All of us in the miles and points world get excited when there’s a new credit card on the horizon. In some cases, we jump the gun a bit in our efforts to be the first one to share new information. It’s no secret that Wells Fargo is undergoing a major transformation across its credit card portfolio since new team members came on board. A lot of my blogger friends have shared breaking news. And I talked with an inside source at Wells to find out at the facts vs. fiction about the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey rumors.
In This Post
Current Wells Fargo credit cards
Wells Fargo currently has a meager offering of credit cards compared to other issuers like Capital One, Chase, Citi and Amex. With only six consumer credit cards to choose from, the options are limited. Here’s what’s in the current lineup, each card’s annual fee and its primary benefit.
- Wells Fargo Active Cash. No annual fee. Unlimited 2% cash back on every purchase and an intro 0% APR offer for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers.
- Wells Fargo Autograph Card. No annual fee. Earn 3x points on dining, gas, transit, popular streaming services, and phone plans. Plus, a 0% intro APR for 12 months on purchases.
- Wells Fargo Reflect. No annual fee. Intro 0% APR promo for 21 months on purchases and balance transfers.
- Bilt Mastercard. No annual fee. The only card that allows renters to earn rewards on their monthly rent without additional fees. Earns 3x on dining, 2x on travel and 1x on everything else (when you make five purchases that month) plus double points on “Rent Day.”
- Choice Privileges Mastercard. No annual fee. Earn 5x at Choice Hotels, 3x on gas, groceries, home improvement stores, and phone plans and automatic Gold elite status.
- Choice Privileges Select Mastercard. $95 annual fee (waived first year). Earn 10x at Choice Hotels, 5x on gas, groceries, home improvement stores, and phone plans, automatic Platinum elite status, and an anniversary bonus of 30,000 points.
The bank currently does not offer any small business credit cards, but its website indicates that more cards are coming soon.
The Wells Fargo Autograph Collection
Wells Fargo revealed its credit card strategy to upgrade its offering in 2021, and it launched the Autograph in Summer 2022. When (discontinued) Wells Fargo Propel cards transitioned to Wells Fargo Autograph Cards on May 24, 2023, it was obvious “Autograph” was here to stay.
Several bloggers recently uncovered new trademarks related to the Autograph brand. Doctor of Credit discovered that Wells Fargo trademarked the names Autograph Beyond and Autograph Journey in late October. Keep in mind that just because a company trademarks a name, it doesn’t mean that they’ll actually release a product with the same name.
However, we can see the writing on the wall. Wells Fargo started its Autograph strategy with a no-annual-fee card with a strong value proposition. The card was well-received by customers, and now they’re seeking to expand that lineup with new cards. The first will be the Autograph Journey… and there may be a third card added at a later date if the second one meets its goals.
Wells Fargo Autograph Journey: Fact vs Fiction
My buddies over at Doctor of Credit, Miles to Memories, and Frequent Miler published articles over the last few days about the upcoming Wells Fargo Autograph Journey credit card. While we don’t know when the card will be released or what the final details are, there are plenty of rumors… especially after Wells Fargo accidentally released a test landing page for the card that should have been published on its corporate intranet vs. its public website. Some bloggers were able to screenshot the page, fueling speculation based on what seems to be inaccurate and preliminary details.
After talking to my contacts at Wells Fargo, I was able to separate the facts vs. fiction (or wishful thinking) and confirm the details that they were willing to share. This table highlights everything you need to know.
|Fact vs. Fiction
An annual fee of ~$100 is a popular price point for rewards credit cards.
|60,000 points after $4k spent in the first 90 days
These details are still being figured out internally. However, many cards offer bonuses in the 50,000 to 60,000 point range, with $3,000 to $4,000 spending required within three to six months.
|3X Points on Entertainment, Dining, Gas, Phone, Transit and Travel
These rewards match the current Autograph card. Wells is still working on these details, but I think they’ll offer higher rewards for this premium card.
|Cell phone protection and Visa Signature benefits like Luxury Hotel Collection, travel & purchase protections, and more
These benefits are standard issue with Wells Fargo and Visa Signature Cards.
As a former bank VP of Finance, I know what it takes to launch a new credit card. Number nerds like me are crunching the numbers at Wells Fargo to forecast the number of applications, which categories cardholders will use, and (most importantly) how much those rewards and benefits will cost the bank.
After seeing how much the CSR impacted Chase’s quarterly earnings (even though they say the card has been a success), bank execs require their number crunchers to provide multiple scenarios before making a final decision.
Is Wells Fargo adding transferrable partners?
In today’s credit card world, transferable (or flexible) points are key. They provide the ultimate value for cardholders because they can be used in so many ways. In general, you can redeem them for cash back or statement credits, book travel through the bank’s portal, buy gift cards, go online shopping, or transfer them to hotel and airline partners.
As you saw above, Wells Fargo doesn’t really offer transferable points… except for Bilt Rewards, which offers incredible value. However, Bilt had much of its functionality and features before it signed on to the Wells Fargo platform.
Instead of relying on Bilt Rewards, which is a separate “currency,” Wells Fargo would want to have its own rewards currency like American Express, Capital One, Chase, and Citi.
There are rumors (DoC, MtM, FM) that the release of the Autograph Journey Card would also welcome the launch of transferrable points. While I assume that transferrable points are in Wells Fargo’s future, I don’t think this feature will be announced in the near term. However, December is the anniversary of Capital One announcing its transfer partner lineup back in 2018. And that strategy has been very successful for them.
The Bald Thoughts about the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey
I’m excited to hear about the launch of a new credit card from Wells Fargo. As much as I love my credit cards from other banks, their rules limit what cards I can get going forward. Plus, more competition forces other banks to step up their value proposition in order to attract and retain customers. We don’t yet have all of the details about the new Wells Fargo Autograph Journey Card. I can confirm that it is coming soon, but details like annual fee, welcome bonus and spending category bonuses are still being worked out.