Overview of the Bilt Mastercard
The Bilt Mastercard® offers a variety of benefits in addition to its main benefit, which is the ability to earn points when paying rent without incurring any costs and has no annual charge (see rates & fees). The Bilt card offers a number of advantages when paying rent. However, it also offers enough advantages through inherent privileges and point-earning opportunities that it can be appealing even to individuals who do not pay rent on a monthly basis.
The Bilt Mastercard is the most recent development in the idea that renters need to be able to receive rewards without incurring costs. In keeping with this concept, Bilt Benefits initially required that you reside in a linked property in order to qualify for these rewards. It also had a small network of landlords and apartments. However, Bilt introduced its credit card to increase the pool of customers who were eligible for rewards on rent payments.
The Bilt Mastercard has several oddities that we will examine below and is not a luxury credit card, which has caused some individuals to disregard it in favor of cards with more lucrative benefits. But the Bilt Mastercard addresses the issue of attempting to earn rewards on rent payments for those who can’t pay rent with a credit card (or have to go through hoops and/or pay fees to do so) or who can’t do so without additional expenses (while trying to avoid exorbitant fees that negate the value of points you earn along the way).
This card is for whom?
Renters who want to earn credit card rewards but don’t want to pay fees along the way should consider the Bilt Mastercard. The value of any benefits you receive when paying rent with a credit card can be diminished or eliminated by the fees that come with many credit card payment methods, which can range from 2 to 3 percent. For consumers who want to earn transferable rewards points on their rent payments without paying a fee, the Bilt Mastercard is worthwhile.
Given that the card has a beneficial network of transfer partners and offers top-notch insurance protections for purchases and vacations, it may be profitable even for those who do not pay rent on a monthly basis to use the Bilt Mastercard. The Bilt Mastercard might be worthwhile to keep in your wallet given that it has no annual fee and offers an intriguing earning structure along with a quality set of features, particularly if you pay rent on a monthly basis.
For new Bilt Mastercard applicants, there is no welcome incentive. This indicates that you won’t get a large number of points after meeting the spending criterion for the first time.
On the other hand, you might get compensated for encouraging loved ones to apply for the Bilt Mastercard. For each individual who applies for the Bilt card through your link and is approved, you will receive 2,500 Bilt Rewards points. Additionally, up to 2 million bonus points are yours after each fifth successful recommendation.
Key advantages and benefits
The Bilt Mastercard offers various advantages, many of which are brought about by the fact that it is a World Elite Mastercard. Rent-related advantages, credit-building benefits, insurance protections, and purchase credits are the four categories into which the Bilt Mastercard perks can be broken down. The Bilt Rewards and Benefits website has all the information you need to know.
Perks associated to rent
Rent can be paid with a credit card and credited as points with the Bilt Mastercard, which is one of its main advantages.
The small network of landlords taking part in the Bilt Alliance at the time of the Bilt Rewards program’s initial introduction was a major worry. Updates to the Bilt Rewards program and the fact that the Bilt Mastercard is now issued by Wells Fargo have, however, all but eradicated that worry.
If your landlord isn’t a part of the Bilt network, you can either have Bilt send a check on your behalf or make an ACH (bank transfer) payment through your landlord’s online payment system, if one is available. Rent payments made in this manner to your landlord are free of charge, and these purchases qualify for rewards points on your card.
If you use credit cards appropriately, they can help you raise your credit score. But Bilt Rent Reporting goes further than that. You can choose to have your rent payments reported to all three of the major credit reporting agencies in the United States if you reside in a building that is a member of the Bilt Alliance. This establishes a track record of timely payments and may raise your credit score.
The Bilt Mastercard’s trip cancellation and interruption protection provides up to $5,000 in reimbursement for nonrefundable tickets if a trip is canceled or interrupted for a covered reason. If you use your card to pay for the trip, coverage is in place.
After a delay of six hours, you can get compensated for costs like food or housing, up to a maximum of $2,000 per day, if your travel is delayed. This incentive is per person and extends to immediate family members booking the same reservation in addition to the primary cardholder. The total benefit for all travelers who are insured is $1,800 per trip.
By using your Bilt Mastercard to pay for a rental automobile, you can forego the collision insurance provided by the company and take advantage of your credit card’s coverage instead. Damages from theft or collision are covered by this insurance.
