For many cardholders, the no-annual-fee Wells Fargo Propel card may be the best deal.
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The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card* and Capital One Venture are two of the best travel credit cards that give you the ability to “erase” purchases through the use of points and miles – meaning you get a statement credit after the purchase has been made.
Both cards offer frequent travelers a chance to rack up points or miles on all their spending, use rewards to cover travel costs and enjoy useful perks like no foreign transaction fee. Read on to learn more about which is best for you.
Wells Fargo Propel vs. Capital One Venture: At a glance
|Sign-up bonus||20,000 points if you spend $1,000 in first 3 months||100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months, or still earn 50,000 miles when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months|
|Estimated yearly rewards value (for someone who spends $15,900)||$350||$421|
|Who should get this card?|
Earning pointsThe Capital One Venture card has a very simple earning structure. Every purchase earns 2 miles per dollar.
The Wells Fargo Propel card has a slightly more complicated structure, earning 3 points per dollar in certain categories and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. You’ll earn the highest rate on the following purchases:
- Gas stations, ride-shares and transit
- Travel, including flights, hotels and car rentals
- Eligible streaming services, including Apple Music, Hulu, Netflix, Pandora, Sirius XM Radio and Spotify Premium
As you can see, this is a wide array of different categories – all of which are fairly common purchases.
But how do these stack up against one another? Let’s say that you spend $10,000 total on your card during a year. With the Venture card, you will earn a flat 20,000 miles. With the Propel card, the break-even point is $5,000 within the 3-point-per-dollar bonus categories. At that point, you’d earn 15,000 points from your $5,000 in spend in the bonus categories and 5,000 points for your $5,000 in non-bonus spend, for a total of 20,000 points.
No matter how much spend you actually put on your credit card, you’ll find that the break-even point for the Propel card is 50% of your total spend across bonus categories. You’ll have to run the numbers for your own spending to determine which is best for you.
When it comes to redeeming your rewards, Capital One allows you to use miles to cover any travel purchases made in the last 90 days via a statement credit. So, every purchase you make on the card can earn you money back toward a future travel purchase.
Capital One also lets you transfer your Venture miles to a number of airline and hotel partners. Because the transfer ratio from Venture miles to partners is less than 1:1, you’ll often be better off keeping your miles with Capital One. But there are a few Capital One transfer partners where the miles are so valuable it can make a lot of sense.
As for the Propel card, your Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards are worth a flat 1 cent per point, with no transfer options. That means you won’t get an amazing value from your points – but you don’t have to worry about wasting them on a “bad” redemption either. The card also offers decent flexibility since you can redeem your rewards for the same value whether you opt for travel points or cash back.
Both the Wells Fargo Propel and Capital One Venture cards are aimed at frequent travelers and share many benefits. One major area where the two cards differ is annual fees.
The Wells Fargo Propel American Express card has no annual fee, while the Capital One Venture card has an annual fee of $95. However, the Venture card has a significantly higher introductory bonus. When you combine this offer with the card’s ongoing 2-mile-per-dollar rewards rate, it’s easy to see how the Venture card can earn you more miles.
However, if you’re planning on holding the card for longer than one year, you’ll want to look at your spending patterns and decide whether the Venture card will make enough to offset its $95 annual fee.
Bonus perks and card benefits
The Wells Fargo Propel card has a few different bonus perks, the most useful of which is probably cellphone protection. You’ll get up to $600 of protection if your phone is stolen (but not lost) or damaged in covered instances, as long as you pay your monthly cellphone bill with your Propel card.
In addition, the Propel card charges no foreign transaction fee and an introductory 0% APR on qualifying balance transfers and purchases for the first 12 months with a 14.49%-24.99% (variable) APR thereafter.
The Capital One Venture card also has no foreign transaction fees for easy use while traveling abroad, as well as a few interesting travel-related perks.
For instance, every four years, you can get the application fee for either Global Entry or TSA Precheck refunded as a statement credit. The fee for Global Entry is $100 and the fee for TSA Precheck is $85. Though you won’t use it every year, this benefit goes a long way toward offsetting the card’s annual fee.
So which card is right for you, the Wells Fargo Propel or Capital One Venture? As always, it depends a bit on your unique situation, including where you spend your money.
In many cases, you can get more value from the Venture card, especially if:
- You are only planning on holding the card for one year. That will give outsized value to the Venture’s significantly higher welcome offer, even with the annual fee factored in.
- You have lots of other airline miles and would get good value from the Venture’s transfer partners.
- You travel often enough to get value from the Global Entry or TSA Precheck benefit.
- You spend less than half your total spending in the Propel’s 3-point-per-dollar bonus categories.
You might be better off with the Wells Fargo Propel card if:
- You have outsized amounts of spending in the Propel’s 3-point-per-dollar bonus categories.
- You also have the Wells Fargo Signature Visa card and can redeem points for airfare with a 50% bonus.
- You want to take advantage of the introductory balance transfer and purchase APR to pay down a balance over time.
*All information about Wells Fargo Propel American Express card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.