Having excellent credit typically qualifies you for the best credit cards. This often means higher rewards rates, premium benefits, and valuable redemption options. Check out our top picks to find the right credit card for you.
The best credit cards for excellent credit
- Best for earning travel rewards on everyday spending: Citi Premier® Card
- Best for flexible travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Best for premium travel benefits: The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Best for overall travel value: Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card
- Best for grocery rewards: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
- Best for maximizing rewards: Chase Freedom Flex℠
- Best for balance transfers: Citi® Double Cash Card
- Best for simple cash back: Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
- Best for gas and restaurant rewards: Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi
The best credit cards for excellent credit for May 2023
|Card name||Best for||Why it’s special||Annual fee|
|Citi Premier® Card||Earning travel rewards on everyday spending||Earn 3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels; and 1X points on all other purchases||$95|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||Flexible travel rewards||Receive airport lounge access, $300 annual travel credit, and redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards with over a dozen transfer partners or for an added 50% bonus through the Chase travel portal||$550|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||Premium travel benefits||Receive over $1,500 in value with card credits plus airport lounge access and elite status with Marriott Bonvoy and Hilton Honors||$695 (Terms apply)|
|Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card||Overall travel value||Receive $300 annual travel credit, 10,000 anniversary miles, and airport lounge access||$395|
|Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express||Grocery rewards||Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases||$0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 per year thereafter (Terms apply)|
|Chase Freedom Flex℠||Maximizing rewards||Earn 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% cash back at restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and drugstores; and 1% cash back on all other purchases||$0|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||Balance transfers||Receive 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months (then 18.99% - 28.99% (Variable))||$0|
|Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card||Simple cash back||Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day; and 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply)||$0|
|Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi||Gas and restaurant rewards||Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases (up to $7,000, then 1% thereafter); 3% on restaurants and eligible travel purchases; 2% on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com; and 1% on all other purchases||$0|
Citi Premier® Card: Best for earning travel rewards on everyday spending
Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening; Plus, for a limited time, earn a total of 10 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on hotel, car rentals, and attractions (excluding air travel) booked on the Citi Travel℠ portal through June 30, 2024.
Rewards rate: Earn 3X points at restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels; and 1X points on all other purchases.
Why we like it: The Citi Premier Card offers access to the valuable Citi ThankYou points rewards program, making it an ideal card for travelers. You can transfer Citi ThankYou points to over a dozen Citi transfer partners, including Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Choice Privileges.
Other redemption options include travel, cash back, online shopping, gift cards, and covering recent purchases.
What we don’t like: You have to pay a $95 annual fee, and you don’t get access to premium travel benefits, such as airport lounge access.
Learn more in our Citi Premier Card review.
Chase Sapphire Reserve®: Best for flexible travel rewards
Welcome offer: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Rewards rate: Earn 5X points on flights and 10X points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually; 3X points on other travel and dining & 1X points per dollar on all other purchases.
Why we like it: The Sapphire Reserve offers premium travel perks, including:
- Up to $300 annual travel credit
- Complimentary airport lounge access to Priority Pass lounges
- 50% bonus to travel redemptions made through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal
- Up to $100 statement credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck every four years
You also have the flexibility to redeem your rewards for travel, gift cards, cash back, and more.
What we don’t like: The $550 annual fee is higher than you’ll typically see on most credit cards with annual fees.
Check out our Chase Sapphire Reserve review.
The Platinum Card® from American Express: Best for premium travel benefits
Welcome offer: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $6,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.
Rewards rate: Earn 5X points per dollar spent on eligible airfare (on up to $500,000 per calendar year, after that 1X) and eligible hotel purchases, and 1X points per dollar on all other eligible purchases.
Why we like it: You can take advantage of loads of different perks and benefits, including:
- Up to $240 ($20 back per month) annual digital entertainment credit
- Up to $200 ($15 monthly plus $20 in December) annual Uber Cash
- Up to $200 in annual statement credits for prepaid Amex Travel bookings through Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts or The Hotel Collection (requires a minimum two-night stay)
- Up to $200 airline fee credit per calendar year
- Up to $189 annual CLEAR credit
- Up to $155 and applicable local sales tax per year Walmart+ credit
- Up to $100 ($50 semi-annually) annual Saks Fifth Avenue credit
- Access to The Centurion Lounge, Priority Pass, Escape Lounges, and other airport lounge networks
- (Select benefits require enrollment.)
