The Best Credit Cards for Good and Excellent Credit Scores [2021]

Credit Score Report

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Congratulations! Having good or excellent credit means you’ve managed your credit well, and have earned the privilege of being able to select from the best credit cards available.

The world of enjoying premium travel benefits, paying for your trip with miles or points, earning cash-back on your purchases, and knowing you have coverage when things go wrong is great to experience.

However, you probably didn’t reach a high credit rating without having a few premium cards already, so you’ll want to select any new credit cards wisely. 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.

Let’s take a look and compare some of the best credit cards for those who have achieved a good to excellent credit score, review the benefits and drawbacks of each card, and 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 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.

The exact numbers for a good to excellent credit score vary. 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 fall into the good to excellent credit range. If your score is still low, you might need to look into getting a credit card for bad credit to start boosting your score.

For information on monitoring your credit score, see our article “The Best Ways to Monitor Your Credit Score & Credit Report“.

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

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 redeem those points for the most value flexibly.

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

All of these credit cards have no foreign transaction fees.

Bottom Line: Premium travel credit cards deliver significant travel benefits, but they often come with a high annual fee. If you think a card may have value for you, try the card for a year, then evaluate whether you received enough value to justify keeping the card and paying the renewal annual fee. 

Outdoor dining Porto Portugal
Enjoy the benefits of using points and miles earned on your credit card to fund a spectacular vacation. Image of Porto, Portugal by Christine Krzyszton.

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

The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Card and the Barclays Arrival® Premier Card each earn 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, not just specific categories. If your purchases don’t fall into the bonus categories offered by 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, you can transfer points to airline or hotel partners. If your spending is heavy on travel, you can also fare well with the Citi 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

If your business has high travel expenses, you’ll want to select the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card over the Ink Business Cash® Credit Card, as the latter earns only 1% cash-back on travel expenses, while the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card earns 3 points per dollar spent in this category.

If the majority of your business expenses do not fall into the bonus categories of Chase’s business credit cards, earning 2 points per dollar spent on all purchases (on 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.

Another no annual fee card that delivers solid cash back for your business is the Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card. No need to keep track of bonus categories or quarterly promotions as the card earns 1.5% cash back on every purchase you make resulting in real dollars you can invest directly back into your business.

Bottom Line: Selecting the right business credit card to maximize earnings requires making sure your most significant business expenses match up with the bonus spending categories of the card you’re considering — and the rewards and benefits you receive offset any annual fees.

London Doubletree with taxi
Points earned on a rewards-earning hotel loyalty credit card can result in free lodging. Image by Christine Krzyszton.

The Best Domestic Airline Credit Cards for Good to Excellent Credit

Best Airline Credit Card for Good to Excellent CreditBenefitsDrawbacks
Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard®

AAdvantage Executive World Elite Card
Learn More
(at our partner's secure site)
  • 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.
Limited Time Offer

Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card

Learn More
(at Amex's secure site)
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 80,000 Bonus Miles and 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 60,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $30,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 15,000 MQMs four times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Receive a Domestic First Class, Delta Comfort+® or Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government-imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Complimentary access into the Delta Sky Club® for you when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • Enjoy complimentary access to The Centurion® Lounge or Escape Lounge – The Centurion® Studio Partner when you book a Delta flight with your Reserve Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Earn 3x Miles on Delta purchases.
  • Earn 1x Mile on all other eligible purchases.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee: $550
  • Maximum card benefits only for Delta frequent fliers.
  • Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Delta Reserve card, click here.
Chase UnitedSM MileagePlus® Club Card

United Club Card
  • 2 miles/dollar spent on United, 1.5 miles/dollar all other purchases
  • UnitedSM 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 one of the premium airline-branded credit cards that charge a $450 annual fee and offer airline lounge access. The annual fee you pay for any of these premium cards will be less than a 1-year lounge membership in either the Delta Sky Club, American Airlines Admirals Club, or the United Club. The benefit of free checked bags also provides savings that can offset the annual fee. 

The Best Hotel Rewards Credit Cards for Good to Excellent Credit

If you frequently stay with any one hotel brand, you’ll realize co-branded credit cards typically come with a long list of benefits including free nights, elite status, and in some cases, lounge access. There’s a hotel credit card that will fit your hotel stay preferences and elevate your experience.

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

Before applying for Chase credit cards, be sure to check how the Chase 5/24 rule affects each card.

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

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 example, the Hilton Honors Surpass® Card charges an 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® Credit Card

Chase Freedom® Card
Learn More
(at Chase's secure site)
  • 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
  • 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 with rotating bonus categories. You can transfer these points to premium Chase cards such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card, 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, and all cash-back is doubled on your first year card anniversary, making these cards good savings tools to fund an annual vacation at the end of your first year as a new cardholder.

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 and benefits. 

The Best Cash-Back Cards for Good to Excellent Credit

Best Cash Back Credit Card for Good to Excellent CreditBenefitsDrawbacks
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Learn More
(at Amex's secure site)
  • Earn a $200 statement credit after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Buy Now, Pay Later: Enjoy $0 plan fees when you use Plan It® to split up large purchases into monthly installments. Pay $0 plan fees on plans created during the first 15 months after account opening. Plans created after that will have a plan fee up to 1.33% of each purchase amount moved into a plan based on the plan duration, the APR that would otherwise apply to the purchase, and other factors.
  • Low intro APR: 0% for 15 months on purchases from the date of account opening, then a variable rate, 13.99% to 23.99%.
  • Earn 3% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).
  • Earn 2% Cash Back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores.
  • Earn 1% Cash Back on other purchases.
  • Cash back is received in the form of Reward Dollars that can be easily redeemed for statement credits.
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-840)
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday card, click here.

  • 2.7% foreign transaction fee
  • 3% cash-back at U.S. supermarkets is on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then earn 1%
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

If you want to transfer high-interest credit card balances, the Discover It® may 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 significant everyday spending at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations, and U.S. department stores, the Blue Cash Everyday® by American Express is a good choice with 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%).

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. 

Excellent credit score
Generally, an excellent credit score is one that is 750 or above.

Final Thoughts

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.

We’ve abbreviated some of the benefit summaries for condensed content and easier comparisons, so you should review cardholder agreements for each card before applying.

The information regarding the Capital One® VentureOne® Rewards Credit Card, Citi Premier℠ Card, Chase UnitedSM MileagePlus® Club Card, Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® Credit Card, Chase Freedom Unlimited®, Chase Freedom®, Discover It®, Discover It® Cash Back, and Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express, click here.
For rate and fees of the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Honors American Express Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® from American Express, click here.

Frequently asked questions

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. Generally, your application for certain Chase credit cards will not be approved if you’ve 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 if you receive value from the card that exceeds $450. This logic applies to any credit card that charges an annual fee. For example, 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 or 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 to a minimum, you might select a rewards-earning business card with no annual fee such as the 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 example, you might select a card that rewards purchases at gas stations and hotels.

Selecting a card with a 0% APR period for purchases and 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 whether it adds value to your business 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. But the best credit cards may require good to excellent credit. Before you apply for a credit card, 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.

Christine Krzyszton

About Christine Krzyszton

Christine, who lives in Northern Michigan, travels about 300,000 miles a year despite her remote location. Her expertise is traveling the world on a weekend with no pre-determined destination in mind, letting the cost of the airfare determine where she will go. She has over four million flown miles and elite status on all three major domestic carriers.

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  1. Very helpful article. Thanks for sharing.


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