Credit Cards For Excellent Credit

Excellent credit (740-850) often comes with excellent rewards. Browse the best excellent credit offers from our partners with lower rates, better introductory offers, and exclusive perks. Find your perfect match and apply simply and securely. For even more options be sure to check out the best credit cards from our partners.

Excellent credit (740-850) often comes with excellent rewards. Browse the best excellent credit offers from our partners with lower rates, better introductory offers, and exclusive perks. Find your perfect match and apply simply and securely. For even more options be sure to check out the best credit cards from our partners.

By: Garrett Yarbrough & Laura Mohammad

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November 18, 2020

Best Credit Cards for Excellent Credit

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Rewards Rate

3%
Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment
2%
Earn 2% at grocery stores
1%
Earn 1% on all other purchases

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
$200

Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
15.49% - 25.49% variable
Citi® Double Cash Card

Excellent

Credit Recommended (740-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Rewards Rate

2%
Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
No current offer
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
13.99% - 23.99% (Variable)
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Best Blue Cash Everyday Offer

See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Rewards Rate

3%
3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
2%
2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores.
1%
1% Cash Back on other purchases.

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
Up to $300

Earn 20% back on purchases at Amazon.com on the Card in the first 6 months, up to $200 back. Plus, earn $100 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
13.99% - 23.99% variable
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Rewards Rate

3%
Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases)
2%
Earn automatic 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases)
1%
Earn unlimited 1% on all other purchases.

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
$200

$200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
13.99% - 23.99% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers
Discover it® Cash Back

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Rewards Rate

5%
Earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like Amazon.com, grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate.
1%
Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
Cashback Match™

Intro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match - only from Discover. Discover will automatically match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year! There's no minimum spending or maximum rewards. You could turn $150 cash back into $300.

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
11.99% - 22.99% variable
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Rewards Rate

1.5%
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
$200

One-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
15.49% - 25.49% variable
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Excellent

Credit Recommended (740-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Rewards Rate

This card doesn't offer cash back, miles, or points

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
No current offer
Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
14.74% - 24.74% variable
Citi Rewards+℠ Card

Excellent

Credit Recommended (740-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Rewards Rate

2X
Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter.
1X
Earn 1X ThankYou® Points on All Other Purchases.

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
15,000 points

Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
13.49% - 23.49% (Variable)
American Express® Gold Card

New Welcome Offer

See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Rewards Rate

4X
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery.
4X
Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3X
Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
60,000 points

Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.

Annual Fee
$250
Regular APR
See Pay Over Time APR
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Good to Excellent

Credit Recommended (670-850)

CreditCards.com credit ranges are a variation of FICO® Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.
Apply Now

Rewards Rate

1.25X
Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day.

At A Glance

Intro Bonus
20,000 miles

Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel

Annual Fee
$0
Regular APR
15.49% - 25.49% variable

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by CreditCards.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank's website for the most current information.

All information about Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card and Wells Fargo Cards have been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.


Comparing Credit Card Offers for Excellent Credit

Cards that require excellent credit can be among the best in the market. They can also be among the most expensive by way of an annual fee (but not always). Travel cards, cash back cards, balance transfer cards – the options are plentiful. We researched over 1,500 credit cards where excellent credit is needed to get approved and used the criteria below to choose the best cards. Want to learn more? Here, we look at:

We’ll walk you through each step of the process for deciding the best credit card for you in the excellent credit range. Let us know what other questions you have!


Best Credit Cards for Excellent Credit

best credit cards for excellent credit of 2020

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Best credit card with excellent credit for rewards at U.S. supermarkets

Pros

This card’s time-honored 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 in purchases per year, then 1%), unlimited 3% cash back on U.S. gas station and transit purchases, and 1% on everything else remain impressive thanks to another everyday category – unlimited 6% on select U.S. streaming subscriptions. The welcome offer sweetens the deal, now a limited time offer of $300 with a required spend of $3,000 within the first 6 months (offer expires 12/10/20).

Cons

It’s tough to find something not to love about this card, but you may find the $95 annual fee to be an unfortunate piece of the pie. However, for a limited-time, the annual fee is waived for the first year (offer ends 12/10/20).

