The best credit cards for excellent credit help consumers optimize their rewards and gain access to travel benefits, insurance protections and more. While qualifying for the top rewards credit cards can take some time and effort, the benefits you can achieve are worth it.
Best Credit Cards for People With Excellent Credit in 2021
Achieving an excellent credit score doesn’t happen overnight; it takes time and effort to build a solid credit history. But those with excellent credit can qualify for a variety of credit cards that offer lucrative rewards and perks that provide incredible value. Many cards even offer extended introductory APR offers that help users skip interest payments for more than a year, and all while earning rewards as they spend.
MoneyGeek has taken the time to compare more than 100 credit cards on the market today in terms of their rewards programs, fees and cardholder terms. Which credit card is best for your wallet? That depends largely on your spending habits and the type of rewards you want to earn. The information we share below on the top credit cards for excellent credit was compiled to help you decide.
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MoneyGeek Quick Tip: The best credit cards for excellent credit that made this ranking are worth considering if you have a "good" credit score, or a FICO credit score of 670 or higher. However, you're most likely to get approved with a score over 740.
As you compare the different credit cards available for those with excellent credit, make sure to note the differences between travel credit cards, cash back credit cards, balance transfer credit cards and other types of offers since these will each have their individual benefits.
MoneyGeek’s Take: Cards that Reward the Most for Excellent Credit
MoneyGeek experts compared the best credit cards for people with excellent credit to find options that offer value that exceeds the fees they charge (if they charge any at all). We compared card offerings based on their rewards, their initial bonus offers and the benefits they offer cardholders.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited - Earn a higher than average rate on everyday purchases plus even more rewards on travel booked through Chase, dining and drugstore purchases — and all with no annual fee. A generous introductory APR offer makes this card even more valuable.
- American Express Cash Magnet Card - Earn exceptional flat-rate rewards on everything you buy, plus a generous welcome bonus. New cardholders also qualify for an introductory APR offer for purchases, and there is no annual fee.
- Chase Sapphire Preferred Card - Earn rewards in the popular Chase Ultimate Rewards program, which can be used for travel, gift cards, merchandise and more. Chase points can also be transferred to airline and hotel loyalty programs like Hyatt or Southwest.
- Citi Rewards+ Card - Earn bonus rewards at supermarkets and gas stations, and see all your rewards boosted through a unique "round up" feature. Also earn a generous welcome bonus and qualify for an introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers.
Best Credit Cards for Excellent Credit in 2021
The best credit card offers for excellent credit stand out in terms of their perks and rewards, although your credit must be exceptional to qualify. Read on to find out which cards we can suggest, their pros and cons and who they're best for.
The Best Rewards Cards for People with Great Credit
The excellent credit score credit cards we profile below let you earn cash back or points on your spending. Decide which card is for you by comparing the type of rewards they offer, the benefits you receive, annual fees and other card details.
FEATUREDChase Freedom UnlimitedAn excellent no annual fee card that lets you earn unlimited cash back
- 1.5-5% Cash BackRewards Rate
- $0Annual Fee
- 14.99%-23.74% VariableAPR
- American Express Cash Magnet CardA great no annual fee card that comes with unlimited 1.5% cash back across categories
- 1.5% Cash BackRewards Rate
- $0Annual Fee
- 13.99%-23.99% VariableAPR
- Chase Sapphire Preferred CardA very good rewards card with no foreign transaction fees and comprehensive travel cover
- 1-2x PointsRewards Rate
- $95Annual Fee
- 15.99%-22.99% VariableAPR
- Citi Rewards+ CardAn excellent no annual fee rewards card with a 0% intro APR offer
- 1-2x PointsRewards Rate
- $0Annual Fee
- 13.49%-23.49% VariableAPR
How We Rank Credit Cards for Excellent Credit
Our lists of the best credit cards are based on publicly available data from card issuers and other reputable sources like the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. We review each card's fees, interest rates, rewards, benefits and more to assign a rating for each feature. These ratings are stack ranked and weighted for each card category to determine our top selections for each type of user. Because card details change regularly, we revisit our data each month to update our ratings, recommendations and other card information as needed. Learn more about our data collection and ranking process.
Top Rating Criteria for Cards for Excellent Credit
Tips for Comparing New Cards & Offers When You Have Exceptional Credit
When your credit score is in great shape, you can usually have your pick of the best credit cards for people with excellent credit. Still, you should decide what you hope to accomplish so that you can figure out which type of credit card might serve you best.
Factors to compare include:
Not all credit cards for excellent credit charge an annual fee, but many with lucrative cardholder benefits do. Make sure you compare the best credit cards for excellent credit in terms of the fees they charge, and only pay an annual fee if the perks are worth it.
