Celebrate your excellent credit score with your choice of the best reward credit cards
When you manage your credit cards wisely, your credit history will reflect your actions.
Higher credit scores can open up all sorts of opportunities, including more spending power and better interest rates.
While your mailbox might be packed full of credit card applications, that doesn't mean you should fill them all out.
Smart budgeting choices got you to this point with your good credit; now you'll have to make some good choices on what to put in your wallet.
If you don't choose a rewards card carefully based on your lifestyle, you could get "stuck" with a ton of points that will just flounder in your account.
For example, if you don't like to travel or don't do it often enough, skip the travel rewards card and go with a cash-back rewards card.
If you're eager to hang onto your rewards, make it a point to pay off your balance every month.
Otherwise, your interest will negate any awards or cash-back you might get.
If you'd rather spend time researching your next vacation instead of researching your credit card options, we hear ya.
That's why we've done the grunt work for you.
Because you now have the freedom to choose which card will serve you best.
We've examined and compared a variety of cards and their sign-up bonuses, rewards programs, annual fees (if any), and more.
Keep reading to see which cards made our top 5 list of credit cards for consumers with excellent credit (750 FICO score and above).
Having credit card options gives you power over your finances
Did you know that only about 1 in 5 Americans have excellent credit scores?
You're in an elite club, and it's no wonder that credit card companies are rolling out the red carpet for you.
Here's how to stay on the A-list:
Figure out which cards are keepers. Some people believe it's best to stick to one or two cards.
But then there are those who tout the benefits of having multiple credit cards in the rotation.
The latter is a good move if you're super organized with your finances, can pay off all or most of the balances each month, and can benefit from the numerous types of travel rewards and cash-back options.
Exercise financial restraint. Let's be clear: Your stack of credit cards shouldn't resemble a deck of cards.
Just because you've got a good credit history and can raise your credit limit by opening another card doesn't mean you should.
After all, debt hovers over our country like a persistent black cloud.
If you've done well with managing your credit and have the FICO score to prove it, then don't get wooed by shiny invitations from credit card companies that show up daily in your mailbox.
Match your credit options to your spending habits. Excellent credit gives you excellent options when it comes to filling your wallet.
Rewards credit cards allow you to take your spending to the next level, so a regular trip to the gas station or supermarket allows you to put money toward a vacation.
So, sit back and take a look at all those credit card invitations.
As a consumer with a-rockin' FICO score, you are so popular. Wield that power and credit limit wisely, and you'll be rewarded—literally.
How we picked these cards that work for your lifestyle
It's all well and good to aim for the card that offers the biggest sign-up bonus.
But it's worth it to take a few minutes to reflect on what matters most to you as a consumer.
Is it travel rewards?
Restaurant and entertainment benefits?
Ongoing cash-back incentives?
With this in mind, here are our top 5 choices of credit cards for consumers with excellent credit:
Chase Sapphire Preferred
This card is awesome for travel and restaurant rewards
If you travel frequently—or would like to start— the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card makes it easy for consumers to rack up points and redeem them for travel rewards.
Enjoy the stellar signup bonus. Spend $4,000 in the first three months of opening the card to get 50,000 bonus Ultimate Rewards points.
Earn points easily. Swipe once, earn 2x all restaurant and travel points and get 1 point for every dollar spent on all other purchases.
Upon redemption, you'll get cash back or can convert points to a wide variety of hotel and airline partners.
Take advantage of extra perks. With no foreign transaction fees, this is the card to take with you as you travel the world.
We chose it because of the superb sign-up bonus
As with some travel rewards cards, the cruise ship may have sailed long before you can rack up enough points to embark on any trip.
Not so with Chase Sapphire Rewards.
The 50,000 bonus is enough for a round-trip domestic flight, so make sure to use this card early and often.
Nick Ewen of The Points Guy blog has a lot of love for his own Chase Sapphire card:
"It's a terrific starter card but also a great product for experienced award travelers, so if it isn't currently in your wallet, definitely consider making it your next application."
Time your application with a big spend to get the bonus
Let's be clear: Do NOT miss the 50,000-point bonus you get when you sign up and spend $4,000 in the first four months.
Those points add up to $625 that you can spend on travel!
To score the bonus, open the car
The best way to do it is to make this card your main shopping squeeze until you hit that $4,000 threshold.
Consider the annual fee
Even when a card has stellar rewards, it's a real bummer when they come with an annual fee.
Granted, at $95 per year, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card isn't the most expensive card to keep in your wallet (although the $450-per-year Chase Sapphire Reserve card could be) but there are other no-fee options out there.
Still, if you're a loyal Chase customer and have gotten into a groove with racking up rewards points, then the $95 annual fee will get absorbed easily year after year.
Want this card? Go to the Chase site to apply.
The card for premier rewards and perks
If you prefer cash-back rewards so you can use them any way you see fit, then the Discover it-Cashback Match card is a contender.
Snag this sweet sign-up bonus.
Get your cash-back rewards doubled at the end of the first year.
So if you spend enough to get $500 back, you'll actually get $1,000 back at the end of your first year.
Plus, there's no interest on purchases and balance transfers for the first 14 months.
Leverage quarterly and everyday bonuses to earn points. Earn 5% cash-back points in categories that rotate quarterly, and earn 1% back on all other purchases.
Redeem points easily. Redeem points (which don't expire) for cash at any time.
Enjoy extra perks. In addition to earning 5% cash back in rotating quarterly categories, shop through Discover's online mall to accrue bonus points up to 20%.
We chose it because of double cash-back rewards for the first year
What's better than getting a nice chunk of cash back?
Having that moola doubled.