What we don’t like: There’s a high $695 annual fee and the rewards rate doesn’t make sense for using this card on everyday purchases, such as gas, groceries, or eating out.
Read our American Express Platinum review.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Best for overall travel value
Welcome offer: Earn 75,000 miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Rewards rate: Earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day; 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, and 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
Why we like it: The Venture X provides excellent travel perks and benefits, including airport lounge access for you and up to two guests (depending on availability) to Capital One, Priority Pass, and Plaza Premium Lounges.
You also receive 10,000 anniversary miles each year and up to $300 annual travel credit for bookings made through Capital One Travel.
What we don’t like: You have to pay a $395 annual fee and the annual travel credit benefit is a bit limited. The credit would be more flexible if you could use it for direct bookings with airlines and hotels, but it only applies if you book through Capital One Travel.
Learn more in our Capital One Venture X review.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Best for grocery rewards
Welcome offer: Earn a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 6 months.
Rewards rate: Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (for first $6,000 per year, after that 1%) and on select U.S. streaming services, 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on eligible transit, and 1% cash back on other eligible purchases.
Why we like it: There aren’t many cards that can compete with the earning potential of the Blue Cash Preferred and its specific bonus categories, which is helpful if you want to earn more rewards on everyday purchases.
You can also take advantage of receiving a $7 statement credit each month after spending at least $12.99 per month on an eligible subscription to The Disney Bundle (Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+). (Enrollment is required.)
What we don’t like: There’s a $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 per year thereafter, and you have to pay 2.7% foreign transaction fees on applicable purchases. Your earning potential is also limited by a bonus category spending cap.
Check out our American Express Blue Cash Preferred review.
Chase Freedom Flex℠: Best for maximizing rewards
Welcome offer: Earn a $200 bonus after spending $500 on purchases in the first 3 months.
Rewards rate: Earn 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories (on up to $1,500 spent) and travel purchased through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal; 3% cash back at restaurants (including takeout and delivery) and drugstores; and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
Why we like it: You can earn elevated rates on different rotating categories each quarter. Past categories have included Amazon.com, grocery stores, Target, warehouse clubs, and more.
What we don’t like: Rotating categories are helpful if they align with purchases you’re already planning on making, but that might not always be the case. Note that you have to activate
You also have to pay 3% foreign transaction fees, making the Freedom Flex a poor card to take on international trips.
Read our Chase Freedom Flex review.
Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for balance transfers
Rewards rate: Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.
Why we like it: The Citi Double Cash is a straightforward card for earning cash back on eligible purchases since it has a simple rewards rate and a $0 annual fee.
You can take advantage of its balance transfer offer of 0% intro APR for 18 months on balance transfers (then 18.99% - 28.99% (Variable)).
What we don’t like: There’s typically no welcome offer for new cardholders and no intro APR offer on purchases. And the Citi Double Cash doesn’t make the most sense to take on trips abroad since you have to pay 3% foreign transaction fees.
Learn more in our Citi Double Cash Card review.
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card: Best for simple cash back
Welcome offer: Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening.
Rewards rate: Earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day; and 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel (terms apply).
Why we like it: The Quicksilver Cash Rewards is a simple cash back credit card with a $0 annual fee. It’s easy to use for earning rewards on all your eligible purchases without having to worry about loads of different bonus categories.
What we don’t like: There aren’t many ways to earn more than the base rewards rate with the Capital One Quicksilver since it doesn’t have many bonus categories. And the bonus categories it has don’t necessarily align with everyday purchases.
Check out our Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards review.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi: Best for gas and restaurant rewards
Rewards rate: Earn 4% cash back on eligible gas and EV charging purchases (up to $7,000, then 1% thereafter); 3% on restaurants and eligible travel purchases; 2% on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com; and 1% on all other purchases.
Why we like it: The Costco Anywhere Visa is only for Costco members, but you aren’t limited to only using it at Costco. It’s accepted anywhere Visa credit cards are accepted, which opens up opportunities to earn increased rewards on common categories wherever you are.
