Wells Fargo Propel wins for the $0 annual fee
The Premier Rewards Gold card from American Express and the Wells Fargo Propel American Express card are both quality options for travel rewards credit cards.
For frequent travelers, having a travel rewards card makes sense.
Choosing the right one often requires comparing everything from benefits and customer service to fees, rewards, and other terms and conditions.
If you're looking for a travel rewards credit card and thinking of signing up for either the Premier Rewards Gold card or the Wells Fargo Propel card, we've compared both of them to make your choice easier.
Even though these two travel rewards cards are similar, it doesn't mean we weren't able to decide a winner when we compared them.
The fee is the thing. The Wells Fargo Propel card charges no annual fee.
The Premier Rewards Gold card charges $195 a year (waived in year one).
When it's this close, the annual fee makes the difference for our verdict.
Why You Should Consider These Rewards Cards
Both cards offer solid opportunities to earn and redeem points for travel
Both the Premier Rewards Gold card and the Propel Amex let you earn extra points for travel expenses.
With either card, those points can be redeemed for more travel.
Don't pay extra for spending overseas. Each card waives all foreign transaction fees for purchases made outside of the country.
Big bonuses all around. No matter which card you pick, you get a 5-figure travel reward points sign-up bonus.
The Premier Rewards Gold card and the Wells Fargo Propel both offer pretty great travel discounts and perks.
Both are designed for jet-setters
These cards will appeal to people who travel a lot.
If you're a big spender on airline fares, gas stations, and restaurants, these cards can reward you.
Different people travel for different reasons. Maybe you travel a lot for your business.
Or perhaps you're spending your retirement globetrotting to destinations still on your bucket list.
No matter what reason you have for clocking lots of miles, these travel rewards credit cards can reward you for all the time and money you spend away from home.
|Wells Fargo Propel American Express card||Premier Rewards Gold card from American Express|
|How high of a credit score do you need?|
>680 (Good or Excellent)
>680 (Good or Excellent)
|How big of a sign-up bonus do you get?|
20,000 bonus points
25,000 bonus points
|How much do you need to spend to get the bonus?|
$1,000 in first 3 months after account opening
$2,000 in first 3 months after account opening
|How many points do you get for every dollar?|
3 points for spending at U.S. gas stations
2 points for spending at U.S. grocery stores
1 point for everything else
3 points for flights booked directly with airlines
2 points for spending at U.S. restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets
1 point for everything else
Points expire in 5 years
|If you spent $100 on the card, then how much would the points be worth in dollars?|
$3 (3x category)
$2 (2x category)
$1 (1x category)
10%+ bonus on 1X categories if you have a Wells Fargo Bank account
Variable points values
$0.70-$1 (1x category)
$1.40-$2 (2x category)
$2.10-$3 (3x category)
|How much would you need to spend on the card to make up for the fees (excluding APR/rates)?|
$19,500 (@ 1x rate)
$9,750 (@ 2x rate)
$6,500 (@ 3x rate)
You're the ideal customer for the Wells Fargo Propel if you need a true travel credit card
Although we mentioned these two travel rewards credit cards are very similar, there's another huge difference in addition to the annual fee.
The Wells Fargo Propel is an actual credit card, and functions just like you'd expect a credit card to.
Here's how credit cards like Wells Fargo Propel work. You make purchases using the card.
If you can't pay your expenses off in full at the end of the month you can carry a balance to the next month (just make sure your minimum payment is covered).
You'll get charged interest on the unpaid balance.
You can carry a balance as long as you make your minimum payments.
The Premier Rewards Gold is for you if you're looking for a charge card
A charge card is different from a credit card.
With a charge card, you can't carry an unpaid balance into the next month.
Full payment is a requirement, not an option. Your balance must be paid in full at every monthly billing cycle.
Still functions a lot like a credit card. Like credit cards, a charge card like the Premier Rewards Gold card is handy for making cash-free or online payments.
It's also great for racking up reward points.
Here's a big warning. If you need to carry a balance into the next month, a charge card like the Premier Rewards Gold is not the right pick for you.
If you need credit, choose the credit card. For people who are going to need to use a credit card to borrow, the only option here is the Wells Fargo Propel.
The Winner's Strengths
Earn more points with Wells Fargo Propel if you travel by car
Both cards have spending categories where you can earn triple the number of points per dollar spent.
For the road warrior. Wells Fargo Propel offers 3x points for U.S. gas station purchases.
If you do a lot of your traveling by car it can mean a lot more points over time.
Points for eating out. Wells Fargo Propel also gives you 2x points for all restaurant expenses in the U.S.
For all other expenses, you earn at a rate of one point per dollar.
The Premier Rewards Gold has the biggest sign-up bonus
When you sign up for the Premier Rewards Gold, you get 25,000 membership rewards bonus points.