Bottom line: If the Blue Cash Preferred’s tiered categories are ones that you find yourself often using, this is a card that can earn you significant rewards for the pump and your pantry.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best credit card with excellent credit for dining and entertainment

Pros

For no annual fee, SavorOne’s unlimited 3% on dining and entertainment can earn you a hearty helping of cash back at a surprising variety of places, thanks to Capital One’s generous category definition. The added 2% at grocery stores, 1% on everything else and 5% with Uber Eats (through 1/31/21) compliment SavorOne’s 15-month 0% intro purchase APR (15.49% – 25.49% (Variable) after that) for some versatile purchasing power.

Cons

Its bigger sibling, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, earns a slightly better 4% on dining and entertainment and offers a higher sign-up bonus of $300 (after a $3,000 spend in the first 3 months) at the cost of a $95 annual fee.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for a card with excellent rewards for dining and entertainment, this is the best choice among no annual fee cards. But if you don’t want to think about your rewards, or your idea of entertainment doesn’t fall under this card’s categories, a flat-rate cash back card like the Quicksilver may be a better choice.

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

Best credit card with excellent credit for flat rewards rate

Pros

With no annual fee and a flat rate of 1.25 miles for each dollar spent on all purchases, the VentureOne is a good travel card for those looking for an array of benefits without the hassle of tracking categories. Travel-happy cardholders will also appreciate no blackout dates, no expiration dates, unlimited miles and a sign-up bonus of 20,000 miles after spending $500 in your first 3 months.

Cons

The introductory bonus is not as impressive as the big sibling Venture Rewards card. The VentureOne also doesn’t offer as many perks, such as up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.

Bottom line: If you are a traveler seeking a card with no annual fee or foreign transaction fee that earns reward miles on everything, Capital One VentureOne may be a good fit.

Discover it® Cash Back

Best credit card with excellent credit for online shopping

Pros

According to Discover’s 2020 cash back calendar, online shoppers are in luck to end the year strong – you can earn a versatile 5% cash back in rotating categories (on up to $1,500 in purchases quarterly after required activation, then 1%) on purchases through Amazon.com, Walmart.com and Target.com from October through December. After that, you can double your whole first year’s rewards with Cash Back Match™. That means you can turn the $300 from your quarterly 5% categories into $600!

Cons

If you don’t treasure the idea of strategically timing purchases with rotating categories, this card is not the best option. Instead, look at a card with a flat-rate rewards offer, such as the Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card, which can earn cash back online year-round.

Bottom line: If you want to maximize your rewards, the Discover it Cash Back is a good choice. With opportunities to earn while shopping online, a rotating category schedule and Discover’s generosity, this is a high-earning cash back card for attentive cardholders.

Citi Rewards+℠ Card

Best credit card with excellent credit for gas station rewards

Pros

If you’re like most people, your commute isn’t the best part of your day. But with the Citi Rewards+℠ Card, you can feel a little better knowing that you’re earning 2X points every time you fill up your tank. That rate also applies to supermarket purchases. That’s up to $6,000 annually combined, then 1X point. While this offer isn’t remarkable on its own, Citi’s unique round-up feature is what makes this card special. The rewards for all purchases get rounded up to the nearest ten. For example, if you bought a snack at the supermarket for $6, you would earn double the points, so 12. Then the 12 points would be rounded up to 20. With this setup, it’s easy to see how rewards can stack up quickly.

Cons

If you’re hoping to redeem your points for cash back, you may find a better return by redeeming for gift cards.

Bottom line: Considering there’s no annual fee, this is a solid choice for someone who wants to rack up points on everyday purchases.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

Best credit card with excellent credit for simple rewards

Pros

A straightforward card with a simple rewards structure, the Quicksilver from Capital One frees you up from having to keep track of rotating categories and the like. Instead, use this card to get 1.5% cash back on every purchase. There’s no annual fee, and no foreign transaction fee means it’s good to use worldwide.

Cons

The disadvantage to a flat-rate cash back card is that you can’t maneuver your spending to maximize rewards on key categories like you can with the Discover it Cash Back and more specialized reward structures.

