Choice Rewards World Mastercard®
Learn More
Terms Apply
Paid Placement
No-fee balance transfer offer plus a welcome bonus valued at $160!

Our top picks of timely offers from our partners

More details
Rocket Mortgage
Learn More
Terms Apply
Rates could continue to rise - look into refinancing with one of our top picks.
OnDeck
Learn More
Terms Apply
A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and our top pick for same-day funding
Earnest
Learn More
Terms Apply
Private student loans with no fees, flexible payment options, and cosigners can apply by phone with expert help.
CIT Bank
Learn More
Terms Apply
Earn 15x the national average with a Savings Connect account. Member FDIC
Select independently determines what we cover and recommend. We earn a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links. Read more about Select on CNBC and on NBC News, and click here to read our full advertiser disclosure.
Credit Cards

Best credit cards for excellent credit in January 2023

Select analyzed the most popular credit cards offered by the biggest banks, financial companies and credit unions that we determined have excellent credit score requirements to find the best card for your needs.

Share
Getty Images

An excellent credit score (800 to 850) allows you to qualify for the very best credit card offers. Most of the top cards require good or excellent credit if you want to earn lucrative rewards, benefit from 0% APR periods and enjoy a bunch of luxury perks. The higher your credit score, the better chances you have at qualifying for these offers.

Excellent credit also gives you access to better terms on other financial products, such as auto loans and mortgages. It's in your best interest to work toward excellent credit so you can benefit from lower interest rates and more generous loan terms.

Don't know your credit score? Check your credit score for free now.

If you don't fall within the excellent credit range, check out our roundup of the best cards for bad credit (scores below 580), fair/average credit (580 to 669) or good credit (670 to 739).

Select breaks down the best cards for people with excellent credit, so you can choose a card that fits your needs.

Best cards for excellent credit

Subscribe to the Select Newsletter!

Our best selections in your inbox. Shopping recommendations that help upgrade your life, delivered weekly. Sign-up here.

Best for travel

American Express® Gold Card

On the American Express secure site
  • Rewards

    4X Membership Rewards® points at Restaurants (plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.) and at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), 3X points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases within the first 6 months of card membership

  • Annual fee

    $250

  • Intro APR

    Not applicable

  • Regular APR

    20.24%-27.24% Variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    N/A

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See rates and fees and our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Up to $120 dining credit annually ($10 a month) for purchases made with Grubhub, Goldbelly and other eligible restaurants (after a one-time enrollment)
  • Up to $120 Uber Cash annually ($10 a month) for U.S. Uber Eats orders and U.S. Uber rides (card must be added to Uber app to receive the Uber Cash benefit)
  • Strong rewards program with 4X points earned at restaurants and 3X points earned on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com
  • Baggage insurance plan covers up to $1,250 for carry-on baggage and up to $500 for checked baggage that is damaged, lost or stolen
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • No introductory APR period
  • $250 annual fee
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $1,074
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,969

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Who's this for? The American Express® Gold Card is a smart choice for consumers who love travel and dining out. While the card comes with a $250 annual fee (see rates and fees), it offers a number of luxury rewards that help offset the cost.

One big perk travelers can take advantage of is the annual statement credits. Cardholders get $120 to cover restaurant charges ($10 in statement credits per month at Seamless, Wine.com, Grubhub and other participating restaurants; enrollment required) and $100 in hotel credits when you book rooms through The Hotel Collection with American Express Travel.

When using the American Express Gold Card, users earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com, 4X Membership Rewards® points on dining at restaurants and purchases made at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per year, then 1X) and 1X Membership Rewards® points earned on everything else. Terms apply.

There are also special travel perks, such as room upgrades at specific hotels, as well as special travel discounts and amenities for those who enroll with The Travel Collection by Travel Leaders Group at no extra cost.

Check out Select's best travel credit cards.

