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Why the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card may be the best no-annual-fee travel card yet

Summary

Among no-annual-fee, travel rewards cards, we think that the recently launched Wells Fargo Propel American Express card leads the pack – thanks to its elevated sign-up bonus, rewards rate and yearly rewards value.

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If you want to earn an influx of rewards to use toward a spring break or summer vacation, a travel rewards card should be on your radar. When selecting the right travel rewards card for you, you should consider whether the card offers a generous sign-up bonus and rewards rate on spending categories that you frequently use. If you find a card that meets both of those needs, plus doesn’t charge an annual fee – that’s an added bonus.

There are currently several credit cards on the market that offer travel rewards without charging an annual fee. Among these cards, we think that the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card leads the pack – thanks to its elevated introductory bonus, rewards rate and average yearly rewards value.

See what we found when comparing these cards side by side:

Comparing no-annual-fee, travel rewards cards

Introductory bonusRewards rateAverage yearly earnings ($15,900 spend)
Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card30,000 points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
  • 3 points per dollar on dining and drinking, travel and transit, including gas stations, and popular streaming services
  • 1 points per dollar on all other purchases
$383
Discover it® MilesMatches the miles you earned at the end of the first year
  • 1.5 miles per dollar on every purchase
$318
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card25,000 online points after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days
  • 1.5 points per dollar on general purchases
$322
Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card20,000 miles if you spend $1,000 in the first 3 months
  • 10 miles per dollar on hotels booked and paid for through hotels.com/venture
  • 1.25 miles per dollar on general purchases
$293

Based on the average consumer who spends approximately $15,900 annually on gas station, grocery store, department store and general purchases, the Propel card offers the highest value at $383 per year.

That said, if you want to spend the least amount of money upfront, both the Bank of America Travel Rewards card and the Capital One VentureOne Rewards card allow you to earn their sign-up bonuses of 25,000 points and 20,000 miles, respectively, after just $1,000 spend in the first 90 days [or three months] of card membership. By contrast, the Propel card requires you to spend $3,000 in the first three months to receive the 30,000-point sign-up bonus.

Still, the Propel card offers additional ways to boost your earning potential. Read on to see how.

Pair Propel with the Wells Fargo Visa Signature card

Because Wells Fargo lets you pool points among its rewards cards, you can earn an even higher rewards value when you pair the Propel card with the Wells Fargo Visa Signature card (which offers a 50 percent boost when you redeem your points for travel. Propel points – which are normally worth 1 cent each – are worth 1.5 cents each when you transfer them to the Visa Signature card and redeem them for airfare through the Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards portal. Pairing the Propel card with the Visa Signature card boosts the Propel card’s yearly value to $675, making it a clear winner over other no-annual-fee cards.

Additionally, through the Go Far Rewards program, Visa Signature cardholders who spend $50,000 in a calendar year can redeem points for 1.75 cents each. Once you factor in the Propel card’s triple rewards rate on dining, travel, transit and select streaming services purchases, you have the potential to redeem the rewards earned on those purchases for 5.25 cents each.

Are you eligible for the Propel card?

If you have opened a Wells Fargo card account in the past 15 months, you may not be eligible for the current Wells Fargo Propel American Express card offer – even if you have closed your previous account and have a $0 balance. Additionally, you must be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. to be approved.

See related: Wells Fargo Propel vs. Capital One Venture: Which card is best?

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Published: April 19, 2019

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