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Got excellent credit? These are the best credit cards for you

Sept. 13, 2022
46 min read
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.


You can be approved for some of the best rewards credit cards if you have a decent credit score. However, having an excellent credit score can unlock access to the most rewarding premium cards, higher credit lines and lower interest rates.

An excellent credit score is generally defined as 760 or higher.

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Most of the best credit cards for consumers with excellent credit are travel credit cards that earn transferable points currencies or rewards for a specific loyalty program, but we’ve also included a couple of cash-back cards.

New to The Points Guy? Sign up for our daily newsletter and check out our beginner’s guide.

How we chose the best credit cards for excellent credit

When choosing our top rewards cards for consumers with excellent credit, we considered various factors. Primary factors included welcome bonuses, rewards rates and annual fees. But, we also considered the flexibility of each rewards card, the type of rewards each card earned, the simplicity of the redemption process and the perks offered by each card.

Related reading: How to assess and build your credit card portfolio

Best credit cards for excellent credit

(Photo by WAYHOME studio/Shutterstock)

With excellent credit, you have an excellent chance of approval for any credit card, so long as you follow the application rules for the various banks. These are the best credit cards for various types of spending and benefits, which we'll cover in detail below:

Comparing the best credit cards for excellent credit

Card nameBest forWelcome offer value**Key perksEarning ratesAnnual fee
American Express® Gold CardDining rewards.$1,200.
  • $10 per month in dining credits.
  • $10 per month in Uber Cash (which you can use for Uber Eats also).
  • Enrollment is required for select benefits.
  • 4 points per dollar at restaurants (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.).
  • 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on $25,000 of these purchases per year, then 1 point per dollar).
  • 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com.
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases.
$250 (see rates and fees).
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American ExpressCash back on gas, groceries, and streaming.$350.
  • Up to $84 in annual credits for a Disney Plus bundle subscription.
  • Up to $120 in annual credits for Equinox memberships.
  • Enrollment is required for select benefits.
  • 6% back on the first $6,000 of grocery purchases each year at U.S. supermarkets (then 1%).
  • 6% back on U.S. streaming subscriptions.
  • 3% back on transit and U.S. gas stations.
  • 1% back on other purchases.
$95 (see rates and fees).
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardRewards with fixed-rate and transfer partner redemption options.$1,387.50.
  • 5 miles per dollar spent on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel.
  • 5 miles per dollar spent on cars booked through Turo (through May 16, 2023).
  • 2 miles per dollar on other purchases.
$95.
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit CardRewards and perks for authorized users$1,387.50.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel credits with Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles on account anniversary.
  • Complimentary access to Capital One lounges and Plaza Premium lounges.
  • Reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.
  • Complimentary Hertz President’s Circle status.
  • Up to four free authorized user cards; these users enjoy lounge and rental car privileges.
  • 10 miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked via Capital One Travel.
  • 5 miles per dollar on flights booked via Capital One Travel.
  • 2 miles per dollar on other purchases.
$395.
Chase Sapphire Preferred CardTravel rewards with a low annual fee.$1,200.
  • 5 points per dollar on travel booked through the Chase travel portal.
  • 5 points per dollar on Lyft (through March 2025).
  • 3 points per dollar on dining, select streaming services and online grocery store purchases (excludes Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs).
  • 2 points per dollar on all travel not booked through the Chase travel portal.
  • 1 point per dollar on everything else.
$95.
Chase Sapphire ReserveTravel rewards with premium travel protections.$1,200.
  • 10 points per dollar on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Travel.
  • 10 points per dollar on dining purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards.
  • 10 points per dollar on Lyft rides through March 2025.
  • 5 points per dollar on flights purchased through Chase Travel.
  • 3 points per dollar on all other travel (excluding the $300 travel credit) and dining purchases worldwide.
  • 1 point per dollar on everything else.
$550.
Citi® Double Cash CardEveryday earning rate and balance transfers.$200.
  • Access to Citi Entertainment.
  • Simple earning structure with no annual fee.
  • 0% introductory APR  on balance transfers for 18 months.  After that, the variable APR will be 16.99% to 26.99%. A balance transfer fee applies.
  • Earn 2 points per dollar as follows: Earn 1 point per dollar on purchases and 1 point per dollar when paying your bill.
$0.
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressPremium perks and benefits.$2,000.
  • 5 points per dollar on airfare purchased directly from airlines or with Amex Travel (on up to $500,000 of airfare purchases per calendar year).
  • 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with Amex Travel.
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases.
$695 (see rates and fees).
Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit cardAlaska Airlines flyers.$900 for the miles; the companion ticket provides additional value.
  • Annual companion fare (from $121).
  • Free checked bags on Alaska Airlines flights.
  • 3 miles per dollar on Alaska Airlines purchases.
  • 1 mile per dollar on other purchases.
$75.
Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®American Airlines flyers.$885.
  • Preferred boarding when flying with American Airlines.
  • First free checked bag on domestic itineraries.
  • 25% discount on eligible inflight purchases and a $125 flight discount when you spend $20,000 or more on your card during your membership year and renew the card.
  • Earn one Loyalty Point toward elite status per dollar spent on the card.
  • 2 miles per dollar on American Airlines purchases and at restaurants and gas stations.
  • 1 mile per dollar on other purchases.
 $99 annual fee, waived for the first 12 months
Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express CardDelta Air Lines flyers.$916.50.
  • Priority boarding on Delta flights.
  • Free first checked bag on Delta flights.
  • 20% back on inflight purchases of food, alcoholic beverages and audio headsets with Delta.
  • $100 Delta flight credit after you spend $10,000 or more on your card in a calendar year.
  • 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases.
  • 2 miles per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, worldwide restaurants and dining and takeout in the U.S.
  • 1 mile per dollar on other purchases.
 $0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $99 (see rates and fees).
United Explorer CardUnited Airlines flyers.$605.
  • 2 miles per dollar on purchases from United.
  • 2 miles per dollar on hotel and dining purchases.
  • 1 mile per dollar on other purchases.
$0 intro annual fee for the first year, then $95.
The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire CardStays at Hilton hotels and resorts.$900.
  • Top-tier Hilton Honors Diamond status.
  • Receive one weekend night at almost any Hilton property worldwide after opening your account and on your cardmember anniversary each year. Earn a second weekend night when you spend $60,000 on the card in a calendar year.
  • Up to $250 in Hilton resort statement credits each cardmember year.
  • Up to $250 in annual airline fee credits with your preferred airline each calendar year.
  • Up to $100 Hilton on-property credit at Waldorf Astoria or Conrad properties on paid stays of two or more nights.
  • Priority Pass Select membership.
  • Enrollment is required for select benefits.
  • 14 points per dollar at Hilton hotels and resorts.
  • 7 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel.
  • 7 points per dollar on select car rentals and at U.S. restaurants.
  • 3 points per dollar on other purchases.
$450 (see rates and fees).
IHG® Rewards Premier Credit CardStays at IHG hotels and resorts.$900.
  • Anniversary free night (worth up to 40,000 points).
  • Complimentary IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite status.
  • Fourth night free on award stays using points.
  • Receive 10,000 bonus points and a $100 statement credit after spending $20,000 and making one additional purchase in an account anniversary year.
  • 20% off your purchase of IHG points when paying with this card.
  • Reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.
  • 10 points per dollar at IHG hotels and resorts.
  • 5 points per dollar on travel, dining and gas purchases.
  • 3 points per dollar on all other purchases.
$99.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® CardStays at Marriott Bonvoy hotels and resorts.$1,260.
  • Complimentary Platinum Elite status with Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Annual free night award (worth up to 85,000 points).
  • Up to $300 (up to $25 per month) per calendar year on eligible purchases at restaurants.
  • $100 on-property credit on paid stays of two nights or more at Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties.
  • Reimbursement for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee.
  • Priority Pass Select membership.
  • 25 elite night credits in your account each year, helping you earn the next level of Marriott Bonvoy elite status.
  • 6 points per dollar at Marriott Bonvoy hotels and resorts.
  • 3 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines.
  • 2 points per dollar on other purchases.
$650 (see rates and fees).
World of Hyatt Credit CardStays at World of Hyatt and Small Luxury Hotels of the World properties.Up to $1,020.
  • Annual free night certificate on your account anniversary, plus earn another free night award after spending $15,000 on the card within a calendar year.
  • Automatic Discoverist status with World of Hyatt, plus five tier-qualifying night credits automatically each year you have the card.
  • Earn two tier-qualifying nights for each $5,000 spent on the card.
  • 4 points per dollar on Hyatt and Small Luxury Hotels stays, plus Lindblad Expeditions.
  • 2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting and on airfare purchased directly from an airline.
  • 2 points per dollar on fitness club and gym memberships.
  • 1 point per dollar on other purchases (though you'll earn 2 points per dollar on up to $15,000 in purchases in the first six months from account opening).
$95.
Wyndham Rewards Earner® Plus CardStays at Wyndham hotels and resorts.$660.
  • Wyndham Rewards Platinum status.
  • 7,500 bonus points each account anniversary.
  • 6 points per dollar at Wyndham Rewards-affiliated properties.
  • 6 points per dollar at gas stations.
  • 4 points per dollar on dining and grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart).
  • 4 points per dollar on eligible purchases made at Wyndham Timeshare properties (including maintenance fees and loan payments).
  • 1 point per dollar on all other purchases.
$75.

**Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer.

The information for the Hilton Aspire and Citi / AAdvantage Platinum cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Best credit cards for excellent credit

American Express® Gold Card: Best for dining rewards

Welcome bonus: Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $4,000 in purchases in the first six months of card membership. However, be sure to check the CardMatch Tool to see if you’re targeted for a higher welcome bonus (offer subject to change at any time).

Rewards rate: Earn 4 points per dollar at restaurants (including takeout and delivery in the U.S.), 4 points per dollar at U.S. supermarkets (on $25,000 of these purchases per year, then 1 point per dollar), 3 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or amextravel.com and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. TPG values these points (American Express Membership Rewards) at 2 cents apiece.

Annual fee: $250 (see rates and fees).

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

Who should apply: With the Amex Gold Card, you’re getting a great 8% return at restaurant and U.S. supermarket spending and a solid 6% return on airfare.

If you want an Amex card that makes it easy to earn Membership Rewards on everyday expenses such as restaurants and groceries at U.S. supermarkets, this is definitely a card to consider. However, if you’re looking for an Amex Membership Rewards card that earns bonus points on a wide variety of travel expenses, you may be better off with the American Express® Green Card. That said, the $120 in annual dining credits and $120 in Uber Cash each year (which you can use for Uber Eats) make this a great card for your dining purchases. Enrollment is required.

The information for the Amex Green Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Check out the full card review for the Amex Gold.


Official application link: American Express® Gold Card


Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express: Best cash-back card for gas, groceries, and streaming

Welcome bonus: Earn a $350 statement credit after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card within the first six months.

Rewards rate: Earn 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 annually, then 1%) and select U.S. streaming services, 3% on transit and at U.S. gas stations and 1% on everything else.

Annual fee: $95 (see rates and fees).

(Photo by The Points Guy)

Who should apply: The Blue Cash Preferred Card has bonus categories that are well aligned with many consumers. With many people spending a decent amount on streaming services, earning 6% in this relatively-rare bonus category can provide solid value. Plus, you can earn $360 back on purchases at U.S. supermarkets each year if you reach the $6,000 spending cap; afterward, you will earn 1% back on these purchases.

Plus, you’ll earn 3% cash back on commuting expenses involving gas and transit (which includes taxis, ride-shares, tolls, trains, buses and more). Although the card does not earn Membership Rewards points, it provides a simple way to earn rewards on common everyday spending categories. Additionally, if you need to finance a large purchase, you can take advantage of a 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable APR of 16.24% to 27.24%. New cardmembers can also take advantage of an introductory offer for $0 in fees for Buy Now, Pay Later plans with Plan It. This applies to plans created during the first 12 months from the date of account opening. Plans created after that will have a fixed monthly plan fee up to 1.33% of each purchase amount.

Check out the full card review for the Blue Cash Preferred.


