Credit Cards for Excellent Credit

An excellent credit score could help you qualify for low interest rates on some of the best rewards cards available from our partners. Your "best" card will depend on your spending habits and financial goals, but Bankrate's expert advice can help you make an informed decision.

Best Credit Cards for Excellent Credit

Need more information?

Skip down to read our card profiles and expert advice.

Best for travel

Capital One Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture. Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day.
Welcome Offer:
50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
17.49% - 24.74% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 50,000 miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $500 in travel
  • Earn 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Plus earn 10X miles on thousands of hotels, through January 2020; learn more at hotels.com/venture
  • Named ‘The Best Travel Card' by CNBC, 2018
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Fly any airline, stay at any hotel, anytime; no blackout dates. Plus transfer your miles to over 12 leading travel loyalty programs
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year; $95 after that
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for no annual fee and everyday spending

Chase Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Chase's secure website

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
Welcome Offer:
Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% Intro APR on Purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% Intro APR on Balance Transfers for 15 months
Regular APR:
16.74% - 25.49% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases.
  • 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.74-25.49%.
  • 3% intro balance transfer fee when you transfer a balance during the first 60 days your account is open, with a minimum of $5.
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum to redeem for cash back
  • Cash Back rewards do not expire as long as your account is open
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for personalized cash back rewards

U.S. Bank Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On U.S. Bank's secure website

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Rewards Rate:
5% cash back on your first $2,000 in eligible net purchases each quarter on the combined two categories you choose. 2% cash back on your choice of one everyday category, like gas stations or grocery stores. 1% cash back on all other eligible net purchases.
Welcome Offer:
$150 after you spend $500 in eligible net purchases in the first 90 days of account opening.
Annual Fee:
$0*
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0%* intro on BTs for 12 billing cycles
Regular APR:
15.49% - 24.99%* (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn up to $550 cash back in the first year.
  • $150 bonus after spending $500 in eligible net purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.
  • 5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases ($100 per quarter) on two categories you choose. That adds up to $400 cash back!
  • 2% cash back on your choice of one everyday category, like gas stations or grocery stores.
  • 1% cash back on all other eligible net purchases.
  • No limit on total cash back earned.
  • 0% Intro APR* on balance transfers for 12 billing cycles. After that, a variable APR currently 15.49% - 24.99%
  • No annual fee*
  • Great Offer from U.S. Bank, a 2019 World's Most Ethical Company® - Ethisphere Institute, February 2019

Best for dining and entertainment

Capital One Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment Earn 2% at grocery stores Earn 1% on all other purchases
Welcome Offer:
$300 after you spend $3000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0 intro for first year; $95 after that
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
16.24% - 25.24% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn a one-time $300 cash bonus after you spend $3000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases. Plus, earn 8% cash back on tickets at Vivid Seats through May 2020.
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Capital One cardholders get access to premium experiences in dining, entertainment and more
  • $0 intro annual fee for the first year, $95 after that
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best no-frills rewards structure

Capital One Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
Welcome Offer:
$150 after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months
Regular APR:
15.74% - 25.74% (Variable)

Card Details

  • One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, every day
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus, cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.74%-25.74% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.74%-25.74% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • Pay no annual fee or foreign transaction fees
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for first-year rewards

Discover Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Discover's secure website

Discover it® Cash Back

Rewards Rate:
Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate. Earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
Welcome Offer:
Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% for 14 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% for 14 months
Regular APR:
13.49% - 24.49% Variable

Card Details

  • Intro Offer: Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There's no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
  • Earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com and more up to the quarterly maximum, each time you activate.
  • Plus, earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases – automatically.
  • Redeem cash back any amount, any time. Rewards never expire.
  • Use your rewards at Amazon.com checkout.
  • Get an alert if we find your Social Security number on any of thousands of Dark Web sites.* Activate for free.
  • No annual fee.

Best for low-cost spending

Citi Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Citi's secure website

Citi Rewards+℠ Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
Welcome Offer:
Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% intro for 15 months on Purchases
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% intro for 15 months on Balance Transfers
Regular APR:
14.99% - 24.99% (Variable)

Card Details

  • The Citi Rewards+℠ Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap.
  • Earn 15,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $150 in gift cards at thankyou.com
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers and purchases for 15 months. After that, the variable APR will be 14.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 14.99% - 24.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for banking customer bonus

Bank of America Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Bank of America's secure website

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Rewards Rate:
Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice. Earn 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) Earn unlimited 1% on all other purchases
Welcome Offer:
$200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% Introductory APR on purchases for 15 billing cycles
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% Intro APR for 15 billing cycles for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days
Regular APR:
15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR on purchases and balance transfers