You just have to spend $2,000 in the first three months after the account opening to qualify for the sign-up bonus points.
Points don't carry standard cash value. With most travel rewards credit cards, 25,000 points are usually the equivalent of $250.
You need to redeem the Membership Rewards Points you earn through Amex's Membership Rewards Program or transfer them to another frequent traveler program.
The biggest complaint is the same number of points can be worth different amounts
The problem is the Membership Rewards Points are worth different amounts for different expenses through the Membership Rewards Program.
For example, if you want to use 10,000 Membership Rewards Points for a flight ticket purchase, they are worth $100 (make sure you buy on the best day of the week!).
If you want to use the same 10,000 Membership Rewards Points for a hotel or cruise, they're only worth $70.
Suddenly, 25,000 bonus points don't seem as valuable. If you redeemed them for hotels and cruises they'd only be worth 17,500 points ($175).
Wells Fargo Propel's sign-up bonus is nothing to shake a stick at. With a 20,000 point sign-up bonus offer, the Wells Fargo Propel still gives new cardholders a good incentive to get on board.
You also only have to spend $1,000 in the first three months after the account opening to claim the bonus points.
Straightforward points redeeming. Unlike the Premier Rewards Gold's confusing system for redeeming the same points for different values, the Wells Fargo Propel redeems points at a rate of 100 points per dollar across the board.
More flexible redemption options. There are also a lot more options for redeeming points with Well Fargo.
Take the cash. You can use your points as a statement credit, which is as good as cash.
You can even ask for a check.
The Premier Rewards Gold does not offer cash back rewards or statement credits.
Premier Rewards Gold is for flyers. If the Wells Fargo Propel is for drivers, the Premier Rewards Gold is for frequent flyers.
You earn 3x rewards points for flights booked directly with an airline (though make sure you understand point differentials airline to airline beforehand!).
Double points for common expenses. The Premier Gold Rewards card also gives you the chance to earn 2x points for purchases made at U.S. restaurants, gas stations, and supermarkets.
Bonuses and Benefits
Wells Fargo Propel's 10% "Relationship Bonus" sweetens the deal
A fantastic bonus the Wells Fargo Propel offers its clients is the chance to earn 10% more on points every year.
Go all-in and get rewarded. If you're willing to set up a savings or checking account with Wells Fargo Bank, you'll get a 10% bonus on non-bonus points.
It's not a one-time bonus, it's a bonus you get at the end of every year.
Being in a relationship pays. Let's say you used the Wells Fargo Propel card for $25,000 in expenses outside of gas stations and restaurants.
You would earn 25,000 points for those expenses—and if you have a Wells Fargo Bank account, it would be bumped up 10% to 27,500 with the Relationship Bonus.
That's a $250 increase in total point value.
Underwhelming bonus. Premier Rewards Gold has its own version of an annual bonus—a $100 airline credit.
This may sound good at first, until you realize you can only use the credit for incidental costs like baggage fees.
And you have to pick one and only one airline to redeem with.
The Premier Rewards Gold has a longer list of travel benefits
If you were strictly making your decision between these cards based on the travel benefits they offer, you'd probably go with the Premier Rewards Gold.
Support while you're out of the country. The list of travel perks includes hotel credits and 2x earnings for Amex ‘s "Hotel Collection."
You also get access to a Global Assist Hotline if you find yourself in a jam while traveling, and a Personalized Travel Service helps you with booking flights or accommodation.
You're covered for vacation mishaps. Baggage insurance, car rental loss or damage insurance, and roadside assistance are also all available to Premier Rewards Gold cardholders.
Wells Fargo Propel travel benefits focus on discounts. Cardholders can access domestic and international airline fares at lowered rates.
They also get discounted rates on hotels and car rentals, as well as special fares for cruise trips.
Travel emergencies are also covered. Like the Premier Rewards Gold card, the Wells Fargo Propel also reimburses lost luggage and provides car rental collision and liability insurance.
Travel and emergency assistance, as well as roadside assistance and emergency cash advances, are available to cardholders.
Costs and Fees
Wells Fargo Propel's $0 annual fee can't be beat
When we compared the costs and fees for these two cards, there was no contest.
No annual fee, ever. The $0 annual fee for the Wells Fargo Propel card isn't just a one-time bonus or first-year sign-up offer—it's permanent.
Wells Fargo Propel's $0 annual fee is not completely unique.
Other travel credit cards like the BankAmericard Travel Rewards card also charge nothing for an annual fee.
$195 a year is a deal killer. Considering you aren't even asking the credit card issuer to actually lend you any money, Premier Rewards Gold's $195 annual fee seems very high.
Travel credit card competitors like the Barclaycard Arrival are only charging $89 a year in annual fees.
The honeymoon will be over soon. Even though the Premier Rewards Gold waives the $195 annual fee in year one, year two will come before you know it.
