Is This The Worst Rewards Program Set Up At A Large Bank?

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Wells Fargo Business Platinum Rewards Program

A few days ago I shared my experience applying for a Wells Fargo Business Platinum card and how it took them FOREVER to send it to me. This was piggybacked on their amazing $1500 business checking account offer. When signing up for the checking account the banker said I was pre-approved for this $300 bonus too, so I said thank you sir may I have another. Then the hilarity ensued with the approval process and actually getting the card. Once I had it in hand I was hit with yet another laughable moment. The Wells Fargo Business Platinum rewards program may be the worst set up I have seen at a major bank. I guess there in lies the rub when applying for a card sight unseen in a branch. I am curious if anyone can come up with a worse set up in the comments.

Wells Fargo Business Platinum Delayed Rewards Pay Out

To be fair this isn’t the worst I have seen. That would be my student Visa in college, I can’t even remember the small bank’s name, that earned 3% back on all purchases. That sounds great and all until you hear that it was capped at $100 in rewards a year, only paid out at the end of the year AND you had to carry a balance each month to get any rewards. Yup, they only paid you if you paid interest. Talk about predatory lending right there!

So how does the Wells Fargo Business Platinum rewards compare? Well, it depends on if you select cash or points. I selected cash since I was just in it for the welcome offer and it adds nicely to my running tally of $14K in profit so far this year.  Here is a breakdown of the two options:

Cash Back

  • New customer offer: Select the cash back rewards program at the time of application and earn a $300 cash back bonus if you spend $3,000 in qualifying purchases in the first three months after account open date.
  • Earn 1.5% cash back on qualifying purchases.
  • Receive your cash back automatically as a statement credit to your account or to your eligible Wells Fargo checking or savings account each quarter (March, June, September and December).

Reward Points

  • New customer offer: Select the reward points program at the time of application and earn 30,000 bonus points if you spend $3,000 in qualifying purchases in the first three months after account open date.
  • Earn 1 point for every $1 spent on qualifying purchases.
  • Receive 1,000 bonus points when your company spend is $1,000 or more in any monthly billing period.
  • Redeem points for gift cards, cash back, merchandise, airline tickets and more.
  • Get a 10% points credit every time you redeem online (10% of redemption value).

My Issue With Cash Back

Earning 1.5% back is below average but not unprecedented in any way. I mean look at how many people carry a Capital One Quicksilver card. The weird thing is that last bullet point for cash back though. Paying out rewards quarterly seems crazy these days. Maybe I am more chapped about this than most because they sent me my card too late to earn anything by the end of this current quarter. That means I need to wait until late September to earn any cash back from my spend and welcome offer. That seems ludicrous in this day and age when pretty much everyone else pays out when your statement cuts and some, like Cardless, do it as soon as the charge settles. This is something a tiny regional bank would pull, and they don’t even do it.

Why Are Points Treated Differently?

When you look at the points payout there is no mention of quarterly payouts. Why? They will pay you monthly but you only earn 1 point per dollar and they are worth about 1 cent each (slightly more with the 10% rebate). I guess the thinking is that you have to take a lesser redemption to get paid out in a timely manner?

It should be noted the best play of the entire program would be spending $1,000 a month in the points program. This would trigger the 1,000 point bonus each month and mean you are earning 2X per dollar essentially. If you throw in the 10% rebate that is like earning 2.2% back, not too shabby. But, it is sadly capped at $1,000 a month for that earn rate.

Final Thoughts

If you grabbed the Wells Fargo Business Platinum card while at branch for the $1,500 bank bonus just be aware you could be waiting a while. Waiting a while for the card to show up and then it could be several additional months to get the actual payout. All for a card that has a below average rewards program to begin with. That is a big fat nothing burger right there.

Can you think of a worse set up from one of the major banks? If you can, let me know in the comments because I can’t think of anything. If not, at least share the worst set up you have seen anywhere, including some small town banks!

Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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2 COMMENTS

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I got my opening the account bonus yesterdat, but I can’t even find where to access my new business card on my bank site and the help box is useless as well. I guess I will call the bank tomorrow, sigh…..
    I did activate the card and do the spend….

  2. I received my Wells Fargo $1500 bonus for the business checking about 2 days after the 2-month requirement, but had to wait for several weeks for the $300 credit card bonus until the Cash Back Balance became “available.”

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