Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
Bilt Rewards, a loyalty program that allows you to earn rewards on rent (a common expense that typically doesn’t earn most people rewards), just launched a new way to redeem the rewards you’ve racked up.
On Thursday, June 30, Bilt launched a travel portal that lets you redeem your points at a value of 1.25 cents each for bookings made through the portal. The portal is powered by Expedia so, by and large, any booking available on Expedia is also available for redemption with your Bilt Rewards points.
And there’s one set of people who this is particularly valuable to: people booking a Disney trip.
What to know about the new Bilt Travel portal
The Bilt Rewards Travel Portal launched on Thursday, allowing customers to redeem their Bilt points for more than 500 airlines, 700,000 properties and 120 car rental companies.
Previously, Bilt customers could only use points to book travel by transferring their Bilt points to travel partner programs. And while that’s still possible, this removes one extra step — and should make using points to pay for travel a significantly easier process.
Bilt points are worth 1.25 cents each when redeemed for travel costs in the new portal (so 10,000 Bilt points would equal $125 toward travel). Customers can use a mix of points and cash to cover the cost of a trip, and there is no minimum number of points you must redeem. The new portal can be accessed through the Bilt Rewards app or on Bilt’s travel portal desktop website.
If you do use cash to cover the rest of trips booked through the portal, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent if you use the Bilt Mastercard.
Using Bilt Rewards to pay for your Disney vacation
Bilt Rewards members can use rewards to book Disney stays, flights and theme park tickets.
Few other travel rewards credit cards let you redeem your points for Disney trips. You can certainly use your points to book at nearby, off-property hotels with nearly any travel credit card.
You can get pretty close with certain Chase and American Express cards by booking the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels, which are located on Disney property but are operated by Marriott. It is also possible to book Disney-owned hotels through certain Capital One cards, including the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card, which has a $395 annual fee and lets you book at a rate of 1 cent per mile.
But Bilt Rewards will do you one better, letting you redeem your points at a value of 1.25 cents each. That’s the same rate that Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card cardholders can redeem their points for in the Chase Ultimate Rewards® portal — but Disney hotels can’t be paid for in Chase’s portal.
In the Bilt portal, you’ll find the same Disney hotels offered through Expedia, but with the option to pay with points instead of cash. So, you could spend roughly $350 on a hotel stay for October 2022 at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort - Riverside at Walt Disney World in Florida, or you could part with 27,900 points.
Bilt Rewards members can similarly book Disney tickets with points in the Bilt Rewards Travel portal by browsing the “Things to do” tab.
Other Disney-related experiences you might be able to book include tickets to Drawn to Life, the Disney-themed Cirque du Soleil show operating at shopping district Disney Springs.
» Learn more: How to purchase theme park tickets with points
Bilt Rewards can help you book your flights to Disney for free, too. Points can be transferred at a 1:1 ratio to numerous airlines, including:
Virgin Points (not Virgin Atlantic).
» Learn more: How to find cheap flights to Disney
How Bilt works
The crux of Bilt is earning rewards on your rent payment. If you live in a property that already partners with Bilt, you can earn points simply paying your rent in the Bilt Rewards app. You’ll earn a flat rate of 250 points per monthly payment done this way.
If you live somewhere that doesn’t partner with Bilt (perhaps you’re renting from an individual landlord not associated with a big rental agency), you can still earn rewards for your rent payment — even if your landlord isn’t interested in participating in Bilt — and yes, even if they refuse to accept credit cards as a form of payment.
If you’re the latter, it’s slightly more complicated, but not actually difficult. You’ll have to apply for the Bilt Rewards Mastercard. Once approved, Bilt generates a unique routing and account number for you to pay your rent as if it were coming from a bank account.
When rent is due, Bilt will charge your Bilt Rewards Mastercard for the same amount, but the money will be paid through the bank account, which your landlord is more likely to accept versus a credit card.
Rewards are earned based on how much you spend on the card. You’ll collect 1 point per dollar spent on rent, up to 50,000 points each calendar year. Say you needed 27,900 points for that night at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort - Riverside. Renters paying at least $2,325 monthly would net enough points after a year.
Additionally, cardmembers earn 2 points per dollar spent on travel and 3 points per dollar spent on dining. And you’ll want to use your card on nonrent payments anyway. You only earn the full amount of points when you make at least five eligible transactions each statement period, so you’ll need to use the card at four other merchants besides your landlord. Otherwise, your rent payment will earn you just 250 points.
Bilt doesn’t charge any additional transaction fees, as is commonly the case with other third-party payment processors like Plastiq.
Other reasons travelers might like Bilt
Bilt has been turning traveler’s heads since its recent launch due to perks like:
No annual fee. The Bilt Rewards card is a $0-annual-fee credit card that offers other benefits that are competitive with even some premium travel credit cards.
Sizeable travel protections. It offers some travel insurance benefits, including up to $5,000 reimbursement for nonrefundable passenger fares if your trip was paid for on the card and is canceled for a covered reason, as well as auto coverage for covered damages due to collision or theft for most rental cars.
No foreign currency conversion fee, which makes it a reasonable card for international travel.
Built-in travel advisor. You can use World Elite Mastercard Concierge to help you book dinner reservations, get hotel recommendations and more.
Outside of booking travel through the new Bilt travel portal, there are myriad other existing ways to redeem Bilt Rewards points, including transferring them to travel partners (which include IHG Rewards, World of Hyatt and United MileagePlus).
And if you’re putting a pause on travel, there’s another redemption option that you’ll almost certainly use: You can use your Bilt points toward next month’s rent payment.
Photo courtesy of Disney.
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 2022, 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