That's exactly what the Discover it-Cashback Match does for your first year of being a cardholder.
So if you spend enough to get $250 in cash-back rewards, you'll actually get $500 back from Discover.
Remember that the 5% bonus categories rotate each quarter
The bonus categories that offer 5% cash-back rewards only last for 3 months at a time.
If you spend in all of the categories, then you'll be rolling in the rewards all year; if not, you'll have to wait until the next quarter before you feel like shopping again.
Keep in mind, also, that you need to opt-in to these rewards—just log onto your account to do so.
But if you miss the bus on the opt-in, you'll be stuck with a meager 1% cash-back rewards option.
You might not use this card all the time
Yes, you can use Discover it for everyday purchases, but the real magic with this card is in those 5% bonus categories.
That means it might make sense for you to take this card out of the rotation at certain points during the year so you can rack up better rewards with another card.
Of course, if you're cool with analyzing your spend and bonus categories every so often, then carry on with Discover it.
Want this card? Go to the Discover site to apply.
Capital One Venture
The card that goes all-out on travel rewards
Capital One was one of the first credit cards to make rewards travel more manageable with no blackout dates—and it still is.
Enjoy a cool signup bonus. Spend $3,000 in the first three months to nab 50,000 bonus miles.
Earn points every day and then redeem them easily. Earn two miles for every dollar you spend.
When you're ready for redemption, points are applied as a statement credit through the Purchase Eraser.
Upgrade your travels with extra perks. Get ready to travel like a rock star when you call on the 24/7 concierge for planning help.
- Intro APRN/A
- Regular APRN/A
- Annual fee$0 intro for the first year, $95 after that
- Credit levelExcellent
It's easy to redeem rewards points
Ready to hit the road?
Just pay for your trip on your Venture One card, then go online within 90 days to request that your cash-back rewards are applied as a statement credit via the Purchase Eraser.
Know that the annual fee is waived for the first year only
We also think it's cool that the $95 annual fee is waived for the first year. Even thereafter, the rewards literally make this fee a small price to pay.
Don't use this card if you're not into traveling
Simply put, this card is good if you're a traveler, but it's only meh if you're not. It's better to use this card for what it does best: rack up travel points.
Want this card? Go to the Capital One site to apply.
American Express Platinum
This is the top notch card for world travel and luxury upgrades
Just holding the Platinum Card from AMEX feels good (it's thicker and heavier than all the rest), but what's great are the points you'll accumulate for travel and luxury upgrades.
Spend big to snag that signup bonus.
Spend $5,000 in your first three months to get a 60,000-point bump to your account.
Earn points quickly. When you swipe, you'll get 1 point per dollar on all purchases.
When you book travel through AMEX, you'll get a whopping 5 points per dollar.
You can rack up even more on special offers (updated often) with AMEX partners.
Redeem points easily. Log onto your account to apply points as statement credit or to book travel.
Love the extra perks. Earn 5x points on travel when you book your trip through the AMEX site.
Note that while this card is traditionally a charge card—meaning you'll have to pay off the balance every month—eligible cardholders can sign up for a feature called Pay Over Time, in which you can do just that with individual purchases $100 and over.
We chose it because of its "elite" aspects
Remember that Tina Fey commercial where she flashes her AMEX card and gets into the first-class lounge alongside Martin Scorcese?
Having that kind of luxury access is not far off from real life when you have an AMEX Platinum card.
Flash your card for exclusive entry. The AMEX Platinum card will get you access to over 1,000 airport lounges, not to mention a $100 credit toward Global Entry or TSA check-in.
And then there's the $200 annual credit toward your Uber rides.
So even if you're flying coach, you're feeling first-class with Amex wherever you travel.
The $550 annual fee is a tough one to swallow
Indeed, that yearly fee is some serious change.
But if you take advantage of the many benefits and discounts that come with being a cardholder, you can certainly make enough to absorb that fee each year.
Brendan Harkness over at The Credit Card Insider figured out the best way to offset the AMEX Platinum's annual fee: Spend $8,000 on travel through AME, which will get you 5 points per dollar for a total of 40,000 points.
"If you can make full use of that benefit and several others, you won't need to spend as much to make the card worth the cost, making this an even better deal," says Harkness.
Want this card? Go to the American Express site to apply.
Citi Double Cash
This is the best card for cash back and balance transfers
Sometimes cash-back cards can get complicated with the math. Not this one!
Skip the bonus categories and just earn points. You'll get 1% cash back on every dollar you spend AND an additional 1% on every dollar you pay toward your balance.
That adds up to 2% cash back!
So every time you spend $100, you'll get $2 back.
To redeem, simply log onto your account and choose a cash-back amount to be credited.
We chose it because of its incredible balance transfer offer
You can get an interest-free balance transfer with no interest for 18 months.
If you get this card just for that reason, we won't blame you—but you'll be missing out on the incredible cash-back rewards.
Know that high-interest rates may apply
It's not uncommon for consumers to get a 20% or higher APR on purchases with this card.
This high-interest rate might surprise some consumers, so you might think about using this card just for a balance transfer.
If not, try to pay off that balance every month.
Be patient with repayment. If you're used to paying off your credit card payments before they even hit your monthly statement, you're going to want to read this carefully:
In order to get the 1% cash back on payment, you have to wait for the charges to hit your monthly statement. It's not necessarily a deal breaker, however.
Feel like giving yourself and your credit score a pat on the back?
As with all things related to personal finances, it's good to have options.
Do you use any of the cards we mentioned above?
How has being a cardholder worked out for you?
Any great tips (or nightmares) to share with the rest of us?
Let us know in the comments below.