The Best Credit Cards for Good and Excellent Credit Scores [In-Depth]

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Congratulations! You’ve managed your credit well and have earned the privilege of being able to select from the finest credit cards available.

The world of enjoying premium travel benefits, paying for your trip with miles/points, earning cash back on your purchases, and knowing you have coverage/protection when things go wrong is a nice world to live in.

You probably didn’t reach this pinnacle without having a few of these cards already, however, so you’ll want to select any new credit cards wisely and consider factors such as Chase’s 5/24 Rule, avoiding duplication of benefits, and the expense of high multiple annual fees not offsetting the benefits received.

With this in mind, let’s get started by taking a look and comparing some of the best credit cards for those who have achieved a good to excellent credit score, review the benefits/drawbacks of each card and help you determine which cards are worth adding to your credit card portfolio.

What is good to excellent credit?

Credit scores are used by lenders to determine whether or not to grant you credit and the terms under which they’ll extend that credit. Having a credit score that is good to excellent will get you the best terms including lowest interest rates, lowest down payment, and lowest fees.

Sources vary as to the exact definition of what is a good to excellent credit score. Credit reporting agency Experian, for example, defines a good credit score as one that is 700 or better and an excellent credit score as 800 or better. Equifax, another of the three credit reporting agencies, describes a good credit score as being between 700 and 750 and an excellent score 750 or above.

VantageScore, a credit scoring model developed by the three credit reporting agencies Equifax, Transunion, and Experian, concurs that a good credit score is one that is at least 700 to 749 and an excellent score is one that is 750-850.

Bottom Line: If your credit score is between 700 and 850 you are considered to fall into the good to excellent credit range. Check out this article for more info on this topic.

The Best Premium Credit Cards for Travelers with Good to Excellent Credit

Best Rewards Credit Card For Good to Excellent CreditBenefitsDrawbacks
💳 The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • Up to $200 Uber Savings Annually.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit. Terms Apply.
  • 18 Benefits & Perks
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Charge card vs credit card so must be paid off each month
  • Airline fee credit must be used on one pre-selected airline
The Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • 50,000 bonus points
  • 3X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Priority Pass Select lounge access
  • 50% more value when redeeming points on Chase Travel portal
  • $100 Global Entry credit
  • 29 Benefits & Perks
  • Annual Fee: $450
  • Falls under Chase 5/24 rule
Citi Prestige® Card
  • 3 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on airline and hotels
  • 2 points per $1 spent on dining/entertainment
  • 4th hotel night free
  • $250 airline credit that includes flight purchases
  • $100 Global Entry credit
  • Priority Pass Lounge access + 2 guests
  • Annual Fee: $450

If you’re a frequent traveler with significant travel spending, having a premium travel credit card is essential for earning maximum travel rewards, getting the best travel perks, and being able to flexibly redeem those points for the most value.

Any of these premium travel credit cards can deliver to varying degrees in all cases so if the hefty annual fee can be offset by the value you receive, select the card that matches up best with your own specific travel preferences and spending habits.

Also, these are all credit cards with no foreign transaction fees!

Bottom Line: Premium travel credit cards deliver significant travel benefits but they also come with a high annual fee. The good news is that the decision to acquire a premium travel credit card is not permanent. If you review the list of benefits for a card you’re considering and determine that there is significant potential value, try the card for a year then evaluate whether you actually received enough value to justify paying the renewal annual fee and keeping the card. 

Enjoy the benefits of using points and miles earned on your credit card to fund a spectacular vacation. Image of Porto, Portugal courtesy of the author.

