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Credit Cards For Excellent Credit

Written by: Joey Robinson | Edited by: Tracy Stewart | Reviewed by: Jason Steele
|

May 16, 2024

Best Credit Cards for Excellent Credit

Additional Options:

  • American Express® Green Card – Best everyday travel card
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited® – Best standalone rewards card
  • Citi Double Cash® Card – Best for flat-rate rewards
  • Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card – Best for dining and entertainment
  • Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express – Best for online shopping
  • American Express® Gold Card – Best for foodies
  • Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card – Best for balance transfers
  • Citi Rewards+® Card – Best for small purchases
  • Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card – Best travel card for savers
BEST CREDIT CARD WITH EXCELLENT CREDIT FOR SIMPLE REWARDS
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Our rating:3.7 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Rewards rate

5%
Earn unlimited 5% cash back on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options. Terms apply
1.5%
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day

At A Glance

Intro offer
$200 Earn a one-time $200 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual fee
$0
Regular APR
19.99% - 29.99% variable
Best for groceries and gas
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
Our rating:4.6 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.
See Rates & Fees, Terms Apply
Clicking “See your approval odds” will authorize us to run a soft credit pull, which we’ll need to estimate your approval odds. Approval Odds serve as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.

Rewards rate

6%
6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).
6%
6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions.
3%
3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more.
3%
3% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations
1%
1% Cash Back on other purchases

At A Glance

Intro offer
Earn $250 Earn a $250 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
Annual fee
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
Regular APR
19.24% - 29.99% variable
Your approval oddsClicking “See your approval odds” will authorize us to run a soft credit pull, which we’ll need to estimate your approval odds. Approval Odds serve as a guide to help you find the right credit card and will never affect your credit score.
Best for category variety
Discover it® Cash Back
Our rating:4.6 Our writers, editors and industry experts score credit cards based on a variety of factors including card features, bonus offers and independent research. Credit card issuers have no say or influence on how we rate cards. The score seen here reflects the card's primary category rating. For more information, you can read about how we rate our cards.

Rewards rate

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

At A Glance

Intro offer
Cashback Match Intro Offer: Unlimited Cashback Match for all new cardmembers – 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
17.24% - 28.24% variable
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*All information about the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card, the Chase Freedom Flex, and the American Express® Green Card has been collected independently by CreditCards.com and has not been reviewed by the issuer.


Compare the best credit cards for excellent credit of 2024

Excellent Credit CardBest for…Card HighlightsAnnual FeeCreditCards.com Rating
Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card
Flexible cash back categories3% cash back on purchases in the category of your choice, and 2% cash back at grocery store and wholesale clubs (on up to $2,500 of combined 3% and 2% category purchases each quarter, then 1% back)

Choice categories can be changed monthly and include gas, dining, online shopping, travel, drugstore and home improvement purchases

$04.4 / 5
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit CardSimple rewardsUnlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases

Cash back can be redeemed automatically at a set amount or date

$0
(See Rates and Fees)
3.7 / 5
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American ExpressGroceries and gas6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%) and on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 3% cash back on transit and at U.S. gas stations$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.4.6 / 5
Discover it® Cash BackCategory variety5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories, activation required (on up to $1,500 per quarter, then 1%)$04.6 / 5
American Express Green CardEveryday travel3X points on travel, transit, eligible purchases at restaurants worldwide and U.S. delivery and takeout

1X points on other purchases

$1504.5 / 5
Chase Freedom Unlimited®A standalone rewards card5% cash back on travel through Chase Travel, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases and 1.5% on all other purchases$05 / 5
Citi Double Cash® CardFlat-rate rewardsUp to 2% cash back on all purchases (1% at purchase and 1% upon payment)$04.2 / 5
Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit CardDining and entertainmentUnlimited 3% cash back on dining, entertainment, select streaming services and grocery store purchases (excluding superstores like Walmart and Target)

10% cash back on Uber and Uber Eats purchases (through Nov. 14, 2024), and 8% cash back on Capital One Entertainment purchases

$0
(See Rates and Fees)
4.9 / 5
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American ExpressOnline shopping3% cash back on U.S. supermarket, U.S. gas station and U.S. online retail purchases (up to $6,000 in combined purchases per year, then 1%)$04.8 / 5
American Express® Gold CardFoodies4X Membership Rewards points at restaurants, including Uber Eats and other eligible U.S. takeout and delivery, and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in purchases per year, then 1X points)

Up to $240 in annual dining-related credits (issued as monthly statement credits)

$250 5 / 5
Citi® Diamond Preferred® CardBalance transfers0% intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months, and a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months (then 18.24% to 28.99% variable)$03.9 / 5
Citi Rewards+® CardSmall purchases2X points at supermarkets and gas stations (on up to $6,000 in combined purchases per year, then 1X points)

Earned points are rounded up to the nearest 10, and 10% of the first 100,000 points redeemed each year are earned back.

