5 Best Credit Cards for People With Excellent Credit

By Jason Steele. Last updated 23 May 2016. 22 comments

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If you have excellent credit (your credit score is around the 720-850 range), the chances are you already know it. You always pay your bills on time, and you are very unlikely to carry a balance on your credit cards. In return for your responsible nature, you are deluged with offers for more credit cards. Overwhelmed and disillusioned with all of these choices, many of you are content to remain loyal to whichever card you had been using for years. It's easy, comfortable, and hassle free to use the same card in perpetuity. But by doing so, are you betraying the sound principals of financial management that earned you your excellent credit score? (See also: Surprising Things That Can Kill Your Credit)

Snap Out of It!

Those with excellent credit are likely to be using their cards simply as a method of payment, and they may be earning some additional rewards. Nevertheless, this practice is akin to storing money in a bank for safekeeping, without concern to the returns being accrued on your investment. The reality is that like savings, credit card spending should also produce a competitive return. Although saving is always a preferable activity to spending, those with excellent credit are leaving money on the table by not attempting to maximize the returns on their credit cards.

The Ways to Earn High Returns on Spending

The best way to compare credit card rewards is through the percentage of value earned per dollar spent. For example, 1% cash back is the bare minimum that you should expect from any reward card. If you are earning that amount or less, it is as unwise as closing on a mortgage with a higher APR that what is available. The two most common ways to earn credit card rewards are in the form of cash back or loyalty points such as frequent flier miles. If you are earning points or miles, you should assign a value to them in order to assure you are receiving the returns you deserve. The more value you earn per dollar spent, the better you are doing. Finally, there are a few cardholders who do have excellent credit, but may carry a balance from time to time. These people should always carry a credit card with the lowest APR on the market.

The Best Cards for People With Excellent Credit

Each of the cards on this list are only offered to those with excellent credit, but they offer very high rates of cash back or points. There is no one card that is perfect for everyone, but each has its unique advantages that appeal to different types of cardholders.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

If you have the excellent credit to qualify for this credit card, then you'll have some great rewards to look forward to as a cardmember. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers 2 points for every dollar spent on travel purchases and dining at restaurants, along with 1 point for every dollar spent on all other purchases. Get a 1:1 rate when transferring points to partner programs, or redeem travel directly through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal and get 20% off. There are no foreign transaction fees on the card. This card has an annual fee of $95 that is waived for the first year.

Sign up offer: 50,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 in the first 3 months from account opening. That's enough points to redeem $625 in travel rewards from the Chase Ultimate Rewards program. You can also earn 5,000 bonus points by adding an authorized user to your account and making a purchase within the first 3 months.

Click here to learn more and apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card today!

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is for applicants with an excellent or good credit rating. Unlike other cards that only award bonuses to specific categories, card holders can earn unlimited 2X miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. Like all of their cards, there are no foreign transaction fees. There is a $59 annual fee for this card that is waived the first year.

Bonus: One-time bonus of 40,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months — equal to $400 in travel.

Click here to learn more and apply for the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card today!

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Want to use your excellent credit to score some sweet cash back? The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases), 3% at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% on other purchases. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. There is a $75 annual fee for this card.

As a special offer, you can get up to $350 back in the form of statement credit after meeting purchase requirements (offer ends June 15, 2016). You also get 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 12 months. After that, your APR will be a variable rate, currently 13.24%-23.24%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors. Terms and limitations apply.

Click here to learn more and apply for the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express today!

BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card

The BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card lets people with excellent credit earn some nice cash back rewards. Cardholders can earn 1% cash back on every purchase, 2% at grocery stores and 3% on gas for the first $1,500 in combined grocery/gas purchases each quarter, and Bank of America customers can even receive a 10% customer bonus every time they redeem their cash rewards into a Bank of America® checking or savings account. There is no annual fee on this card.

New cardmembers can earn $100 online cash rewards bonus after you spend at least $500 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening. There's also a 0% introductory APR for 12 billing cycles on purchases, and any balance transfers made within the first 60 days; after that, a variable APR that's currently between 13.24% and 23.24% will apply. A 3% fee (minimum $10) applies to balance transfers. See terms.

Click here to learn more and apply for the BankAmericard Cash Rewards™ Credit Card today!

Citi® Double Cash Card

The Citi® Double Cash Card from our partner Citi rewards you twice. Once when you make the purchase. Then again when you pay for those purchases. You get 1% cash back when you buy, plus 1% cash back when you pay. There are no category restrictions and no caps. It's a simple and straightforward cash back credit card for those who don't want to engage in signing up for rotating categories or carrying different cards for different purchases. As a sign up offer, you can get 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months. There is a balance transfer fee of 3%. This card has no annual fee.

Click here to learn more and apply for the Citi® Double Cash Card today!

If you have excellent credit and you are not getting at least 2 cents in value for each dollar spent, or the lowest interest rate on the market, you need take a serious look at the cards on this list. As a smart consumer with excellent credit, you should always be receiving the highest return on not just your savings, but on your spending as well.

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank, card issuer, airline or hotel chain.

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22 discussions

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Guest's picture

The "extra" 1% or so is quickly offset by the annual fees. It's not worth it!

Guest's picture

Depends on the math.

I spend about $1200 a month on a 1% card. The $140 or so worth of points I earn a year is $40 more than my annual fee, and I also get 6000 points with my annual fee. Tack that on to the 50,000 points I received for sign up, and I get a great deal.

Of course, carrying no balance is key!

Guest's picture
David M

I just got the Sapphinire card a month ago - I'm making good progress towards the $3,000 expenditure to get 50,0000 bonus points.

I will cancel the card when the $95 fee is charged next year.

