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Find the Best Credit Card for You
Individuals with great credit scores have access to top-notch credit card offers. If you’ve worked hard to build up your credit history to this point, you will want to make sure that you use the best potential credit card, and maximize the rewards and perks you earn.
The Best Credit Cards for Excellent Credit in 2018 Are...
Best Travel Cards for Excellent Credit
Consider one of these cards if you travel at least once or twice a year.
1. Winner: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card is a favorite of most travelers. The card produces a 2.5% rewards rate when used on dining and travel purchases, and 1.25% on all other spending. There are two things that make this card standout from the rest – the signup bonus and Ultimate Rewards points. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card has one of the best welcome offers of any credit card on the market. If you spend at least $4,000 within the first three months of opening your account, you will be awarded 50,000 bonus Ultimate Reward points, the value of which is $625 when redeemed towards travel through the UR portal.
All the rewards you earn with this card are in the form of Chase Ultimate Reward points, which is another major selling point of this card. These points have one of the highest net values of any rewards program. We estimate them to be worth $0.0125 each when used towards travel, but you can get even more out of them by transferring them to any one of the 10 partnered hotel and airline programs. The list includes programs like Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards®, United MileagePlus®, and Marriott Rewards®. The high value combined with high redemption flexibility is what elevates the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card to top card status.
- 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel, and 1.25% on everything else
- 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
- Points transferrable to multiple hotel and airline loyalty programs
2. Runner-Up: Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
Travelers who spend big outside of travel and dining should consider the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card - one of the most rewarding travel credit cards. The card, which Capital One requires excellent credit to apply for, provides accountholders with a fixed 2% rewards rate everywhere they use the card – no matter the vendor. If you spend $7,200 more annually on travel and dining than anything else, you will be better off with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. Otherwise, this card will serve most other individuals who want travel rewards. The Venture miles you accumulate with this card are used to pay down travel expense on your card. Therefore, the rewards are always used retroactively to pay for expenses already charged, instead of booking upcoming trips.
The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card comes with a decent welcome bonus – 50,000 miles are awarded to those who spend $3,000 within the first 3 months of account opening. The bonus is worth approximately $500 in travel statement credit - enough to cover the cost of a round-trip flight between Los Angeles and New York.
Right now, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card is also running a fantastic new promotion. Users get 10x miles on hotels when they pay with their Venture card at hotels.com/Venture. The promotion is running through January 31, 2020.
- 2 miles on every $1 you spend
- 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening - a $500 value
- Annual Fee: $0 intro for first year; $95 after that
- 10x miles on hotels when they pay with their Venture card at hotels.com/Venture
Best Cash Back Cards For Excellent Credit
These cards are best for people who want the best savings on everyday categories, like gas and groceries.
1. Winner: Discover it® Cash Back
The Discover it® Cash Back offers some of the highest cash back rewards – doubly so during the first year of cardmembership. Normally this credit card gives 5% cash back in bonus categories that rotate throughout the year, up to a maximum of $1,500 in purchases each quarter, each time you activate. All other spending earns just 1% cash back. For new cardmembers, however, all the cash back rewards are doubled their first year - essentially making the rewards at least 2% during that first year. For example, if you open an account February 1st, 2017, you will have all the rewards you earned up to February 1st 2018 doubled.
One downside to using Discover is that the network is not accepted as widely by merchants as VISA and Mastercard. If you frequently find yourself traveling abroad, and would like to use your credit card there, we recommend looking at another option.
- 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter like gas, restaurants, wholesale clubs and more - up to the quarterly maximum when you sign up
- New cardmembers get their cash back rewards doubled at the end of the first year
- $0 annual fee
2. Runner-Up: Chase Freedom®
The Chase Freedom® ranks among the top cash back credit cards thanks to solid short-term and long-term value potential. Like the Discover it® card, the Chase Freedom® earns its users 5% cash back on categories that rotate quarterly, up to a maximum amount of $1,500 in spending. These categories have to be activated every 3 months, so you’ll want to make sure you’re paying attention to when they do. If you don't opt into the bonus categories, you will earn just 1% cash back. For the fourth quarter of 2018, the 5% category includes departments stores, wholesale clubs and Chase Pay. Unlike other cards of this type, the Chase Freedom® also comes with a sign-up bonus. Users can earn $150, if they spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
While the Chase Freedom® is marketed as a cash back card, it should be noted that the rewards you earn are Ultimate Reward points. Chase Ultimate Reward points can be redeemed for cash back.
- Rewards rate between 1% and 5%
- $150 bonus after spending $500 in purchases within 3 months of account opening
- Part of the Chase Ultimate Rewards family of cards
Best Fixed Rate Cash Back Cards for Excellent Credit
Consider these credit cards if you don't mind sacrificing total potential savings for simplicity and ease of use.
1. Winner: Citi® Double Cash Card
For those with excellent credit, the Citi® Double Cash Card gives the best all-around rewards. Users earn 1% cash back at the time of purchase, and another 1% when that purchase is paid off. As of 2018, few other credit cards deliver that kind of high rewards rate at all stores and types of purchases. The Citi® Double Cash Card comes with no annual fee, meaning that the card can be all profit – provided you always pay your bill in full and you don’t miss payments.
