Who Is This Credit Card Best For?
Is turning their passion into a money-making venture See more cards
Diligently searches for the best products and delights in a good bargain See more cards
Prioritizes sticking to their budget while buying what they want and need See more cards
Hits the road often, whether for work or play See more cards
The Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature Card is best suited for established businesses (one of the application requirements is $1 million or more in annual sales) that want to closely monitor and control employee spending while also earning some cash back or rewards points.
What makes the Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature Card unique is that you can choose between its cash-back rewards or its points program—and you can switch back and forth. However, for an annual fee card (year one is waived), the earnings rates for both cash back and points are just mediocre. If your goal is to earn rewards based on business spending, there are better cards to choose from.
Choose between cash back and points
Strong employee spending controls and management tools
Monthly bonus rewards for high-spending points earners
Travel fee credit
Most smaller businesses will not qualify
No bonus earning categories
- Choose between cash back and points: When you first get the card, you can select your preference for either cash back or points. After the first three months, you are allowed to switch your preference whenever you like.
- Strong employee spending controls and management tools: Most business credit cards let you set spending limits on employee cards. Wells Fargo goes a step further, letting you specify the types of purchases allowed on each card (such as only office supplies or travel), and even limiting purchases to business hours. You can also designate up to three administrators to manage the account.
- Monthly bonus reward for high spending: If you’ve opted for points, you can earn 5,000 bonus points each month that you reach $10,000 in spend. If you spend exactly that, it’s like bumping up your earning rate to 1.5 points per $1 spent.
- Travel fee credit: You can get up to $100 reimbursed for incidental travel fees on the account annually, which can just about make up for your annual fee.
- Most smaller businesses will not qualify: You have to have annual sales over $1 million to be considered for this card.
- No bonus earning categories: For a card with an annual fee, the most you can potentially earn is 1.5 cents per dollar (with the cash-back option), or 1 point per dollar (unless you hit the monthly bonus). Other business rewards cards have either higher flat-rate earnings or bonus categories tied to common business expenses such as travel, shipping, or office supplies.
Wells Fargo Business Elite Bonus for New Cardholders
The bonus for new cardholders is lackluster, given its high spending threshold. You must spend $15,000 in the first three months of account opening to earn $500 in cash back or 50,000 points, which could have a 10% higher value of $550 if you redeem via the Wells Fargo portal. With similar business cards, you can either find a higher bonus amount, or the same value for a lower minimum spend.
Earning Points and Rewards
Wells Fargo Business Elite cardholders have to make an earnings choice when they are approved for the card—either cash back or points (which you can change later).
Cash back is the simpler option of the two. Once you opt in, there isn’t anything for you to monitor or redemption choices to make. You’ll earn a flat-rate 1.5% back on all of your purchases, which will be awarded back to you as statement credits once per quarter (March, June, September, and December). There is no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn.
If you go the points route, you’ll have more redemption flexibility, but you’ll start off at a lower earning rate of 1 point per $1 spent. You can bump that up a bit by earning 5,000 bonus points each month you spend more than $10,000.
If you shop through the Wells Fargo Earn More Mall portal, you can earn bonus points and/or discounts on purchases with participating retailers. Note that bonus offers are often limited-time promotions.
Cardholders who choose to earn points have several redemption options. In general, each point is valued at 1 cent, although points may be worth less than 1 cent when buying merchandise. The best redemption seems to be for air travel, for which points are worth 1.5 cents each; for example, a $375 flight would cost 25,000 points.
But there’s another way to squeeze some more value out of the card: You’ll get a 10% points credit when you redeem on the Wells Fargo rewards website. So if you redeem 10,000 points, you’ll get 1,000 of those points credited back.
Redemption choices include:
- Cash rewards: You can redeem points or cash back for a statement credit or a check.
- Gift cards: For points earners, Wells Fargo has a large selection of gift card options starting at $25 in value for 2,500 points.
- Travel: Redeem points toward airline tickets, rental cars, cruises, hotels, and other travel activity bookings using your points. There are no blackout dates, and you can pay with all points, or a combination of points and cash.
- Merchandise: You can use your points to shop for items, but redemption value varies depending on the item.
For each airline ticket you purchase using points, you’ll have to pay a $24 redemption fee.
How To Get the Most Out of This Card
As with other cards that offer a new cardholder bonus, start out by spending enough in the first three months to earn the bonus. From there, deciding if you should collect cash back or points is a matter of how much you spend per month and how hands-on you want to be. With the cash-back option, you’ll earn 1.5% back from the start and receive automatic statement credits. On the points side, you will only earn 1 point per dollar.
However, points can be a good option if:
- You know you’ll be spending at least $10,000 per month to score the 5,000 point bonus.
- You want to shop through the Earn More Mall.
- You want to redeem through the Wells Fargo portal to get 10% of your points credited back.
It also makes sense to use points to buy airline tickets since that offers the better redemption value, and use the card to charge at least $100 worth of flight incidentals to earn the annual travel credit statement.
Overall, there are other business credit cards with higher earning potential. If you like the idea of being able to switch from cash back to points (or vice versa), or are drawn to the extra employee card management tools, then a Wells Fargo Business Elite account could be a good move for you. But if you have significant business spending, you would be better served with a business card offering more robust rewards.
Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature Card’s Excellent Perks
The Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature Card has five benefits that The Balance editors consider outstanding. Note that they apply to all employee cardholders as well. These include:
- Travel accident insurance: Up to $250,000 per card
- Insurance coverage for trip cancellation or interruption: If your trip is cancelled or cut short for a covered reason, you may be eligible for up to $2,500 per ticket.
- Insurance for trip delay: Up to $300 per ticket
- Insurance coverage for lost or delayed luggage: Coverage for lost or damaged luggage is up to $3,000 per trip.
- Travel fee reimbursement: You’ll get a $100 incidental fee credit on the account annually, which can just about make up for your annual fee.
Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature Card’s Other Features
- Travel and emergency hotline
- Concierge for booking event tickets, travel, and other services
- Rental car collision insurance (secondary to your own policy)
- Extended warranties
- Refund when merchant won’t accept returned item
Wells Fargo was in eighth place out of 11 credit card issuers in J.D. Power’s 2021 credit card customer satisfaction survey, with a score that fell well below the industry average. But there are a couple of nice things about the card and account experience. The account can be managed and monitored online or through the Wells Fargo app. Wells Fargo also has a dedicated Business Elite Card customer-service hotline.
The security features on this card are standard for cards from big issuers: fraud monitoring, account activity alerts, zero fraud liability, and chip technology, to name a few.
Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature Card’s Fees
The Wells Fargo Business Elite Signature Card’s charges an annual fee, which is waived the first year, but there are no foreign transaction fees. However, be warned that late payment fees can get pricey if you carry a large balance (up to $75), and there are also fees if you go over your limit or tap into overdraft protection.