$0
3.9 / 5
Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit cardA travel card for savers2X points on travel and dining, and 1.5X points on all other purchases

Up to $100 in annual statement credits toward incidental airline expenses

$954.4 / 5

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


Editor’s picks: Credit cards for excellent credit details

Best for flexible cash back categories: Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card

  • Best features: This card’s rewards rates are perfect if you put a premium on flexibility. You can change your bonus category once per calendar month and choose between several popular options, including dining, gas, travel, online shopping and drugstore and home improvement purchases.
  • Biggest drawbacks: While the rewards are great, the quarterly $2,500 combined spend cap on 2% and 3% categories may not be the best fit for big spenders
  • Alternatives: Anyone eager to maximize their credit card rewards will first want to check for cards that offer higher rewards in the categories that matter most to them. For example, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express can be much more lucrative for frequent U.S. supermarket shoppers. Meanwhile, the U.S. Bank Cash+® Visa Signature® Card can earn 5% on two choice categories (up to $2,000 in combined purchases per quarter, then 1%), although the categories aren’t quite as popular.
  • Bottom line: Anyone looking for a flexible rewards card with no annual fee will find plenty to like about the Bank of America Customized Cash Rewards card. If you’re an eligible Bank of America or Merrill account holder with sufficient funds, you may qualify to boost your reward earnings by 25% to 75% through the Preferred Rewards program.

Related: Is the Bank of America Customized Cash card worth it?

Read our Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards credit card review or jump back to this card’s offer details.

Best for simple rewards: Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Best features: A straightforward card with a simple rewards structure, the Quicksilver from Capital One frees you up from having to keep track of rotating categories. Instead, you can use the Quicksilver to earn 1.5% cash back on every purchase and automatically redeem your rewards at a set amount or on a certain date.
  • Biggest drawbacks: Like other flat-rate cash back cards, the Quicksilver card may not be the most valuable standalone option since you can’t maximize your rewards in many of the most popular spending categories. Several competing cards earn rewards at more than double this card’s rate in specific bonus categories like groceries and gas.
  • Alternatives: The Citi Double Cash® Card does offer a higher cash back rate of up to 2 percent cash back on all purchases: that’s 1% cash back when you spend and another 1% when you pay your bill.
  • Bottom line: The Quicksilver is an unfussy card for anyone hoping to earn consistent, unlimited cash rewards while avoiding foreign transaction fees (See Rates and Fees). However, for someone hoping to maximize earnings, plenty of other cards offer a higher rewards rate.

Related: Expert Ted Rossman: How to maximize your Capital One Quicksilver card

Read our Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card review or jump back to this card’s offer details.

Best for groceries and gas: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

  • Best features: This card offers a terrific cash back rate on U.S. supermarket purchases that easily makes it one of the best credit cards for groceries on the market. Its rate on U.S. gas station and transit purchases is also rewarding enough for the card to rank among the top cards for gas and public transport.
  • Biggest drawbacks: Though it should be easy for most shoppers to offset, the card’s ongoing $95 annual fee ($0 intro annual fee for the first year) may be a tough sell for some. Modest spenders may prefer the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express as a no-annual-fee alternative.
  • Alternatives: Depending on your spending habits, the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card may be more rewarding since it charges no annual fee (See Rates and Fees) and carries an unlimited 3% cash back on entertainment, dining and grocery store purchases (excluding superstores like Walmart® and Target®).
  • 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 at the pump and help you save on groceries.

Related: Who should get the Blue Cash Preferred card?

Read our Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express review or jump back to this card’s offer details.