Bottom line: The Quicksilver is a great card to earn consistent, unlimited cash rewards, and the required spend on the sign-up bonus is rock-bottom: Earn $200 after spending just $500 in the first 3 months.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Best credit card with excellent credit for intro balance transfer offer

Pros

New cardholders who need to pay off debt will have 18 months on 0% introductory APR of balance transfers (14.74%-24.74% variable APR thereafter), one of the longer offers on the market. That same rate (0% introductory APR for 18 months, then 14.74%-24.27% variable) applies to purchases, too.

Cons

There is a fee for balance transfers, which is something to keep in mind, especially if you’re transferring a large balance. You also won’t earn rewards with this card, so it’s really only a good option for those who want to do a balance transfer or split up a purchase over several months.

Bottom line: If you’re planning a balance transfer or a large purchase, the Citi Diamond Preferred can help out with its lengthy 0% introductory period. If you’re not in debt and don’t plan to be, a rewards card will probably suit you better.

Citi® Double Cash Card

Best credit card with excellent credit for low interest

Pros

Some credit cards with excellent rewards rates seem to compensate by having sky-high interest rates. This isn’t the case with the Citi Double Cash. In addition to a fair interest rate of 13.99%-23.99% variable, cardholders enjoy what is effectively 2% cash back – one percent as you buy, and one percent as you pay off your purchases.

Cons

There is no 0% introductory APR for purchases, so if you’d like some time to pay off an upcoming purchase without accruing any interest, you should go a different route. Potential applicants should also know that there’s a $25 minimum redemption for cash back – not a huge deal, but something to consider. There’s also no sign-up bonus.

Bottom line: Earning 2% cash back on all purchases (1% as you buy, 1% as you pay off your purchases) is fantastic. If you’re in need of a go-to cash back card, you should certainly consider the Citi Double Cash.

American Express® Gold Card

Best credit card with excellent credit for no blackout dates

Pros

If you love to travel and eat well, the American Express Gold is unlikely to disappoint. Cardholders earn 4X points at restaurants worldwide, 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1X) and 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com. It’s also packed with additional benefits, like an annual dining credit of up to $120. And don’t overlook the fact that there will be no blackout dates when it comes time to redeem your points.

Cons

You will need to use the card often to outweigh the cost of the $250 annual fee. If you don’t spend a significant amount on flights, dining or at U.S. supermarkets, there are plenty of cards with low or no annual fee that can give you rewards on similar categories. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers 2X points on travel and restaurant purchases for an annual fee of only $95.

Bottom line: While $250 isn’t the most expensive annual fee, it is cause for a second glance. If you spend big on food and flights, you’ll likely reap the rewards to make the Amex Gold worth it.

Discover it® chrome

Best credit card with excellent credit for everyday cash back

Pros

Those with an on-the-go lifestyle will probably benefit from earning 2% cash back on restaurant and gas station purchases (up to $1,000 in combined purchases quarterly, then 1%). Even better, Discover will match all the cash back you earn at the end of your first year. Though delayed, that bonus can be substantial and worth your while.

Cons

Perhaps the biggest drawback is the fact that the 2% cash back rate only applies to the first $1,000 spent at restaurants or gas stations quarterly. The Blue Cash Everyday offers rewards on similar everyday categories, but the annual spending cap is greater.

Bottom line: If you’re on the road often, the Discover it chrome is a great way to earn cash back at restaurants and gas stations, but the quarterly spending caps put a damper on the excitement.

Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card

Best credit card with excellent credit for no annual fee

Pros

This card has steadily evolved over the last 2 years to become a no annual fee travel card with valuable cash back features. Earn 3X points on everything from dining in and out to gas stations, flights, car rentals and more. The Propel has also kept up with the times by rewarding 3X points for homestays and rideshares, too. Plus, there’s a generous sign-up bonus of 20,000 points for spending $1,000 in the first 3 months – a $200 cash redemption value.

Cons

The Propel’s intro APR offer of 0% for 12 months on purchases and qualifying balance transfers (14.49% to 24.99% (Variable) thereafter) can easily be beaten by other no annual fee cash back cards, many of which have 15-month offers.

