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The point of having excellent credit is not to sit there and stare at your credit score. It’s to take advantage of the opportunities available to those who have shown they can handle credit responsibly. People with excellent credit get the best terms on financial products — the lowest interest rates, the richest rewards, the nicest perks. That’s especially true with credit cards.
If you’ve got a credit score of 720 or better, every credit card you carry should reward you for using it. Whether you want straight cash back or points or miles you can use for travel, there are great options for those with excellent credit. Many of these cards don’t even have an annual fee — and those that do have a fee more than make up for it with a jumbo sign-up bonus, generous ongoing rewards or, often, both.
Got excellent credit? Give these cards a look.
TRAVEL REWARDS CREDIT CARDS
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
2 points per $1 spent on dining and travel; 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere. Annual fee:
$95. Sign-up bonus:
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®. Our take:
The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
gets thumbs up for flexibility. Points are worth 1.25 cents apiece when you use them to book travel through Chase’s online tool. You can also transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to several popular airline and hotel loyalty programs, including United, Southwest, Hyatt and Marriott.
Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
2 miles per $1 spent on everything. Annual fee:
$0 intro for the first year, then $95. Sign-up bonus:
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. Our take:
It’s extremely easy to redeem rewards with the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
, relieving one of the biggest headaches of travel credit cards. Just book travel as usual, pay with your card, and then redeem your miles for a credit against travel expenses. Travel on any airline, stay at any hotel — no restrictions.
Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card
1.5 points per $1 spent on everything. Annual fee:
$0. Sign-up bonus:
25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases. Our take:
The rewards rate on the Bank of America® Travel Rewards Visa® credit card
is lower than for comparable cards, but so is the annual fee — in fact, it’s $0, so it won’t cost you anything to park this card for a while. In addition, you can get a points bonus of 25% to 75% if you also have a Merrill account through Bank of America’s Preferred Rewards
The Platinum Card® from American Express
2 Membership Rewards points per $1 spent on travel and 5X points for flights and hotels booked through American Express; 1 point per $1 spent elsewhere. Annual fee:
$550. Welcome bonus:
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months. Terms Apply. Our take:
If you prefer to travel in style, the steep annual fee on The Platinum Card® from American Express
gets you a lot: free access to more than 1,000 airport lounges; up to $200 a year in credit for airline fees such as checked bags and in-flight food and drink; automatic Gold status in Hilton Honors and Gold Elite status in Marriott Bonvoy; and a credit for the application fee for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck.
CASH-BACK CREDIT CARDS
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
1% cash back on every purchase, plus another 1% when you pay it off. Annual fee:
$0. Our take:
The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
makes almost every list of NerdWallet’s favorite credit cards because its 1% + 1% structure adds up to the best flat cash-back rate around. Even without a sign-up bonus, this is a first-rate everyday credit card.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, on up to $6,000 a year in spending (then 1%); 6% cash back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions; 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and on transit (including such things as taxis, rideshares, parking, tolls, trains and buses); and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Terms apply. Annual fee:
$95. Welcome bonus:
$250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. Terms Apply. Our take:
The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express
is ideal for families with its rich rewards on gas and groceries. Spend just $31 a week at U.S. supermarkets, and you’ll cover the annual fee. Or go for the no-fee version, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
, which offers lower rewards and a smaller welcome offer.
Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
1.5% cash back on every purchase. Annual fee:
$0. Sign-up bonus:
One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. Our take:
Simplicity is the story with the Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card
. You get unlimited cash back at a decent rate. You can redeem for any amount (many cash-back cards have minimum redemptions), and if you travel abroad, there’s no foreign transaction fee.
5% cash back in categories that change every three months; 1% cash back on everything else. Annual fee:
$0. Sign-up bonus:
Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Our take:
In years past, the 5% bonus categories on the Chase Freedom®
have included such common expenses as gas, groceries and restaurants, making this a valuable addition to any wallet.
Paul Soucy is an editor at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @paulsoucy.