5 Best Credit Cards for People With Excellent Credit

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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. The exception here is the Simmons First card, which as the card with the lowest interest rate on the market, is a great choice for those who carry a balance. There is no one card that is perfect for everyone, but each has its unique advantages that appeal to different types of cardholders.

American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card

American Express has long been associated with premier services and exclusive membership. Sporting a Gold Card is a sure way to display your excellent credit worthiness. Aside from that, this card offers high value for its reward points. American Express Membership Rewards allow its card members to transfer points to travel partners, adding more value to their reward points. Members can also get discounted travel deals by purchasing through AMEX's travel portal. The Premier Rewards Gold Card offers 3X points for airfare purchased directly from airlines, 2X points at US gas stations and US supermarkets, and 1X points on other purchases.

Sign up offer: Earn 25,000 points if you spend $2,000 or more on purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Also, the annual fee of $175 is waived for the first year.

  • Earn 25,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $2,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • 3X points for flights booked directly with airlines, 2X points at US gas stations and US supermarkets, 1X points on other purchases.
  • You can transfer points to over 20 frequent traveler programs or use points for gift cards at popular stores.
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175.
  • Terms and Restrictions Apply.

Click here to apply for the American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card today!

Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®

A relatively new card, the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™„World Elite MasterCard® has risen in the ranks of travel rewards credit cards by offering 2x miles on all purchases. It is equipped with the EMV chip for added security and has no foreign transaction fees, which makes this an ideal card to take with you on your travels. Miles are redeemed as travel statement credits (redemption start at 2,500 miles for $25 toward travel purchases made in the last 120 days). You also get 10% miles back to use toward your next redemption every time you redeem for travel statement credits. Finally, it comes with complimentary online FICO® Credit Score access for cardmembers. It's an excellent card to have and those with excellent credit should apply!

a target="_blank" href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=21644993&fot=1026&foc=1" rel="nofollow">Apply for the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™„World Elite MasterCard® 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 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 sign-up offer, you can get $150 back in the form of statement credit after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new card in the first three months. You also get 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months. After that, your APR will be a variable rate, currently 12.99%-21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.

  • Get $150 back after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. You will receive $150 back in the form of a statement credit.
  • Hassle-free cash back: no enrollment required, the same great reward categories year-round.
  • Earn Cash Back: 6% US supermarkets up to $6,000 per year in purchases, 3% US gas stations & select US dept stores, 1% other purchases. Terms and limitations apply.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit.
  • 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months, then a variable rate, currently 12.99% to 21.99%, based on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Terms and limitations apply.

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

Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

If you have excellent traffic and love to travel, the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card may be just the card for you. This co-branded hotel card allows you to earn 6x points for participating hotels, 3x for supermarkets, drugstores, and gas stations, and 2x on all other purchases.

  • Earn 40,000 Hilton HHonors Bonus Points after spending $1,000 within 4 months of account opening*
  • Earn 6 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent at any participating hotel within the Hilton portfolio.*
  • Earn 3 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on purchases at supermarkets, drugstores and gas stations.*
  • Earn 2 HHonors Bonus Points for each $1 spent on all other purchases.*
  • Enjoy the benefits of HHonors Silver status as long as you are a cardmember*
  • No annual fee.*

Click here to apply for the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Visa Signature® Card

Simmons Bank Visa® Platinum

Simmons Bank Visa® PlatinumNot everyone with great credit is in a position to pay all of their credit card balances in full each month. Cardholders with near-perfect credit who occasionally carry a balance should do so on the card with the lowest standard interest rate on the market. The Simmons Bank Visa® Platinum card offers an APR equal to the Prime Rate plus 4%, the lowest rate that I am aware of (currently at 7.25%). Even better, there are no balance transfer fees! There is also no annual fee for this card, but there is a foreign transaction fee of 2%.

Click here to apply for the Simmons Bank Visa® Platinum

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 card issuer.

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17 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

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

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

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
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.