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The Wells Fargo Autograph Journey Is My New Favorite Travel Card — Here’s Why

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Stella Shon
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Stella Shon

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With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...
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Nick’s passion for points began as a hobby and became a career. He worked for over 5 years at The Points Guy and has contributed to Business Insider and CNN. He has 14 credit cards and continues to le...
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While I’m often on the road, I don’t classify myself as a one-size-fits-all traveler. I greatly appreciate the luxuries of flying business class to Europe, but I’ll happily save money by staying at an Airbnb with a group of friends.

That’s why there’s a new travel staple in my wallet — and it’s the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card. I can count on this card to rack up an incredible amount of rewards on travel and dining (to the tune of up to 5x points!) without having to pay a sky-high annual fee.

Here are 3 of the reasons why I chose the new Wells Fargo Autograph Journey card over other options on the market.

One of the Best Earning Structures Right Now

This is the card for you if you’re interested in earning rewards on all things travel.

The Wells Fargo Autograph Journey card has a rewarding yet straightforward earning structure. You’ll earn unlimited 5x points on hotels, 4x points on airlines, 3x points on dining and all other travel purchases, and 1x points on all other purchases.

This is an A-plus earning structure for a card with a $95 annual fee. Compare the rewards-earning potential to some of the most popular travel cards on the market to illustrate my point further:

SCROLL FOR MORE
Card NameAnnual FeeRewards Rate
Wells Fargo Autograph Journey℠ Card (rates & fees)$95
  • 5x points on hotels
  • 4x points on airlines
  • 3x points on dining and other travel
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card$95
  • 5x points on travel booked through Chase Travel
  • 3x points on dining, select streaming services, and online groceries
  • 2x points on all other travel
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card$95 (rates & fees)
  • 5x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles on all other purchases
American Express® Gold Card$250 (rates & fees)
  • 4x points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year)
  • 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through AmexTravel.com
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card$395 (rates & fees)
  • 10x miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 5x miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles on all other purchases
Chase Sapphire Reserve®$550
  • 10x points on hotels and rental cars booked through Chase Travel
  • 5x points on flights booked through Chase Travel
  • 3x points on all other travel and dining
The Platinum Card® from American Express$695 (rates & fees)
  • 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or through AmexTravel.com (up to $500,000 on purchases per calendar year) and prepaid hotels booked on AmexTravel.com

Over recent years, credit card issuers have pushed consumers to book via their own travel portals — and will reward you handsomely for doing so. After all, it can be enticing to earn up to 10x points on your next travel purchase, and they earn a commission off your booking.

In reality, it’s not such a win-win situation. Credit card travel portals are no different from online travel agencies (OTAs), such as Expedia or Kayak. If a delay, cancellation, or another travel emergency arises, it can be challenging to track down a refund — or even the right customer service agents to help you.

United flight delay
Delays, delays. Image Credit: Victoria M. Walker

That’s why we strongly advise you to book directly instead. With the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey card, you’re never obligated to book via the issuer’s travel portal to earn elevated rewards.

Like many price-conscious travelers, budget is the single most important factor when booking travel. Having the flexibility to earn bonus points — no matter where you book — is an obvious (and huge) advantage to the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey card.

Bottom Line:

You’ll earn the industry-leading 5x points on all hotels and 4x points on all airlines, so long as they’re coded as such on their merchant categories. And for all other travel purchases — whether you book a cruise through your travel agent or buy an ultra-discounted all-inclusive package online — you’ll still earn a respectable 3x points on the purchase.

The Annual Fee Won’t Break the Bank

The best credit card for you will largely depend on 2 factors: your budget and your travel preferences. Ultimately, it won’t make sense to pay hundreds in credit card annual fees if you don’t care about accessing airport lounges or working your way up to airline elite status.

For affordability, I’d argue that the new Wells Fargo Autograph Journey card takes the cake. The $95 annual fee makes this a mid-tier card that’s reasonably priced for many travelers. (Compare that to other issuers that increase their fees every year — looking at you, Amex!).

Even beyond that, there’s a $50 annual airline credit on the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey card, which, again, does not have many limitations. You’ll get a $50 statement credit when you spend at least $50 on airlines with the card — an easy rebate that shaves off more than half the annual fee.

American Airlines 737 Business Class
Raise your hand if you’ve spent more than $50 on flights this year! Image Credit: Katie Seemann

Compare that to the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which has a similar benefit: an annual $50 hotel credit. The catch? You have to book via the Chase Travel portal to get the statement credit.

I love that the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey card doesn’t make you jump through hoops to take advantage of its rewards and benefits. Other statement credits and benefits on cards like the Amex Gold card require you to adopt the “extreme couponing” mindset, which I’m consciously moving away from.

Before applying for this card, my basic mindset was this: Why should I continue to pay hundreds of dollars in annual fees when the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey card has just a $95 annual fee — and with benefits that are incredibly easy to use?

I’m Diversifying My Points With Wells Fargo Rewards

Eligible new applicants of the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey card can earn the following welcome offer:

  • Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in purchases in the first 3 months.

Those points are worth at least $600 when redeemed for travel — if not more — by taking advantage of Wells Fargo Rewards’ transfer partners. Since the launch of the card, these are the initial transfer partners of the Wells Fargo Rewards program:

All of your Wells Fargo Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 rate, with Choice having an even better 1:2 transfer ratio.

When earning travel rewards, we advocate for diversifying your points-and-miles stash. While Wells Fargo has a limited set of transfer partners compared to other big-name programs, the issuer has hinted that many more will soon be added.

Iberia A350 business class seat in reclined position
You can transfer 34k points to Iberia Avios to book this seat to Madrid! Image Credit: Daniel Ross

A few of my favorite programs span the 3 major airline alliances. Here are just a few flights I’ve booked in the past with points and miles:

  • Air France business class from Paris (CDG) to New York (JFK) for 55,000 Flying Blue miles
  • Iberia business class from New York (JFK) to Madrid (MAD) for 34,000 Avios
  • Iberia premium economy class from Madrid (MAD) to New York (JFK) for 25,500 Iberia Avios
  • United economy class from Newark (EWR) to Bozeman (BZN) for 12,500 LifeMiles
  • Alaska economy class from Honolulu (HNL) to Los Angeles (LAX) for 16,000 Avios

As you can see, I’ve saved a great deal of cash over the years by leveraging international transfer partners, and am confident that I can maximize Wells Fargo Rewards points for my next trip.

Hot Tip:

Use our transfer partner tool calculator to calculate exactly how many points you’ll need to transfer for your next redemption.

Final Thoughts

I’m actively taking inventory of what’s in my wallet and scrapping cards that no longer make the cut. At the same time, I’m applying for cards that make much more sense for my lifestyle, and the Wells Fargo Autograph Journey card was an appealing choice.

Wells Fargo has said that there’s plenty more to come in the travel credit card space as it ratchets up competition with popular issuers like Chase and American Express, so I’m excited to be on board as a new cardholder.

The information regarding the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Stella Shon's image

About Stella Shon

With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in The New York Times, USA Today, and more.

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