Out of money and gas, Ryan Russell coasted on fumes until she reached a Wells Fargo ATM, where she also found her account was nearly empty.
“I was kind of out in the middle of nowhere,” says the 19-year-old college student from Houston. “So being able to redeem my rewards points was a real lifesaver.” After a few taps on the keypad, she pocketed $40 in rewards cash, rolled to a nearby gas station, and soon was back on the road.
For Ryan (that’s her in the photo above), the name of Wells Fargo’s newly rebranded credit card rewards program couldn’t be more apropos: Go Far™ Rewards. The name was introduced in March, the culmination of a two-year effort to give customers new redemption options now recognized as among the best in the industry.
The latest Credit Card Monitor study by research firm Corporate Insight gave Wells Fargo an A- for its rewards program, the study’s highest mark, and one held by only two other companies.
In addition to convenience — such as the ATM “cash withdrawal” feature — Wells Fargo’s redemption options are innovative and compelling, including digital magazines, music downloads, auctions, sharing, and direct-to-charity giving says Alex Filiaci, author of the study and a senior research analyst for Corporate Insight.
“In addition to all the basic options, the special features really set Wells Fargo apart from competitors,” he says. “Digital purchases, like music downloads, are also a nice up-to-date spin that could appeal to tech-savvy millennials.”
“Pay it down. Pay it forward. And reward yourself.”
Reaching more customers
For Wells Fargo’s existing credit card rewards customers, the arrival of the Go Far Rewards brand may not look substantially different, as most of the new redemption features have been phased in over a couple of years.
The rebranding, however, gives the company an opportunity to reach even more customers, says Beverly Anderson, head of Consumer Financial Services for Wells Fargo.
“We believe that customers should feel truly rewarded for using our cards, and we want the rewards they earn to feel extraordinary,” she says. “We’ve made so many great changes, we thought the program deserved an entirely new name.”
Based on customer research, Wells Fargo developed a theme for Go Far Rewards — “Pay it down. Pay it forward. And reward yourself.” — reflecting the program’s capacity to empower customers financially, Beverly says.
“This demonstrates the breadth of options — many of them unique for rewards programs — and the ability of the program to adapt to customer needs as they change,” she says.
Alex, the research analyst for Corporate Insight, says, “It is a good opportunity to reintroduce its rewards program to cardholders who might not think of Wells Fargo first when it comes to getting a great rewards credit card. Rebranding can draw attention to the fact that the company now has an excellent rewards platform.”
Ryan, the college student, says she and her family are convinced.
“I think it’s really cool that you can do something like pool points with your friends and family,” she says. “I was talking to my dad the other day. He says we’re going to pool our points next year and take some even bigger vacations.”