Best for cash back

Citi® Double Cash Card

On Citi's secure site
  • Rewards

    2% cash back: 1% on all eligible purchases and an additional 1% after you pay your credit card bill

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for the first 18 months on balance transfers; N/A for purchases

  • Regular APR

    18.24% - 28.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    For balance transfers completed within 4 months of account opening, an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies; after that, a balance transfer fee of 5% of each transfer ($5 minimum) applies

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Good/Excellent

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • 2% cash back on all eligible purchases
  • Simple cash-back program that doesn't require activation or spending caps
  • One of the longest intro periods for balance transfers at 18 months

Cons

  • 3% fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $443
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $2,213

Who's this for? The Citi® Double Cash Card is a straightforward rewards card that offers one of the best flat-rate cash-back programs. Cardholders earn 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you make a purchase and an additional 1% when you pay your credit card bill.

There is no limit to the amount of cash back you can earn, and you don't have to worry about activating bonus categories. Cash back can be redeemed for a statement credit or direct deposit.

This card is also a good choice for debt consolidation: There's a 0% APR for the first 18 months on balance transfers (then 18.24% - 28.24% variable APR). There is an intro balance transfer fee of 3% of each transfer (minimum $5) completed within the first 4 months of account opening. After that, your fee will be 5% of each transfer (minimum $5).

Check out Select's best cash-back credit cards.

Best welcome bonus

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

On Chase's secure site
  • Rewards

    $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining, 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

  • Annual fee

    $95

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    20.24% - 27.24% variable on purchases and balance transfers

  • Balance transfer fee

    Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Transfer points to leading frequent travel programs at a 1:1 rate, including: IHG® Rewards Club, Marriott Bonvoy™ and World of Hyatt®
  • Travel protections include: auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay insurance and trip delay reimbursement
  • No fee charged on purchases made outside the U.S.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • No introductory 0% APR

Who's this for? The Chase Sapphire Preferred® is one of the best travel cards available with a competitive rewards program and generous welcome bonus. Cardholders earn 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining, 2X points on all other travel purchases.

New cardholders earn 60,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

This card stands out from the pack thanks to the strong rewards rate when you redeem points for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Points are worth 25% more, so 60,000 points are worth up to $750 toward travel. This is a great way to maximize the value of points and the welcome bonus.

Beyond rewards, cardholders can benefit from helpful travel perks, such as no foreign transaction fees, trip cancellation/interruption insurance, auto rental collision damage waiver, travel and emergency assistance services, baggage delay insurance and trip delay reimbursement.

Check out Select's best credit card welcome bonuses.

Best 0% APR period

Citi Simplicity® Card

On Citi's secure site
  • Rewards

    None

  • Welcome bonus

    None

  • Annual fee

    $0

  • Intro APR

    0% for 21 months on balance transfers; 0% for 12 months on purchases

  • Regular APR

    18.24% - 28.99% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    Introductory fee of 3% ($5 minimum) for transfers completed within the first 4 months of account opening, then up to 5% ($5 minimum).

  • Foreign transaction fee

    3%

  • Credit needed

    Excellent/Good

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Balances can be transferred within 4 months from account opening
  • One of the longest intro periods for balance transfers

Cons

  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • No rewards program

Who's this for? The Citi Simplicity® Card offers one of the longest balance transfer intro period at 0% intro APR for 21 months from the date of first transfer (after, 18.24% - 28.99% variable APR). This is nearly two years to pay off debt, which can be helpful if you have a large balance or if your cash flow doesn't allow you to pay off debt within the 6-, 12- or 15-month time periods of other balance transfer cards.

This card has no annual fee and come with an introductory balance transfer fee: either 3% ($5 minimum) for transfers completed within the first 4 months of account opening, then up to 5% ($5 minimum). This can be worthwhile if you're paying high interest charges.

New cardholders have four months to complete their balance transfer (longer than the typical 60 to 90 days). While you have more time to complete a transfer, the intro APR period starts at account opening — so try to make the transfer as soon as possible to get the most benefit of the interest-free period.