Type of rewards
Whether you want to earn flexible rewards, travel rewards points or cash back is a personal decision. Compare rewards programs among the best credit cards for people with excellent credit until you find the right fit.
Rewards credit cards often dole out bonus points in specific categories, and these bonus earning rates can help you maximize your rewards. Make sure you pick a rewards credit card with an earning rate that aligns with your spending.
Many credit cards for excellent credit offer generous bonuses worth $500 or more when you meet a minimum spending requirement within the first few months of account opening.
Check for cardholder perks you might care about, which could include annual travel credits, airport lounge membership, elite status at hotels and more.
Finally, check which cards offer introductory rates for purchases, balance transfers or both. Introductory APR offers can help you save on interest if you use them wisely.
Cards for Excellent Credit at a Glance
The table below compares the best credit cards for people with excellent credit in terms of their rewards rates, annual fees and notable benefits.
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- Card NameCard TypeReward RateAnnual Fee
- Chase Freedom UnlimitedCash Back1.5-5% Cash Back*$0
- American Express Cash Magnet CardCash Back1.5% Cash Back$0
- Chase Sapphire Preferred CardTravel Rewards1-2x Points$95
- Citi Rewards+ CardGeneral Rewards1-2x Points$0
If you're eager to learn more about the best credit card offers for excellent credit, the internet provides a treasure trove of data. You can:
- Check individual card issuers' websites for detailed information on card offerings,
- Click on the “terms, rates and fees apply” links under the card images in our informational boxes.
- Or turn to the credit card agreement database maintained by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for more information on specific credit cards.
The Perks of Having Excellent Credit History
Having good or excellent credit makes managing your finances significantly easier. People with great credit don't have to struggle to borrow money when they need it, and they get their pick of the top rewards credit cards. Not only that, but consumers with excellent credit also qualify for better credit card fees and interest rates, as well as targeted credit card offers the general public never sees.
How Credit Impacts Financial Decisions
What better credit means for credit cards
The best credit cards for people with excellent credit come with more lucrative rewards rates and sign-up bonuses, but that's not all. These cards may also extend 0% APR on purchases, balance transfers or both for a limited time, and they tend to come with the most generous travel benefits and insurance protections.
By contrast, credit cards for fair credit or bad credit tend to offer fewer benefits — or no benefits at all. They also tend to charge higher annual fees and interest rates that can make having poor credit expensive and stressful.
Other impacts of excellent credit
Excellent credit also paves the way to better terms on other financial products, such as mortgages, auto loans and personal loans. Individuals with excellent credit are more likely to be approved when they seek to borrow money, and they get overall lower interest rates and better loan terms.
Excellent credit can help individuals qualify for preferential insurance rates and may even help them land a job if an employer asks to see a modified version of their credit report for hiring purposes.
How Credit Card Options Change By Credit Score & History
The selection of credit cards you're eligible for will depend largely on your credit score and your credit history. However, it's not surprising that cards with the best rewards and terms go to those with excellent credit scores. This includes cards with the most lucrative rewards schemes, sign-up bonus offers and cardholder perks.
According to the Federal Reserve, the average credit card interest rate was 14.75% as of February 2021. However, individuals with fair credit are typically eligible for offers with considerably higher rates.
For example, the Capital One QuicksilverOne Rewards is marketed to people with "fair" credit, and thus it comes with a variable APR of 26.99%. Meanwhile, the Capital One Quicksilver Rewards for people with excellent credit comes with an introductory APR offer, followed by a variable APR of 15.49% to 25.49%.
How to Take Advantage of Your Excellent Credit Score
Having excellent credit takes time and work, but you'll reap plenty of benefits once you reach the threshold for good credit or an exceptional credit score. Here's how you can maximize the status you have worked so hard to earn.
Negotiate better rates on current credit cards or loans
When you have good credit or better, you may be in the position to negotiate better loan rates and terms. For example, you can call your credit card issuer and ask for a lower interest rate, and it's possible they'll say "yes."
Refinance your home mortgage and other loans you have
Not getting the answers you want? Having excellent credit puts you in the position to refinance loans you have into new ones with better rates and terms. With excellent credit, you may be able to refinance your mortgage and score a much lower interest rate, a lower monthly payment or both. The same is true for personal loans, auto loans and other loan products you have.
Pair credit cards for excellent credit to maximize rewards
When it comes to the best credit cards for people with excellent credit, there are no rules that limit you to just one. Many people with great credit and solid incomes pair several different rewards credit cards so they can rack up more points on their spending and qualify for more cardholder perks in the process.