The Best Overall Rewards-Earning Credit Cards for Good to Excellent Credit

Best Rewards Credit Card For Good to Excellent CreditBenefitsDrawbacks
💳 Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • 50,000 bonus points
  • That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide.
  • $0 foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $0 the first year, then $95
💳 Barclays Arrival® Premier World Elite MasterCard®
  • 75,000 miles each year if you spend $25,000 on purchases
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase.
  • Global Entry - Expedite your Re-entry with a $100 automatic statement credit for the cost of one Global Entry application fee every five years.
  • Annual Fee: $150
  • Minimum $100 redemption requirement
  • Rates & Fees
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent on every purchase
  • Redeem points for travel as a statement credit
  • Only good for the frequent traveler, cannot transfer miles to partners
  • $59 annual fee
Citi ThankYou® Premier Credit Card
  • 3 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on Travel, including Gas
  • 2 points per $1 spent on dining/entertainment
  • $95 Annual Fee

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card and the Barclays Arrival® Premier Card each earn 2 miles/dollar on every purchase, not just specific categories. If your purchases don’t fall into the bonus categories offered on other cards, the simple earning structure on either of these cards might serve you well.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns flexible Chase Ultimate Rewards© which are worth 25% more when redeemed through the travel portal or points can be transferred to airline/hotel partners. If your spending is heavy on travel, you can also fare well with the Citi ThankYou® Premier Credit Card.

Bottom Line: This collection of rewards-earning credit cards focuses on earning and redeeming rewards versus travel perks and benefits. If you travel frequently, you may receive enough value to justify paying the higher annual fee on a premium travel credit card that includes benefits such as lounge access, priority boarding, free checked bags, and airline credits plus other luxury travel perks. 

The Best Business Credit Cards for Good to Excellent Credit

Best Business Credit Card For Good to Excellent CreditBenefitsDrawbacks
Chase Ink Business Preferred®
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after spending $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Earn 3 points per $1 in select categories
  • 25% more value when redeeming points through Ultimate Rewards® travel
  • Visa Signature travel/purchase benefits and protections
  • $95 Annual Fee
  • Not an appropriate card for businesses who spend significantly for office supplies, dining, or gas
Chase Ink Business Cash
  • 5% cash-back on the first $25,000 spent (combined) at office supply stores and on cell phone, landline, internet, and cable TV services each year
  • 2% cash-back on the first $25,000 (combined) spent at gas stations and restaurants each year
  • 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers
  • No Annual Fee.
  • Limited earnings for travel expenses
  • Larger businesses may have bonus category expenses that exceed maximum spending limits
💳 The Blue Business℠ Plus Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 2X points on everyday business purchases such as office supplies or client dinners.
  • 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • No additional bonus business expense categories
If your business has high travel expenses, you’ll want to select the Chase Ink Business Preferred® over the Cash Ink Business Cash as the latter earns only 1% cash back on travel expenses while the Ink Business Preferred earns 3 points/dollar spent in this category.
If the majority of your business expenses do not fall into the bonus categories of the Chase business cards, earning 2 points/dollar spent on all purchases, up to $50,000 annually with the Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express might be an appropriate choice, especially since it doesn’t have an annual fee.
Bottom Line: Selecting the right business credit card to maximize earnings requires making sure your greatest business expenses match up with the bonus spending categories of the card you’re considering — and the benefits you receive offset any annual fees.
Points earned on a rewards-earning hotel loyalty credit card can result in free lodging. Image courtesy of the author.

The Best Domestic Airline Credit Cards for Good to Excellent Credit

Best Airline Credit Card for Good to Excellent CreditBenefitsDrawbacks
Delta Reserve® from American Express
  • 2 miles/dollar spent on Delta, 1 mile/dollar all other purchases
  • Free Delta Sky Club access for cardholder
  • Earn elite qualifying miles at spending thresholds
  • Annual companion certificate
  • Priority boarding & free checked bag
  • In-flight discount on food/beverage
  • $450 Annual fee
  • Maximum card benefits only for Delta frequent fliers.
Citi®/ AAdvantage® Executive World Elite MasterCard®
  • 2 miles earned/dollar spent on American Airlines, 1 mile/dollar all other purchases
  • Free checked bag on domestic American Airlines flights + for 8 companions
  • Priority boarding/screening for cardholder
  • Admiral’s Club lounge membership for cardholder and authorized users (10)
  • 25% off in-flight food/beverage
  • $450 Annual fee
  • Maximum card benefits only for American Airlines frequent fliers.
Chase United MileagePlus® Club Card
  • 2 miles/dollar spent on United, 1.5 miles/dollar all other purchases
  • United Club lounge access
  • 1st/2nd checked bag for free
  • Priority check in, screening, and boarding
  • Hyatt/Hertz status
  • $450 Annual fee
  • Maximum card benefits only for United frequent fliers.
Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card
  • 3 miles/dollar spent on Alaska Airlines, 1 mile/dollar all other purchases
  • Redeem miles for flights on Alaska Airlines and partners
  • Free checked bag for cardholder +6
  • $99 annual companion fare
  • $450 Annual fee
  • Maximum card benefits only for Alaskan Airlines frequent fliers.