Official application link: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express


Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Best for rewards with fixed-rate and transfer partner options

Welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Rewards rate: Earn 5 miles per dollar spent on hotels and car rentals booked through Capital One Travel, 5 miles per dollar spent on cars booked through Turo (through May 16, 2023) and 2 miles per dollar on other purchases. TPG values these miles (Capital One miles) at 1.85 cents apiece.

Annual fee: $95.

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Who should apply: The Capital One Venture is a great card if you’re looking for simplicity and flexible redemptions. You know you’re getting at least 2 miles per dollar on every purchase, so you don’t need to worry about how a purchase will code. The miles you earn can then be used to remove eligible travel purchases from your credit card bill or they can be transferred to one of Capital One’s transfer partners. As an added perk, you’ll also get a statement credit of up to $100 every four years for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, which isn’t a benefit commonly found on low-fee cards.

This card is often marketed as a beginner card, but anyone can take advantage of the card’s rewards structure and benefits. Beginners often enjoy the simplicity of using the Venture, but experts can utilize it as a great card for non-bonus spending. TPG's founder, Brian Kelly, even said the Capital One Venture was the one card he’d keep if he could only keep one card.

Check out the full card review for the Capital One Venture.


Official application link: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card


Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Best for rewards and perks for authorized users

Welcome bonus: Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Rewards rate: Earn 10 miles per dollar on hotels and car rentals booked via Capital One Travel, 5 miles per dollar on flights booked via Capital One Travel and 2 miles per dollar on other purchases. TPG values these miles (Capital One miles) at 1.85 cents apiece.

Annual fee: $395.

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Who should apply: The Venture X card has the same welcome offer and earns the same type of Capital One miles as the Venture card. The difference comes in the annual fee ($395, instead of $95) and the plethora of perks added to the Venture X. Along with reimbursement for your Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, you can enjoy up to $300 in annual travel credits with Capital One Travel and 10,000 bonus miles on your account anniversary.

The real benefits come with adding up to four free authorized users on the account, as they will enjoy these perks that aren't reserved just for the primary account holder: complimentary access to Capital One lounges and Plaza Premium lounges and complimentary Hertz President’s Circle status.

Check out the full card review for the Capital One Venture X.


Official application link: Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card


Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Best for travel rewards with a low annual fee

Welcome bonus: 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Rewards rate: Earn 5 points per dollar on travel booked through the Chase travel portal, 5 points per dollar on Lyft (through March 2025), 3 points per dollar on dining, select streaming services and online grocery store purchases (excludes Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), 2 points per dollar on all travel not booked through the Chase travel portal and 1 point per dollar on everything else. TPG values these points (Chase Ultimate Rewards) at 2 cents apiece.

Annual fee: $95.

Who should apply: The Chase Sapphire Preferred is one of the best beginner travel cards available. Plus, it offers a sign-up bonus worth $1,200 based on TPG’s valuations. The Chase Sapphire Preferred earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which you can redeem for 1.25 cents each through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal. Or, you can transfer your points to one of Chase’s airline or hotel partners and then redeem through these programs.

If you’re looking for a solid travel rewards card with travel protections but can’t quite justify the $550 annual fee on the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great option.

Check out the full card review for the Chase Sapphire Preferred.


Official application link: Chase Sapphire Preferred


Chase Sapphire Reserve: Best for travel rewards with premium travel protections

Welcome bonus: 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening

Rewards rate: Earn 10 points per dollar on hotels and car rentals purchased through Chase Travel, 10 points per dollar on dining purchases through Chase Ultimate Rewards, 10 points per dollar on Lyft rides through March 2025, 5 points per dollar on flights purchased through Chase Travel, 3 points per dollar on all other travel (excluding the $300 travel credit) and dining purchases worldwide and 1 point per dollar on everything else. TPG values these points (Chase Ultimate Rewards) at 2 cents apiece.

Annual fee: $550.

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Who should apply: The Chase Sapphire Reserve is one of the top premium travel rewards cards available. Although recent changes to the card have upset some cardholders, the card remains a staple in many wallets due to strong earning rates on travel and its top-shelf travel protections.

The Chase Sapphire Reserve earns valuable Chase Ultimate Rewards points and offers perks including an annual $300 travel credit, Priority Pass lounge access, a TSA PreCheck/Global Entry application fee credit every four years, at least one complimentary year of DashPass membership through DoorDash and an impressive array of travel protections. All of these perks and benefits make the Chase Sapphire Reserve a great option for frequent travelers. But, if you can’t quite justify the $550 annual fee, you may find that the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a better fit.