Best for category variety: Discover it® Cash Back

  • Best features: This card earns generous cash back in a wide range of rotating quarterly categories, typically including everything from online shopping and gym memberships to dining and gas. Its high cash back rate and category variety can also make the Discover Cashback Match™ an especially valuable offer at the end of your first year.
  • Biggest drawbacks: If planning purchases and tracking categories sound like more trouble than they’re worth, this card may not be the best fit.
  • Alternatives: The Chase Freedom Flex℠ may be appealing if you like the advantages of a rotating category card but want a bit more consistency. The Freedom Flex not only offers a similar mix of quarterly categories, but also sweetens the deal with excellent benefits and year-round 3% back on dining and drugstore purchases.
  • Bottom line: If you want to maximize your rewards, the Discover it® Cash Back is a good choice. With opportunities to earn a high cash back rate in rotating categories, a lengthy intro APR offer on purchases and balance transfers and no annual fee, this is a well-rounded top-rate card. It can be an everyday option for attentive cardholders or a great card to pair for someone wanting to supplement their current rewards.

Related:Is the Discover it® Cash Back worth it?

Read our Discover it® Cash Back review or jump back to this card’s offer details.

Best for everyday travel: American Express Green Card

  • Best features: Its expanded travel category includes campgrounds, cruises, tours, and more. Plus, it comes with LoungeBuddy and CLEAR Plus membership statement credits that can make traveling more comfortable and streamlined.
  • Biggest drawbacks: The American Express Green Card has a $150 annual fee that may be hard to offset if you’re only interested in the card’s commuting, alternative travel and dining rewards rates.
  • Alternatives: The Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card rewards category also covers commuting purchases — like gas stations and transit — without charging an annual fee.
  • Bottom line: The Amex Green Card is a great option for frequent, everyday travelers, especially if you’re already loyal to American Express. Its rewards in dining, travel, and transit can be lucrative for commuters who take advantage of all the card’s features.

Read our American Express Green Card review or jump back to this card’s offer details.

Best standalone rewards card: Chase Freedom Unlimited®

  • Best features: An unlimited 1.5% flat-rate cash back rate and stellar perks make the Chase Freedom Unlimited an impressive no-annual-fee option if you prefer sticking to one card for all your spending. It may even have an edge over 2% flat-rate cash back cards since it also carries 3% back at restaurants and drugstores. It can also be an exceptional partner card if you decide to get a Chase Ultimate Rewards card down the line.
  • Biggest drawbacks: A 3% foreign transaction fee could potentially put off travelers, and the drugstore bonus category may not be the most lucrative.
  • Alternatives: If you’d rather have a higher flat rewards rate on general purchases than  bonus cash back on dining, travel and drugstore purchases, the Citi Double Cash card could be more lucrative since it earns up to 2% cash back on all purchases (1% when you buy, 1% when you pay off purchases).
  • Bottom line: With a great rewards rate on general purchases and multiple opportunities to earn boosted cash back, the Freedom Unlimited could be a valuable standalone rewards card for nearly any type of spender.

Related: Is the Chase Freedom Unlimited worth it?

Read our Chase Freedom Unlimited® review.

Best for flat-rate rewards: Citi Double Cash® Card

  • Best features: Instead of earning just 1.5% cash back like several other flat-rate cards, this card earns up to 2% cash back on all purchases (1% when you buy and 1% when you pay off purchases). The Double Cash card is also a stand-out pick if you’re consolidating debt because it’s one of the few rewards cards to offer a long intro APR on balance transfers.
  • Biggest drawbacks: There is no 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.
  • Alternatives: If you enjoy unlimited 2% cash rewards and are looking for an introductory APR for purchases, take a look at the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. The Chase Freedom Unlimited could also outperform the Double Cash for some cardholders thanks to its additional 3% cash back categories.
  • Bottom line: Anyone who prefers a streamlined cash back program will appreciate this straightforward rewards card. Plus, the intro APR offer is ideal for anyone thinking about a balance transfer.

Related: Is the Citi Double Cash worth it?

Read our Citi Double Cash® Card review.

Best for dining and entertainment:  Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

  • Best features: The SavorOne card can earn you a hearty helping of cash back on many of your meals thanks to its $0 annual fee (See Rates and Fees) and terrific mix of practical bonus categories, including dining and grocery store purchases. It’s also one of the only cards that rewards entertainment purchases.
  • Biggest drawbacks: Though this card earns rewards at a solid rate in a variety of everyday bonus categories, other cards offer higher rates in individual categories like groceries and gas.
  • Alternatives: Its premium counterpart, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card*, earns a slightly better 4% back on dining, entertainment and select streaming services, which may make it worth the $95 annual fee for big spenders.
  • Bottom line: If you’re looking for a card with excellent rewards for dining and entertainment, this is one of the best no-annual-fee (See Rates and Fees) cards available.

