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Best Credit Cards for Excellent Credit of May 2024

Updated: May 17, 2024
Paul Soucy
Written by
Lead Assigning Editor
Caitlin Mims
Reviewed by
Content Management Specialist
Kenley Young
Edited by
Fact Checked
Assigning Editor
Fact Checked
Paul Soucy
Written by
Lead Assigning Editor
Caitlin Mims
Reviewed by
Content Management Specialist
Kenley Young
Edited by
Fact Checked
Assigning Editor
Fact Checked
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  • Objective comprehensive ratings rubrics (Methodology)

NerdWallet's credit cards content, including ratings and recommendations, is overseen by a team of writers and editors who specialize in credit cards. Their work has appeared in The Associated Press, USA Today, The New York Times, MarketWatch, MSN, NBC's "Today," ABC's "Good Morning America" and many other national, regional and local media outlets. Each writer and editor follows NerdWallet's strict guidelines for editorial integrity.

NerdWallet's Best Credit Cards for Excellent Credit of May 2024

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Find the right credit card for you.

Whether you want to pay less interest or earn more rewards, the right card's out there. Just answer a few questions and we'll narrow the search for you.

Find the right credit card for you.

Whether you want to pay less interest or earn more rewards, the right card's out there. Just answer a few questions and we'll narrow the search for you.

Our pick for

Flat-rate cash back

Our pick for

Families & households

Our pick for

Going out & staying in

Our pick for

All-around cash back

Our pick for

All-purpose travel rewards

Our pick for

Elevated travel rewards & benefits

Our pick for

Travel: VIP travel perks

Our pick for

0% intro APR period + low intro transfer fee

Our pick for

Longest 0% intro APR period

FULL LIST OF EDITORIAL PICKS: BEST CREDIT CARDS FOR EXCELLENT CREDIT

Confirm details on issuer's website before applying.

Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card

Our pick for: Flat-rate cash back

Among flat-rate cash-back cards, you'll be hard-pressed to beat the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card. It earns an unlimited 2% back on all purchases, which is excellent. But in addition, the card offers a rich sign-up bonus and a generous intro APR period on both purchases and balance transfers. That's an impressive, hard-to-find combination of features on a card with a $0 annual fee. Read our review.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Our pick for: Families & households

If your household spends a lot on groceries, gas, transit and streaming, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is for you. The rewards it pays in those categories — particularly at U.S. supermarkets and on select U.S. streaming subscriptions — are among the richest of any card. There's a nice welcome offer for new cardholders and an introductory APR period, too. The generous benefits come at a cost, though: Unlike most cash-back cards, this one charges an annual fee. Terms apply. Read our review.

Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card

Our pick for: Going out & staying in

Love the night life but dead-set against paying an annual fee? Consider the Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card. It pays a lower cash-back rate on dining and entertainment than the regular Savor card, but the rewards are nevertheless quite good (see rates and fees). The sign-up bonus is smaller than on the annual-fee version, too, but it's still solid (see rates and fees). Read our review.

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Our pick for: All-around cash back

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® was already a fine card when it offered 1.5% cash back on all purchases. Now it's even better, with bonus rewards on travel booked through Chase, as well as at restaurants and drugstores. On top of all that, new cardholders get a 0% introductory APR period and the opportunity to earn a sweet bonus. Read our review.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Our pick for: All-purpose travel rewards

For a reasonable annual fee, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns bonus rewards (up to 5X) on travel, dining, select streaming services, and select online grocery purchases. Points are worth 25% more when you redeem them for travel booked through Chase, or you can transfer them to about a dozen airline and hotel partners. The sign-up bonus is stellar, too. Read our review. 

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Our pick for: Elevated travel rewards & benefits

The high annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve® gives many potential applicants pause, but frequent travelers should be able to wring enough value out of this card to more than make up for the cost. Cardholders get bonus rewards (up to 10X) on dining and travel, a fat bonus offer, annual travel credits, airport lounge access, and a 50% boost in point value when redeeming points for travel booked through Chase. Points can also be transferred to about a dozen airline and hotel partners. Read our review. 