Card Details

  • No annual fee
  • $200 online cash rewards bonus after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice, 2% at grocery stores and wholesale clubs (up to $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club quarterly purchases) and unlimited 1% on all other purchases
  • 0% Introductory APR for 15 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the intro APR offer ends, 15.74% - 25.74% Variable APR will apply. A 3% fee (min $10) applies to all balance transfers
  • No expiration on rewards
  • If you're a Preferred Rewards member, you can earn 25% - 75% more cash back on every purchase
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best for flexible redemptions

Chase Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Chase's secure website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Rewards Rate:
2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
Welcome Offer:
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
Annual Fee:
$95
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
17.74% - 24.74% Variable

Card Details

  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best dining and entertainment card with no annual fee

Capital One Image

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 - 850)

A FICO score/credit score is used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any financial product.

Apply Now On Capital One's secure website

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Rewards Rate:
Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment Earn 2% at grocery stores Earn 1% on all other purchases
Welcome Offer:
$150 after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening
Annual Fee:
$0
Purchase Intro APR:
0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Balance Transfer Intro APR:
0% intro on balance transfers for 15 months
Regular APR:
15.74% - 25.74% (Variable)

Card Details

  • Earn a one-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening
  • Earn unlimited 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on all other purchases
  • No rotating categories or sign-ups needed to earn cash rewards; plus cash back won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how much you can earn
  • 0% intro APR on purchases for 15 months; 15.74% - 25.74% variable APR after that
  • 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months; 15.74% - 25.74% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • No annual fee
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the bank’s website for the most current information.


Author: Barry Bridges | bbridges@bankrate.com


Bankrate’s guide to credit cards for excellent credit

An excellent credit score means you’ll probably have the best chance of scoring some of the market’s premier credit cards. We’ll help you learn everything you need to know about leveraging an excellent credit score to find the right card for you.

Our best credit cards for excellent credit

Card Name Best for Bankrate Review Score
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card Travel 4.6 / 5
Chase Freedom Unlimited® No annual fee with everyday spending 4.6 / 5
U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card Personalized cash back rewards 4.6 / 5
Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card Dining and entertainment 4.6 / 5
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card No-frills rewards structure 4.7 / 5
Discover it® Cash Back First-year rewards 4.8 / 5
Citi Rewards+SM Card Low-cost spending 4.6 / 5
Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card Banking customer bonus 4.4 / 5
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card Flexible redemptions 4.8 / 5
Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card Dining and entertainment card with no annual fee 4.6 / 5

A closer look at our top credit cards for excellent credit

Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card

Pros: If you want a card with great travel rewards value that’s simple and easy to use, look no further. The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card earns unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, which you can redeem using Purchase Eraser (for a statement credit equal to 1 cent per mile) or with the issuer’s transfer partners. The card also has a generous welcome bonus of 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.

Cons: For the Venture card’s lucrative travel rewards, you will have to pay an annual $95 fee, but that fee is waived the first year. You’ll also have to be diligent about redeeming your miles after making a travel purchase, as you need to complete the redemption within 90 days.

Bottom line: This card is a great pick for frequent travelers who don’t want to think too much about their rewards redemptions. If you don’t mind the statement credit redemption process or the annual fee, the Venture card’s rewards structure, welcome bonus and added travel perks make it one of the best travel cards on the market, especially as Capital One adds more transfer partners to the program.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Pros: This easy-to-use card offers a flat 1.5% unlimited cash back on eligible purchases, all with no annual fee. It’s also a great choice for balance transfers, with a 0% APR for the first 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers (then variable 16.74% – 25.49%).

Cons: There isn’t much to dislike about this card, but with a 3% foreign transaction fee, it isn’t optimal for purchases made outside the United States.

Bottom line: This is a solid no annual fee cash back option. If you have other Chase premium cards, the Chase Freedom Unlimited becomes even more lucrative, since you can transfer rewards and redeem them as points with added value using Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Pros: The Cash+ Categories where you can earn 5% cash back (on your first $2,000 in eligible net purchases each quarter on the combined two categories you choose) include many types of everyday purchases, such as home utilities and TV, internet and streaming services. The card charges no annual fee and includes Visa Signature benefits such as auto rental and travel insurance.

Cons: Getting maximum value from the Cash+ Categories could require some effort on your part, especially if you commit to choosing your categories carefully and adjusting your spending habits to match them. The categories are subject to change and you must activate them each quarter. Be sure to check out the sample list of qualifying merchants in the Cash+ Categories before you apply.