None of these cards charge a foreign transaction fee.

Bottom Line: If you travel frequently and value lounge access you will benefit greatly from having the one of the premium airline branded credit cards that charge a $450 annual fee. That’s because the annual fee you pay for any of these premium cards will be less than a one-year lounge membership in either the Delta Sky Club, American Airlines Admiral’s Club or the United Club. The benefit of free checked bags also provides savings that helps offset the annual fee. 

The Best Hotel Rewards Credit Cards for Good to Excellent Credit

Best Hotel Credit Card for Good to Excellent CreditBenefitsDrawbacks
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express
  • Earn 2 Starpoints for every dollar of eligible purchases on the Card at participating SPG and Marriott Rewards hotels.
  • Free Boingo Wi-Fi & free premium Wi-Fi at SPG Participating hotels. Terms Apply.
  • $95 Annual fee
  • Limited bonus point earning categories
Hilton Honors® Aspire Card from American Express
  • Earn up to 100,000 Hilton Honors Bonus Points
  • 14X on qualifying purchases with hotels from the Hilton portfolio.
  • Earn 7X Hilton Honors Bonus Points for eligible purchases on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com; on car rentals booked directly from select car rental companies; & at U.S. restaurants. Terms Apply.
  • $250 Hilton Resort statement credit, $250 airline fee credit & $100 Hilton on-property credit
  • $450 Annual fee
  • Redemptions limited to Hilton properties
💳 Marriott Rewards® Premier Plus Credit Card
  • Limited Time Offer! Earn 100,000 Bonus Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn 6 points per $1 spent at participating Marriott Rewards & SPG hotels.
  • $95 Annual fee
Chase Hyatt Credit Card
  • 3x points at Hyatt properties and 2x points at restaurants, airfare purchased directly from the airline and car rental agencies
  • Hyatt Discoverist elite status
  • $75 Annual fee
  • Limited footprint of Hyatt Hotels
Chase Ritz-Carlton Rewards® Credit Card
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent at participating Ritz-Carlton Rewards® and SPG® hotels.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on airline tickets purchased directly with the airline, and at car rental agencies and restaurants.
  • $300 annual travel credit, $100 airline ticket discount, $100 hotel credit. Terms Apply.
  • Gold Elite Status for your first account anniversary year as a cardmember
  • $450 Annual fee
Chase IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
  • Earn 10 points per $1 spent on purchases when you stay at IHG® hotels.
  • Earn 2 points per $1 spent on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants.
  • Enjoy a Free night after each account anniversary year at IHG hotels worldwide.
  • Free reward night when you redeem points for any stay of 4 or more nights.
  • $89 Annual fee
  • Redemptions limited to IHG properties
Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card
  • 10 points per $1 spent in eligible net purchases at participating Carlson Rezidor hotels
  • 5 points per $1 spent in eligible net purchases everywhere else
  • 40,000 renewal points each year when you renew your card.
  • $75 Annual fee

If you stay frequently at any one hotel brand, you’ll realize a long list of benefits by being a cardholder of their co-branded credit card. From free nights, elite status, and in some cases even lounge access, there’s a hotel credit card that will fit your hotel stay preferences and elevate your experience.

With that said, we’re not comparing apples to apples here as there are some premium cards on this list with hefty benefits and equally hefty annual fees.