The Citi® Double Cash Card excels for individuals with varied spending. Most credit cards tend to specialize in one or two areas – groceries, gas, dining, travel, etc. For people whose budget doesn’t conform to one particular credit cards rewards structure, or who don’t want to bother with optimizing how they use their card, the Citi® Double Cash Card provides one of the simplest solutions.
- 1% cash back on all purchases, plus another 1% when those purchases are paid off
- No annual fee
2. Runner-Up: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
There are few cards that can beat the high cash back rates offered by the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express for the typical household budget—especially if you're a parent or guardian that can qualify with excellent credit. The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express earns users an excellent 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets. While that's limited to $6,000 per year in purchases (earning you 1% back after), that's good enough for $360 back every year assuming you hit the $6,000 spending mark. The card also rewards users with 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select department stores and 1% back on other purchases.
The card comes with a $95 annual fee, but it can be one of the better cards that's available to those with excellent credit if you spend heavily at U.S. gas stations and U.S. supermarkets. It also awards cardholders with a $200 statement credit if they spend $1,000 in purchases on the card within the first three months. That statement credit can help offset the card's annual fee for two years. Furthermore, the value of the statement credit is comparable to the sign-up bonuses offered by other top cash back credit cards.
- $95 annual fee.
- $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases within the first three months.
Best Luxury Travel Card For Excellent Credit
These are credit cards you should consider if you call the airport your second home. They focus on providing you with luxury treatment on your travels, and generally making your life easier.
1. Winner: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
If you’re looking for a card with a long list of perks and features that’ll make your life easier, there are few cards—if any—that’ll come close to matching the benefits that the Chase Sapphire Reserve® offers. While the card has a $450 annual fee, anyone who takes advantage of the Annual Travel Credit, lounge access, and application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓ can easily breakeven.
The card gives users access to Chase Ultimate Rewards, which is one of the best rewards programs around. The value of one point earned with this card has the potential to be worth $0.015 when utilizing the 50% bonus for redeeming for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards. This means that the cards sign up bonus can be worth $750. Points can also be transferred to the card’s participating partners:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- British Airways Executive Club
- Flying Blue AIR FRANCE KLM
- Iberia Plus
- Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- IHG Rewards Club
- Marriott Rewards
- The Ritz-Carlton Rewards
- World of Hyatt
Beyond high rewards, the cards plethora of perks allow cardholders to enjoy a seamless travel experience. The card offers complimentary airport lounge access, trip interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance, and more. If you’re interested in a specific travel perk, this card has it.
- 3x points per dollar spent on travel and dining at restaurants & 1x point per dollar spent on all other purchases (3 points on travel after you earn the $300 travel credit)
- $300 Annual Travel Credit automatically applied to your account for travel purchases charged to your card
- Complimentary Airport Lounge Access to 1,000+ airport lounges worldwide
- 1:1 Point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® Review
2. Runner-Up: Citi Prestige® Card
The Citi Prestige® Card is a hybrid, offering both fantastic travel rewards as well as luxury perks. Most other luxury travel credit cards focus solely on perks. The Citi Prestige® Card, on the other hand, also comes with a stellar rewards rate. Cardmembers receive 3.75% when making air travel and hotel purchases, 2.5% on dining and entertainment, and 1.25% on everything else.
This card has an expensive annual fee. Users must pay $450 annually. In return accountholders get the aforementioned Priority Pass access, $250 air travel credit, and Global Entry fee reimbursement. Priority Pass on its own can be worth around $399 by our estimates.
- $250 air travel credit each year
- 3.75% rewards rate on airline and hotel purchases, and 2.5% on dining and entertainment
Best Airline Miles Cards For People With Excellent Credit
If you want to earn airline miles to pay for vacations, these are some of the best credit cards to consider.
1. Winner: Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card
The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is one of the best airline mile credit cards to have if you are a domestic traveler. The card is co-branded with Southwest Airlines, which flies to 97 destinations across the United States. On top of all the miles you earn by using the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card for day-to-day purchases, accountholders receive 3,000 bonus points each cardmember anniversary.
All the miles you earn through this card count towards the Southwest Companion pass – one of the most sought after frequent flyer benefits. If you reach 110,000 miles within one year, you will earn this pass. Doing so will allow you to designate a travelling companion, who will fly with you for free (other than airport taxes) for the duration of the year in which you earned the pass, and the following calendar year.
- 3,000 bonus miles each year you remain a cardmember
- Miles earned through this card can help qualify for the Southwest companion pass
- Rewards rate between 1.5% and 3%
Compare Credit Cards For People with Excellent Credit
Choosing the right credit card typically comes down to how and where you shop. People with the best credit scores should, therefore, use the tool below to be matched with the right credit card for them. Once you enter your estimated monthly budget, the calculator will order the difference credit card options from most to least valuable – based on the value of rewards earned net any annual fee.