Bottom line: As with any bonus category card, your cash back earnings with the U.S. Bank Cash+ depend on strategic spending. If you’re willing to apply the diligence and attention to detail that helped you get an excellent credit score, this card could pay considerable cash back dividends.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

Capital One® Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Pros: If going out is a big part of your week, the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card is one you need in your arsenal. You’ll earn 4% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% at grocery stores and 1% on everything else. You can also earn a $300 bonus after spending $3,000 within the first 3 months of account opening. For this card’s target audience, one of the best perks may also be the issuer’s focus on exclusive access to premium dining and entertainment experiences across the country.

Cons: There is a $95 annual fee, but it’s waived for the first year. If you do a lot of spending on travel, gas and other categories, you’ll likely need to pair this card with another on the market for the best rewards.

Bottom line: This card’s unlimited dining and entertainment rewards are unbeatable for those who enjoy a night on the town, and for big spenders in those categories, the rewards will likely far outweigh the annual fee in value. Capital One’s partnerships with companies like Vivid Seats, Postmates and Resy also continue to add value for Savor cardholders. If you can out-earn the annual fee in rewards value, this will make a fantastic addition to your wallet.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Pros: You’ll earn 5% cash back on rotating quarterly categories with the Discover it Cash Back card, ranging from gas stations and grocery stores to restaurants and Amazon.com purchases up to the quarterly maximum of $1,500 after activation, plus 1% cash back on everything else. The best value of this card, though, is Discover’s Cashback Match™ offer, which matches all your cash back earned over the first year of ownership with no limit.

Cons: Sure, there are rewards cards out there with heftier cash back percentages. If you’re looking for a higher rewards rate in a specific category (like travel or dining), this might not be the card for you.

Bottom line: The Capital One Quicksilver can provide you with a low-hassle way to earn rewards on all eligible purchases. It might be especially appealing to those who don’t have an allegiance to a certain spending category.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

Discover it® Cash Back

Pros: The Capital One Quicksilver offers an uncomplicated rewards structure with 1.5% cash back on all purchases made. Rather than checking quarterly rewards calendars to see for which categories you could earn cash back, you can rest assured knowing all eligible purchases will fall under this steady rate. This card doesn’t come with foreign transaction and annual fees, and if you spend $500 within the first three months, Capital One will give you a $150 sign-up bonus.

Cons: If you don’t do the majority of your spending within the card’s designated categories, there’s probably a better-targeted cash back option for you. You’ll also have to stay diligent in keeping up with the 5% categories every 3 months.

Bottom line: If you spend big within this card’s quarterly categories, its 5% cash back rate combined with the Cashback Match offer and no annual fee makes it an excellent cash back option. Pair it with another cash back card that covers further categories to earn even more strategically.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

Citi Rewards+℠ Card

Pros: The Citi Rewards+ card’s unique rewards structure can be especially lucrative for your everyday purchases. You can earn 2X ThankYou points at supermarkets and gas stations (on combined $6,000 in purchases annually, then 1X) and 1X points on everything else. The card also rounds up every purchase to the nearest 10-point interval, making your $4 purchase worth 10 points. There’s also a 15,000 ThankYou Point bonus if you spend $1,000 within 3 months of account opening and 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months (variable 14.99% – 24.99% after, based on your creditworthiness).

Cons: If you’ve earned a sign-up bonus with Citi or closed a Citi account within the past 2 years, you’ll be ineligible for this card’s 15,000 point bonus. The points you earn with Citi Rewards+ are also considered “basic” within Citi’s rewards program, so you won’t earn their maximum value unless you have another premium Citi card, like the Citi Prestige Card.

Bottom line: This card’s round-up premise and 2X points categories make it great for everyday purchases and can really add value to your wallet when used strategically, especially when you transfer your points and redeem using another Citi card. You’ll also benefit from no annual fee and access to Citi’s Private Pass and Concierge.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

Bank of America® Cash Rewards credit card

Pros: For a no annual fee card, the rewards are generous with 3 percent cash back on your choice category (out of six)  and 2 percent back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs up to $2,500 in combined category spending per quarter, then 1% on all other purchases. Preferred Rewards clients could see bonus rewards ranging from 25% to 75% more cash back on every purchase.

Cons: Existing members of the Preferred Rewards client program have the most to gain from this card. Unless you’re among that group, the potential for bonus rewards might not be tempting enough to sway you. Other cards not issued by Bank of America offer comparable (and in some cases, more generous) rewards rates in similar categories.

