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- The Bilt Rewards program allows tenants to earn valuable points on rent payments without fees.
- Bilt’s network includes over two million US rental units, but the program has even broader appeal.
- Bilt Mastercard holders will be able to pay rent to any US landlord and earn up to 2x points.
- Read Insider’s guide to the best rewards credit cards.
Using a rewards credit card for everyday purchases can open the door to free travel and cash back in your pocket, but on some expenses, like rent, it’s next to impossible to earn rewards — at least, without paying a costly fee.
That’s about to change with the launch of the new Bilt Rewards program and Bilt Mastercard. Bilt has partnered with an alliance of over two million apartment units in the US to make it possible for members to earn rewards points on rent payments. And even if your landlord isn’t part of this network, you’ll still be able to earn up to 2x points by paying your rent with the Bilt Mastercard — without incurring any fees.
Read more: The best credit card offers in 2021: Earn points, miles, or cash back
One of the most exciting things about this opportunity is how valuable Bilt points can be. Members have the option to redeem points for travel by transferring them to an impressive list of airline and hotel partners, or use points for rent discounts, merchandise, fitness classes, and even toward a down payment on a home.
How to earn Bilt Rewards points
Earn points through the Bilt Rewards Alliance
Initially, the Bilt Rewards program is being rolled out to tenants who rent from one of the companies in the Bilt Rewards Alliance, which include:
- The Blackstone Group
- The Related Companies
- Equity Residential
- AvalonBay Communities, Inc.
- Camden Property Trust
- Cushman & Wakefield
- Trammell Crow Residential
- Highmark Residential
- AMLI Residential
- Morgan Properties
- SL Green Realty Corp.
- Starwood Capital Group
- The Moinian Group
- Veritas Investments
- Artemis Real Estate Partners
If you’re a renter in this network, you can earn a base of 250 points per month (without needing the Bilt Mastercard) just by paying your rent through the Bilt Rewards app. There will also be other incentives offered, depending on the landlord, such as earning bonus points for signing or renewing a lease, referring a tenant, or completing an on-time payment streak.
While some landlords accept credit cards directly, there’s usually a fee involved, and other services, like Plastiq, also charge fees to pay rent with a credit card.
For those who aren’t tenants within the Bilt Alliance, the Bilt Mastercard offers a no-fee way to pay rent to any landlord in the US. When you use your Bilt card to pay rent through the app, Bilt will send a check to your landlord at no cost to you.
The card isn’t available to new applicants just yet, but you can join the waiting list here — and, once you have the card, you’ll be able to earn up to 2x points on rent payments of up to $2,000 per month, and 1 point per dollar on all other purchases. As a welcome bonus, new cardholders can earn 3x points on their first rent payment, up to 10,000 points.
The earning rate on rent gets a little complicated, because it’s tied to the amount of non-rent spending you put on the card each month. Similar to a hotel or airline loyalty program, Bilt is structured with rewards tiers as follows:
- Blue Tier: Spend $250 in qualifying non-rent purchases in a calendar month, earn 1 point per $2 (0.5x points) on your next rent payment
- Silver Tier: Spend $1,000 in qualifying non-rent purchases in a calendar month, you’ll earn 1 point per dollar (1x points) on your next rent payment
- Gold Tier: Spend $2,000 in qualifying non-rent purchases in a calendar month, earn 1.5 points per dollar (1.5x points) on your next rent payment
- Platinum Tier: Spend $3,500 in qualifying non-rent purchases in a calendar month, earn 2 points per dollar (2x points) on your next rent payment
To earn any rewards on rent at all, you’ll have to spend at least $250 per month on non-rent purchases on the Bilt card. That’s not a huge deal for most people, but to squeeze the most rewards from the program, you’ll have to put a whopping $3,500 in non-rent spending (earning just 1x points) on your card every month.
Whether or not that’s worth it for you requires crunching some numbers — and for some, reaching the highest rewards tier might be impossible simply because they don’t have enough monthly expenses to run through the card. And if you’re already using one of the best credit cards to maximize rewards in other categories — like groceries, dining, travel, and gas — it may not be worth shifting your spending around to unlock a higher tier in the Bilt Rewards program.
It’s important to note, too, that the card’s points earning on rent is capped at just $2,000 monthly, so the maximum you could earn at the highest Platinum tier is 4,000 points each month.
How to redeem Bilt Rewards points
The real strength of the Bilt Rewards program is the wide variety of ways you can redeem points — whether you prefer using points for travel or cashing them in to reduce your monthly expenses.
Transfer Bilt points to airline and hotel partners
For a brand-new rewards program, Bilt has created an impressive list of airline and hotel partners, and all transfers are instant (except American Airlines, which can take 24 hours) and at a 1:1 ratio.
While some of these loyalty programs partner with several other transferable points currencies, Bilt has brought in a couple of unique partners. American Airlines, for instance, doesn’t partner with any transferable bank points program (though you can transfer Marriott points to American), and Hyatt, until now, has only partnered with Chase Ultimate Rewards. If you’re a fan of any of these programs, Bilt Rewards provides yet another way to earn points to put toward your next trip.
Use Bilt points for fitness classes
In partnership with Soul Cycle, Rumble, and Y7, Bilt Rewards members can redeem points for group classes or subscriptions, starting at 2,500 points.
Redeem Bilt points for merchandise
Bilt members can cash in their points in the Bilt App for home decor, art, and other exclusive items through the Bilt Collection. Redemptions start at 5,000 points.
Get discounts on rent with points
If you’d rather put points toward reducing your expenses, you can cash in your points for discounts on rent payments.
Use points toward a down payment on a mortgage
When you’re ready to transition from renting to home ownership, Bilt will offer the opportunity to put points toward a down payment on a mortgage. When redeemed this way, your points are worth up to 1.5 cents apiece.
Should you join Bilt Rewards?
If you’re renting from a landlord included in the Bilt Rewards alliance, signing up for Bilt Rewards is a no-brainer. You’ll earn points for something you do every month anyway, without incurring fees, and there are lots of ways to redeem your rewards.
The Bilt Mastercard requires a little more consideration. While it’s definitely worth earning some points rather than no points on a huge monthly expense — and the Bilt card certainly makes that easy, with any landlord — you’ll have to use the card for other purchases to earn the most rewards. There’s an opportunity cost here if you’d otherwise use a card that earns more than 1x on these expenses, or if you’d use that spending to unlock a hefty welcome bonus on a new rewards credit card.
Read more: 11 great rewards credit cards offering sign-up bonuses of 100,000 points or more
And there’s not much benefit to opening the Bilt Mastercard if you’re not a renter — there are plenty of other cards that earn much more generous rewards than 1x on non-rent purchases. But if, in the future, the card opens up payment options for other housing costs — like mortgages or property taxes — that would be a true game-changer.
Jasmin Baron is an associate editor at Personal Finance Insider, where she helps readers maximize rewards and find the best credit cards to fit their lifestyles. She has covered credit cards, points and miles, and loyalty programs for over seven years, and she’s a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF).
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3 Free Nights (valued up to 50,000 points each) after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months, plus 10x total points per $1 spent on up to $2,500 in combined purchases in select categories within your first 6 months
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$200 after spending $500 in the first three months from account opening
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