EDIT: A few data points are trickling in… see the comment section below.
Following up on yesterday’s brief post about the new Wells Fargo credit card offer for 5% back on gas, grocery, and drugstores for 6 months, I wanted to mention a few things:
There are three different 5% offers. There’s the Wells Fargo Cash Back Card, which offers a flat 5% cash back on GGD purchases. This one seems to me like it’s the best deal, and in fact it’s the one I applied for.
There’s the Wells Fargo Home Rebate Card, which also gives you 5% cash back, but only to be applied toward your mortgage… and only Wells Fargo mortgages.
Finally there’s the Wells Fargo Rewards Card, which instead of giving you 5% back gives you 5X points. I’ve looked through the Wells Fargo redemption catalog and I don’t see anything that gives you more than one cent per point, except…
Business Card Customers can get 1.25 cents per point. The business card is not eligible for any 5% bonuses, so the big question is whether Wells separates business points and personal points, or whether business can redeem personal points at the business rates. I have no experience with the Wells rewards program and I can’t figure it out for certain from their website.
If you go to the Wells Fargo Rewards page, you’ll see three rewards catalog links on the right side of the page. The first is for personal accounts, where the rewards are no better than one cent per point as far as I can tell. The next two are for business customers, and if you look here for example you’ll see a $1,250 cash reward for 100,000 points.
Is 6.25% possible? If you scroll down this page a bit, you’ll see this: “Link your Business Card Rewards program to all your other eligible Wells Fargo Rewards programs and you can combine points at redemption.” BUT… there’s a footnote on that statement that says “Not all programs are eligible for linkage. Please refer to your program terms and conditions to determine eligibility.” Your guess is as good as mine. If anybody knows for certain, I’m all ears.
The Rewards Card (the one with points) is capped at 120,000 points per year. Thanks to commenter HikerT for reminding me of this. The terms and conditions state, “Annual Point Cap Maximums: Cardholders may earn a maximum of 120,000 points per calendar year.” However, the T&C for the cash back version state, “There are no annual cash reward maximums.” Which is another way of saying ‘unlimited’, of course. Let’s hope it’s the good kind of unlimited and not the Citibank kind.
Do you need to have a relationship with Wells Fargo before you apply? Commenter Carl at Frequent Miler wrote this:
Hmmm… I just got declined because I don’t “have a relationship with Wells Fargo.” I called and tried to be my most charming self as I told them this was a great way to start a relationship, but the CSR wasn’t charmed at all. She told me my credit (high 700s) “was not strong enough to override the lack of a relationship.” She told me if I’m serious about a relationship I should visit a branch and take steps to build a relationship (open accounts, take out loans, etc.) and after 30 days I can try again — but no promises.
That’s worrisome… my application is currently pending, though I’m less optimistic after seeing this post. Unfortunately, that’s all I’ve seen about this possible complication.
Can you get multiple 5% offers? Since Wells has been out of the credit card game for so long not much is known about their underwriting standards. Rapid Travel Chai has pushed the envelope of credit cards from one issuer in one app-o-rama, and perhaps some brave soul will do the same with Wells and advance society’s knowledge of this critical question.
How will all this play out? That’s what I’m really curious about. Several years ago Citi and Chase both had unlimited 5% cashback promos (CashReturns and AARP, respectively) and it took them a good 12-18 months to shut them down. Whereas now there are more people playing this game so the lifespan of a good deal can be pretty short, as we found out with Citi this year.
Spectacular flameout or slow, steady burn? You make the call!