Consolidate high-interest debts
Finally, you'll need excellent credit to qualify for a balance transfer credit card or a personal loan with the best rates and terms. Either of these options can help you consolidate high-interest debt and pay it down faster, saving money along the way.
According to Nationwide Insurance, 92% of U.S. insurers use credit scores when calculating auto insurance premiums. MoneyGeek’s analysis on how credit scores impact insurance premiums revealed that average insurance premiums among people with poor credit and good credit can differ by more than $1,000 per year.
How to Get an Excellent Credit Score
Individuals with excellent credit don't need to reach a specific income threshold or come from a certain type of background. To get an excellent credit score, all you need to do is take on a handful of habits that let the credit bureaus know you take your financial health — and your credit — seriously. For example, you should strive to pay your bills early or on time, keep revolving debt at a minimum and refrain from opening or closing too many accounts.
Generally speaking, people who have made credit mistakes in the past may need to spend a year or longer fixing their credit. Picking up a credit card for fair or poor credit or even a secured credit card can help in that effort since monthly payments and overall credit history will be reported to the three credit bureaus, thus helping to boost your score. Ideally, you will use an inferior credit card until your credit has improved enough to qualify for one of the best credit cards for excellent credit.
If you have a thin credit profile, on the other hand, you may be able to begin working toward good credit over the span of several months. Once again, a credit card for fair credit or a secured credit card can help you build your credit history so you can qualify for better rewards credit cards later on.
Maintaining an Excellent Credit Score
Once you have great credit, most of the hard work has already been done. At this point, all you have to do is stay the course, treat your credit with care and avoid common credit mishaps that can cause your score to plummet.
How do you maintain excellent credit once you get there? These tips can help:
- Pay all credit cards and other bills early or on time, with no exceptions.
- Set bills up for automatic payment so that the minimum payment is paid even if you forget.
- Avoid carrying more than $3,000 in debt for every $10,000 in available credit you have.
- Keep old credit cards open — even if you just stick them in a drawer or a safe.
- Instead of canceling old credit cards with fees, downgrade them to a no-fee version and keep them open instead.
- Avoid applying for more than a handful of new credit cards each year.
- Utilize different types of credit, including credit cards, a mortgage, an auto loan, personal loans and more.
- Keep an eagle eye on your credit report for errors, and dispute any you find.
- Keep a list of credit cards you have and when their annual fees are due (if applicable) so that you won't be surprised with an annual fee on a card you're not using.
- Use a monthly budget that helps you stay on top of credit card spending and avoid long-term debt.
- Sign up for a credit monitoring service that lets you know when new accounts are open or when changes occur to your credit score.
FAQs About Credit Cards for Excellent Credit
The best credit cards for excellent credit offer exceptional rewards and perks you can use, but that's not all. They can also help you build or maintain great credit you can benefit from for the rest of your life.
The following questions and answers can help you learn more about building and maintaining excellent credit, as well as finding the right credit card.
The best credit cards for people with excellent credit are constantly changing and evolving. With that in mind, you should check this page frequently for updated information on new cardholder perks, rewards rates and bonus offers.
Also make sure you take special care to maintain the excellent credit you have worked so hard to earn. By paying bills on time, avoiding too much debt and keeping an eye on your credit reports, you can benefit from your excellent credit for years or decades to come.
Tips From The Pros: Credit Cards for Those With Excellent Credit
- Why do some credit cards for excellent credit have high APRs? Doesn't a person normally have lower rates with better credit?
- Do all credit card companies define "excellent" credit the same way?
- Why are the annual fees for credit cards for excellent credit normally high?
Professor, McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte
Assistant Professor, Herberger Business School at St. Cloud State University
Professor at the McColl School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte
Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
Clinical Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at Arlington
Adjunct Faculty, Rosemont College and Semi-Retired Senior Financial Advisor
Advisor on the Gast Freeman Team at Moneta
Nimocks Professor of International Business, Professor of Financial Economics at Methodist University
Assistant Professor of Economics at The University of North Carolina – Greensboro
About the Author
- Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. "Consumer Credit - G.19." Accessed July 6, 2021.
- Experian. "What Should My Credit Card Utilization Be?." Accessed July 6, 2021.
- Federal Trade Commission. "Background Checks." Accessed July 6, 2021.
- Insurance Information Institute. "Nine ways to lower your auto insurance costs." Accessed July 6, 2021.
- MyFICO.com. "What's in my FICO scores?." Accessed July 6, 2021.
- MyFICO.com. "What is a Credit Score?." Accessed July 5, 2021.
- Nationwide Insurance. "How credit affects your car insurance premiums." Accessed July 6, 2021.
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