If you use your Bilt Mastercard to pay your monthly wireless bill, your cellphone is also covered. The cellphone protection benefit offers theft or damage coverage of up to $800 (with a $25 deductible). Keep in mind that this is extra coverage, so other policies, such as homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, would take precedence before this benefit would begin to apply. This coverage allows for a maximum of two compensated claims every calendar year.
After using your Bilt Mastercard to pay for three rides in a given month, you are also eligible to receive $5 in Lyft credits as a World Elite Mastercard member. Additionally, DoorDash offers a three-month DashPass membership. With this benefit, you’ll receive benefits including free delivery as well as $5 off your first order each month. Simply select your Bilt card as the payment option in your DoorDash account to take advantage of these advantages.
For every dollar spent on meals, travel, and other purchases (including rent), you can earn three points, two points, or one point, respectively. You should be aware that you can only earn points if you use your card for at least five purchases within a statement period. Thus, you won’t get points at these rates if the only thing you charge on your Bilt Mastercard each month is your rent. Instead, if you used your card to pay for rent, you would only receive a fixed amount of 250 points.
If your rent payment that month is less than $250, you’ll additionally receive 250 points. Rent payments have a maximum annual earning potential of 50,000 points, which translates to an average monthly rent need of $4,166.67. Bilt Rewards points are worth 1.8 cents each according to TPG. The result is that your return on expenditure would be 5.4% for dining, 3.6% for travel, and 1.8% for other goods.
Additionally, on the first of every month, which Bilt refers to as “Rent Day,” you can earn twice as many points. For every transaction made on the first of the month, you can receive double points in the following categories: dining (6 points per dollar now), travel (4 points per dollar), and general spending (2 points per dollar). The earning of points on rent payments is not doubled, though. Your Bilt Rewards status level increases as you accrue more points each year.
The entry-level Blue tier provides benefits like 1:1 points transfers to travel partners (see below), access to the Bilt Collection (see below), and credit history building through rent reporting. Silver, the next category, requires 25,000 points to be earned annually. Earning interest on points and receiving a 10% bonus on lease incentive points from participating properties are additional incentives.
To reach Gold, the third rank, you must accumulate 50,000 points annually. Earning a 25% bonus on leasing incentive points and having access to a homeownership concierge are additional bonuses. Platinum, the highest category, requires accumulating 100,000 points in a calendar year. In addition to the incentives at the lower tiers, this offers a 50% boost on leasing incentive points and a unique gift from the Bilt Collection.
Getting points back
Bilt Rewards points can be used in a variety of ways, including in a travel portal, with transfer partners, to pay for fitness classes, Bilt Collection products, toward Amazon purchases, to pay your rent for the following month, or even to put a down payment on a house. These redemptions have a wide range in value.
The value of some of these redemption alternatives is subpar. Surprisingly, using your points to pay for rent offers the lowest value possible—just 0.55 cents per point. Next, using points to pay for Amazon purchases results in a value of 0.7 cents per point; however, using points to pay for fitness classes at SoulCycle, Y7 Studio, or Rumble Boxing, as well as buying art, home decor, and clothing from the Bilt Collection, results in a value of 1 cent per point. Redeeming for fitness classes begins at 1,600 points.
When booking hotels or flights through Bilt’s travel platform, you can redeem your points at a fixed value of 1.25 cents each. You can receive 1.5 cents per point when using your points as a down payment on a house.
The set of hotel and airline transfer partners that Bilt has will offer the widest range in redemption value. Depending on how you utilize your points, this redemption option offers a fantastic chance for redeeming value.
Airline partners of Bilt include the following ones: British Airways Executive Club, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, Emirates Skywards, Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles, Iberia Plus, Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles, United Airlines MileagePlus, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club/Virgin Points are just a few of the frequent flyer programs available. There are also two hotel partners: World of Hyatt and IHG One Rewards.
For each of these partners, you must send a minimum of 2,000 points. Most transfers are instant, and they are all calculated at a 1:1 ratio.
American Airlines is the most noteworthy partner in this. Since Citi’s interim points transfers are no longer available, Bilt is the only provider of a permanent 1:1 points transfer to AA. Fans of American Airlines may be particularly interested in the Bilt Rewards program and earning points with the Bilt Mastercard given that the bonus on Marriott Bonvoy points transfers to the carrier stopped (and that these transfers take place at a 3:1 ratio).
