Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express and Propel World American Express
Updated April 10, 2016.
Wells Fargo introduced these two cards in May 2014.
Wells Fargo introduced these two cards in May 2014.
Wells Fargo Propel 365 Amex
Wells Fargo Propel World Amex
- Best Use of Wells Fargo Rewards points: Normally, Wells Fargo Rewards points can be redeemed for cash, merchandise gift cards, travel, etc., up to 1 cent per point. However, if you have a Wells Fargo Visa Signature which carries a $0 annual fee and offers 5x points on gas, groceries, and drugstores for 6 months of new account opening, you points may be redeemed for travel at 1.5 cents per point.
- Other Facts: The annual Relationship Bonus will be awarded in the 13th month after your account opening and annually on this date thereafter. If you have a qualifying checking or savings account, you will earn 10%, which shouldn't be too hard for most consumers. If you have a Wells Fargo PMA package with a balance under $250,000, you will earn 25%. If you have a PMA package with a balance over $250,000 or a Private Banking PMA package, you will earn 50%.
- Other Benefits: Both cards waive foreign transaction fees. Propel World Amex, which is considered to be the premium product of the two, also enjoys the following additional benefits: 1) embedded EVM chip for foreign travel (note that Propel World is among the first few U.S. credit cards that employ the "Chip & PIN" technology which has much better acceptance worldwide than the previous "Chip & Signature" technology); 2) an $100 airline incidental credit each membership year, which is similar to that offered by Amex Platinum, JPM Ritz-Carlton Visa, or Citi Prestige; 3) Luxury Hotel Program with a collection of 1,000 hotels and resorts worldwide, which offers complimentary continental breakfasts for two daily, upgrade at check-in, late check-out upon availability, and a hotel specific welcome amenity; 4) premium concierge service and other premium saving benefits for car rentals (up to 25% off), vacation packages (up to $100 off), cruise (up to $300 onboard credit), etc. Now we don't have details for the Luxury Hotel Program, which is similar on paper to Amex Platinum's FHR, Visa Signature Hotels, World Elite Luxury Hotel and Resorts. However, we expect this program won't be as lucrative as FHR and will probably be comparable to Visa Signature and WEMC's programs. Nevertheless, this perk could still be valuable.
Since Wells Fargo Rewards program does not allow points to be transferred to frequent traveler miles/points, the value of these two Amex heavily depends whether you have another Well Fargo card (Visa Signature) to achieve 1.5 cents per point for the airfare redemption. However, let's use this value in our analysis. Another variable is the Relationship Bonus: for most people 10% is not hard to achieve and let's use it as the minimum in our analysis; 25% requires a Wells Fargo PMA Premier Checking Account, which may not make sense for everyone; to achieve 50% you need a private banker or a balance over $250K, and we will use it as the maximum in our analysis.
Propel 365 Amex, with a $45 annual fee, thus returns a minimum of 4.65%, 3.15%, and 1.65%, for gas, dining, and others, and a maximum of 5.25%, 3.75%, and 2.25%. Propel World Amex has a much higher annual fee of $175, but if you can take advantage of the $100 airline incidental credit, the effective annual fee will be $75 and you also enjoy Chip & PIN, Luxury Hotel Program, and other premium perks. Propel World Amex returns a minimum of 4.65%, 3.15%, and 1.65%, and a maximum of 5.25%, 3.75%, and 2.25%, for airfare, hotels, and others, respectively.
Wells Fargo Propel 365 Amex vs. Amex Mercedes-Benz Card: First of all, the latter is $50/year more expensive. Their bonus categories are almost the same: 3x gas, 2x dining, and 1x others, saving the fact that Mercedes-Benz Card has an extra 5x category for Mercedes purchases. Currently, we value points of both programs to be 1.5 cents. Propel 365 wins on paper due to the 10%-50% Relationship Bonus and a smaller annual fee; however, Mercedes-Benz Card allows points to be transferred to frequent traveler miles/points, which is attractive to many travelers.
Wells Fargo Propel World Amex vs. Citi ThankYou Premier: If you use the $100 airline incidental credit on Propel World, its effective annual fee is actually $20 less than ThankYou Premier. Currently, points in both programs value similarly in our book. Propel World returns 3x airfare and 2x hotels, while ThankYou Premier returns 3x travel/gas and 2x dining/entertainment. Obviously, ThankYou Premier offers wider bonus categories and better rewards in general, and still allow points to be transferred to frequent traveler miles/points.
Wells Fargo successfully copies the 3-2-1 rewards structures, Relationship Bonus, $100 airline incidental credit, among other features, from other major competitors and makes a great debut of these two Amex cards. However, lack of the points transfer feature as provided by competitors (Amex, Chase, Citi) and the requirement of owning Wells Fargo Visa Signature to achieve the maximum 1.5 cents per point redemption value make this card not as attractive as some of our favorites.