One modern POV on model categories is that they are presentations of $(\infty, 1)$-categories (namely, given a model category, you obtain an $\infty$-category by localizing at the category of weak equivalences; better, if you have a simplicial model category, is to take the homotopy coherent nerve of the fibrant-cofibrant objects).
What other functions, then, do model categories serve today? I understand that getting the theory of $\infty$-categories off the ground (as in HTT, for instance) requires a significant use of a plethora of model structures. However, if we assume that there exists a good model of $(\infty, 1)$-categories that satisfies the properties we want (e.g. that mapping sets are replaced with mapping spaces, limits and colimits are determined by homotopy limits of spaces), how are model categories useful?
I suppose one example would be computing hom-spaces: a simplicial model category gives you a nice way of finding the mapping space between two objects in the associated localization. However, in practice one only considers cofibrant or fibrant objects in the $\infty$-category in the first place, as in Lurie's construction of the derived $\infty$-category (basically, one considers the category of projective complexes -- for the bounded-above case, anyway -- and makes that into a simplicial category, and then takes the homotopy coherent nerve).
One example where having a model structure seems to buy something is the theorem that $E_\infty$ ring spectra can be modeled by 1-categorical commutative algebras in an appropriate monoidal model category of spectra (in DAG 2 there is a general result to this effect), and that you can straighten things out to avoid coherence homotopies. I don't really know anything about $E_\infty$-ring spectra, but I'm not sure how helpful this is when one has a good theory of monoidal objects in $\infty$-categories.