I love that you can exchange the points for many differnet programs - I just do not love it enough to pay them $95 to do that.

Guest's picture
Ha Noi James

I've had my Sapphire Preferred card for several years now. I am not thrilled about the annual fee, but I travel extensively throughout SE Asia, and not having an International Transaction Fee is a real money-saver. The Chase Customer Service team deserves praise, also. Each time I have had to contact them the representative resolved problems quickly and courteously.

Guest's picture

Canceling the card will hurt your credit, David. This weighs heavily on your credit score. I would keep the card open and make sure you are spending enough money per year to make the rewards worth the annual fee.

Guest's picture

I'm surprised you didn't mention the Sallie Mae 2% rewards visa. It's similar to the Fidelity Amex, but being a Visa, it is accepted at more places.

Will Chen's picture

Thanks for the suggestion. I don't have any investment accounts with Sallie Mae, but they do handle my student loans. Do they have any special programs credit cards related to student loans?

Jason Steele's picture

Sallie Mae is a good card, but it has some flaws. Cash back is only at a rate of 1.3% if you redeem less than 25,000 points at once. So you only get your 2% cash back after spending at least $12,500. I think most people will earn less by redeeming fewer points at once. It's also a points based card, so the points could be devalued overnight at their discretion. Finally it also has a 3% foreign transaction fee.

Guest's picture
Sarah V

I just signed up for the Sapphire Card, thanks for letting me known about the no foreign transaction fees. I am in the midst of planning my summer trip and this is one more thing to check off of my list!

Guest's picture

I've been offered a few cards that will give me 1% back on everything plus a one-time bonus of $100 or $50 if I charge $500 in the first three months. I was going to give it a try, but this was after christmas and I had no plans to charge much. We use a cash envelope system and are on a pretty tight budget. Anybody get these to work out in their favor?

Guest's picture

Check out the Amex Blue Cash Everyday card. It's not mentioned here, but there is no annual fee and you get 3% back on groceries (up to $6000 in purchases per year) plus unlimited 2% on gas and department stores plus 1% on everything else.

Just be sure to pay it off every month because the interest rates are punishing and negate any rewards.

Guest's picture

Nice list Jason. I roll with the Venture card and apart from the statement credits, the one cent per mile gift card options are really good compared to Ultimate Rewards, especially when used for Itunes giftcards, which cost 2,500 miles for $25 with Capital One but 3,000 points for $25 with Ultimate Rewards.

Guest's picture

I've got an Amazon Visa that I really like. 3% back on Amazon purchases. 2% on food and gas (which includes purchases at Super Target, which I guess is classified as a grocery store), 1% on everything else. No annual fee.

The rewards are only good on Amazon, but I shop there for tons of stuff, especially for gifts, anyway, so that's not a hindrance for me.

It does have the standard 3% international transaction fee, but I travel internationally very rarely.

Guest's picture

I have the same card and love it. You don't have to spend the rewards at amazon, cash back is an option too.

Guest's picture

For Amazon, we use a Discover It card. For the last 6 months of 2015 you will get 5% for Amazon. No annual fee.

Guest's picture

Is there a good mastercard option? I already have a Visa Platinum Plus Rewards card from BofA that I got in 2006 that I LOVE. That's the kind of card I want...0% APR too. I only have the one Visa card, a FICO score in the upper 700s, and I do pay my balance of in full every month.

Any suggestions?

Guest's picture

barclaycard arrival

Guest's picture

I suggest that you apply for more cards with some diversity using this list as a starting point. To increase your score even more, you need a nice balance of revolving accounts, installment accounts etc. So, you can easily be in the 830's if you add some more high limit cards with low balances. Use the cards, pay them off and take advantage of your rewards in the 1st year as offered and then lay off them. Spread your balances among MANY of your cards and keep them each below 20% if you can... (10% is optimal) I do all of the above and my scores are 838, 833, and 841 across the board. I think most credit experts would agree that having more cards will help rather than hurt you. If you want to test my theory, have your spouse, or parent add you as an A.U. on a couple of their cards without even giving you the physical card (to avoid risk if they worry about abuse) watch your scores go through the statosphere if the balances are low because it increases your presumed available amount of credit and expands your ratio of credit vs balances

Guest's picture
Freddie G

The Chase Sapphire card is what I use personally. Sometimes they are harder to get, but they have excellent limits and terms for consumers wanting credit cards. I'd take a look into them given your in the market for a new card.

Guest's picture
Kathy Cooper

I had a Capital One credit card for many years with a 1% cash back reward. When I closed that account out, I received a check for $320. I got to thinking that there must be a card with better rewards, so I went looking online and found my current card, a Capital One Cash Rewards card with 1%back on everythng, $100 bonus after spending $500 and a 50% cash rewards bonus at payout ( not including the $100 bonus). So if I have a total in rewards of $200, I would actually receive a check for $250. There are no categories to choose from and no annual fee. The only real requirement is you must have excellent credit. Some months I use my card a lot and some months I don't, but I know it will pay off at pay out time. I know there are cards that pay 2% on groceries and 3% on gas or whatever, but being a widow, I don't spend a lot of money on either one of those categories, so my Capital One Cash Rewards card is the best one for me.

Guest's picture

Remember that when you cancel a credit card, your FICO score takes a tremendous drop......something to keep in mind.......low scores yield higher rates on loans and many other transactions.

Guest's picture

Chase Sapphire Preferred no longer offers their 7% annual points dividend. I had enjoyed this card for a long time, but they sent notice to card holders last summer that January 2015 would be the last points dividend. I canceled it shortly afterwards. You don't mention the Barclaycard Arrival+ World Elite with 2 points for every dollar spent plus a 10% redemption dividend. It effectively equates to a 2.2% return on all money spent if you redeem the points for travel.