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Our pick for: VIP travel perks

The Platinum Card® from American Express comes with a hefty annual fee, but travelers who like to go in style (and aren't afraid to pay for comfort) can more than get their money's worth. Enjoy extensive airport lounge access, hundreds of dollars a year in travel and shopping credits, hotel benefits and more. That's not even getting into the high rewards rate on eligible travel purchases and the rich welcome offer for new cardholders. Read our review.

BankAmericard® credit card

Our pick for: 0% intro APR period + low intro transfer fee

The BankAmericard® credit card isn't flashy, nor does it aim to be. You get one of the longest 0% introductory APR periods available anywhere, providing plenty of time to whittle down debt or finance a large purchase. And that's about it. Read our review.

Wells Fargo Reflect® Card

Our pick for: Longest 0% intro APR period

The Wells Fargo Reflect® Card has one of the longest 0% intro APR periods on the market — approaching almost two years. You'll be hard-pressed to find a longer interest-free promotion, and it applies to both purchases and balance transfers. Read our review.

• • •

OTHER RESOURCES

What counts as excellent credit?

While there's no industry-standard definition of what separates "good" credit from "excellent" credit, NerdWallet generally defines excellent credit as having a credit score of at least 720 on a scale that runs from 300 to 850. Notice that the excellent range starts well below the top of the range. "Excellent" credit doesn't mean "perfect" credit; scores above 750 are usually enough to qualify you for the best credit terms.

When it comes to credit cards, the higher your credit score, the more (and better) cards you should be able to qualify for. Just keep in mind that credit scores are not the only factor that issuers look at when evaluating your application for a credit card. They may also be looking at things like your income, your other debts, how much credit you already have available, how much new credit you've applied for recently, and whether you already have other cards from the same issuer.

In general, the credit score ranges break down like this:

  • A score of 720 to 850 counts as excellent credit. Having excellent credit doesn't guarantee that you'll be approved for a specific credit card — but if you are declined, it's probably not because of your credit score. This page features our top-rated cards for excellent credit, but your options go way beyond these.

  • A score of 690 to 719 counts as good credit. Most cards that are available to people with excellent credit are also open to those with good credit, but there are some exceptions. See our best credit cards for good credit.

  • A score of 630 to 689 counts as fair credit. This is sometimes referred to as "average" credit, although the true average credit score in the U.S. is actually a little higher than this range. People in the fair credit range aren't going to qualify for the best cards on the market, but they have some solid options. See our best credit cards for fair credit.

  • A score of 300 to 629 counts as bad credit. Credit card issuers are wary about extending credit to people with bad credit, so your options will be limited. In general, to get a credit card with bad credit, you'll have to either put down a cash security deposit or pay high fees. See our best credit cards for bad credit.

🤓Nerdy Tip

NerdWallet generally recommends secured credit cards for those with bad credit because you can get your security deposit back when you move up to a better card. The fees on unsecured cards for bad credit, by contrast, are often outrageous — usually adding up to more than what a deposit on a secured card would cost you — and once you pay them, they're gone.

  • Some people are so new to credit that they don't have a credit score at all. They don't exactly have "bad" credit, but they're still viewed as risky by credit card issuers because they haven't yet shown that they can reliably borrow money and pay it back. Many of the same cards that work for people with bad credit will work for those with no credit. And some issuers specialize in the "no credit" or "thin credit" market. See our best starter credit cards for no credit.

What credit card benefits do you get with excellent credit?

The better your credit, the better the credit cards you can qualify for, and having excellent credit opens up the best cards on the market. No single card gives you all the best features, of course. No matter how good your credit, you're not going to find a card that pays the highest rewards, offers the richest perks, carries the lowest interest rate and charges no annual fee. But whatever you're looking for in a credit card, you're more likely to find it with excellent credit.