This card also offers 0% intro APR for the first 12 months on purchases from the date of account opening (after, 18.24% - 28.99% variable APR) and never charges late fees (though we always recommend you pay your balance on time and in full). There isn't a welcome bonus or a rewards program.

Check out Select's best 0% APR credit cards.

Best for luxury perks

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

On Chase’s secure site
  • Rewards

    Earn 5X total points on flights and 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3X points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases plus, 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2025

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

  • Annual fee

    $550

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    21.24% - 28.24% variable

  • Balance transfer fee

    5%, minimum $5

  • Foreign transaction fee

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent

See our methodology, terms apply.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit for travel purchases
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee credit up to $100 every four years
  • Priority Pass™ Select lounge access at 1,000+ VIP lounges in over 500 cities worldwide
  • Points are worth 50% more when redeemed for travel via Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Special benefits at The Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection
  • Complimentary year of Lyft Pink membership

Cons

  • High annual fee, but it can be offset by taking advantage of all the card’s perks
  • No introductory APR
  • Estimated rewards earned after 1 year: $1,469
  • Estimated rewards earned after 5 years: $3,346

Rewards totals incorporate the points earned from the welcome bonus

Who's this for? Chase Sapphire Reserve® is enormously popular among travelers for its luxe perks and strong rewards program. In addition to offering 10X points on Lyft rides through March 2025, 5X points on flights, 10X total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards and 3X points on dining and travel purchases, cardholders get a $300 annual statement credit to apply to qualifying travel expenses.

But it's the perks that really make this card stand out for globetrotters. You can get a statement credit of up to $100 (every four years) to help cover Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fees as well as enroll in Priority Pass Select, which gives you access to more than 1,000 airport lounges worldwide with free amenities, such as Wi-Fi, snacks, beverages and more.

The Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal has everything you need to plan a vacation from booking rental cars to cruises. You can also use the Luxury Hotel & Resort Collection to book rooms and take advantage of upgrades upon arrival, complimentary meals, flexible check-in times, extra amenities and special discounts.

The value of points increases 50% when you redeem for travel on Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $900 toward airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruise reservations when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. This is a great way to maximize the value of your rewards and makes this card stand out from the pack.

While this card does come with a substantial annual fee of $550, the many statement credits help to offset the costs. Cardmembers traveling internationally also don't need to worry about foreign transaction fees.

Find the best credit card for you by reviewing offers in our credit card marketplace or get personalized offers via CardMatch™.

Our methodology

To determine which credit cards offer the best value, Select analyzed 234 of the most popular credit cards available in the U.S. We compared each card on a range of features, including rewards, welcome bonus, introductory and standard APR, balance transfer fee and foreign transaction fees, as well as factors such as required credit and customer reviews when available. We also considered additional perks, the application process and how easy it is for the consumer to redeem points.

Select teamed up with location intelligence firm Esri. The company's data development team provided the most up-to-date and comprehensive consumer spending data based on the 2018 Consumer Expenditure Surveys from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can read more about their methodology here.

Esri's data team created a sample annual budget of approximately $22,126 in retail spending. The budget includes six main categories: groceries ($5,174), gas ($2,218), dining out ($3,675), travel ($2,244), utilities ($4,862) and general purchases ($3,953). General purchases include items such as housekeeping supplies, clothing, personal care products, prescription drugs, vitamins and other vehicle expenses.

Select used this budget to estimate how much the average consumer would save over the course of a year, two years and five years, assuming they would attempt to maximize their rewards potential by earning all welcome bonuses offered and using the card for all applicable purchases. All rewards total estimations are net the annual fee.

While the five-year estimates we've included are derived from a budget similar to the average American's spending, you may earn a higher or lower return depending on your shopping habits.

For rates and fees for the Amex Gold Card, click here.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
First Tech Federal Credit Union
Learn More
Terms Apply
Paid Placement
Borrow up to $50K - flexible terms up to 84 months, no origination or application fees, and no payments for up to 45 days
Find the best savings account for you
Learn More
Terms Apply
Check out our savings marketplace to compare options or read about our top picks