Related: Is the Capital One SavorOne worth it?

Read our Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card review.

Best for online shopping: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

  • Best features: This card’s cash back program is excellent for a variety of major day-to-day expenses, including U.S. supermarket and U.S. gas stations purchases, making it a solid standalone rewards option. It’s also one of the few cards that rewards online shopping, which could be an especially valuable category due to how comprehensive it is.
  • Biggest drawbacks: You’ll only earn 3% back on the first $6,000 spent on your U.S. supermarket, U.S. gas station and U.S. online retail purchases each year (after which your rate drops to 1% back). If you spend heavily in these categories, this cap could make the Blue Cash Everyday less rewarding than even a card that charges an annual fee (like the Blue Cash Preferred).
  • Alternatives: If you’re looking for a little more flexibility with your cash back categories, you may prefer the Bank of America Customized Cash card, which earns bonus cash back in an eligible category of your choice, as well as on groceries and wholesale club purchases. You can swap out your chosen bonus category once per calendar month and pick from a variety of popular options, including gas, dining, online shopping and more. You should note that there is a cap on combined quarterly purchases with these two bonus categories.
  • Bottom line: This card’s low cost and practical bonus categories should make it a valuable everyday rewards option, especially if you do a lot of online shopping.

Related: Amex Blue Cash Everyday vs. Blue Cash Preferred

Read our Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express review.

Best for foodies: American Express® Gold Card

  • Best features: This card not only earns rewards at an impressive rate on restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and flights, but also earns some of the most valuable travel rewards on the market. It also offers exceptional value for foodies with hundreds in annual dining and food delivery credits.
  • Biggest drawbacks: The card’s $250 annual fee will be hard to justify if you don’t use its credits or spend a significant amount on flights, dining or at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Alternatives: If the Amex Gold isn’t worth it based on your spending habits, consider the Capital One SavorOne card instead. Another foodie-focused cash back card, the SavorOne earns 3% back on dining, entertainment, streaming service and grocery store categories — one of the most generous rates available in these categories on a no-annual-fee (See Rates and Fees) cash back card.
  • Bottom line: If you use its dining credits and spend big at restaurants, U.S. supermarkets and flights, you’ll likely earn enough rewards to make the Amex Gold worth it.

Related: Who should get the Amex Gold?

Read our American Express® Gold Card review.

Best for balance transfers: Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card

  • Best features: This card carries one of the longest intro APR offers available on balance transfers, giving you plenty of breathing room to chip away at debt while minimizing interest.
  • Biggest drawbacks: The card carries a 5% fee for balance transfers ($5 minimum), which is on the high end for a card in this category. This could prove costly, 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 pay off debt.
  • Alternatives: If earning rewards is a must, you might prefer the Citi Double Cash Card. It not only offers an impressive intro APR offer, but also up to 2% cash back on every purchase (1% when you buy and another 1% when you pay off purchases).
  • Bottom line: If you’re planning a balance transfer, the Citi Diamond Preferred can help out with its lengthy introductory period.

Related: Is the Citi Diamond Preferred worth it?

Read our Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card review.

Best for small purchases: Citi Rewards+® Card

  • Best features: 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 2X points, so 12. Then the 12 points would be rounded up to 20. With this setup, it’s easy to see how rewards on small purchases can stack up quickly.
  • Biggest drawbacks: The points you earn are only worth their full 1-cent value when you redeem toward gift cards and travel, and you can’t utilize Citi transfer partners to squeeze more value from your rewards.
  • Alternatives: The Citi Double Cash earns up to 2% cash back on all purchases (1% when you buy and 1% when you pay off purchases), so it may be more rewarding as a standalone card. Meanwhile, the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card may offer more rewards value despite its $95 annual fee. It racks up unlimited 3X points on a wider range of popular everyday expenses than the Citi Rewards+ and lets you leverage transfer partners or get a full 1-cent-per-point redemption value toward cash back.
  • Bottom line: Considering there’s no annual fee, this is a solid choice for someone who values simplicity and wants to earn points on everyday purchases. However, its limited redemption options and categories mean it may work best as a secondary rewards card.

