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Best Credit Cards for Excellent Credit

Top Credit Cards for Excellent Credit
Jason Steele
Jason SteeleUpdated July 12, 2022
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Editor’s note: Lantern by SoFi seeks to provide content that is objective, independent and accurate. Writers are separate from our business operation and do not receive direct compensation from advertisers or partners. Read more about our Editorial Guidelines and How We Make Money.
Excellent (or as it’s sometimes called, exceptional) credit is a valuable thing to have — especially when you’re shopping for a credit card. The exact cutoff can vary, but credit bureau Experian defines excellent credit as a FICO® score between 800 and 850. Among the benefits of having a credit score in this range is that you may be more likely to have access to credit cards that offer you good deals and special benefits. With a very high credit score, you also have a lot of credit card options to choose from, and it’s up to you to pick the features and benefits that are most important to you in a credit card.When choosing the best credit cards for excellent credit, we looked at the value of the rewards and/or benefits that come with the card, the earning structure for cash or points, and any new account bonus offered. We also considered the annual fee, although several of the top credit cards in this category do have annual fees.

How We Chose the Best Credit Cards for Excellent Credit

To find the top credit cards for excellent credit, we first divided the market into the following seven categories: 
  • Best flat-rate cash-back cards for excellent credit
  • Best cash-back cards with bonus categories
  • Best premium travel cards for rewards
  • Best premium travel cards for benefits
  • Best cash-back small business cards
  • Best small business cards for travel benefits
  • Best cards for interest-free financing
Then we looked at more than a dozen major credit card issuers and credit unions to find the top cards in each of these categories. We included only cards that anyone can apply for, leaving out products offered by credit unions that not everyone can join.Next, for each category, we looked at the most relevant factors. For example, premium travel cards for rewards should offer good opportunities to earn points and redeem them for travel, while premium travel cards for benefits should offer extra travel perks like status. While credit card terms may change from time to time, the following rankings reflect information that was accurate in May 2022. Recommended: Credit Card Terminology, Explained

Best Flat-Rate Cash-Back Card for Excellent Credit

If you have excellent credit but don’t travel much, a cash-back credit card can provide great value. Some cash-back cards are better for bonus categories, while others have solid flat-rate earning structures. If you don’t want to deal with keeping track of bonuses, a flat-rate cash-back card may be for you. To find the top flat-rate cash-back credit cards, we looked at options that offer a straightforward earning structure without an annual fee.

If You Want a Flat-Rate Cash-Back Card for Excellent Credit: Wells Fargo Active Cash

The Wells Fargo Active Cash card offers a very strong cash-back rate of return on purchases, a new account bonus, and a few valuable benefits. With this card, new applicants can earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $1,000 on new purchases within the first three months of opening the account. This card earns a straightforward 2% cash back on all purchases with no rewards category limitations or quarterly activations required. New cardholders can also get a 0% introductory APR for 15 months after account opening on both new purchases and on qualifying balance transfers made within 120 days of account opening. After the introductory period, the variable APR will be between 15.74% and 25.74%, depending on your creditworthiness.The card also comes with up to $600 of cell phone protection against damage or theft when you pay your monthly cell phone bill with your Wells Fargo Active Cash card. There’s no annual fee for this card.

Pros:

  • No annual fee.
  • Simple, 2% cash back on all purchases. 
  • Cell phone protection for damage or theft.

Cons:

  • No bonus categories for earning cash back.
  • The new cardholder bonus is not the highest on the market.
  • Not as many cardholder benefits as some cards. 

Best Cash-Back Cards With Bonuses for Excellent Credit

If you want a cash-back card that earns a little more on select purchases that you make frequently, then you might check out cash-back cards with bonuses. Cards with bonus categories provide better cash-back rates, but they may require category activation or have a maximum bonus earning amount. To find the top cash-back credit cards with bonuses for excellent credit, we looked at options that offer earning rates beyond the normal amounts, plus added benefits.

If You Want a Cash-Back Card With Bonuses for Excellent Credit: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

The Blue Cash Preferred® card from American Express offers great bonus categories for cash back. This card earns 6% back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions, 6% on U.S. supermarkets (up to $6,000 per year in purchases), and 3% on U.S. gas stations and transit. On all other purchases, you can earn back 1%. Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be redeemed as a statement credit. Terms apply.There is a $95 annual fee for this card, which is waived the first year. Car rental loss and damage insurance is an added benefit. New cardholders can earn a $250 statement credit after spending $3,000 in purchases on their new card within the first six months. Terms apply.Although it’s wise to avoid carrying a balance on premium credit cards, this card does come with 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening. After that, your regular APR will be between 18.99% to 29.99%. (Updated as of May 4, 2023.)

Pros

  • Purchases from U.S. supermarkets and select streaming services earn an impressive 6% back.
  • 3% cash back on transit including rideshare, parking, and toll charges.
  • Enjoy $0 intro plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 intro plan fees on plans created during the first 12 months from the date of account opening. Plans created after that will have a monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each eligible purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration and other factors.