Before applying for Chase credit cards be sure to check as to how each card may be treated under Chase’s 5/24 rule.

Bottom Line: Select the perfect hotel loyalty credit cards based first on the brand you stay frequently and then on whether the benefits you receive offset the annual fee. 

The Best No Annual Fee Credit Cards for Good to Excellent Credit

Best No Annual Fee Credit Card for Good to Excellent CreditBenefitsDrawbacks
💳 Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Earn $150 bonus
  • Unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase - it's automatic.
  • 0% APR on purchases/balance transfers for 15 months
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • 3% Foreign transaction fee
  • Must have premium chase credit card to get maximum value from points
💳 Hilton Honors™ Card from American Express
  • LIMITED TIME OFFER: Earn 75,000 Hilton Honors™ Bonus Points (Offer ends 06/27/2018.)
  • 7X points on qualifying purchases with hotels from the Hilton portfolio. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Hilton Honors points offer limited redemption options
Citi ThankYou® Preferred
  • Earn 2 ThankYou® Points per $1 spent on Dining Out & Entertainment
  • 15-month 0% APR for purchases/balance transfers
  • Can’t redeem points for travel
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

There are plenty of no annual fee credit cards to choose from; we’ve just selected a few.

Bottom Line: If your credit card portfolio includes several cards with annual fees and you’re trying to reduce these costs you may want to find similar cards that do not charge annual fees. For instance, the Hilton Honors® Ascend Card charges a $95 annual fee while the Hilton Honors® Credit Card does not charge an annual fee. There may be a trade off in benefits that you’ll have to evaluate in the process but you could save a lot on annual fees. 

The Best Quarterly Bonus Category Cards for Good to Excellent Credit

Best Quarterly Bonus Credit Card for Good to Excellent CreditBenefitsDrawbacks
Chase Freedom®
  • Earn 5% cash back on quarterly bonus category purchases (up to $1500 in purchases)
  • Points can be transferred to premium Chase Ultimate Rewards-earning credit cards for greater redemption value
  • 0% APR purchases/balance transfers 15 months
  • No annual fee.
  • 3% Foreign transaction fee
  • Quarterly registration required to earn 5% cash back
Discover It® and Discover It® Cash Back Match
  • 5% Cash back on quarterly bonus category purchases (up to $1500 purchases)
  • Cash back matched at first card anniversary
  • No foreign transaction fees.
  • No annual fee
  • No travel perks
  • Not as widely accepted as Visa, MasterCard, American Express
  • Not as valuable the second year without the double cash back
  • Quarterly registration required for 5% cash back

The Chase Freedom earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards® Points that can be transferred to premium Chase cards such as the Chase Sapphire® Reserve where they are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel on the Ultimate Rewards® travel center.

Discover It® and Discover It® Cash Back Match cards earn 5% cash back on quarterly bonus category purchases that are doubled at the first year card anniversary making these cards good savings tools to fund an annual vacation at the end of year one.

Bottom Line: Credit cards with quarterly bonus earnings limit the amount you can earn annually but there may be value beyond the quarterly earnings such as additional redemption options, 0% APR periods, or other perks/benefits. 

The Best Cash Back Cards for Good to Excellent Credit

Best Cash Back Credit Card for Good to Excellent CreditBenefitsDrawbacks
💳 Blue Cash EveryDay® from American Express
  • $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.
  • 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on Purchases.
  • 0% introductory APR for the first 15 months on balance transfers requested within 60 days of account opening. Terms Apply.
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee
Discover It® Cashback Match
  • 5% Cash back on quarterly category purchases
  • Cash back matched at first card anniversary
  • No annual fee
  • No travel perks
  • Not as widely accepted as Visa, MasterCard, American Express
  • Not as valuable the second year without the double cash back
Discover It®
  • 0% APR for 18 month on balance transfers, 6 months for purchases
  • 5% Cash back on quarterly category purchases
  • Cash back matched at first card anniversary
  • No annual fee
  • No travel perks
  • Not as widely accepted as Visa, MasterCard, American Express
  • Not as valuable the second year without the double cash back
Citi Double Cash Card
  • 1 % Cash back when you make a purchase on your card and 1% cash back when you pay for the purchase
  • No annual fee
  • Minimum redemption is $25
  • 3% foreign transaction fee

For everyday purchases in any category, the Citi Double Cash Card will allow you to earn a consistent 2% cash back on every purchase.