What we don’t like: There’s typically no welcome offer and you need a Costco membership to apply. You also only have one redemption option, which is to receive your cashback rewards in the form of an annual reward certificate that can be used at U.S. Costco warehouses.
Read our Costco Anywhere Visa Card review.
Methodology: How we chose these cards
In general, people with excellent credit want to see their creditworthiness pay off. It’s not always easy to build your credit, especially up to an excellent score, so the credit cards with the most rewards and benefits are reserved for individuals with excellent credit. Keeping this in mind, we picked credit cards that provide the best benefits and rewards in their respective categories.
We can’t assume everyone who wants a credit card is looking for the same thing or has the same financial needs. This is why there are different types of credit cards and why we chose the best ones in many common categories, including travel, luxury travel, cash back, grocery rewards, and restaurant rewards. There’s a wide variety of cards to choose from and they all provide amazing benefits.
How to improve your credit score to excellent
If you want to improve your credit score to excellent, there are different steps to take that can help build your credit. The best way to build your credit, though, is to incorporate all the steps together into a combined effort instead of focusing only on one or two.
Here are ways to improve your credit score to excellent:
- Open credit accounts. It’s impossible to build credit if you don’t open any credit accounts or get added as an authorized user on an account. As soon as you’re able to open an account, by meeting the requirements and being financially responsible, you should do so. This will start the process of building your credit history. Just don’t open too many accounts in a short period of time.
- Never miss a payment. If there’s ever a reason for you to miss a credit card or other type of credit payment, you likely shouldn’t have a credit account. If you simply forget about payments now and then, make sure you have on payment reminder notifications, which can be set up in any online credit card account.
- Keep debt levels low. Credit cards are great tools, but only if used correctly. Use them to pay for expenses, but don’t continuously max out your credit limits. It may seem like using a lot of credit is good for your credit score, but if your credit utilization is too high, your score will go down.
- Keep old credit accounts open. The average age of your open credit accounts affects your credit score. If you keep old accounts open, opening a new account likely wouldn’t have as much of an impact on this credit score factor.
- Mix up your credit. Only using credit cards or only having a car loan can build your credit a lot, but you’ll need to have multiple sources of credit to continue improving your score. Lenders want to see different types of credit so they know how well you can handle your finances. This step should come naturally as you open credit card accounts and then look to make big purchases, like on a car or home.
How to choose a credit card if you have excellent credit
You’ve checked your credit reports from the different credit bureaus and you know you have excellent credit. Now it’s time to decide which credit card to get from the many credit card issuers out there. Here are five factors to consider:
1. Welcome bonus offers
Welcome offers, sometimes called sign-up bonuses or welcome bonuses, are an excellent way for new cardmembers to receive a large amount of rewards soon after signing up for a credit card and meeting qualifying activities. They typically follow the format of having to spend a certain amount on your new card within a few months or more of signing up — and then you receive the welcome bonus.
As an example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card provides this sign-up bonus: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
There are more factors to consider, including rewards and benefits, but welcome offers can help you decide between multiple credit cards. For instance, you might discover one credit card has a limited-time bonus for new cardholders that’s too good to pass up.
2. Types of rewards
Credit card rewards are generally separated into three categories: points, miles, and cash back.
You would likely be interested in earning points or miles if you want to use your rewards on travel redemptions, including flights and hotel stays.
But if you aren’t interested in travel redemptions, cash back is often better for more flexible redemption options, such as statement credits that can go toward any purchases you’ve made on your card.
3. Earning potential
How you earn rewards and how many rewards you can earn depend on the earning rates on your credit card. You typically want to choose a credit card that has earning categories that align with your spending habits.
For example, if you typically spend a lot at grocery stores, it makes sense to apply for a credit card that offers elevated rewards for groceries. But if you’d rather not have multiple credit cards for different types of purchases, you might prefer a flat-rate rewards credit card.
These types of cards offer the same rewards rate no matter what you purchase, which could free up some space in your wallet and make it simpler for you to earn rewards.
4. Perks and benefits
If you’re comparing similar credit cards, taking a look at their perks and benefits could help you narrow down your choice.
