Wells Fargo Launching 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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I guess what is relevant, but not listed is whether the Barclays card will continue along with this Wells Fargo card?

  2. Katie Genter at TPG is reporting that we current Barclays Choice Visa cardholders will be force-converted to Wells fargo: https://thepointsguy.com/news/new-wells-fargo-choice-privileges-card-launch/ .

    For Chase 5/24 and other reasons, I’m wondering whether this forced conversion will also properly age our accounts to date of original opening. They should, but with a jump from Visa’s to MC’s network, I’m not sure they will.

    Gary, perhaps your source can shed some light on this?

  3. One of the reasons to get this card, aside from Gold status and whatever that gives you, is that will certainly keep your Choice points from expiring if you put occasional minimal spend on it, given that Choice no longer has a rewards mall.

    Thanks for the heads up, Gary!

  4. @Gary, I did get the transition point from your piece, and that’s confirmed by the new PR from Choice.

    My question was confirming whether or not the original age of account would be preserved over the jump from Barclays to Wells Fargo AND from Visa to MC. That’s obviously the right thing to do, but it will have to be done carefully. Both of these banks have made bigger executional mistakes before.

    Were I to wait and let my current Visa Signature switch, I’d prefer them to be on record on this specific point.

  5. Getting this coming card for Gold status or to keep points from expiring? Bad/expensive idea, if you ask me.

  6. Does it make sense to cancel the Barclays’ card and then hope in the future, you might be eligible for the sign up bonus of the Wells Fargo card? ( even though i won’t receive my 8000 anniversary bonus points in June , if I cancel it now)

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