Check out the full card review for the Chase Sapphire Reserve.


Official application link: Chase Sapphire Reserve


Citi® Double Cash Card: Best for everyday earning rate and balance transfers

Welcome bonus: Earn $200 cash back after you spend $1,500 on purchases in the first six months of account opening.

Rewards rate: Earn 2 points per dollar as follows: Earn 1 point per dollar on purchases and 1 point per dollar when paying your bill. TPG values these points (Citi ThankYou Rewards) at 1.8 cents apiece.

Annual fee: $0

(Photo by Eric Helgas / The Points Guy)

Who should apply: Those looking for a great card for everyday spending — or even those who don't want to deal with bonus categories — will love this card. Double Cash rewards are earned as ThankYou points that you can redeem for cash at 1 cent each or use with limited transfer options: just Choice Privileges, JetBlue TrueBlue and Wyndham Rewards. However, if you have a card like the Citi Prestige® Card (no longer open to new applicants) or the Citi Premier® Card, you can combine your rewards and access the full range of Citi's hotel and airline transfer partners. If you’re in the market for a simple card that earns flexible rewards, it doesn’t get much better than the Citi Double Cash.

The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Check out the full card review for the Citi Double Cash.


Official application link: Citi® Double Cash Card


The Platinum Card from American Express: Best for premium perks and benefits

Welcome bonus: Earn 100,000 Membership Rewards Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases within the first six months of card membership. However, be sure to check the CardMatch Tool to see if you’re targeted for a higher welcome bonus (offer subject to change at any time).

Rewards rate: Earn 5 points per dollar on airfare purchased directly from airlines or with Amex Travel (on up to $500,000 of airfare purchases per calendar year), 5 points per dollar on prepaid hotels booked with Amex Travel and 1 point per dollar on other purchases. TPG values these points (American Express Membership Rewards) at 2 cents apiece.

Annual fee: $695 (see rates and fees).

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Who should apply: Although the welcome bonus can provide significant value — and earning 5 points per dollar on select airfare and hotel expenses is nice — The Platinum Card from American Express is a card that you keep for its benefits and perks. You can earn up to $200 in airline fee credit, up to $200 in Uber Cash and up to $100 in statement credits for purchases from Saks Fifth Avenue each year. Plus, you’ll get access to Centurion Lounges, Delta Sky Clubs when flying Delta, Priority Pass lounges and many more lounges through Amex’s Global Lounge Collection. Enrollment is required for select benefits.

You’ll also get automatic Marriott Gold status and Hilton Gold status. Plus, you can book exceptional hotel stays at select properties through Amex’s Fine Hotels and Resorts program. And, you can add three authorized users for just $175 per year (see rates and fees). In terms of redeeming, the American Express Membership Rewards program has many airline and hotel partners to which you can transfer your reward points.

Check out the full card review for The Platinum Card from American Express.


Official application link: The Platinum Card® from American Express


Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card: Best for Alaska Airlines flyers

Welcome bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles plus a companion fare ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $22) after spending $2,000 in purchases within 90 days from account opening.

Rewards rate: Earn 3 miles per dollar on Alaska Airlines purchases and 1 mile per dollar on other purchases. TPG values these miles (Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles) at 1.8 cents apiece.

Annual fee: $75.

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Who should apply: You don't have to be an Alaska Airlines elite flyer to appreciate this card; if you are, though, you'll have a greater appreciation for its value. Alaska Airlines' miles are extremely valuable, and this card earns 3 miles per dollar spent with Alaska. There's a free first checked bag for the cardholder and up to six companions on the reservation, but the best benefit is the annual companion fare that offers an economy ticket for $99 plus taxes and fees (starting at $22) for a friend or relative to fly with you. This benefit alone can be worth hundreds of dollars each year.

Check out the full card review for the Alaska Airlines Visa card.


Official application link: Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card


Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®: Best for American Airlines flyers

Current bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,500 in the first three months of account opening.

