Almost 40% of rewards cardholders say they've paid for purchases with their cards just to earn points, according to the annual "Chasing Points" study from Finder.com, a personal finance website.
Finder surveyed around 2,100 American adults about their credit card habits. It found that while Gen Xers spent the most on their rewards cards, millennials are "most committed to racking up loyalty points": 35% of millennials (ages 24 to 38) reported using a credit card for points, compared to the 30% of baby boomers (ages 54 to 74) and 23% of Gen X (ages 39 to 53).
Rewards cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the new Apple Card offer perks like five-figure sign-up bonuses, double cash back on certain purchases and name recognition, but experts warn consumers to be careful whenever they sign up for or use a credit card.
Swiping simply to acquire points could backfire and dig you into debt, Rachel Dix-Kessler, Finder's consumer advocate, tells CNBC Make It, negating any value the points have and hurting your overall financial health. You shouldn't buy something simply because it's included in a rewards category.
"You don't want to open a credit card and not be able to pay it off because you didn't fully understand the loyalty program and then you rack up some debt that you have to deal with," says Dix-Kessler.