At the highest rewards points redemption rate, you'd have to earn 19,500 points just to recover the value of the annual fee.
The Premier Rewards Gold can't charge interest since there's no balance
Comparing APR interest rates between these two cards is impossible.
Since it's a charge card and not a credit card, the Premier Rewards Gold doesn't charge interest.
Not a loan with interest. If there is no unpaid balance being carried over to the next month, there's nothing to charge interest on.
No intro APR offer. Of course, since it's a charge card it also means there's no introductory period with a lowered APR.
Wells Fargo Propel's APR varies depending on your credit score. The APR charged by the Wells Fargo Propel can be set at anywhere from 14.24–26.24%.
Your chances for approval will be highest if you have a credit score above 680.
The interest rate you receive will also be more favorable the higher your credit score.
0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers in year one. For the first 12 billing cycles after you sign up for the Wells Fargo Propel, you won't be charged any interest.
Purchases and balance transfers made with the card in year one won't be charged any interest until after the first 12 months after the account opening.
Wells Fargo Propel customers are not happy with their service
Upon review, you'll see that it's obvious that customers are not loving the service they receive.
Bait and switch. Wells Fargo credit card clients complain that the promotional offers they signed up for were not honored.
Higher than expected APRs after the 0% introductory period ends are also reported, even for customers with "Excellent" credit scores.
Customers like the service from Premier Rewards Gold card. Customer service reviews for the Premier Rewards Gold card are much more positive.
Excellent monitoring for fraudulent activity is something the reviews comment on.
Redeeming points through the Membership Rewards Program is described by customers as easy and straightforward.
If they need assistance, it's there for them via the telephone or chat support reps.
Key Digital Services
The Premier Rewards Gold's mobile app is the most impressive digital service
Premier Rewards Gold card members are given access to the Amex Mobile App.
Enhancing your credit card experience with technology. The Amex Mobile App gives you alerts for nearby deals.
You can also explore the Member Rewards Program with the app.
Manage all aspects of your account. You can use the app to manage your account no matter where you are.
If there's a fraud alert, the app will let you know.
Wells Fargo Propel's technology is just ho-hum. When you explore the Wells Fargo Propel website for digital services, you learn there's a banking app and the card uses chip technology.
Neither of those digital features is particularly impressive—in fact, if a card didn't have those features we'd be surprised.
- How do you get started with these two cards?
People are encouraged to apply online for the Wells Fargo Propel.
You'll need your social security number and information about your income.
The credit card issuer reviews the information, runs a credit check, and makes a decision based on your creditworthiness.
You'll get the decision in the form of an email.
If you are approved, the confirmation email will let you know your credit limit.
For the Premier Rewards Gold, you're also encouraged to apply online.
You can get the decision in as little as 30 seconds according to the application page.
Applications can also be made over the phone at 1-800-243-8888. Phone reps are unable to approve online or email special offers.
- Do the rewards points expire on these cards?
The rewards points you earn with the Wells Fargo Propel need to be used within five years of their being earned.
The Membership Rewards Program miles earned through the Premier Rewards Gold never expire.
- Are either of these cards suitable for balance transfers?
Since you can't carry a balance on the Premier Rewards Gold card, there are no balance transfers.
The Wells Fargo Propel card could be a good option for balance transfers from another credit card account.
With the introductory 12-month 0% APR on balance transfers, you can have a year interest-free after the account opening to pay off the balance if you move it over.
Just keep an eye on the regular APR you'll be charged once the first 12 months after the account opening is done.
If it's higher than the original APR, you need to be sure you can pay it off in a year.
- How do I cancel these cards?
To cancel a Premier Rewards Gold account, you'll need to call the customer service center at 1-800-528-4800.
The $195 annual fee is charged upfront on the first monthly bill of each year, so you might as well wait until your account year ends before you cancel.
You could earn some extra points to redeem before you bail out.
To cancel your Wells Fargo Propel, you also need to contact its customer service line.
The number is 1-800-642-4720 and it can be reached 24/7.
Solid rewards and bonuses, plus a $0 annual fee, put the Wells Fargo Propel card on top
Any travel rewards credit card worth its salt should have certain features.
Earning and redeeming travel points, for example.
Getting extra points for travel-related expenses is also to be expected.
No foreign transaction fees is another important feature.
A sign-up bonus worth thousands of points is a plus.
Both of these cards carry all of those features.
The critical difference is the cost.
The Premier Rewards Gold card's $195 annual fee is huge, especially since you're not even going to use the card to borrow money!
The $0 annual fee for the Wells Fargo Propel is impossible to beat.
Do you have any experience with travel rewards cards like the Wells Fargo Propel or the Premier Rewards Gold?
Any tips (or nightmares) to offer?
Please share in the comments below.