Bilt Credit Card Review—Pay Rent and Earn Rewards

The renter revolution has begun.
A couple pay for something on an ipad using a credit card


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What are travel credit cards, and how do they work?

Travel credit cards are financial products that offer various rewards and benefits geared towards frequent travelers. They typically earn you points or miles for every dollar spent on eligible purchases. These rewards can be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and other travel-related expenses. Travel credit cards may also include perks like travel insurance, airport lounge access, and no foreign transaction fees.

How do I choose the best travel credit card for my needs?

Choosing the best travel credit card depends on your travel habits, spending patterns, and preferences. Consider factors like the type of rewards offered (points, miles, or cash back), the card’s annual fee, sign-up bonuses, earning rates, redemption options, and additional travel perks. Analyzing these features will help you find a card that aligns with your lifestyle and offers the most value.

What are the benefits of using a travel credit card over other types of credit cards?

Travel credit cards provide unique advantages for travelers, such as earning rewards specifically tailored to travel expenses. Additionally, many travel credit cards offer travel-related perks like free checked bags, priority boarding, and travel insurance. Some cards also waive foreign transaction fees, making them ideal for international travelers.

What is a sign-up bonus, and how can I qualify for it?

A sign-up bonus is a promotional offer provided by the credit card issuer to entice new cardholders. To qualify for a sign-up bonus, you usually need to meet specific spending requirements within a certain timeframe after opening the account. The bonus can be in the form of points, miles, or cash back, and it’s a great way to jump-start your rewards earning.

Do travel credit cards charge foreign transaction fees?

Not all travel credit cards charge foreign transaction fees. Many of the top-tier travel cards waive these fees, making them ideal for international travel. However, it’s essential to read the card’s terms and conditions to confirm this before using it abroad.

How can I maximize the rewards earned with my travel credit card?

To maximize rewards, use your travel credit card for everyday expenses and large purchases. Take advantage of bonus categories and special promotions to earn more points or miles. Consider combining your travel credit card with loyalty programs to stack rewards and get even more value out of your purchases.

The average American spends over 30 percent of their income on rent.

For a committed points and miles enthusiast, that’s a heartbreaking statistic, representing a breach in their points strategy. But things are changing, and the Bilt Mastercard® is leading the charge.

Not only is it the first credit card designed to earn points on one of our most significant expenses, it’s a damn fine travel card, too.

Our Bilt credit card review covers everything you need to know about one of the most valuable credit cards out there.

Bilt credit card review: What is the Bilt Mastercard?

As alluded to in the introduction, the Bilt Mastercard is the first credit card designed specifically for customers to earn points on rent.

Bilt Mastercard®

No Welcome Bonus

Annual Fee: $0  |  Terms Apply  |  Rates & Fees

Why is it a big deal?

Rent payments are a historically frustrating expense for the vast majority of points and miles users. Despite being the single largest outgoing expense every month, the travel rewards potential remained untapped for most.

Most landlords don’t accept credit cards and those that do pass on hefty merchant fees to the renter. With fees clocking in as high as 3 percent on every payment, maximizing points and miles often winds up a complicated balancing act to ensure the cardholder comes out ahead. For example, if your rent is $2,000 a month and the fees are 3 percent, you’ll need to ensure you got at least $720 of value from the points you earn.

The Bilt Mastercard removes those barriers, allowing anyone to earn on rent regardless of whether their landlord accepts cards or not. Better yet, there are no fees and a ton of perks.

Bilt credit card review: How does it work?

If your landlord accepts credit cards, the process is no different than usual. Simply pay your rent, and reap the benefits. If they only accept checks, fear not—Bilt will send a check on your behalf once you’ve paid in the smartphone app.

To ensure you earn the points on your rent, you’ll need to use the card five more times in every statement period. There’s no threshold for that spending: it could be a cup of coffee or your weekly grocery shop. It’s a good idea to use it to pay for a few scheduled payments like a Netflix account—that way you won’t forget and lose your points.

Bilt Mastercard holders earn 1x point for every dollar spent on rent up to 100,000 a year. To hit that mark, your rent would have to be over $8,000 a month, so the majority of us are looking at maximum earnings in most scenarios.

Bilt credit card review: What are the details of the Bilt Mastercard?

While the product’s main selling point is its rent-paying abilities, it also functions as a traditional credit card that can be used on a day-to-day basis. It has no annual fee, adding to its incredible value, and on top of the 1x point per dollar on rent spending, cardholders also earn:

  • 2x points per dollar on travel
  • 3x points per dollar on dining
  • 1x point per dollar on everything else

Every “Rent Day,” or firstof the month, cardholders receive double points on all spending besides rent. That equates to:

  • 4x points per dollar on travel
  • 6x points per dollar on dining
  • 2x points per dollar on everything else

Again, the earnings in these categories will only be applied to an account after the card is used five times in a statement period. The card does not have an intro bonus, which is standard for a product with no annual fee.