Bottom line: If you are a traveler who doesn’t love the idea of an annual fee, the Propel is a fine choice, particularly if you find yourself often opting for Uber and Airbnb.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Best credit card with excellent credit for sign-up bonus

Pros

This card’s worldwide travel and dining rewards are tough to match when you throw in the 60,000-point sign-up bonus after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. To cap it off, you’ll get a 25% boost when redeeming for travel, groceries, dining, home improvement and contributions to select charities through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal (until 4/30/21 for all categories except travel). A nice touch for Chase cardholders, you can also transfer rewards from the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and Chase Freedom Unlimited to earn the 25% bonus.

Cons

Unlike some competitor cards, there is a $95 annual fee. Also, the regular APR isn’t the best at 15.99%-22.99% variable.

Bottom line: The Chase Sapphire Preferred’s 60,000 points after a $4,000 spend within the first 3 months and 2X points when swiping for travel and dining purchases make it a great choice for on-the-go cardholders, or anyone pooling points for a future vacation with paired Chase Freedom family cards.

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Best credit card with excellent credit for travel

Pros

A competitive sign-up bonus paired with flat-rate rewards on all purchases makes this card a great contender, but it doesn’t end there. This card makes it easy to earn unlimited miles on any purchase, offering more than 10 hotel and airline transfer partners or a statement credit for any eligible travel purchase within the last 90 days.

Cons

Miles transfer at a less than 1:1 ratio, and the annual fee is $95.

Bottom line: For frequent travelers, the flexible rewards and travel perks make this a good choice.

Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

Best credit card with excellent credit for low interest

Pros

This card is tough to beat when it comes to introductory interest rates: 0% interest on both purchases and balance transfers for your first 18 months, followed by a variable APR of 14.74% – 24.74%. Also featuring no annual fee and a reduced balance transfer fee (3% of your transfer or $5, whichever is higher), this is an affordable option for those looking to transfer debt or pay for a large purchase.

Cons

The Citi Diamond Preferred doesn’t come with any sort of rewards, something often sought after by those with excellent credit.

Bottom line: While the lack of rewards-earning isn’t ideal, this option from Citi is a great tool for those looking to make a balance transfer or avoid interest on a large buy.

Citi® Double Cash Card

Best credit card with excellent credit for intro balance transfer offers

Pros

If you’re looking for a card to transfer debt while still earning rewards, the Citi Double Cash is a wonderful option. Cardholders are welcomed with an intro 0% APR offer on balance transfers for their first 18 months (then 13.99%-23.99% variable), plus a reduced fee to make the transfer (3% or $5, whichever is higher). On top of the debt-consolidating opportunity, cardholders will earn 1% cash back when making a purchase then 1% cash back when the purchase is paid for.

Cons

Though this card does feature an excellent balance transfer offer, there’s no intro APR for purchases and no available sign-up bonus. Also, the card’s 3% foreign transaction fee lessens its international appeal.

Bottom line: Consumers looking to transfer credit card debt should study the Citi Double Cash. A lengthy balance transfer offer, no annual fee and rewards capabilities make this card a top choice in its class.

Citi Rewards+℠ Card

Best credit card with excellent credit for no annual fee

Pros

The Citi Rewards+ brings cardholders ways to earn on regular purchases thanks to 2X ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations (on up to $6,000 in purchases annually, then 1X) as well as 1X points on all other purchases. The best part: Citi rounds up every purchase to the nearest 10 points, so a $2 pack of gum bumps up to 10 points and an $11 lunch will net you 20 ThankYou points. As a sign-up bonus, you can earn 15,000 ThankYou points if you spend $1,000 in your first 3 months – all for no annual fee.

Cons

Earning in the 2X categories is limited to $6,000 per year, then reduced to 1X points. Also, when redeeming ThankYou points you should stick to gift card options and booking trips through the ThankYou Travel Portal – they’re the only worthwhile choices from a value standpoint.

Bottom line: Thanks to no annual fee, common rewards categories and several ways to earn bonus points, the Citi Rewards+ is a great everyday card for anyone looking for easy ways to rack up rewards.

