A significant proportion of Canadians are failing to capitalize on the reward points they’ve accumulated, a new poll from CIBC reveals.

On average, Canadians are sitting on 48,800 points on their main credit card, but 37 per cent of respondents said they rarely or never redeem them, according to survey released Thursday.

Of the 52 per cent of Canadian credit card holders who earn points, one-in-five said they don’t know how many they’ve accumulated.

"Canadians say reward points are as good as cash, but many aren't spending them to realize that value," Jamie Golombek, managing director of tax and estate planning at CIBC Financial Planning and Advice, said in a release.

Forty-nine per cent of respondents said they’re collecting points aimlessly and almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of respondents said they don’t consider rewards points an asset.

"It's important to think of your points as any other asset, and use them to achieve a financial goal – whether that's to help with the cost of a dream vacation, purchase an item you'd otherwise buy with cash, or possibly reduce your debt or boost your savings,” Golombek said.

Thirty-eight per cent of those who do redeem points said they’re banking them for a dream vacation or a major purchase, while only 13 per cent regularly redeem points to buy items they’d normally purchase with cash.

"Saving up your points for a planned vacation or item is a great way to offset that expense,” Golombek said. ”But if you're simply piling up points, you may overlook rewards options that you could realize today to give you immediate value or get you further ahead.”