Bilt credit card review: Are its points valuable?

Despite being a newcomer on the scene, Bilt Rewards points are making a big impact on the travel rewards industry. Leading outlets are already naming them as one of the most valuable points currencies available. Bankrate has them valued higher than American Express Memberships Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards.

That high valuation comes from its already impressive array of transfer partners. As of the date of publication, Bilt Rewards can be transferred to:

Airlines:

  • Aer Lingus Aerclub
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Air France/KLM Flying Blue
  • Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
  • Avianca Lifemiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Hawaiin Airlines HawaiinMiles
  • Iberia Plus
  • Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
  • United Airlines MileagePlus
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Hotels

  • IHG One Rewards
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • World of Hyatt

There are some incredible partners on that list, from the most valuable hotel program, World of Hyatt to the reliable Air Canada Aeroplan. Turkish, British Airways, Air France/ KLM, Virgin, and Avianca all have tremendous sweet spots, too. It’s also one of the few ways to earn Alaska Airlines miles outside of flying with the airline.

Transferring Bilt Rewards effectively is the key to maximizing their value. Make sure to check some of our guides to booking high-value flights. Each of the following articles can make use of Bilt Rewards.

Bilt credit card review: Does it compete with any other card?

At first glance, you may assume its only real use is earning on rent. While that’s a valid reason in itself for opening the card, take a look at those earning rates again. 

3x points per dollar on dining and 2x points per dollar on travel

That’s the same earning rate as the Chase Sapphire Preferred. That card has an annual fee of $95 and (technically speaking) less valuable points than Bilt Rewards. The only thing the Preferred has over the Bilt card is its intro bonus of 60,000 points. While that’s not easy to ignore, it does mean the Bilt Mastercard could begin to look like a money-saving alternative once the Preferred’s bonus is earned.

If you’re super organized and can bulk-book your travel, you could also capitalize on Rent Day and grab 4x points per dollar on your travel for the month. There’s no card getting a rate that high. Obviously, that takes a little more preparation and foresight, but it’s worth the effort.

Bilt credit card review: What else does it offer?

The card’s rent capabilities and its valuable currency are the most significant aspects of the card, but they’re definitely not all it offers.

Travel benefits

The card comes loaded with valuable travel benefits to complement its 2x points per dollar earning rate on the spending category. The bulk of these come in the form of protection and insurance.

  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance up to $5,000
  • Trip delay reimbursement
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • $5 Lyft credit after three rides in a calendar month

Note: These protections are only activated when the Bilt Mastercard is used to pay for the trip or rental car.

Dining perks

On top of the 3x points per dollar on dining, cardholders also have access to the World Elite Mastercard Concierge. This 24/7 service is used to reserve hard-to-book restaurants, offer travel advice, and lend a hand in a variety of situations. It’s one of the most underrated perks out there.

Cell phone and purchase protection

If Bilt Mastercard holders use their card to pay their cell phone bill they’ll receive up to $800 of protection against theft or damage. This is an excellent monthly bill that can be used to cover one of the five purchases required to earn points on rent.

Any other purchases made with the card are covered for 90 days for up to $10,000 from damage or theft.

Rent day benefits

Along with the monthly earning increases, each “Rent Day” typically features one-off benefits. These could be anything from bonus earning categories at specific stores or one-time free trials of hotel elite status.

The most valuable are often transfer bonuses. It’s not unheard of to see bonuses as big as 50 percent, effectively cutting the price of a reward flight in half. That could see you fly to Europe for as little as 7,500 depending on the airline on offer that month.

Rent Day challenges, typically in the form of gameshow-style trivia games, also allow users to earn some bonus points.

Bilt credit card review: Who should open this card?

If you rent, you should have this card. There is no other way to earn points on your largest monthly expense without circumventing fees and landlord rules. Opting to continue paying by check or another method leaves you with a gaping hole in your points strategy that should be filled.

Beyond renters, there’s an argument for this being an excellent card for beginners. Its earning rates are valuable but aren’t burdened by an annual fee, while its points are extremely valuable. It’s an excellent introduction to the world of points and miles.

Bilt credit card review: The point

The Bilt Mastercard is a tremendous product, offering points and miles enthusiasts the rare chance to earn on their monthly rent payments. Beyond its obvious draw, it has generous earning rates and strong protection-based benefits that bely its lack of an annual fee.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone. This post contains references to products from one or more of our partners and we may receive compensation when you click on links to those products.

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