Bilt Rewards: What it Is, Why Travelers Should Pay Attention
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Housing costs are one of the biggest expenses for most households. But, whether you're paying rent or a mortgage, it can be difficult or costly to earn credit card rewards for making these payments. With its innovative new credit card, Bilt Rewards seeks to change all that for renters.
In this article, you'll learn what Bilt Rewards is, how to earn and redeem points in this unique rewards program, and how to pay your rent with the Bilt Rewards credit card.
What is Bilt Rewards?
Bilt Rewards is the first loyalty program that lets you earn points when paying your rent with no fees. Through the Bilt Rewards alliance, tenants can earn rewards at more than two million rental homes across the country. Additionally, you can earn extra points on your daily purchases with the Bilt Rewards credit card.
Points earned through this apartment rewards program can be used to cover your rent, contribute to a down payment on a home, transfer to airline and hotel loyalty programs and more.
Elite status tiers with Bilt Rewards
As you earn more points throughout the year, your elite status level increases, giving you access to even more features and benefits.
There are four elite status tiers with Bilt Rewards: Blue, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
Additionally, your rent payments are reported to the credit bureaus to build your credit. This is a valuable perk since most landlords only report negative information, such as collections or a judgment for unpaid rent or damage to the rental.
Earn status (pts/year)
Bonus on lease incentives
1:1 Transfer to airlines & hotels
Access to Bilt Collection
Build credit history
Interest earned on points
Gift from collection
One of the most significant benefits of moving up tiers in the apartment rewards program is the larger bonus on lease incentives. For members with larger balances, earning interest on your points is also a nice perk once you reach Silver status.
A quirk of the Bilt Rewards loyalty program is that the expiration of your benefits depends on when you earn elite status through the year. For example, an elite status earned from Jan. 1 through June 30 expires on Jan. 31 of the following year, whereas elite status levels attained from July 1 to Dec. 31 are good through Dec. 31 of the following year.
Earn Bilt Rewards points by paying rent
Tenants can earn and redeem points through this apartment rewards program in multiple ways. These are the most common methods.
It all starts with earning Bilt Rewards points by paying your rent. If you live in a participating community, you can earn points just by paying your rent in the Bilt Rewards app, even if you don't have the Bilt credit card.
Individuals living in the Bilt Rewards alliance residences earn a flat 250 points per month just for paying rent. You may also be able to earn bonus points for selected activities, like signing a new lease or renewing your existing lease.
Over 2 million rental units across the U.S. participate in the Bilt Rewards alliance. Some of the participating real estate companies include:
Cushman & Wakefield.
Starwood Capital Group.
Trammel Crow Residential.
For renters who don't live in a Bilt Rewards alliance property, you can still earn points by paying your rent with the Bilt Mastercard.
The Bilt Mastercard
With the Bilt Mastercard, you can pay your monthly rent without fees while earning valuable rewards anywhere Mastercard is accepted. The Bilt Rewards credit card for tenants is also suitable for people who don't rent because it earns points on all daily purchases with some attractive bonus categories:
3x points on dining.
2x points on travel (direct bookings with airlines, hotels, car rentals and cruises).
1x point on rent with no fees (up to $50,000 per year).
1x point on all other purchases.
For a limited time, all new cardholders receive 2x points on all purchases for the first 30 days.
Even if your landlord isn't part of the Bilt Rewards alliance, you can still pay your rent and earn points when you have the Bilt Rewards credit card. Bilt will mail a check to your landlord when you initiate a payment through its app. You can now also pay rent with the Bilt Rent account, which lets you pay landlords in existing portals by automated clearing house or ACH. Bilt will give you a routing number and account number to pay rent and you'll still earn points.
Simply make at least five purchases on your card each statement period to earn points. And there is no annual fee, so you don't need to earn enough rewards to offset its cost.
The card also includes other valuable benefits, which make it appealing even if you don't need to make rent payments:
Trip cancellation insurance.
Rental car insurance.
Cell phone insurance (up to $800 per claim).
Purchase protection against damage or theft (up to $1,000 within 90 days).
Up to $120 DoorDash credits ($5 discount on each of your first two orders each month).
Up to $60 worth of Lyft credits per year (when you take three rides per month).
No foreign transaction fees.
» Learn more: What to know about the Bilt Rewards card
3 ways to redeem Bilt rewards points
You have three options for redeeming Bilt rewards points — you can transfer them to travel partners, use them for rent-related expenses, take fitness classes or purchase art.
Transfer points to airline and hotel partners
This redemption option is what makes the program shine for travelers.
As a Bilt Rewards member, you can transfer your points on a 1:1 basis to numerous airline and hotel loyalty programs. In addition, there are no fees when transferring your points.
Participating Bilt Rewards hotel and airline transfer partners include:
» Learn more: The best travel credit cards right now
Pay rent with your points or save up for a down payment
Points can be redeemed towards paying your monthly rent. Additionally, you can save up your points and use them towards a down payment on your own home.
When paying your rent with points, the value of your points depends on your landlord, as each property sets its rates. The Bilt Rewards app shows you how much your points are worth before redeeming points for your rent.
For members who are saving up for a down payment, your points are worth up to 1.5 cents each.
Take fitness classes
Bilt has partnered with some of the nation's top group fitness classes, including Soul Cycle, Rumble, Y7, and Solidcore. Classes start at just 1,600 points per class.
» Learn more: Best credit cards for fitness perks
Buy art and more via the Bilt Collection
Bilt curated a collection of art, decor, and apparel inspired by a different artist each quarter.
Why the Bilt Rewards credit card could be a smart option for travelers
As a traveler, the Bilt Rewards card offers numerous perks that make it worthwhile to book your reservations. You'll earn 2x points on all travel booked directly with the airline, hotel, car rental or cruise company.
Plus, the card earns 3x points on dining, whether you're at home or on vacation. Points can transfer to several airlines and hotels on a 1:1 basis, saving you cash for other expenses.
Cardholders also receive additional benefits. For example, there are no foreign transaction fees when making international purchases. You're protected in case of a trip delay or cancellation. Your rental car is protected against damage or theft.
Not to mention the 1:1 transfer options with nine popular travel brands that span airlines and hotels. You can easily turn points earned by paying rent into your next award booking.
» Learn more: NerdWallet's quick start guide to points and miles
Final thoughts on Bilt Rewards
The Bilt Rewards credit card allows tenants to earn rewards and build credit when paying their rent. It also earns up to 3x points on bonus categories and provides other benefits that protect travel, rental cars and cell phones. In addition, there is no annual fee for the card.
If you're not ready for a new credit card, tenants at participating properties can earn points for paying their rent each month. The points you earn can be used to pay for rent, go towards a down payment, book travel, and more.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card