What credit cards oppose the Bilt Mastercard?
The Bilt Mastercard is unique among other credit cards. It has special characteristics regarding rent payments and is the only credit card product in the relatively recent Bilt Rewards points system. Prior to the introduction of the Bilt Mastercard, however, rent was frequently paid with credit cards.
The cards listed below are popular choices for paying rent on a credit card; two have no annual fees, and the third is a popular rewards card whose points collected might, in certain cases, outweigh the price.
Double Cash Card from Citi
With the Double Cash card, you receive two points for every dollar spent: one Citi ThankYou point at the moment of purchase and an additional point when you pay your bill. There is no yearly charge, and there are no bonus categories for you to remember. You have the option of transferring your points to one of three travel partners, including Choice Privileges, JetBlue TrueBlue, or Wyndham Rewards, or redeeming your earnings for cash as a statement credit.
If you already have a card that rewards you with Citi ThankYou points, like the Citi Premier® Card, you can get more use out of the Double Cash card. According to TPG’s most recent estimates, having this card would give you access to all of Citi’s hotel and airline partners, increasing the value of your rewards from 1 cent each to 1.8 cents each.
Unlimited Freedom for Chase
The Chase Freedom Unlimited features a simple design: There is no annual charge, and on any transactions that aren’t in the card’s bonus categories, you can receive an unlimited 1.5% cash back. Cardholders receive 1.5% cash back on all other purchases, 3% cash back on dining out (including qualified takeout and delivery services), 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, and 3% cash back on drugstore purchases. In their first year after opening an account, new applicants can receive an extra 1.5% back on all purchases, up to $20,000 in purchases.
Purchase protection, extended warranty protection, advantages for automobile rental collision damage waivers (coverage is primary outside the U.S. but secondary in the U.S.), and trip cancellation and interruption insurance are additional benefits available to cardholders.
When used in conjunction with another card that earns Chase Ultimate Rewards points, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, the Freedom Unlimited card truly shines since it enables you to combine cash-back rewards with Ultimate Rewards. This doubles the value of your profits on the Freedom Unlimited card based on TPG’s most recent valuations. Additionally, by converting your earnings into Ultimate Rewards points, you’ll gain access to Chase’s hotel and airline transfer partners.
Card from Chase Sapphire Preferred
The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card is a different card that competes with the Bilt Mastercard. Although there is a $95 annual fee for this card, it is a very well-liked travel rewards card that offers good earnings on spending categories similar to those of the Bilt card.
Cardholders receive 5 points for every dollar spent on travel booked through the Chase travel portal, 3 points for every dollar spent on dining (including eligible takeout, delivery, and delivery), 3 points for every dollar spent on select streaming services, 2 points for every dollar spent on other travel, and 1 point for every dollar spent on other purchases. Wholesale clubs, Walmart, and Target are not included in this category. Chase Ultimate Rewards points, which TPG values at 2 cents each, are earned with this credit card.
You can transfer your points to Chase’s airline and hotel partners or utilize them on the Chase portal or with Pay Yourself Back at 1.25 cents each. Additionally, cardholders are entitled to services including extended warranty protection, purchase protection, luggage delay insurance, trip delay reimbursement, trip cancellation and interruption insurance, and collision damage waiver protection for auto rentals.
Additionally, cardholders receive benefits from DoorDash (a free DashPass membership through December 31, 2024), Instacart (quarterly spending credits and Instacart+ membership), Lyft (earning 5 points for every dollar spent on rides through March 31, 2025), and Gopuff ($10 per month in statement credits to offset eligible purchases).
Renting with the Sapphire Preferred has become common for many people due to the benefits and points collected on this card, as well as the value of the welcome bonus. After spending $4,000 on purchases during the first three months after account setup, new applicants can earn 60,000 extra points as part of the current sign-up incentive.
To sum up
Unique is the Bilt Mastercard. The card has no annual charge and allows renters the chance to accumulate points each month without paying any costs. It also has its own rewards program. The transfer partners offer top-notch travel possibilities, there is insurance coverage, and there are many different ways to redeem points.
There are negative aspects, though. The Bilt Mastercard has no welcome bonus and requires you to use your card for multiple purchases each month in order to earn points. Even though the Bilt Mastercard might not be the best credit card in your wallet for every type of purchase, it could work well with a variety of point and mileage-earning strategies, especially if you rent.