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Best credit card with excellent credit for rewards at U.S. gas stations

Pros

American Express gives ways to earn on can’t-miss purchases: Cardholders earn an unlimited 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, a lucrative 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 annually, then 1%) and 1% cash back on other purchases. In addition to uncapped earnings at the pump, the Blue Cash Everyday Card is fueled by non-expiring cash back, no annual fee and an intro 0% APR offer for 15 months on purchases (then it’s 13.99%-23.99% variable).

Cons

Unlike the 2% cash back categories, your 3% earning at U.S. supermarkets is limited to $6,000 per year. Also, rewards can’t be transferred or pooled with other cards.

Bottom line: Those constantly on the road might want to take advantage of the unlimited cash back available when filling up your tank. With multiple ways to earn while making typical purchases, this card suits its name as a great regular-use option.

Discover it® chrome

Best credit card with excellent credit for first-year cash back match

Pros

This card’s 2% cash back on dining and gas station purchases (up to $1,000 a quarter in combined purchases, then 1%) as well as an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases is boosted with an awesome offer from Discover: They’ll match the entirety of the cash back you’ve earned in your first year. Also, the cards APR of 11.99%-22.99% variable is on the lower end of interest rates.

Cons

Earning in the dining and gas station categories is capped at a combined $1,000 per quarter, limiting the impact of the bonus rates. Also, while this card offers solid cash back rewards, it’s not a good choice for those looking for more luxurious benefits and travel rewards.

Bottom line: The Discover it chrome is boosted by a generous year-end offer bonus and heightened earning in everyday categories, making it a great choice for commuters and those who love to dine out.

American Express® Gold Card

Best credit card with excellent credit for dining

Pros

Points won’t expire with the American Express Gold Card, which is important when you consider all the ways to earn: 4X points at worldwide restaurants, 4X points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 annually, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, and 1X points on all other purchases. On top of the 4X categories for those looking to reward their eating habits, this card dishes out value through a welcome offer of 60,000 points when spending $4,000 in your first 6 months.

Cons

Your points are limited to $25,000 yearly in the U.S. supermarket category (then reduced to 1X) and the card does feature a hefty annual fee of $250.

Bottom line: For anyone looking to capitalize on their food purchases, there may not be a better choice on the market. Despite its annual fee, this card offers a multitude of ways to earn points and gives a few yearly credits to negate the cost.

Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card

Best credit card with excellent credit for Southwest rewards

Pros

Those who frequently fly with Southwest will likely want to add this perk-packed card to their travel repertoire. Once acquiring the card, you can earn 50,000 bonus points if you spend $2,000 in your first 3 months, plus an additional 30,000 points if you spend $10,000 within the first 9 months. You also gain access to earning 5x points on Southwest purchases from 12/1/20 through 3/31/2021 on up to $2,000 spent per month.  All other Southwest purchases and Rapid Rewards hotel and car rental purchases earn 2x points and you’ll receive 6,000 points each cardmember anniversary. To up the ante, there’s no foreign transaction fee, no blackout dates and your first 2 checked bags are free when you fly Southwest.

Cons

Your rewards-fueled flights are limited to direct travel, so you can’t book rewards travel with a layover flight. Also, Southwest doesn’t have any airline partners, so this card can be a commitment to their flight schedule.

Bottom line: Coming with a middle-of-the-road $99 annual fee, this card comes with a small price for Southwest flyers to turn up their travel experience through a slew of perks, ways to earn points and valuable rewards redemption.

Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card

Best credit card with excellent credit for Marriott rewards

Pros

Fans of Marriott hotels will appreciate the 3X points on purchases at Marriott Bonvoy properties, as well as 2X points on travel purchases and 1X points elsewhere. The no annual fee card also comes with a solid sign-up bonus: Earn 30,000 points after spending $1,000 in your first 3 months. Thanks to Marriott offering the world’s largest hotel network and the ability to transfer points to 40+ airline partners, this card is an alluring international travel option.

Cons

Although this card offers bonus points-earning, the value of the points are a bit inflated. Additionally, booking nights at Marriott locations can be difficult during busy periods and the redemption options outside of hotel stays aren’t worth exploring.