Cons

  • U.S. supermarket earning is capped at $6,000 per year, which can be easily reached by families who spend a lot on groceries.
  • No bonuses are offered for other popular categories like dining.
  • There are few travel or premium benefits with this card.

Best Premium Travel Cards for Rewards

Premium travel rewards cards can have great appeal and value for people who travel frequently. To find the top premium travel rewards cards, we looked at cards that offer good earning and redeeming options for travel.

If You Want a Premium Travel Card for Rewards: Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card earns the following rewards:
  • 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.
  • 10 miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel.
  • 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
New applicants earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.Miles can be redeemed for one cent each as statement credits toward travel purchases, but they also transfer 1:1 to several different frequent flyer and hotel rewards programs. With this premium travel rewards card, you can enjoy benefits such as a $100 credit toward a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® application and a $300 annual travel credit for bookings made through Capital One Travel. You also receive unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to more than 1,300 lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network.The annual fee is $395, and you receive 10,000 bonus miles, worth $100 toward travel reservations, each year on your account anniversary. The regular APR on this card is between 21.74% to 28.74%. (Updated as of March 30, 2023.)Pros
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, every day.
  • Miles can be redeemed for travel statement credits transferred to travel partners.
  • Strong benefits for the price.
Cons
  • No U.S.-based airline travel partners.
  • $395 annual fee.
  • 10 miles and 5 miles bonuses can only be earned when booking travel through Capital One.

Best Premium Travel Cards for Benefits

Some frequent travelers are more interested in the benefits than in the earning and redeeming of travel points. If you travel frequently or like to travel in luxury, a premium travel benefits card could provide you with a great deal of value. To find the top premium travel benefits cards, we looked at cards that offered many unique travel benefits that cardholders could take advantage of.

If You Want a Premium Travel Card for Benefits: The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Platinum Card® from American Express offers an extremely valuable new account bonus, strong benefits, and a compelling rewards program. New cardholders can earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after spending $6,000 on purchases within the first six months of opening the account. Terms apply on this offer.The card earns 5x Membership Rewards points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 per calendar year and 5x on prepaid hotels booked with AmexTravel.com. Earn 1x on all other eligible purchases. Points can be transferred to Amex hotel or airline partners, including Delta, JetBlue, Emirates, Air Canada, Hilton, and Marriott. Terms apply on these benefits.The Platinum Card® from American Express also comes with a long list of monthly and yearly statement credits, including $200 back yearly in statement credits on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay; up to $300 back yearly on the Equinox+ digital fitness app or eligible Equinox club membership, up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times (enrollment required), enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the U.S. annually (Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only), up to $200 in annual airline incidental fees such as checked bags, and $100 in annual statement credits at Saks Fifth Avenue. Plus, breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at more than 100 airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your card.Also included is a Priority Pass Select Airport Lounge membership and access to American Express Centurion Clubs. The card also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status, and Hilton Honors Gold status. Benefits include free shipping with ShopRunner, purchase protection, return protection, extended warranty, baggage insurance coverage, car rental loss and damage insurance, and travel accident insurance. With all of these benefits comes a hefty annual fee of $695 for this card, but it can easily be worth it if you can take advantage of many of these offers. The card has a Pay Over Time APR of between 20.99% to 28.99% on eligible charges (updated as of May 5, 2023).

Pros:

  • The card provides gold status with Marriott and Hilton.
  • There are many statement credits to offset the annual fee.
  • Valuable point transfer options for travel are included.

Cons:

  • There’s a high annual fee. 
  • The card offers relatively few bonus rewards opportunities.
  • There are many statement credits to keep track of.

Best Cash-Back Small Business Cards

Small businesses without travel expenses may want to get cash back on their purchases. Since small businesses typically have greater expenses than an individual, they need a card that doesn't have a cap on earning but still offers a solid earning structure.

If You Want a Cash-Back Small Business Card: Capital One Spark Cash Plus

The Capital One Spark Cash Plus has an easy cash-back earning structure for a small business card. Cardholders earn an unlimited 2% cash back on all purchases. Plus, new cardholders can earn up to $1,000 in the first six months. This is broken down into two segments: $500 after spending $5,000 in the first three months, and $500 once the cardholder spends $50,000 in the first six months. There’s a $150 annual fee for this card, but just note that it’s a charge card, not a credit card, meaning that you’re expected to pay your balance in full every month. Business owners with greater spending needs can earn a $200 cash bonus every year that they use their card to spend $200,000 or more, which is enough to cover the card’s $150 annual fee and then some.There are no foreign transaction fees for this card.

Pros:

  • Cash-back earning is unlimited and easy.
  • There are no bonus categories to worry about.
  • The new cardholder bonus is broken into two segments, so even if you can’t meet the minimum spend, you can still earn some of it.

Cons:

  • There’s an annual fee for this card.
  • Annual cash bonus spending criteria are high.
  • There are few other perks or benefits.

