Bilt made a splash in the rewards program space in 2021 with the launch of a new loyalty program and credit card that offer points on rent payments with no fees, plus the option to redeem them for travel, fitness and even a down payment on a home.
The Bilt Rewards program allows qualifying U.S. renters to start earning rewards each time they pay rent through the Bilt app. Even if you don’t live in a qualifying Bilt Rewards Alliance property or are a homeowner, it’s still possible to participate in the Bilt Rewards program. To earn even more points, members can apply for the Bilt Mastercard®. Renters are able to pay their rent with the Bilt Mastercard at any property in the U.S. and start earning points on rent and non-rent transactions.
Here, CNBC Select details everything you need to know about the Bilt Rewards program, from earning and redeeming points to its various status levels and more.
Earn points when you make 5 transactions that post each statement period – up to 1x points on rent payments without the transaction fee (up to 100,000 points each calendar year), 3x points on dining, 2x points on travel, and 1x points on other purchases.
Balance transfer fee
Introductory fee of either $5 or 3% of the amount of each balance transfer, whichever is greater, for 120 days from account opening. After that, up to 5% for each balance transfer ($5 minimum).
Foreign transaction fee
To start earning points, download the Bilt Rewards app and create your free Bilt Rewards account. Bilt Rewards members who live in a Bilt Rewards Alliance building (more below on how to know if your apartment is a qualifying property) earn a minimum of 250 points per rent payment and have the opportunity to earn additional points through incentives that landlords may offer. Some additional ways you can earn points when renting at a Bilt Rewards Alliance property include:
- Renewing leases
- Signing a new lease
- Referring a new tenant
If you don’t live in a Bilt Rewards Alliance partner property, you can still earn 1X Bilt Rewards point per dollar on your rent (on up to $100,000 in rent payments every year) with the Bilt Mastercard. Plus, cardholders earn points on non-rent transactions at the following rates:
- 3X points on dining
- 2X points on travel
- 1X points on other purchases.
There is no cap to the number of Bilt points you can earn per month on non-rent purchases. The only requirement is for cardholders to make at least five card transactions per statement period to earn points on rent.
Outside of rent, anyone can earn Bilt Rewards points through Bilt’s dining rewards program. You can link any Visa, Mastercard or American Express credit card and will then automatically earn bonus points when using that card at a participating restaurant. You can also link your Bilt Rewards account to Lyft to earn 2X points on rides.
Special Bilt Rewards promotions also allow you to earn bonus points, such as when you link your Bilt Rewards account to one of Bilt’s hotel partners, which can get you 100 points. You can also earn bonus points by participating in Point Quest trivia, which is available as a part of its monthly Rent Day promotion.
Don’t miss: Bilt Rewards members can now earn up to 5X points on Lyft rides
Not only can you earn points for paying rent, but you can also use those points to help cover next month’s rent. Here are all the other ways to redeem your Bilt Rewards points:
Redeem points for travel
Bilt Rewards points can be redeemed for travel at over 100 major hotels and airlines, through one of its transfer partners. You can transfer Bilt points to partners at a 1:1 rate, so 1 Bilt point equals 1 airline mile or 1 hotel point. Bilt’s airline and hotel transfer partners include:
- Aer Lingus
- Aeroplan (Air Canada)
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Flying Blue (Air France and KLM)
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Turkish Airlines
- United Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
You can also redeem points toward flights, hotels and activities at a fixed rate of 1.25 cents per point through the Bilt Travel Portal — so 10,000 points would be worth $125 in the portal. The Bilt Travel Portal works similarly to OTAs like Expedia, so you’ll be able to book nearly every hotel or flight with no blackout dates.
To help you maximize your points, Bilt Rewards members have complimentary access to the Point.me and Awayz award search tools through the Bilt app. Awayz allows you to search hotel award availability for Bilt’s transfer partners, while Point.me allows you to search for award prices across all of Bilt’s partner airline programs at the same time. The app displays the cost, but you’ll need to transfer your Bilt points to the appropriate partner to make the booking.
You can redeem your Bilt Rewards points for group fitness classes or subscriptions with SoulCycle, Rumble Boxing, [solidcore] and Y7 Studio. Fitness redemptions start at 2,400 points and the redemption rate is around 1 cent per point.
The Bilt Collection offers limited-edition art, home decor and apparel pieces that you can purchase using your Bilt Rewards points. Items generally start at 2,500 points.
Redeeming points for future down payment
One of the most unique ways to redeem your Bilt Rewards points is to use them to fund a down payment on a future home when the financing is originated through Bilt. The redemption rate toward a down payment is valued at up to 1.5 cents per point.
