Wells Fargo Rewards Program – Is it worth it?

Posted on September 27, 2014 by in Travel Deals

The Wells Fargo Rewards Program is advertised as 'simple, flexible and yours'. Simple because you earn rewards each time you make an eligible purchase with your Wells Fargo credit card. Flexible because you can earn bonus rewards by shopping in-store or online on the Earn More Mall site. Yours because you can track your rewards and redeem for a wide variety of options as and when you want.

What isn't being blatantly advertised (perhaps hidden in the mountain of T&C and FAQ) is that the rewards may be subject to expiration (some say it's a 5-year shelf-life) and that an annual program fee may apply. Expiry dates and a fee for using a rewards program? I'm a little disheartened already… But let's delve a little deeper into the program to see if it's worth the paper it's written on…

Earning

You can earn rewards by using a connected Wells Fargo credit card such as the Propel World American Express Card (issued by Wells Fargo) or a debit card. When you use your credit card for everyday purchases such as gas, groceries and drugstore, you earn points each and every time and there is no limit to the amount of rewards currency you can earn. Plus, bonus points can be earned by purchasing gift cards (manufactured spend anyone?)

When you shop through the Earn More Mall, you can earn extra bonus points as well as get access to extra discounts at around 700 local and online stores. Current bonus offers include 20 points per dollar at 1800Florals.com and 25 points per dollar with CondeNast.

Redeeming

There's over a thousand rewards to choose from, including cash, gift cards and of course travel – although with an air travel redemption, a $24 per airline ticket processing fee usually applies. It isn't too harsh a fee but obviously more worth it when redeeming for a more expensive flight as it's the same fee whether you book a domestic or a long-haul! The redemption rates are fixed, though, at 1 – 1.5 cent per point depending on your banking relationship with Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo Propel Credit Card

As we wrote about earlier this year, the Wells Fargo Propel World card currently has a sign-up bonus of 40,000 points after a $3k spend in 3 months. With no annual fee in the first year ($175 thereafter) and up to $100 per year in reimbursements toward incidental airline charges, this is a pretty solid offer – and not least because the bonus rewards points can be redeemed for 1 cent per point if you redeem at least 2,500 points at a time (and possibly even 1.5 cents per point for flights when using the Wells Fargo booking engine). If you're thinking of getting a Wells Fargo credit card, this is the one to get. Others, including the Wells Fargo Rewards card, have no decent current bonus sign-up offers and don't offer much to write home about.

So, do we give the Wells Fargo Rewards program a thumbs up?

It's certainly not our favorite rewards program. The fixed points redemption rate and the missing option to transfer points to airlines make it hard to recommend the program. If you have an existing relationship with Wells Fargo and get a multiplier for flight ticket redemptions it might be ok. The Wells Fargo Propel also has a solid sign-up bonus. Otherwise do not invest into the Wells Fargo Reward Program at this time.

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