Wells Fargo Launches New Choice Privileges Mastercard With Credit Towards Elite Status

Wells Fargo Launches New Choice Privileges Mastercard With Credit Towards Elite Status

Choice Privileges has launched a new co-brand card, the Choice Privileges Mastercard from Wells Fargo. This is a big deal on several levels.

  • It’s another entry into the co-brand space for Wells Fargo, which also issues the Bilt Rewards Mastercard. It’s the first major airline or hotel chain for Wells.
  • For Choice this comes with the acquisition of Radisson Hotels Americas, expanding the chain’s footprint. With this expanded footprint, the card has a greater relevance to more customers.

They’ve created a no annual fee World Elite Mastercard that makes sense for those loyal to the Choice brand to get. Holding the card makes sense. I just wish it were more rewarding for ongoing spend.

Value Proposition Of The New Choice Privileges Mastercard From Wells

This is a no annual fee World Elite Mastercard that earns:

  • 5x on Choice stays
  • 3x at gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores, and phone plans
  • 1x on other purchases

Cardmembers receive automatic Gold status in the Choice Privileges program and 10 elite nights (enough to keep Gold) each calendar year. The card comes with cell phone protection.

The new card will be available May 1, 2023, and current Choice Privileges cardmembers transition to these benefits at that time (so I presume Wells bought the back book from Barclays).

Choice tells me they plan to roll out an aggressive acquisition program, both signing up program members and cardmembers using front desk tablets and using the landing page for in-room wifi to promote the card.

Anyone In The Choice Privileges Ecosystem Should Get This Card

It’s a no annual fee card that comes with 10 elite nights, enough for Gold status and halfway to Platinum. If you’re a Choice Privileges semi-regular, it makes sense to take their card.

I’d Have A Hard Time Spending Money On This Card

I’m on record saying that I believe a member should value Choice Privileges points at 6/10ths of a cent apiece.

  • 5x on Choice stays is an effective 3% rebate
  • 3x on gas et all is an effictive 1.8% rebate
  • 1x on other spend is a mere 0.6% rebate

If you want a no annual fee card, you can get a 2% back card like Citi Double Cash and buy points from Choice.

The program tells me that they are maintaining their American Express, Capital One, and Citibank transfer relationships. A Venture or Venture X cardmember earns 2 points per dollar on all spend, twice the rate as Choice’s own card when transferred into the program. Citi’s points transfer 1:2 into Choice, so if you have a card with points transfers you’re going to be earning Choice points faster with Citi than with this card in many cases whether spend is in an accelerator category or not.

Indeed, if you want to stick to a no annual fee card you’re going to earn a stronger rate of return within the Wells portfolio with a Bilt Rewards Mastercard whose points I value at 1.7 cents apiece. I’d put a Choice Hotels stay on that Wells card before the new Choice co-brand.

If card spend earned incremental elite nights, making progress towards higher levels of status, there would be an argument – aside from rebate value – to spend on the product. But once you have the card and collect your 10 elite nights there’s no further status-based reason to use the card.

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