Personal Finance

Why the Propel AmEx Is Great for Frugal, Flexible Travelers

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

No two travelers are exactly alike. Some value elite airline status to get upgrades and early boarding. Others are obsessed with finding rock-bottom deals. Others travel nearly nonstop for work and use frequent flyer rewards to pay for personal vacations.

For each type of traveler, there’s an ideal credit card — one that will outshine all the others for earning rewards tailored to that traveler.

The Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card is particularly good for cost-conscious types who want travel rewards but may decide later that there are more practical ways to spend points — for example, paying the bill for a streaming video service, or even a small chunk of the mortgage.

Top card benefits

This card’s most appealing feature is its $0 annual fee. Compare that to other travel rewards cards charging between $75 and $550 a year, and you start to see the draw. If you don’t spend a lot on credit cards, that $0 annual fee is even more appealing — you can build up your points balance slowly through regular spending, without fees eroding the value of your points.

For every dollar you spend on dining, travel, rideshares, gas stations, homestays and some streaming services, you’ll earn 3 points. On all other purchases, you earn 1 point per dollar. If you spend a lot, you earn rewards faster. If you spend very little, it could take years to earn that dream vacation. Either way, a $0 annual fee means there’s no danger that the value of the rewards you earn (or don’t) every year will be wiped out by annual fees.

Of course, the current welcome offer gives you a head start on building that points balance: Earn 30,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months – that’s a $300 cash redemption value. With a little planning, even small spenders can pull this off responsibly. Time your credit card application shortly before a necessary large purchase you’ve saved up for, like new tires for the car or out-of-pocket orthodontist services.

Cost-conscious international travelers will also appreciate that the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card has no foreign transaction fees. This feature, which is offered by many but not all credit cards, can deliver significant savings when you travel abroad. A 3% surcharge on every purchase you make overseas can add up fast.

» Learn more: NerdWallet’s best Wells Fargo credit cards

Flexible redemption options

For frugal users who value flexibility, the redemption options may be this card’s best feature. You’ll redeem your points, called Wells Fargo Go Far Rewards, through the bank’s website, where you have a range of options.

You can book travel in the form of flights, hotel stays, rental cars, cruises, vacation packages or experiences like events. You can also get gift cards or cash back. But what sets the Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card apart is the fact that this card makes it so easy to make money-saving choices. Have a Wells Fargo home mortgage? You can redeem your points for a partial payment, making a dent in the principal. You can do the same with a personal loan or use your points for a statement credit directly on your credit card bill.

» Learn more: Full review of the Wells Fargo Propel card

If you have family members or friends who, like you, are small-spending Wells Fargo customers, you can pool your points with theirs to get to that next hotel rewards night or gift card faster. And if, at any point, your frugal spirit is overwhelmed with a sudden sense of generosity, you can gift your points to another Wells Fargo customer or redeem them for a donation to a worthy charity.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2019, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best travel credit card for you
Snag these hotel loyalty perks, even if you’re disloyal
Earn more points and miles with these 6 strategies

This article originally appeared on NerdWallet