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For points and miles enthusiasts, paying rent can be a great way to earn rewards each month. Over the years, putting monthly rent payments on credit cards helped me meet multiple credit card sign-up bonuses. Paying rent via credit cards may also allow cardholders to meet high spend thresholds that unlock additional perks or rewards.
The one downside to doing this? Many property managers charge a sizable fee for paying by credit card.
Now, there is a solution: Bilt. The new rewards system lets renters bypass all payment fees and even earn Bilt points along the way. But should Bilt replace your existing strategy to earn rewards by paying rent? Let's take a look.
Earning Bilt Rewards
At the simplest level, Bilt offers renters a way to earn rewards for paying rent while also eliminating any fees associated with paying rent. There are three key factors to this:
- Your property management company is part of the Bilt Rewards Alliance.
- You pay through the Bilt App.
- Your spend on The Bilt Mastercard®.
Without the Bilt Mastercard, factors 1 and 2 are requirements to earn points. But, using a Bilt Mastercard to pay your rent makes requirement #1 a non-factor — even if your landlord does not accept credit card payments.
Plus, a September 2021 refresh to the program makes the Bilt Mastercard all but required to build up a serious points balance. Members who do not hold the Bilt Mastercard earn a base of just 250 Bilt points per rent payment.
Boost Points Earnings Potential with the Bilt Mastercard
Without the Bilt Mastercard, renters only earn 250 points per rent payment. To earn points beyond that, Bilt Rewards members must hold and use the Bilt Mastercard. This World Elite Mastercard offers a $0 annual fee and a simple earnings structure for cardholders, as long as 5 transactions are made each month:
- 1x points on rent payments, with an annual 100,000-point cap
- 2x points on travel
- 3x points on dining
- All other purchases earn 1x points with no cap on earnings
Not to be understated are the Mastercard World Elite benefits that come as part of the card. The perks — as explained on the Bilt website — can be quite valuable:
- Cell Phone Insurance — Pay your monthly cell phone bill and you'll get coverage on up to $800 per claim if your cell is stolen or damaged. Limited to 2 claims per year.
- Purchase Protection — New purchases can be covered from theft or damage within 90 days of the date of purchase, up to $1,000 per claim.
- Trip Cancellation Protection — You're protected against forfeited, non-refundable, unused payments and deposits if a trip is or interrupted. Up to $1,500 per incident.
- Rental Car Insurance — You'll get covered for physical damage and theft of most rental cars when you pay for the rental transaction with the Bilt Mastercard.
- No foreign transaction fees
- Lyft Credit
- Rewards and Benefits
- Rates & Fees
ACH Payments to Landlords Who Don't Accept Cards
In January of 2022, Bilt added a new feature to address situations where landlords don't accept credit card payments. Now, those with the Bilt Mastercard can generate ACH / e-check payments that will still run via the credit card and earn points just like they would when paying with the card directly.
If the landlord accepts bank payments, Bilt shows users how to set this up.
Users can simply copy/paste the routing and account numbers generated by Bilt that are tied to the Bilt Mastercard.
Thus, the transaction will still generate the same points earnings as if you had paid with the Bilt Mastercard card itself.
Bilt Rewards Tiers
After Bilt's recent refresh, there are now four distinct rewards tiers. The number of Bilt points earned annually (in all categories, not just paying rent) determines tier level:
- Blue: under 25,000 Bilt points earned annually
- Silver: between 25,000 and 50,000 Bilt points earned annually
- Gold: between 50,000 and 100,000 Bilt points earned annually
- Platinum: 100,000 or more Bilt points earned annually
Any status reached in the first half of a given calendar year expires on January 31 of the following calendar year. Meanwhile, status earned in the second half of a given calendar year lasts until the end of the following calendar year. Savvy Bilt Rewards members will plan ahead to take advantage of this structure.
Each of these rewards tiers comes with a progressively more rewarding set of benefits:
- Earn Interest on Points: Earn interest on your existing points balance each month. Interest is based on the FDIC published national savings rate.
- Home Ownership Concierge: For members redeeming Bilt points toward a home down payment, a concierge is available to discuss the home buying process.
- Bonus Points on New Leases or Renewals: Earn up to a 50% bonus on top of points issued by landlords for signing new leases and/or renewals.
