Chase United MileagePlus Explorer Card. This card has a nice sign-up bonus of 25,000 miles. You get some perks, like priority boarding, a free checked bag, and passes to use its airport lounge. The second year, you pay a $95 annual fee, so you'll have to see if the card is worth it, Detweiller says. "If you fly it twice a year, you've made up for that annual fee if you're going to check a bag," she says.
Citi Platinum Select American Airlines AAdvantage Card. You get two miles for every dollar you spend on American Airlines purchases, and one mile per dollar on all other purchases. You and up to four travel companions get your first checked bag free. "That's a nice perk that will save you some money," Hardekopf says. You also get 30,000 bonus miles if you spend $1,000 on the card in the first three months. There is an annual fee of $95, but it's waived for the first year.
Each card offers something different. Some give more mileage points for your spending but come with higher annual fees, so just be sure to pick the card that's right for your spending habits.