Bottom line: Those loyal to Marriott could benefit from adding this card to their rotation. For no annual fee, you’ll gain access to new ways to earn while traveling and put yourself on the fast track to silver elite status with Marriott.

Compare the best credit cards for excellent credit for 2020

Excellent Credit CardBest for…Annual FeeCreditCards.com Rating
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American ExpressRewards at U.S. supermarketsLimited Time Offer: $0 introductory annual fee for one year, then $95. Offer Expires 12/10/20204.3 / 5
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit CardDining and entertainment$03.7 / 5
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit CardFlat rewards rate$03.5 / 5
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American ExpressU.S. Supermarkets$03.5 / 5
Discover it® Cash BackOnline shopping$04.3 / 5
Citi Rewards+℠ CardGas station rewards$03.0 / 5
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit CardSimple rewards$03.4 / 5
Citi® Diamond Preferred® CardSimple rewards$03.9 / 5
Citi® Double Cash CardNo annual fee$03.7 / 5
American Express® Gold CardSign-up BonusN/A4.3 / 5

Applicants with excellent credit are eligible for top credit card offers from issuers like Capital One, Chase, and American Express.

Methodology: how we got to the best cards

Credit cards for excellent credit analyzed: 1,526

Criteria used: Credit needed, rewards rates, rewards categories, sign-up bonus, point values (if any), redemption options and flexibility, annual fee, other rates and fees, customer service, application process, miscellaneous benefits.

What is an excellent credit score?

The answer to this question varies from lender to lender. Each lender decides what an “excellent” credit score range is and what constitutes a risk. Lenders depend on credit scoring agencies to assign scores to potential customers. The scores from FICO and VantageScore are the most frequently used, and each has its own ranges and threshold for excellent credit. A FICO score above 800 is considered exceptional and a VantageScore above 750 is considered excellent:

FICO score ranges

300-579Very poor
580-669Fair
670-739Good
740-799Very good
800-850Exceptional

VantageScore ranges

300-499Very poor
500-600Poor
601-660Fair
661-780Good
781-850Excellent

How does an excellent credit score work?

At first blush, there may not seem to be much difference between good and excellent credit. But look deeper, and you’ll see that it’s a difference of interest rates and credit cards that you qualify for.

Other than bragging rights, excellent credit can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars by landing you a lower interest rate and better terms, particularly with car loans and mortgages. That’s because lenders deem you to be more credit-worthy when your score is outstanding. In the case of credit cards, a better score will help get you a lower rate on the range of the card’s variable APR.

Also, your options can open up. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve only accepts excellent credit. This is a high-end card with a pricey annual fee, but it is also packed with superior rewards and benefits.

What determines an excellent credit score?

Your credit score is based on information in your credit report. Scoring models like FICO (the dominant model) and VantageScore assign the highest scores to consumers who pose the lowest risks – that is, consumers who consistently pay their bills on time and carry small amounts of debt compared to their overall borrowing capacities. To establish or maintain your excellent credit, here’s a breakdown of the credit scoring criteria and the weight placed on each factor for FICO’s and VantageScore’s most widely used models (FICO 8 and VantageScore 3.0).

Payment history

FICO: 35% | VantageScore: 40%
Making payments on time is the most important aspect of a credit score. This portion of your score factors in the frequency of late or missed payments and the length of each delinquency. The more severe, recent and frequent your late payments, the larger the impact on your score. You need to be scrupulous about paying your bills by the due date if you want to push your score into the excellent range – your credit history should show no recent late payments. Negative information can stay on your credit report for 7 years, although the older the information, the less of an impact. That means that even if with a credit mistake, by correcting your behavior, you will see your score rise again soon after a drop.

Credit utilization

FICO: 30% | VantageScore: 20%
The amount of credit that you are currently using is the next greatest factor in your credit score. Lenders look at the total amount you owe on each of your accounts compared to your credit limit, and the total that you owe overall compared to your overall credit limit. It’s called your credit utilization ratio. If you owe $100 and you have $1,000 in available credit, that means your ratio is 10%. Keep your debt as close to 0% as possible. Revolving debt, including credit cards, is an especially important consideration in this portion of your score.

