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Some of the features that are common in airline issued credit cards are:
• Double Miles: Most airline issued cards offer double miles when you purchase tickets from them (directly through their website, not a 3rd party travel site).
• Bonus Miles: You usually get a lot of bonus miles for applying. Sometimes there's also a bonus after you clear set milestones in spending (i.e. spending $30k annually).
• Companion Tickets: Some airline issued cards also offer free companion tickets on various occasions like joining, anniversary, crossing a certain spending limit, purchase of high value ticket, etc.
• Anniversary Bonus: Many offer anniversary bonuses in the form of extra miles, lounge access pass or discounts.
• Annual Fee: Most do charge an annual fee. In some cases, the fee seems justified compared to the benefits offered, but for infrequent travelers it may be a waste of money.
Credit Card Airline Rewards
Many credit cards unassociated with airlines also offer a number of benefits to frequent fliers. In these cases, the reward program allows you to redeem your points for free airline tickets, extra frequent flier miles, etc. If you are someone who doesn’t travel by the same airline consistently, one of these "universal" cards may be a better option for you. Some of the favored cards in this category include the American Express Premier Rewards Gold and the Starwood Preferred Guest.
Cash Cack Cards
There are many reasons that people prefer a cash back card to airline mileage rewards. One being that the rewards offered by airline mileage credit cards have reduced considerably as fuel prices have gone up. This means that a credit card user has to accumulate more airline miles than ever before. This dramatically reduces the value benefit on some (but not all) airline cards.
There is no one size fits all when it comes to credit cards. For some airline mileage rewards make sense, for others they do not. Ultimately it's a decision you will have to make for yourself.