Rewards. Cards with the highest rewards rates — in either cash back or travel points — require good to excellent credit. You can find credit cards that offer rewards equal to 1% to 1.5% back even for bad credit and fair credit. But if you want 3% to 6% in major spending categories, you'll need good credit.

Bonuses. The credit cards with the biggest sign-up bonus offers uniformly require good to excellent credit.

Perks. Many of the most expensive cards with the most lavish perks are available only to people with excellent credit. These cards offer things like airport lounge access, travel credits, rental car insurance and TSA PreCheck reimbursement. Meanwhile, airline-branded cards offer free checked bags and priority boarding; hotel-branded cards give free nights, elite status and access to upgrades.

Interest rates. Although most credit cards offer the same rewards and perks to all cardholders, the interest rate you pay is often tied to your creditworthiness. It's not uncommon for cards to charge its customers a range of APRs, where the highest rate is more than 10 percentage points above the lowest. With excellent credit, you have a better chance of scoring a rate on the low end of the range. (Of course, if you pay your bill in full each month, your interest rate doesn't matter because you're never charged interest.) With excellent credit, you're also more likely to qualify for credit cards with a lengthy 0% APR period.

Fees. So this one is a little tricky. Having excellent credit means you don't have to pay an annual fee just for the privilege of carrying a credit card. There are literally hundreds of good no-annual-fee cards available to those with higher credit scores. But paying an annual fee on many credit cards is often well worth it because the value you get back in rewards, bonuses and perks vastly exceeds the fee. And having excellent credit makes it possible to qualify for those kinds of cards.

• • •

To view rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, see this page. To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

Last updated on May 17, 2024

Methodology

NerdWallet's credit cards team selects the best credit cards in each category based on overall consumer value. Factors in our evaluation include fees, promotional and ongoing APRs, and sign-up bonuses; for rewards cards, we consider earning and redemption rates, redemption options and redemption difficulty. A single card is eligible to be chosen as among the "best" in multiple categories. Learn how NerdWallet rates credit cards.

Frequently asked questions

No single credit card is "the best" for everyone. The best credit card for you depends entirely on your needs. If you have excellent credit, however, you have the widest array of choices, and you may qualify for cards with the best terms. (Keep in mind that credit scores alone do not guarantee approval for any particular credit card. Card issuers look at income, existing debts and other factors when evaluating applications.)

The line between good credit and excellent credit is rather fuzzy. A rule of thumb is that credit scores from about 690 to about 720 are "good," while "excellent" scores are anything from 720 on up. Credit scores don't tell the whole story, though. Someone with a 675 credit score might be approved for a credit card while someone with a score of 753 could be denied for the same card because of other factors — income, other debts, recent credit applications, etc.

When it comes to which credit cards you can qualify for, most of the best credit cards are available to people with either good or excellent credit. There are some exceptions, though.

Figuring out how many people have "excellent" credit starts by defining excellent credit, and that's a challenge in itself. NerdWallet, for example, classifies scores as "bad," "fair," "good" and "excellent" and defines excellent credit as 720 and up. The Experian credit bureau, by contrast, doesn't even use the term "excellent." It uses "very poor," "fair," "good," "very good" and "exceptional." Scores above 720 can be good, very good or excellent under Experian's rubric. The Equifax and TransUnion credit bureaus have their own scales.

All of which illustrates the point that labels are very general and not universal within the industry.

According to Experian, which as of June 2023 claims to have active credit data on 245 million individuals, the percentages break down like this:

  • Exceptional (800-850) — 21%

  • Very Good (740-799) — 25%

  • Good (670-739) — 21%

  • Fair (580-669) — 17%

  • Very Poor (300-579) — 16%

About the author

Portrait of author

Paul Soucy

Paul has been the lead editor for NerdWallet's credit cards team since 2015 and for the travel rewards team since 2023. Previously, he worked at USA Today and the Des Moines Register, then built a freelance writing and editing business focused on personal finance topics. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA. Read more
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