Being so young and eager to travel, I did a fair amount of research on the best reward-based credit cards. I finally decided to go with the Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Visa. I applied, got a good APR, and got 8 rapid reward credits. 16 credits= 1 free award/roundtrip flight
At first I thought the annual fee of $59.00 was a bummer, but Southwest makes it up to you. On your cardmember anniversary, they give you 2 credits! So $59=2 credits...on normal purchases $2400=2 credits. I'll pay the $59, thanks! As you may have guessed, every $1200 in purchases earns you credits. However, you do earn double points on any Southwest.com purchases such as flights, hotels, vacations, cruises, etc. $600=1 credit in these cases.
I treat this credit card as if it were linked to my checking account; I only put on it purchases that I would pay cash for like gas, groceries, food, entertainment, etc. and I pay it off when the statement comes in. I avoid interest charges by doing this, and I earn free flights for purchases I HAVE to make. This has also helped my credit!
I earned a free flight within a year, and I talked my fiance into getting this card, too. Now we have our honeymoon airplane tickets for free, yet stay out of debt. It's a great program, no hidden fees/gimmicks, and Chase/Southwest both offer great customer service.