Rewards rate: Earn 2 miles per dollar on American Airlines purchases and at restaurants and gas stations and 1 mile per dollar on other purchases. Plus, earn one Loyalty Point toward elite status per dollar spent on the card. TPG values these miles (American Airlines AAdvantage miles) at 1.77 cents each.

Annual fee: $99 (waived the first year).

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Who should apply: If you pay to check a bag on domestic American Airlines flights at least a few times each year, the Citi / AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite Mastercard can be worth having since it provides your first checked bag free on domestic American Airlines itineraries for you and up to four companions traveling with you on the same reservation. You'll also enjoy preferred boarding when flying with American Airlines, a 25% discount on eligible inflight purchases and a $125 flight discount when you spend $20,000 or more on your card during your membership year and renew the card. Also, those who are pursuing American Airlines elite status can take advantage of earning one Loyalty Point toward elite status per dollar spent on the card.

Check out the full card review for the Citi/AAdvantage Platinum Select.

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.


Official application link: Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®


Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card: Best for Delta Air Lines flyers

Current bonus: Earn 65,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first six months of account opening. Offer ends 11/9/22.

Rewards rate: Earn 2 miles per dollar on Delta purchases, 2 miles per dollar at U.S. supermarkets, worldwide restaurants and dining and takeout in the U.S and 1 mile per dollar on other purchases. TPG values these miles (Delta SkyMiles) at 1.41 cents each.

Annual fee: $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $99 (see rates and fees).

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

Who should apply: If you fly Delta even infrequently, the Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex may be worth having — especially if you’ll use the first checked bag benefit on Delta flights. This perk allows you and up to eight other passengers on your reservation to check a first checked bag free. You’ll also get Main Cabin 1 Priority Boarding on Delta flights as well as a 20% statement credit for eligible inflight purchases of food, alcoholic beverages and audio headsets on Delta-operated flights. You can also earn $100 Delta flight credit after you spend $10,000 or more on your card in a calendar year.

Check out the full card review for the Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex.


Official application link: Delta SkyMiles® Gold American Express Card


United Explorer Card: Best for United Airlines flyers

Current bonus: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Rewards rate: Earn 2 miles per dollar on purchases from United, 2 miles per dollar on hotel and dining purchases and 1 mile per dollar on other purchases. TPG values these miles (United MileagePlus miles) at 1.21 cents each.

Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year).

Photo by The Points Guy

Who should apply: The United Explorer Card provides various benefits when flying United, including two United Club one-time passes received after account opening and on each anniversary, priority boarding and the first checked bag free for the primary cardmember and one companion traveling on the same reservation on United-operated flights. However, to enjoy the free checked bag benefit, the primary cardmember must purchase their tickets from United with their card. Plus, you’ll get a statement credit for a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fee charged to your card every four years. If you fly United even infrequently, it could make sense to have this card.

Cardholders also enjoy 25% back on inflight purchases using their card, but the biggest perk that keeps this card in many people's wallets is the fact that having a United credit card offers access to additional award booking options with United and its partners.

Check out the full card review for the United Explorer Card.


Official application link: United Explorer Card


The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card: Best for staying at Hilton properties

Current bonus: Earn 150,000 bonus Hilton points after you spend $4,000 in purchases on the card within your first three months of card membership.

Rewards rate: Earn 14 points per dollar at Hilton hotels and resorts, 7 points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines or with Amex Travel, 7 points per dollar on select car rentals and at U.S. restaurants and 3 points per dollar on other purchases. TPG values these points (Hilton Honors points) at 0.6 cents each.

Annual fee: $450 (see rates and fees).

(Photo courtesy of American Express)

Who should apply: The Hilton Aspire Card is one of the most valuable cobranded hotel credit cards since it provides automatic Hilton Diamond status as long as you’re a cardholder and an effective 8.4% return on eligible Hilton purchases. You’ll also get one weekend night reward with your new Hilton Aspire Card and every year after renewal, as well as the ability to earn an additional night after you spend $60,000 on purchases on your card in a calendar year. And, you’ll also get up to $250 in Hilton Resort statement credits each year of card membership, which can be used to offset eligible purchases at participating Hilton resorts. If you can use most of the card’s benefits, this card is a great choice to add to your wallet whether you’re a Hilton loyalist or you simply plan to stay at Hilton a few times each year.