Length of credit history

FICO: 15% | VantageScore: 21%
Scoring models consider the newest, oldest and average ages of your credit accounts and their recent activity. Whether it’s for payment history or credit history, time is a key player (and double-edged sword) in reaching an excellent score. But how much time is needed? According to Experian data, the average FICO score increased by 10-30 points for each 10-year age range below the age of 80 – scores quickly picked up in the average person’s 30s and made the biggest jump in their 50s-60s. Thankfully, you don’t have to have decades of experience under your belt to achieve an excellent credit score. Experian notes that of the small population with a perfect 850 FICO score, only 4% are millennials, a number which jumps to 25% for Generation X.

Credit mix

FICO: 10%
The types of accounts under your name get a smaller amount of weighting in your score. FICO and VantageScore give higher scores to consumers who have a diversity of credit, usually a mix of revolving credit (like credit cards) and installment loans (like mortgages). While FICO keeps this factor separate, VantageScore weighs this factor in credit history. To bump your score into the excellent range, you should make sure you have multiple types of well-managed credit in your credit history.
FICO: 10% | VantageScore: 5%
Your number of recent credit inquiries and new accounts are small factors in both your FICO score and VantageScore. This factor is labeled as “recent credit” by VantageScore. You should be careful about applying for new credit cards. Make sure you qualify before you apply, as these “hard inquiries” show up on your credit report and temporarily ding your score by a few points. “Soft” inquiries (inquiries you did not initiate by a credit application) do not count. To nudge your score up, you should be careful not to open too many new accounts or apply for a lot of cards in a brief period.

Balances (VantageScore only)

VantageScore: 11%
The total debt you owe isn’t nearly as important as how much of your credit you are utilizing, but lenders do look at the balances that you owe on all your accounts. It has a moderately influential weight in the VantageScore model. In general, you should try to minimize your account balances to increase your credit score and decrease interest.

Available credit (VantageScore only)

VantageScore: 3%
For VantageScore specifically, your amount of available credit is ranked as a “less influential” factor, but we’ve found a good supply of available credit can keep your credit all-around healthier.

Credit card perks you can earn if you have excellent credit

  • Rewards: While even cards that accept bad credit can offer rewards, the rewards steadily improve as your credit improves and you qualify for better cards. Sign-up bonuses are higher and ongoing rewards can earn you hundreds of dollars a year if you use them correctly.
  • Benefits: Benefits for the cardholder with excellent credit can include access to airport lounges, annual credits for travel, travel fees and even shopping at exclusive retailers. There can also be numerous shopping and travel benefits such as extended warranties and car rental insurance.
  • Types of cards: With good to excellent credit, your options open up considerably to include cards with 0%, loyalty cards like airline and hotel cards, business cards, even luxury cards with exceptional benefits.
  • Interest rates: There are a few things you should do once you achieve excellent credit, including doing a loan check to see if you can get better rates, including calling your card issuers.
  • Higher available credit: Also, a better credit score can get you higher credit limits, which not only give you access to more money, but also can improve your score further by lowering your credit utilization ratio.

The advantages to having excellent credit are numerous, from superior rewards and welcome bonuses to convenient benefits that can save you time and hassle. There are also some advantages that may not have occurred to you, such as being able to get a credit limit increase.

How to compare similar credit cards

Here is a comparison of two seemingly similar credit cards that are both designed for people with excellent credit. However, once we break down the details on different spending categories and other features, one card in the comparison may become the frontrunner to certain cardholders. When comparing two credit cards, look out for details like rewards rates, other hidden benefits, annual fee, intro and ongoing APRs, other fees, and more. We break down rewards comparisons below:

Comparison of Sapphire Preferred vs. Venture Rewards…

CardSign-up bonusTravel and restaurantsOther ongoing rewardsAnnual feeTotal end of first year
Chase Sapphire Preferred**60,000 pts*125%=$750$1,000*2X pts*12 mths*125%=$300$1,000*1X pts*12 mths*125%=$150$95$1105
Capital One Venture Rewards^^100,000 miles=$1,000$1,000*2X miles*12 mths=$240$1,000*2X miles*12 mths=$240$95$1385

**60,000 points after a $4,000 spend within the first 3 months
^^100,000 miles after a $20,000 spend within the first 12 months (or 50,000 miles after $3,000 spend in the first 3 months)
Here’s what you’d have to spend each month to fully take advantage of these cards’ welcome bonuses. As you can see, for heavy spenders, both cards provide an excellent first-year value, although the Capital One Venture Rewards offers slightly more value due to the flat 2X reward rate on all purchases.