Bottom line: As someone with excellent credit, you’re probably good at recognizing value. The added value of the Preferred Rewards bonuses makes this this card an enticing option for qualifying Bank of America account holders.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Pros: When you look at this popular Chase card, the first thing that should jump out at you is the flexibility built into the rewards redemption process. You can transfer points to about a dozen notable airline and hotel partners at a 1:1 rate, which means no loss in value. This card lets you earn those valuable points with generous rewards on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide.

Cons: The card charges a $95 annual fee. It’s certainly not an excessive amount compared with similar travel cards, but you will need to factor it in when you calculate the card’s potential value.

Bottom line: It seems only natural that travelers who have excellent credit would want an excellent travel card to go along with it. Thanks in large part to its flexibility with rewards redemption, the Chase Sapphire Preferred offers a compelling choice.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card

Pros: If you enjoy trips to the movie theater and habitually explore new restaurants, this might be the excellent-credit card for you. The Capital One SavorOne offers 3% cash back on dining and entertainment, 2% back at grocery stores and 1% on everything else. There’s no annual fee, and cardholders will enjoy a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for the first 15 months (15.74% – 25.74% variable thereafter). Plus, if you spend $500 within the first three months of opening your account.

Cons: The SavorOne’s rewards structure isn’t quite as robust as its sister card — the Capital One Savor, which offers 4% cash back on dining and entertainment and a $300 cash bonus for spending $3,000 within the first three months. But, if you don’t spend as heavily in the dining and entertainment arenas, the SavorOne’s rewards structure is still solid, especially with no annual fee (compared to the Savor’s $95 annual fee after the first year).

Bottom line: The SavorOne is a well-rounded card that provides ample room to earn cash back on dining and entertainment.

Read our full review and find out how to apply.

What is an excellent credit score?

Credit scores are one of the most important indicators of financial health, but they’re also one of the least understood. Your credit score is calculated using a series of factors pulled from your overall credit report. The most commonly-used scoring systems are developed by FICO (FICO Score 8) and VantageScore (VantageScore 3.0).

Both methods score in a range from 300 (the lowest) to 850 (the highest), with most people falling between 600 and 750. FICO deems 740-799 “very good” and 800-850 “excellent,” while VantageScore is a bit more lenient in considering “excellent” anywhere from 750 to 850.

Scoring systems use predictive analysis based on the individual financial history found in your credit report (pulled from one or more of the three big credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion), to generate your score. VantageScore and FICO both use data from the credit bureaus but their scores are generated with different mathematical models. Despite their differences, if you have excellent credit, it will generally be reflected in both.

You should be aware that there are other, less common scoring systems with different scales. For instance, the FICO Auto Score 8 ranges between 250 and 900. If your lender uses a score with a different range than the standard 300 to 850, it may impact what constitutes a “good” versus “excellent” score.

Why should you aim for an excellent score?

Lenders use your score to estimate the likelihood that you will pay back and not default on the loan from your lender. Lenders and creditors all have their own thresholds for what makes a score fair, good or excellent and who will have the best chances of qualifying for the lowest rates on mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and most other types of loans. An excellent score can save you thousands of dollars in interest charges over the life of a loan.

If you have an excellent credit score, that indicates that you are timely and consistent with your payments and will make a good candidate for lower interest rates and other perks that someone less creditworthy may not.

The difference between ‘excellent’ and ‘good’ credit

The difference between an excellent credit score and a good credit score may seem like only a few points, but it can make a big difference for your wallet.

Credit cards

If you’re applying for a credit card that offers a variable APR, the issuer will assign a more favorable interest rate if you have better credit, which can save you money. For instance, if you are assigned a 17% interest rate, the amount you owe on any balance carried would increase by .046575% each day. With a 25% interest rate, you would accumulate an additional .068493% daily until your next billing cycle. According to Bankrate’s Credit Card Payoff Calculator, if you carry a $5,000 balance and make $200 monthly payments, the difference between 17% and 25% interest is worth $920 in extra interest payments.

There are more credit card benefits to having an excellent credit score as well. You can qualify for a great credit card with a good score, but many of the most premium cards, those with exclusive benefits and higher rewards earning, require excellent credit. Be prepared to pay the high annual fees that often accompany those premium cards, though, like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express.

Mortgages

Consider the types of loans you’ll take out over your lifetime, too, like mortgages, which can take decades to repay. According to the recent data from FICO, a person who takes out a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with a credit score of 760 or better could get a 3.37% interest rate while someone with a 660 score could get a 3.99% interest rate. For a mortgage of $216,000, the person with excellent credit would have a monthly payment about $400 lower.