Check out the full card review for the Hilton Aspire Card.

The information for the Hilton Aspire card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.


Official application link: The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card


IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card: Best for staying at IHG properties

Current bonus: Earn 140,000 bonus points and a free night award (worth up to 40,000 points) after spending $3,000 in the first three months from account opening.

Rewards rate: Earn 10 points per dollar at IHG hotels and resorts, 5 points per dollar on travel, dining and gas purchases and 3 points per dollar on all other purchases. TPG values these points (IHG One Rewards points) at 0.5 cents apiece.

Annual fee: $99.

(Photo by The Points Guy)

Who should apply: IHG fans can take advantage of the free night included in the welcome offer and another free night on each account anniversary, both worth up to 40,000 points, but you can top these off with additional points for pricier stays. Cardholders also receive complimentary IHG One Rewards Platinum Elite status and a fourth night free on award stays using points. You may notice that cardholders receive 20% off a purchase of IHG points when paying with this card, but this only applies to full-price purchases — not sales with bonuses and discounts. Between the IHG-related benefits and reimbursement for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee, it can be easy to justify the $99 annual fee if you stay at IHG properties even a few times a year.

Check out the full card review for the IHG Rewards Premier card.


Official application link: IHG® Rewards Premier Credit Card


Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card: Best for staying at Marriott properties

Current bonus: Earn 150,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership.

Rewards rate: Earn 6 points per dollar at Marriott Bonvoy hotels and resorts, 3 points per dollar at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines and 2 points per dollar on other purchases. TPG values these points (Marriott Bonvoy points) at 0.84 cents apiece.

Annual fee: $650 (see rates and fees).

Who should apply: As the premium product of Marriott Bonvoy credit cards, this card is ideal for Marriott loyalists. It offers a free night award each year worth up to 85,000 points, automatic Platinum Elite status and 25 elite night credits to help you toward earning higher status levels each year. Cardholders also enjoy a $100 on-property credit on paid stays of two nights or more at Ritz-Carlton or St. Regis properties, reimbursement for a Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee and Priority Pass Select membership.

The card's most attractive perk is the up to $300 in annual credits (up to $25 per month) for restaurant spending.

Check out the full card review for the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card.


Official application link: Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card


World of Hyatt Credit Card: Best for staying at Hyatt and Small Luxury Hotels properties

Current bonus: Earn up to 60,000 points.

Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 More Bonus Points by earning 2 Bonus Points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 Bonus Point, on up to $15,000 spent

Rewards rate: Earn 4 points per dollar on Hyatt and Small Luxury Hotels stays, plus Lindblad Expeditions, 2 points per dollar on local transit and commuting and on airfare purchased directly from an airline, 2 points per dollar on fitness club and gym memberships and 1 point per dollar on other purchases (though you'll earn 2 points per dollar on up to $15,000 in purchases in the first six months from account opening). TPG values these points (World of Hyatt points) at 1.7 cents apiece.

Annual fee: $95.

Who should apply: It's quite easy to justify the annual fee on this card, even if you stay at Hyatt properties infrequently. Cardholders receive an annual free night certificate every year on their account anniversary (valid at Category 1-4 properties), as well as the ability to earn another free night award after spending $15,000 on the card within a calendar year. Cardholders receive automatic Discoverist status with World of Hyatt, plus five tier-qualifying night credits automatically each year to help with earning Hyatt status. You'll also earn earn two tier-qualifying nights for each $5,000 spent on the card. The annual free night can be redeemed for much more than $95 in value, which in itself can justify keeping this card year after year.

Check out the full card review for the World of Hyatt card.


Official application link: World of Hyatt Credit Card


Wyndham Rewards Earner® Plus Card: Best for staying at Wyndham properties

Current bonus: Earn 140,000 bonus points and a free night award (worth up to 40,000 points) after spending $3,000 in the first three months.

Rewards rate: Earn 6 points per dollar at Wyndham Rewards-affiliated properties, 6 points per dollar at gas stations, 4 points per dollar on dining and grocery store purchases (excluding Target and Walmart), 4 points per dollar on eligible purchases made at Wyndham Timeshare properties (including maintenance fees and loan payments) and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. TPG values these points (Wyndham Rewards points) at 1.1 cents apiece.