The more points you earn in a year, the higher your status in the Bilt Rewards program. The program offers four membership tiers (Blue, Silver, Gold and Platinum), which unlock special perks like the opportunity to earn interest on your points balance and to earn bonus points for signing a new lease or lease renewal.
Here’s how many Bilt points you need for each status level:
- Blue: Enroll in Bilt Rewards
- Silver: Earn 25,000 points in a year
- Gold: Earn 50,000 points in a year
- Platinum: Earn 100,000 points in a year
If you hit a status threshold between Jan. 1 and June 30, your status expires on Jan. 31 of the following year. When you earn a status tier between July 1 and Dec. 31, you’ll have that status tier through the entire following year.
Elite benefits include perks such as earning interest on your points balances and bonuses for new leases and lease renewals.
Paying rent on a credit card fee-free is a huge perk of using Bilt: Not all landlords allow tenants to pay rent with a credit card, and those that do usually charge around a 3% credit card processing fee. Even if your landlord doesn’t accept credit cards, you can still pay rent with your Bilt Mastercard through the app and Bilt will send a check or ACH transfer on your behalf so you still get your points for paying rent.
Because the Bilt Mastercard is part of the World Elite Mastercard program, cardholders receive extra benefits. Cardholder perks include the following:
- Cell phone insurance
- Trip delay reimbursement
- Trip cancellation and interruption protection
- Car rental collision coverage (primary)
- Purchase Assurance Plus that covers your purchases for 90 days
- Exclusive merchant discounts with brands like Lyft, DoorDash and ShopRunner
- Access to the Mastercard Luxury Hotels & Resorts portfolio for amenities like upgrades, free breakfast and property credits at over 3,000 hotels
- 24/7 complimentary World Elite Concierge for all your personal assistant needs
Bilt also offers protections so credit card holders don’t use up all of their credit limit or risk going into debt by charging their rent every month. By enabling the BiltProtect feature, Bilt Mastercard cardholders will have their rent payments directly withdrawn from a linked bank account so their credit line stays open for other purchases, and they continue to earn points.
Unlike most other rewards credit cards, unfortunately, the Bilt Mastercard does not offer a welcome bonus.
How using the Bilt Mastercard can help boost your credit score
Making monthly rent payments on time will certainly pay off in more ways than one. When you use your Bilt Mastercard to pay rent, your on-time payment activity gets automatically reported to the three main credit bureaus.
Bilt estimates that this could boost cardholders’ credit scores by up to 50 to 100 points over just 12 months.
The Bilt Rewards Alliance includes over two million rental homes across the U.S. Some participating real estate partners include:
- American Landmark
- Applied Management
- AvalonBay Communities
- Berkshire Residential
- BH Management
- Brookfield Properties
- Camden Property Trust
- Cushman & Wakefield
- Equity Residential
- GID-Windsor Communities
- Highmark Residential
- Lennar Multifamily
- The Moinian Group
- Morgan Properties
- Related Companies
- SL Green Realty Corp.
- Starwood Capital Group
- Trammell Crow Residential
- Veritas Investments
You can also enter your address into the Bilt app to see if your building is a participating property. Qualifying participants will see a note that they are a “Member of the Bilt Rewards Alliance.”
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For any renter, the Bilt Rewards program and the no-annual-fee Bilt Mastercard are a no-brainer. Bilt allows you to capitalize on the routine rent payments you already make each month by earning points. Those points can go toward next month’s rent, or be used to make your next vacation more affordable.
If you are at all hesitant about charging a big expense like rent onto a credit card, we recommend turning on the BiltProtect feature so you can rest assured that your rent isn’t accounting for too much of your credit limit. Plus, you’ll still earn the points for paying your rent bill each month.
While the Bilt Mastercard makes sense for renters, those who really want to maximize the points they can earn on other spending should consider rewards credit cards. For example, a top travel rewards credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers members 5X points on Lyft rides through March 31st, 2025, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining and 2X points on all other travel purchases. Unlike the Bilt Mastercard, the Chase Sapphire Preferred also offers new cardholders a generous welcome bonus.
$50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5X points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3X points on dining, 3X points on select streaming services and online grocery purchases (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs), 2X points on all other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
21.49% – 28.49% variable on purchases and balance transfers
Balance transfer fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Foreign transaction fee
At CNBC Select, our mission is to provide our readers with high-quality service journalism and comprehensive consumer advice so they can make informed decisions with their money. Every loyalty program review is based on rigorous reporting by our team of expert writers and editors with extensive knowledge of loyalty programs. While CNBC Select earns a commission from affiliate partners on many offers and links, we create all our content without input from our commercial team or any outside third parties, and we pride ourselves on our journalistic standards and ethics.
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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