Welcome to point hacking! Yes, things can get confusing. My advice would be to not worry about being a little confused. There’s nothing wrong with a little trial-and-error before working out what works best for you in your situation. For me, that took a couple of years.
We’re not allowed to give specific financial advice here as we’re not financial advisors. However, let me tell you a little about what I’ve discovered works for me. My situation is very different from yours, though, so there’s no alternative to doing your own research.
For me, I’ve discovered that the credit cards with the “best value” and best “ease of use” are different.
Over the years I’ve found that, for me (and again, your situation may be different so I can’t advise you!), the “best value” cards have been American Express cards. I’ve found that for the annual fee, the perks and points-earning capacity are second to none. The first card I ever applied for from American Express was the American Express Explorer. I don’t have it any more, but for me it was a great introduction to the benefits that AmEx can offer.
As for “ease of use”, I’ve found that Visa cards or Mastercards that earn directly to an airline’s FF programme such as Qantas FF or Virgin Velocity have been the easiest for me to use, for two reasons: first, Visa and Mastercard are accepted virtually anywhere that credit cards are accepted, and second, a card that earns Qantas or Velocity points is to some extent “set and forget” as far as earning points goes. You spend money, and the points will go into your Frequent Flyer account. Simple. Again I can’t advise you, but I’ve used the Qantas Platinum Mastercard and Virgin Flyer and High Flyer Visa in the past, and personally found their “ease of use” to be great.
Again, though, do your own research. But don’t be discouraged by feeling the need to find the perfect credit card for you. Trial and error!