At a Glance

Credit cards have become essential to modern financial life, offering convenience and rewards for responsible use. However, there’s a fine line between using credit cards wisely and becoming addicted to credit card rewards. Let’s explore what it means to be a “credit card reward junkie” and identify five telltale signs that may indicate you’re veering into this territory. We’ll also provide helpful tips on managing your credit card reward addiction.

In this article, you’ll learn:

$67.9 billion

The amount that the six largest issuers of credit cards in the U.S. paid for reward redemption and partner payments in 2022.

fin_fact_ligt fin_fact_ligt


What is a credit card junkie?

Before delving into the signs of credit card reward addiction, it’s crucial to understand what we mean by a “credit card junkie.” This term refers to individuals overly obsessed with earning credit card rewards, often to the detriment of their financial well-being. They are willing to go to great lengths to accrue points, miles, or cashback, sometimes even at the expense of making sound financial decisions.

5 Signs that you are a credit card reward junkie

1. Sign-up bonuses excite you

One of the most apparent signs of being a credit card reward junkie is an excessive excitement about sign-up bonuses. If you find yourself constantly applying for new credit cards solely because they offer enticing sign-up bonuses, it’s time to take a step back. While these bonuses can be valuable, chasing them too frequently can lead to unnecessary debt and financial instability.

2. You compare credit card features with other cards

Credit card enthusiasts often discuss card features and benefits with friends, family, or online communities. While this can be informative, constantly comparing your card portfolio with others may indicate an unhealthy obsession with credit card rewards. Remember that what works for one person may not be the best choice for you, and your financial goals should guide your decisions.

3. You make calculated decisions when applying for a new card

Credit card reward junkies are known for meticulous research and planning when applying for a new card. While being informed is crucial, spending excessive time analyzing every card detail may suggest an addiction. Ensure your card choices align with your financial needs rather than simply accumulating rewards.

4. You apply for multiple cards

Another unmistakable sign of credit card reward addiction is the habit of applying for multiple cards within a short period. If you have a drawer full of credit cards you rarely use, it’s a sign that you might be overindulging in the world of credit card rewards. Owning several cards can lead to confusion, higher annual fees, and potential overspending.

Related: How Often Can You Apply for a Credit Card?

5. You lodge complaints for the sole reason of getting compensation in the form of miles or points

Some credit card reward enthusiasts go to great lengths to maximize their rewards, including lodging complaints with card issuers or merchants solely to receive miles or points. While resolving legitimate issues is essential, repeatedly seeking compensation for minor inconveniences can be a red flag.

Tips to manage your credit card reward addiction

1. Don’t check for credit card offers

Limit your exposure to credit card offers by unsubscribing from promotional emails and avoiding credit card comparison websites. Reducing temptation can help you make more rational decisions.

2. Avoid shopping malls

Shopping malls can be a hotspot for impulse spending. To curb your credit card usage, consider reducing your visits to these tempting locations.

3. Reduce online shopping

Online shopping is convenient but can also lead to overspending. Try to establish a budget and stick to it, and consider removing your card information from online stores to make it less convenient to make impulsive purchases.

4. Beware of advertising

Advertisers are skilled at making their products and rewards programs seem irresistible. Be cautious of flashy advertisements and focus on your financial goals when making credit card decisions.


Most credit cards with rewards programs will clearly state this in their marketing materials. You can also check your card’s terms and conditions or contact your card issuer for information on rewards.

Excessive credit card usage can manifest in several ways, including regularly maxing out your credit limit, struggling to make minimum payments, and constantly carrying a balance from month to month. If you’re unsure about your credit card usage, reviewing your monthly statements and creating a budget can provide clarity.