- Silver: 10% bonus
- Gold: 25% bonus
- Platinum: 50% bonus
- Complimentary Bilt Collection Gift: Receive a complimentary gift from Bilt upon earning Platinum status. Gifts come from Bilt's collection of home decor and art.
Redeeming Bilt Rewards
Bilt’s website mentions a number of different redemption options, though the FAQ offers little information. Exploring the app — as the FAQ instructs — reveals the following 15 transfer partners of the Bilt Rewards program:
- Aer Lingus AerClub (added September 2022)
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Air France/KLM FlyingBlue
- American Airlines AAdvantage
- British Airways Executive Club (added August 2022)
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles (added in March 2022)
- Emirates Skywards
- Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
- Iberia Plus (added September 2022)
- IHG Rewards
- Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles
- United MileagePlus (added in March 2022)
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- World of Hyatt
Some of these transfer partners are quite familiar. Air France/KLM FlyingBlue, Emirates Skywards, and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club all partner with Amex, Chase, and Citi. However, the other available transfer partners (with the exception of Hawaiian Airlines) stand out as fantastic and sought-after options.
Air Canada Aeroplan and Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles each have notable sweet spots. And World of Hyatt is the most valuable of all major hotel programs. Even better, Bilt Rewards becomes the exclusive bank points currency to offer permanent transfers to American Airlines AAdvantage at a 1:1 rate (travelers could temporarily transfer Citi ThankYou Points to American Airlines AAdvantage through November 13, 2021).
The Bilt app even has real-time award searches for Aeroplan and AAdvantage bookings. You can read more about this feature here.
How Does the Bilt Rewards Program Compare to Others?
Bilt's fantastic collection of transfer partners looks great on paper, but is the program rewarding enough to make it worthwhile? Each individual will need to evaluate this question independently. From an everyday, non-bonus spend perspective, better options exist. Amex, Chase, and Citi offer $0 annual fee cards that earn either 1.5 or 2 points per dollar spent. Meanwhile, the Bilt Mastercard only offers 1 point per dollar spent on similar purchases.
Of the alternatives, only the The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express allows cardholders the chance to transfer to partners without needing other cards. However, many award travelers already hold Chase or Citi cards that allow transfers to partners of each respective points program. If for some reason that is not the case, now is a great time to sign up for the Citi Premier® Card.
Note that the Blue Business Plus only earns 2x points on purchases up to the first $50,000 in spend per year (then 1 point per dollar spent). If you're a high spender, the number of points earned will halve at some point during the year.
Should I Earn Bilt Points Instead of Others?
The value of the Bilt Rewards program — which hinges upon the Bilt Mastercard — boils down to two questions:
- Does the Bilt Mastercard provide additional financial value overpaying rent via an alternative?
- Does the Bilt Rewards program have a collection of transfer partners that provides more attractive redemption options than the alternatives?
If your landlord does not accept credit card payments, the answer to question #1 should be a resounding “yes”. Otherwise, there are a number of variables in play: values of Bilt points and any alternatives, potential rental fees, etc.
The answer to the second question will depend on your personal situation. Some renters might find Bilt Rewards transfer partners to align perfectly with their travel plans. Others might prefer a different set of transfer partners — or to simply earn cashback. Do the math on what rewards you can earn when you pay rent, the value of those, and any fees that diminish the return.
Even if the Bilt Mastercard does not appeal to you, the prospect of paying rent with a credit card and without a fee should. For that reason alone, all rent payers should take a look at the Bilt Rewards program.
However, when it comes to earning transferable points, Bilt Rewards may fall short in comparison to other options. If you hold one of the following cards or card combinations, you can earn transferrable points at a faster rate:
- Chase Freedom Unlimited® plus a Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve®
- Citi Double Cash® Card plus Citi Premier or Citi Prestige® Card
- Blue Business Plus
Even better, monthly rent payments can help cardholders meet high minimum spending requirements to earn card sign-up bonuses from cards they are more interested in.
Still, the convenience factor of having many of the unique and sought-after transfer partners available on one $0 annual fee card may be enough to tip the scales for some. Plus, Bilt Rewards represents the only points currency that offers permanent transfers to American Airlines at a 1:1 rate — which certainly makes it attractive for some. This may be its niche for those who want to earn rewards while paying rent.
For rates and fees of the cards mentioned in this post, please visit the following links: The Bilt Mastercard® (Rates & Fees)
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