How many people have excellent credit?

Experian, one of the three major credit bureaus, has found that the average consumer’s score reached 701 in June 2020. It’s a slight dip from September 2019’s 706 average, but still a far cry from when the figure bottomed out in 2009 at 686. Here is a breakdown of scores and the percentage of consumers who have captured them.

  • 800-850 FICO Score (Exceptional)
  • 20%
  • 740-799 FICO Score (Very Good)
  • 25%
  • 670-739 FICO Score (Good)
  • 21%
  • 580-669 FICO Score (Fair)
  • 18%
  • 300-579 FICO Score (Very Poor)
  • 16%

Experian June 2020 figures
Fortunately, this stumble could be temporary since FICO’s September 2019 data shows that more people are scoring higher, and there has been a yearly average credit score increase since that 2009 low. FICO attributed much of this improvement on strong economic growth since the Great Recession and an increased awareness of scores and active credit building among consumers.

Expert tips to maintain excellent credit

Freeze your credit reports. It’s now free – and advisable – to freeze your 3 credit reports to ensure no one accesses them illegitimately.

Pay multiple payments in a month. Since you won’t know when your card issuers will send your information to the credit bureaus, it’s a good idea to pay at least 2 times a month, even if you pay in full each month. That increases the likelihood that your balance will be low when the credit scoring models pull your information.

Keep old debt on your credit reports. As tempting as it may be, Bankrate recommends that you avoid trying to get your old debt removed from your credit reports once they have been paid off. When you’ve paid the bill off, that actually benefits your credit.

Apply for loans in a short amount of time. FICO scoring models only count up to 3 loan inquiries as one when they are made in a short period of time, as little as 14 days and as much as 45 days. This includes mortgages, student loans and auto loans but not credit cards.

Consolidate balances. Credit expert John Ulzheimer notes that when you carry small balances, it’s best to consolidate them “because you’re penalized for having too many accounts with a balance. It’s better to have fewer accounts with a balance than more accounts. So to the extent you can use fewer cards for the same purchases, the better you’ll be.”

Plan out loans. Strategize several months out before taking out auto loans or mortgages so that you don’t have large balances on your cards and you don’t take out new cards.

Follow the 20/10 Rule. Wells Fargo advises that you not let your card debt exceed more than 20% of your total yearly income after taxes, and that you not have more than 10% of your monthly take-home pay in credit card payments.

Notify your bank of a move. Wells Fargo also advises that you make sure you notify your card issuers and other lenders of address or email changes so that you get your statement in a timely manner.

Stay in touch with creditors. If you are late on a payment, or can’t pay, reach out to your creditor and see what alternative payment plans they might offer. Sometimes just calling and negotiating can lead to better terms.

What missteps do people with excellent credit make?

If you have excellent credit, you likely already have solid credit card habits. Here are a few key things to remember that can take you over the top as a cardholder:

  • By failing to put someone you trust on your card as an authorized user, you are missing out on rewards you can get through their spending.
  • If you aren’t reviewing what’s on the market periodically, new rewards cards that suit your lifestyle may be passing you by.
  • By keeping a card that doesn’t serve your needs, like a card with an annual fee that you don’t really use, you’re not taking full advantage of your excellent credit. If it’s an older card that you want to keep to continue to build your credit, you can ask for the annual fee to be waived, or you can ask for the card to be downgraded to a no annual fee card.
  • There’s nothing in the credit rule book that says mortgage payments or student loans are more important to your credit than card debt. Everything matters, and you need to be sure to pay everything on time, every time. One missed payment can quickly drop your score.
  • Don’t make sudden changes such as suddenly paying less or charging more, says Bankrate. That can indicate to your card issuer that you are having credit issues.