For example, two travel credit cards might provide similar earning potential with points or miles. But one card might offer a free checked bag on a certain airline and another card might offer airport lounge access. In these types of situations, the better card for you depends on your preferences.
And it’s not just for travel cards, but any type of credit card you’re considering. You might find that two cards are generally the same in terms of rewards and benefits, but one also has an intro offer for 0% APR on purchases or balance transfers. Finding this additional benefit could make your decision easier.
5. Annual fees
Nobody necessarily wants an annual fee on their credit card, but cards with annual fees tend to have better benefits than their no-annual-fee counterparts. You have to weigh the benefits of a credit card with an annual fee to see if it’s worth it for you.
For example, if a card has a $300 annual fee and provides a $300 travel credit each year, it might be easy to justify the annual cost. Especially if there are other benefits and also rewards to consider.
Credit cards for excellent credit pros and cons
- Card membership benefits: You can generally expect an above-average number of benefits on credit cards that require an excellent credit score. This could mean airport lounge access or elite status with travel credit cards, as well as different types of purchase and consumer protections. Some of these benefits might come from the card network, such as Visa or Mastercard.
- Valuable rewards rates: It’s not always the case, but many credit cards for excellent credit provide high earning rates for cash back, points, or miles. This could be beneficial if you want to earn more rewards on everyday purchases, travel expenses, or business purchases.
- High credit limits: In some cases, you might receive a higher credit limit on a credit card that requires excellent credit compared to a credit card that requires a lower credit score. That means more options for making larger purchases each billing cycle, as well as a potentially lower credit utilization rate since you would have more overall available credit.
- Credit score requirements: You typically need excellent credit to qualify for these types of cards, which means they’re often out of reach if you have a fair or bad credit score. If that's the case, you can explore our list of the best credit cards for bad credit. Keep in mind that credit card issuers use multiple factors to determine your card eligibility, so having a certain credit score doesn't guarantee approval.
- High annual fees: Some credit cards for excellent credit have high annual fees, potentially reaching hundreds of dollars.
What is an excellent credit score?
An excellent credit score is a high-ranking score on either the FICO score or VantageScore models. For FICO, an excellent credit score is 800 or above. On the VantageScore model, it’s a score above 780. Both models have credit score ranges between 300 and 850, and a score of 300 is considered very poor, whereas an 850 is a perfect score.
How do you get an excellent credit score?
You get an excellent credit score by paying attention to these factors:
- Payment history: Make full and on-time payments.
- Credit utilization: Use less than 30% of your total available credit.
- Credit history: Keep your oldest credit accounts open.
- Credit mix: Use different types of credit products.
- New credit: Don’t have too many hard inquiries in a short period of time.
How many people have excellent credit?
About 21% of Americans have excellent credit, according to Experian. Here’s the complete breakdown of credit score ranges in the U.S.:
- 21% have excellent credit
- 25% have very good credit
- 21% have good credit
- 17% have fair credit
- 16% have very poor credit
If you have excellent credit, you can likely qualify for a variety of different credit card offers, ranging from cashback credit cards to travel cards. But finding the best cards for excellent credit really depends on what you’re looking for. Each rewards card has its own unique benefits and perks, so the right card for someone else might not be the right card for you.
For top cashback credit card offers, check out our list of the best cashback credit cards. For top travel credit card offers, check out our list of the best travel credit cards.
Easy-to-Earn Unlimited Rewards
Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
- Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
- Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases
- Longer intro APR on qualifying purchases and balance transfers
- No foreign transaction fees
- Apply Now
- Earn unlimited 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees and your points don't expire.
- 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.
- Use your card to book your trip how and where you want - you're not limited to specific websites with blackout dates or restrictions.
- Redeem points for a statement credit to pay for travel or dining purchases, such as flights, hotel stays, car and vacation rentals, baggage fees, and also at restaurants including takeout.
- If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25%-75% more points on every purchase. That means instead of earning an unlimited 1.5 points for every $1, you could earn 1.87-2.62 points for every $1 you spend on purchases.
- Contactless Cards - The security of a chip card, with the convenience of a tap.
- This online only offer may not be available if you leave this page or if you visit a Bank of America financial center. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.
on Bank of America’s secure websiteRead Card Review
Earn 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases
Why we like it