If you’re looking to transfer high-interest credit card balances, the Discover It® would be a good choice with its 0% APR for 18 months balance transfer option. If  you can max out earning 5% cash back on quarterly category purchases and have all your cash back doubled at the first card anniversary, you can use those funds to help repay the balance transfer amount before the 0% APR period expires.

If you have heavy everyday spending for groceries, gas and department stores, the Blue Cash Everyday® by American Express is a good choice delivering as much as 3% cash back.

Bottom Line: Cash back is the most flexible reward you can earn so you can’t go wrong having a cash back card in your wallet. For the best possible earning potential, it is critical to select a card that closely matches your spending habits. 

An excellent credit score is generally defined as one that is 750 or above.

Final Thoughts

Please note that we have abbreviated some of the benefit summaries for the purpose of condensing content and making comparisons easier. You’ll need to review the cardholder agreements and actually terms/conditions for each card in which you’re interested before applying.

Although this may seem like an exhaustive list, this is only a sample collection of credit cards we consider best for good to excellent credit. Depending on the category of card you’re looking for, you’ll find dozens if not hundreds of other choices.

FAQ

What does good to excellent credit mean?

The most common credit scores used by credit reporting agencies are the FICO or VantageScore. Good to excellent credit means that your credit score for either of these is in a range between 700 and 850.

What do you mean by the Chase 5/24 Rule?

The Chase 5/24 rule is an unpublished rule based on crowd-sourced feedback of Chase credit card approvals and denials. It refers to how many total credit cards, not just Chase credit cards, that you've opened in the past 24 months. "Put simply, Chase will not approve applications for certain credit cards if the applicant has already opened 5 (or more) credit card accounts in the last 24 months."

Is is worth it to have a card with a $450 annual fee?

The only reason to hold a credit card with a $450 annual fee is that you receive value from the card that exceeds $450. This logic applies to any credit card that charges an annual fee. For instance, if you travel frequently with a certain airline and pay $600 for a membership to access their affiliated lounges, having a credit card that includes lounge membership but charges an annual fee of only $450 makes economic sense.

What is the best card for my large business?

The best card for your large business depends on the spending habits of your business, the specific features/benefits of the card that you will actually utilize and whether you can redeem the rewards for something of value.

Your greatest business expenses should align with the spending bonus categories on the card and spending limits on those categories.  If your business spends $60,000 a year on offices supplies, for example, you wouldn't select a card that limits that bonus category to a maximum of $25,000.

If you have a lot of employees, additional free employee credit cards would be an important feature to look for in a card. If your business requires you to travel frequently, you'll want a card that rewards travel expenses and allows you to redeem your rewards for travel.

What is the best card for my small business?

Features and benefits that are important to a small business vary greatly. However, if you're trying to keep costs at a minimum you might select a rewards-earning business card with no annual fee such as Chase Ink Business Cash card.

Consider a card that matches the spending habits of your business with bonus spending categories on the credit card for maximum rewards earning. If you're a road warrior, for instance, you might select a card that rewards purchases at gas stations and hotels.

Selecting a card with a 0% APR period for purchases and/or balance transfers may also be an option to help with your small business cash flow.

Reviewing the benefits of each card you're considering and asking yourself "is this a benefit that adds value to my business" for each one can help you select the perfect card.

Can I qualify for a credit card without good to excellent credit?

The short answer is yes; you do not need good to excellent credit to get approved for a credit card. First, you should know your credit score which you can find by accessing sites such as Credit Karma.

You can also visit Cardmatch and input your information to view credit card offers which have already been matched specifically to you.

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