Auto loans

It’s possible to take out a car loan with subprime credit, but those loans often come with high interest rates and subpar terms. If you have excellent credit, though, you’ll qualify not only for a wider selection of cars on the market but also better loan terms and possibly even 0% financing.

Working on your financial health to attain excellent credit will ultimately help you save on many of these big purchases and allow you to pay less over each loan’s lifetime, freeing up your money for other goals.

How to get an excellent credit score

Achieving excellent credit requires a combination of good financial habits and patience. An essential step in improving your score is checking your credit report. You can find out where your score stands now and evaluate your report for any errors. Next, familiarize yourself with the factors that make up your credit score: debt utilization, the age of accounts, payment history, credit mix and new credit.

Improving your score takes time, but there are ways you can begin working towards better credit now:

  • Dispute any errors you find on your credit report. Reach out directly to the credit bureau reporting the error.
  • Work to pay down any outstanding balances on your credit cards and keep your credit utilization ratio around 10%. That means, if your credit card has a limit of $10,000 try to keep your balance around $1,000. Some experts recommend a utilization ratio of 30%, but different scoring methods have different ideal utilization ratios and staying around 10% should cover you under them all.
  • Pay all of your bills in full and on time every month.
  • Avoid opening several new lines of credit in a short time period, as this can indicate risk to lenders and temporarily lower your score.
  • Once you’ve paid off a loan or no longer use a card, don’t remove it from your report. Bankruptcies, late payments and other bad debts are removed automatically after seven years, but your good debt history can improve your score through factors like age and responsible payment history, until it drops off as well, typically after 10 years.

Perhaps most importantly, you need to have patience. You likely won’t achieve an excellent score within months of opening your first credit card. All of the major factors are improved over a long period of time: your history of on-time payments, your available credit, your mix of accounts and the age of all your accounts.

How to keep your credit score from going down

If you’ve obtained an excellent credit score, you’ve likely already established the good habits that it takes to maintain that score, like on-time payments and low utilization. The best way to keep it from dropping is simply to maintain.

You can monitor your credit report every few months to keep track of any changes or practices that may be impacting your score negatively. Keep in mind that there are factors, like opening or inquiring about a new account that can make your score drop temporarily, but you should focus on long-term maintenance rather than short-term fluctuations.

Also remember that you don’t need to strive for a perfect 850 credit score. Anyone with a score within the “excellent” range, which FICO considers 800 and above, can obtain the same perks and rates as someone with a perfect score. Ultimately, if you pay your bills in full and on time, your credit score will remain strong.

How many people have excellent credit?

According to FICO, an excellent credit score isn’t as uncommon as you may think. As of April 2019, 22.3% of consumers had an excellent FICO score (between 800 and 850). The excellent credit group has seen a steady increase since April 2010, when 17.9% of consumers had an excellent FICO score.

What’s more, FICO data shows that the average credit score in the U.S. sits at 706, a new high. If trends continue, more and more Americans may find an excellent rating within their grasp.

FICO credits an increase in credit responsibility, reduced negative histories and consumer education for the improvement.

How we rate cards for consumers with excellent credit

Bankrate’s 5-star scoring system evaluates features that offer maximum value and first-rate user experience: For cards in the excellent credit category, we refine the method to focus on a set of particular factors including:

  • Rewards. By matching lifestyle categories with the cards most likely to maximize returns, we’ve made it easy for you to find the card that will offer the best value — points, miles or cash back.
  • APR. Annual Percentage Rate (APR) represents interest charges you would face if you didn’t pay your balance fully. With excellent credit, you stand a better chance of qualifying for a lower rate (even for cards whose variable APRs are already on the low side).
  • Extras and discounts. On top of delivering earnings with every swipe, each credit card on this list has a laundry list of additional features that raises the overall value of the card along with our evaluation. Perks like statement credit on travel, access to travel lounges, and free credit score monitoring allow cardholders to reap the unsung benefits of achieving a strong credit score.

Your credit score shows that you have a knack for making good financial decisions. Our expertise can help you make a wise choice in credit cards as well.

More research for excellent-credit consumers

If you have excellent credit, you can qualify for some of the best cards on the market right now. Here are some popular categories that can help narrow down your search:


Senior Editor Barry Bridges has been writing about credit cards, personal loans, mortgages and other personal finance products since 2017. Before joining Bankrate, he was an award-winning newspaper journalist in his native North Carolina. Send your questions about credit cards (and fantasy baseball) to bbridges@bankrate.com.

Have more questions for our credit cards editors? Feel free to send us an email, find us on Facebook, or Tweet us @Bankrate.

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.