Annual fee: $95.

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Who should apply: If you routinely stay at Wyndham hotel brands such as Wyndham, Hawthorn Suites, Days Inn and La Quinta, the Wyndham Rewards Earner® Plus Card may be a valuable addition to your stays. The automatic Platinum status grants you additional perks such as early check-in, car rental upgrades and a 10% discount when redeeming points for free nights. Plus, you get 7,500 bonus points each account anniversary, which is enough for a free night at the lowest tier of Wyndham's award chart.

Check out the full card review of the Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus card.

The information for the Wyndham Rewards Earner Plus Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.


What is an excellent credit score?

FICO Score and VantageScore credit scores range from 300 to 850. An excellent credit score is generally considered to be a score that is 760 and above.* With a credit score in this range, you should be able to get accepted for most of the best rewards cards on the market.

Related: How to check your credit score for absolutely free

(Image courtesy of Experian)

*The Points Guy credit ranges are derived from FICO® Score 8, which is one of many different types of credit scores. If you apply for a credit card, the lender may use a different credit score when considering your application for credit.

But, it’s important to realize that you don’t have just one credit score. There are three main credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) as well as two primary methods for calculating credit scores (FICO Score and VantageScore). So, you’ll likely have slightly different credit scores from one credit reporting agency to another.

Related: Clearing up confusion: Why your credit score may be different depending where you look

For more details, see our guide to how credit scores work.

What credit cards are only available if you have excellent credit?

There are two types of cards that are generally only available if you have very good or excellent credit:

Amex cards with no preset spending limits

These cards aren't actually credit cards. Amex cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and the American Express® Gold Card don't come with a credit limit or preset spending limit like you're used to with credit cards. Instead, purchases are approved on a case-by-case basis. This means that, in the wrong hands, they could be very dangerous. Someone could spend tens of thousands of dollars on these cards before Amex caught on and started declining the charges. To stop this from happening, Amex will generally only approve applicants with excellent credit.

Related reading: Choosing the best American Express credit card for you

Premium credit cards

Even if they come with a fixed spending limit, you can expect to face stricter approval requirements for the ever-growing list of premium credit cards. These cards offer valuable perks and are generally marketed toward higher spenders who, in turn, need a larger credit limit. To be trusted with high spending capabilities, these cards typically require you to have a high credit score.

Related reading: Why a $500+ per year credit card isn’t crazy — At all

Tips to maintain excellent credit

FICO and VantageScore scores are designed to predict the likelihood that you will become 90 days late on any of your credit obligations within the next 24 months. So, in short, to maintain excellent credit you should avoid moves that may increase the perceived likelihood that you will become less financially stable during the next two years. But, you don’t need to work toward a perfect 850 score.

To maintain excellent credit, you should generally continue to pay your bills on time, keep your debt-to-credit ratio low, avoid closing any accounts you’ve kept open for a long time and avoid opening an excessive amount of new accounts within a short period. If you’re looking to maintain your excellent credit, you should also check your credit score regularly.

Related reading: 8 biggest factors that impact your credit score

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)

Perks that come with having excellent credit

Having excellent credit can help you be approved for some of the best premium rewards credit cards, but excellent credit can also unlock various other benefits. For example, higher credit scores can often help you to qualify for lower interest rates on your mortgage. And, depending on your state of residence, your credit may be used to price your insurance premiums. So, having excellent credit may allow you to snag less expensive auto and homeowner’s insurance.

You may also find that having excellent credit can help in the following ways:

  • Higher chance of approval and lower interest rates on loans.
  • Higher credit limits on your credit cards.
  • Easier approval for apartments and rental homes, possibly with a lower security deposit.
  • Ability to sign up for utilities without a security deposit or letter of guarantee.
  • Start a cellphone contract without paying a security deposit.

Related: How much money can good credit really save you?

Related credit card guides

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Delta SkyMiles Gold Amex, please click here.
For rates and fees of the Hilton Aspire Card, please click here.

Additional reporting by Austin Konkle and Katie Genter.

Featured image by (Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.