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On May 6th, Wells Fargo announced its newest addition to the field of travel rewards credit cards, called the Propel World American Express Card. This new entrant is one of the first two cards from their 2013 partnership with American Express that aims to increase Wells Fargo's presence in an already crowded travel rewards field dominated by the likes of the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card.
The Propel World credit card targets frequent travelers with bonuses on spending at airlines and hotels, but perhaps its best aspect is the relationship bonus for existing Wells Fargo banking customers. It has one of the most generous loyalty rewards we've seen so far, and raises the bar for other in-house bank credit cards. All things considered, the Propel World has a strong travel rewards component that will be best enjoyed by existing Wells Fargo retail clients. We'll review these bonuses and features of the newest member to the travel rewards family in more detail below.
Features & Benefits for the Propel World American Express Card
Wells Fargo Propel World American Express®
How to Earn Points & Redeem Rewards
The Wells Fargo Propel World allows bonus points for two categories, and all points can be redeemed through the Wells Fargo Rewards program. We'll walk through some common FAQs below about the credit card below.
How do I earn points on the Propel World American Express Card?
You earn bonus points with the Propel World Amex for net spending at airline carriers and hotel and lodging merchants. Airline tickets and spending get 3x the points and hotel nights and purchases get 2x the points. All other net purchases get one base point per dollar charged. What’s key here is that the points are awarded based on how American Express categorizes the merchant. For example, major airlines and nights at hotels, motels, and resorts count. On the other hand, more specialized merchants such as charter flights, private jet operators, camps, and timeshares will fall into the all other category. Unfortunately, buying airplane tickets or booking hotel stays on online travel agency sites such as Expedia or Travelocity fall into the all other category.
With this card, cardmembers will also have access to further deals and discounts through Wells Fargo's Earn More Mall program. By accessing online big-box retailers from Earn More Mall, cardholders can earn anywhere from 1 - 25% extra points. For example, shopping with the Propel World through the Earn More Mall gets you 5% rewards back from stores such as Macy's, the NBA Store, and REI.
Points are unlimited and do not expire.
Wells Fargo Banking Relationship Bonus
The relationship bonus from Wells Fargo is one of the more rewarding tie-ins we've seen for having an accompanying banking relationship with your credit card, and really amplifies the points you earn on your credit card spending. In order to be eligible, you'll need a qualifying Wells Fargo personal checking or savings account, or a PMA package. Each tier has a different bonus, as described in the table below:
|Wells Fargo Banking Product||Relationship Bonus|
Consumer Checking or Savings Account
PMA Package, balance & $250,000
PMA Package, balance & $250,000
Private Banking PMA Package
The bonus is calculated only on base points, which is the total net purchases charged on the credit card. It is determined on a monthly basis, and deposited into your point balance in the 13th month of having the card and annually thereafter.
Redeeming Propel World Points through the Wells Fargo Rewards Program
Cardmembers can convert their points through the Wells Fargo Rewards program. The program is extensive, and covers the standard retail gift cards and merchandise to the more unique online auctions, award travel, and priority access to exclusive concert or game experiences. Cash redemption is also possible - it can take the form of a simple check, a payment towards a Wells Fargo credit product, or a deposit in a bank account. Another benefit to existing Wells Fargo customers is that points earned on the Propel World credit card can be combined with their other accounts.
What are the points worth on the Propel World Amex?
Propel World points are roughly worth $0.01 - a standard value - when they're used for cash back, gift cards, or air travel. Unlike other airline credit cards where the value of a mile or point changes based on the date or route selected, the Propel World credit card simply divides the cost of the airplane ticket by 0.01 to determine the points needed. When redeemed for merchandise, the point value drops below $0.01. This table lists several redemptions that show the range of values for the Propel World rewards point.
|Rewards Points Required||Value||Cent / Point|
|10,000||$100||1 cent / point|
Amazon Gift Card
|2,500||25||1 cent / point|
|40,000||400||1 cent / point|
32GB iPad Air with a StyleFolio case*
|100,794||639||0.6 cent / point|
Mongoose Montana 26" Men's Mountain Bike*
|59,657||184||0.3 cent / point|
*Merchandise value represents retail value on Amazon.
What's the rewards rate?
The actual rewards rate will depend on the makeup of your credit card purchases. The higher the percentage of airfare and hotel spending, the higher the return you're earning. On the high end it'll be 3% - if you just spend it on airfare, and redeem for cash back, airfare, or a gift card. On the low end, based on our merchandise scenario, it can be 0.3%.
Signing Bonus for the Wells Fargo Propel World Card
Spending $3,000 in net purchases in the first three months gets you 40,000 bonus points, which is worth $400 at $0.01 per point. It's a relatively low spending requirement for a large number of points. Points hit your account within one to two billing cycles after they're earned.
Enhanced Travel Perks: Airline Incidentals Credit and Free Hotel Perks
Wells Fargo will also be covering up to $100 each year of non-airfare transactions charged by airlines. Extra checked baggage fees, meal and entertainment purchases, and access to airline lounges are typically eligible. This airline benefit gets automatically applied to eligible transactions less than $100, until the credit is depleted, but you get up to 90 days after the charge posts to request a manual adjustment.
Under the Propel World's luxury hotel program, cardmembers get extra amenities and preferred treatment at over 1,000 hotels. Free upgrades and late check-outs to complimentary breakfasts and spa services can be yours with this American Express card. No word yet on which hotel brands are included.
Beyond air travel and hotels, Wells Fargo also provides access to discounts and perks for car rentals, vacation packages, and cruise programs. Premium concierge services are available through AXA for dog walkers and babysitters while you're away on travel, to securing unique restaurant reservations overseas.
Other American Express Cardmember Protections
As an American Express cardholder, the Propel World credit card also extends certain insurance and protection features. On the travel side, you'll get emergency assistance, car rental insurance coverage, travel inconvenience insurance, travel accident insurance, trip cancellation or interruption protection with the credit card. You also get a measure of retail protection for damaged or stolen goods, as well as extended warranty for up to a year on top of the original manufacturer's warranty.
Wells Fargo Propel World Comparisons
How does the Propel World Amex compare to other travel rewards credit cards? We take a look at its pros and cons versus the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, two of our best travel rewards credit cards.
Wells Fargo Propel World American Express vs. Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
If you're a premium Wells Fargo banking client with a PMA package who flies frequently, then the relationship bonus of 25 - 50% may tip the balance towards the Propel World American Express. Otherwise, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card emerges as the better general travel credit card because of its higher earnings rate, 25% travel redemption bonus, and the ability to transfer miles at a 1:1 ratio to other loyalty programs. While it can be argued that the annual fee for the Propel World credit card is effectively lower ($175 annual fee - $100 airline incidental benefit = $75) than the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card's ($95), it has fewer and lower point opportunities. Lastly, for credit card holders interested in maximizing value, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card points can be converted fairly to frequent flyer and hotel programs, where the points can be worth much more.
Propel World American Express vs. Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
The Propel World is a great card if you are an existing Wells Fargo PMA client who is constantly in the air - the 3x airfare points and relationship bonus of 25 - 50% on the base points will make a difference over a large annual spend. Otherwise, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is a better choice for its overall high earnings rate, and simplicity (you won't have to worry about spending enough on airfare and hotel to make the card's annual fee worthwhile). The comparison between these two cards comes down to the makeup of your spending (rewards rate), and simplicity desired. Both cards are geared towards travelers looking for reward credit cards, but the value can differ depending on whether you're 1) a premium Wells Fargo customer with a qualifying PMA package, 2) a frequent flyer, or 3) looking for simplicity.