Best Small Business Cards for Travel Rewards

There are many small businesses for which travel is a major expense. For small businesses with employees who travel frequently, one way to offset some of that cost could be a small business travel rewards card. To find the top small business travel rewards cards, we looked for cards with flexible point transfers so that small businesses can choose the best option for each business trip.

If You Want a Small Business Card for Travel Rewards: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

The Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card from Chase card offers small business owners Ultimate Rewards points, which can be redeemed for travel rewards. New applicants can earn 100,000 points after spending $15,000 within three months of account opening. The card earns 3x points on up to $150,000 spent each year in combined purchases of shipping, online advertising, travel, internet, cable, and phone services. On all other purchases, cardholders earn 1x points. Points are earned in Chase’s Ultimate Rewards program and can be redeemed for travel reservations booked through Chase or transferred to airline or hotel partners, such as United MileagePlus, British Airways, Marriott, Hyatt, and others. The card also comes with added protections, such as cell phone protection, purchase protection, extended warranty protection, trip cancellation, and interruption insurance. There is a $95 annual fee for this card, and the regular APR is between 20.74% and 25.74% (updated as of Apr. 25, 2023).

Pros:

  • Points can be transferred to many airline and hotel partners.
  • There’s a very valuable welcome bonus.
  • Purchase and extended warranty protections can come in handy for large purchases.

Cons:

  • There’s a $95 annual fee for this card.
  • The bonus categories are specific to certain types of small businesses, and not all may have these expenses.
  • The card offers no bonus points on categories related to travel.

Best Small Business Cards for Travel Benefits

Small businesses that require employees to travel frequently, that sponsor client travel, or that have top executives who are used to traveling in a certain class can get great value out of a small business card with excellent travel benefits. To find the top cards, we looked for travel benefits that go beyond the basic offerings.

If You Want a Small Business Card for Travel Benefits: The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express is a premium small business card for travel benefits. New cardholders can earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® bonus points by spending $15,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months. Cardholders earn 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com and 1x points on all other eligible purchases. Earn 1.5x points on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more, up to 1 million additional points per calendar year. Terms apply.Membership Rewards points can be transferred to hotel or airline partners, such as Delta, Hilton, Marriott, and British Airways. Membership Rewards points can also be redeemed for travel expenses through the Membership Rewards Pay with Points program. If you use Pay with Points for all or part of an eligible fare, you get 35% of those points back (up to 1,000,000 points back per calendar year).This card comes with several monthly and yearly statement credits. For example, you can receive a yearly $189 CLEAR credit as well as a $100 credit towards an application for Global Entry or TSA Pre✔® (worth $85) every four years. Global Entry even includes TSA Pre✔ at no additional charge, making this an easy decision between the two. This card also comes with a $400 annual Dell Technologies statement credit, split into half semiannually. Additionally, the card comes with a yearly $200 airline fee credit for one qualifying airline for incidental fees such as checked bags or in-flight refreshments. Cardholders also get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status and Hilton Honors Gold Status, which can get you extras like space-available room upgrades and bonus points on stays. If you purchase a round-trip airline ticket entirely with your card, you may also be eligible for covered trip cancellation insurance and trip delay insurance for delays more than six hours. Other card benefits include airline business lounge access, Fine Hotels + Resorts benefits, and discounts on premium private jet programs. There are no foreign transaction fees for this card. There is a $695 annual fee for this card. The regular APR is between 19.24% to 27.24% based on your creditworthiness (updated as of May 4, 2023).

Pros:

  • The card comes with complimentary hotel loyalty status for two major hotel brands.
  • You can get great earnings on flight and hotel purchases.
  • Points can be transferred to a variety of hotel and airline partners.

Cons:

  • The annual fee is high.
  • Some of the perks are more suited to luxury travelers.
  • There are many statement credits to keep track of.

Best Cards for Interest-Free Financing

If you have excellent credit, then you probably don’t carry a balance on your cards. However, you may have an upcoming large purchase where interest-free financing could be useful. 

If You Want a Card for Interest-Free Financing: U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card is a great card for interest-free financing. It offers a full 18 billing cycles of 0% APR financing on new purchases and balance transfers. After the introductory period, the variable APR is between 18.99% and 28.99%. There are no benefits and no annual fee for this card (updated as of Feb. 3, 2023).

Pros:

  • The card offers 18 billing cycles of 0% APR financing on new purchases and balance transfers.
  • There's no annual fee.
  • It’s a straightforward card.

Cons:

  • There are no benefits.
  • No rewards are offered on this card. 
  • There’s no new account bonus.

The Takeaway

With excellent credit, you have a lot of options for top credit cards. By deciding which benefits or features are most important to you, you can leverage your excellent credit to enjoy one of the best cards on the market.Want to see more available credit cards? Lantern by SoFi can help. Fill out one simple form to see credit card offers from multiple lenders in our network. 
Photo credit: iStock/AsiaVision
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About the Author

Jason Steele

Jason Steele

Jason Steele has been writing about credit cards and award travel since 2008. One of the nation's leading experts in this field, he has contributed to dozens of personal finance and travel outlets and has been widely quoted in the mainstream media.
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