Related: Is the Citi Rewards+ Card worth it?

Read our Citi Rewards+® Card review.

Best travel card for savers: Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card

  • Best features: This card comes with a decent rewards rate on travel and dining, an above-average flat rate on general purchases and up to $100 in annual airline incidental credits — enough to easily cover the card’s annual fee. Plus, if you qualify for Platinum status with the Bank of America Preferred Rewards® program, you’ll earn perhaps the best flat travel rewards rate on the market.
  • Biggest drawbacks: The card’s base rewards rates are relatively low and you can’t transfer points to airline or hotel partners. Plus, the annual airline credits only cover incidental expenses like seating upgrades, baggage fees and in-flight purchases — not major costs like airfare.
  • Alternatives: Several other travel cards offer better travel perks, rewards rates and redemption values for a $95 annual fee. For example, the Citi Strata Premier℠ Card offers an arguably more useful annual credit than the Premium Rewards card: A $100 benefit on hotel stays of $500 or more each year (excluding taxes and fees). The card also earns more points on dining, air travel and hotels, plus rewards at supermarkets and gas stations.
  • Bottom line: This card can be a solid standalone option for occasional travelers. It doesn’t deliver the most value for its annual fee, but it’s easy to manage and could earn at an impressive rate via the Bank of America Preferred Rewards program.

Related: Bank of America Premium Rewards card benefits guide

Who should skip? Read our Bank of America® Premium Rewards® credit card review.


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 of 800 to 850 is considered exceptional and a VantageScore of 781 to 850 is considered excellent.

If you’re sitting in the good credit range and not sure whether there’s a reason to improve your score, think again. At first glance, there may not seem to be much difference between good and excellent credit, but a deeper look will reveal that an excellent score will qualify you for better interest rates and credit cards.

On top of peace of mind, 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 and you can access premium cards with top-notch rewards. 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.

Credit card perks with excellent credit

  • Rewards: While even credit cards for 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 airport lounge access, annual credits for travel, reduction in 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 or excellent credit, your options open up considerably to include cards with 0% APR, 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.

Tips to maintain excellent credit

Whether you’re looking to maintain your excellent credit or improve your credit score, keep the following in mind:

  • Freeze your credit reports. It’s now free – and advisable – to freeze your three credit reports to help prevent identity theft and misuse of your personal identification.
  • Make multiple payments in a month. Since you won’t know when card issuers report to the credit bureaus, it’s a good idea to pay at least two times a month, even if you pay in full each month. That increases the likelihood that your balance will be low, possibly lowering your utilization ratio whenever the credit scoring models pull your information.
  • Apply for loans in a short amount of time. FICO scoring models only count up to three 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 an auto loan or a mortgage so that you don’t have large balances on your cards and you don’t take out new cards.
  • Follow the 20/10 Rule. This rule of thumb 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. 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.

How we picked the best excellent credit cards

Methodology: We analyzed 1,526 of the top credit cards on the market to narrow down a selection of the best choices. Core criteria we considered in our analysis include:

  • Base rewards program: How well is your spending rewarded? We identified cards at the top of their class when it comes to competitive rewards. These earnings span across a variety of categories (cash back, travel, gas, dining, entertainment, etc.).
  • Introductory offers: Many cards provide enticing rewards for opening an account, such as a welcome offer of 0% APR on your purchases and/or balance transfers for a period of time, or a lucrative sign-up bonus after eclipsing a certain spending requirement in the first few months. Some of the best cards offer both. We looked to find the best welcome offers and sign-up bonuses available.
  • Extra benefits: Does the card include any luxury benefits often seen with elite cards? Perks like airport lounge access, sizable statement credits, baggage insurance and more are featured with some top options.
  • Annual fee: Does the card have an annual fee? A few of the top rewards cards carry hefty annual fees, but the rewards programs and other offerings can make up for these tenfold.
  • Redemption options: How much are points worth? Is the redemption process easy? Are there worthwhile redemption options? Some structures can be difficult and lacking in value, so we seek out the top choices when it comes to capitalizing on your spending.

More information on credit cards for excellent credit

For more information on credit cards for excellent credit and their capabilities, continue reading content from our credit card experts:

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