year.
What points can you get with the Wells Fargo Propel?
You’d be hard-pressed to find a better, broader, triple-the-points-awarding credit card for no annual fee. The Wells Fargo Propel offers 3 points per dollar spent on gas, dining (eat in and take-out), travel, transit, and a handful of the most popular streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Hulu, and Netflix. You can easily earn hundreds of points by charging these everyday expenses to your Wells Fargo Propel card.
The further you look into Propel’s triple points rewards categories the more upside you’ll find. Wells Fargo’s generous interpretation of “travel and transit,” two common categories for rewards cards, is perhaps its standout feature. Consider this scenario:
Let’s say you’re flying through Newark to Philadelphia, where you’ll rent a car and drive to a discount hotel you booked online. But you miss your connection in Newark. It’s late; there are no more flights until morning. So you hop on the Amtrak, hoping and praying your car rental company will still be open when you get to Philly—it’s not. Nearly out of options (and very, very hungry) you call a ride-share to the nearest cheesesteak spot. Guess what: Five minutes in and your driver’s out of gas. He’s got the cash to fill the tank. But it’s late; the gas station’s only taking cards at this hour. You pay for the tank, he pays you back, and you both rock out to Spotify the rest of the ride.
Unlikely? Of course it’s unlikely. Nevertheless, Wells Fargo Propel rewards every expense of this hypothetical journey—from the ride-share to the gas tank and the cheesesteak to the train—with triple the points. You should use those points to book direct to PHL next time. And if you book that flight via Wells Fargo’s Go Far Rewards travel portal, you’ll get 50% more points to spend.
What perks can you get with the Wells Fargo Propel?
Our favorite perk is Wells Fargo’s cell protection plan. Get $600 in cell coverage (in the event your phone is damaged or stolen) simply by paying off your monthly phone bill with the Wells Fargo Propel. There’s a $25 deductible, but it's more than worth the cushion.
The Wells Fargo Propel card’s 20,000-point signing bonus is also worth a look. You automatically unlock this sweet bonus by spending $1,000 in your first three months‚ which shouldn’t be hard if you’re using this card to pay for gas, travel, transit, dining, and more. Valued at 1 cent per point, this $300 deal can go toward even more travel.
What else should you know about the Wells Fargo Propel?
Bad news for cardholders who have recently opened another Wells Fargo credit card: The Propel card may not offer you the best introductory rates and bonuses.
Per Wells Fargo policy, individuals who have opened any Wells Fargo-issued card in the past 15 months are not eligible for a second Wells Fargo card’s intro APR, balance transfer, or spending bonus perks. That means no 0% APR, no low balance transfer fee, no 20,000 bonus point boost. Consider waiting out those 15 months before applying.
What drawbacks does the Wells Fargo Propel have?
What the Wells Fargo Propel gives you with 3x bonus points on travel spending it deprives you in travel benefits. Similar travel-oriented rewards cards from the Platinum Card from American Express (5x points on flights booked directly with the airline or Amextravel and prepaid hotels booked on Amextravel) to the Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x points on travel) come with a bevy of travel perks, like airport lounge access and credit toward TSA Precheck applications; the Wells Fargo Propel does not. But you get what you pay for. While those other cards have annual fees as high as $550, Wells Fargo Propel has no annual fee.
As an AmEx-backed card, the Wells Fargo Propel may not be a good choice for world travelers either. You may run into problems in regions where businesses balk at AmEx’s higher merchant fee.
And last but not least: Pay your balance on time, every time. Wells Fargo slaps truants with a $37 late fee.
How does the Wells Fargo Propel rank in our reviews?
The Wells Fargo Propel Card’s 3x bonus categories have drawn our attention before. We’ve named it one of the best credit cards for new homeowners, a top choice for gas rewards seekers, and one of the best travel credit cards overall. With no annual fee and a bountiful 20,000 point sign-up bonus, there's a lot to love about this pick for you wallet.
So, is the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card worth it?
Given the upside its 3x points categories offers, and the freedom from annual fees that similar travel cards burden you with, the Wells Fargo Propel is a winner. By working it into your everyday spending habits you stand to accrue mounds of points.
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Please note: The offers mentioned above are subject to change at any time and some may no longer be available.
Things to Know About All Credit Cards
Long introductory period APR rates are only a short-term incentive. Potentially high APR rates snap into effect after the card’s intro period ends, which could cost you a lot in interest if you’ve left your balance unpaid. It’s really important—especially when getting a card for a big purchase—to keep an eye on your finances, and keep an eye on the calendar.
APR rates and credit limits vary based on your individual credit. Credit limits and interest rates for each card are determined based on each cardholder's personal situation, so we did not take that information into account when evaluating these cards. Remember to pay your card off in full every month, so you will not be charged interest.
Banks have final say on who they accept for a credit card. These recommendations were put together with the assumption that applicants would have average credit or above. That being said, banks decide who they will issue credit cards to using criteria including, but not always limited to, an individual's credit score when evaluating each applicant.