published: 2/8/2023 | February 8, 2023
Since its release in 2021, the Bilt Rewards Mastercard has been an absolute game-changer for renters who love to travel. It’s the only credit card that allows you to earn points on your monthly rental payments—up to 50,000 points annually (which could pay for a round-trip flight to Hawaii, for example).
You can use these points like any other travel rewards points (such as those from Chase, American Express, or Capital One), transfer them to airline or hotel partners, or pay for travel directly through a specific gateway.
But while the rental points feature is getting all the attention (and rightfully so), the Bilt Rewards Mastercard is more than just one pony.
To really make the most of this valuable card (the one I believe every renter should have in their wallet), here are a few key things to know about the Bilt Mastercard:
1. There is no annual fee
One of the most important things to consider when opening a new credit card is whether there is an annual fee, and if there is, whether paying it makes sense given your spending habits and goals.
Most of the best travel credit cards have an annual fee, and for frequent travelers, it’s usually worth it. You can get much more value from the card than its annual fee if you’re an avid traveler who enjoys lounge access, priority boarding, extra checked baggage, or other popular perks.
But you don’t have to worry about that with Bilt, as there is currently no fee on the card. You can earn points on your entire rental for free!
2. There is no welcome offer either
However, the flip side to the lack of an annual fee is that there is also no welcome offer on the Bilt Rewards Mastercard.
Welcome offers (also known as sign-up bonuses) are the points you earn by spending a certain amount within a specified time frame after opening a credit card. For example, you may be able to earn 60,000 points if you spend $3,000 within the first three months of opening a particular card.
These offers start “funding” your points and can often amount to a free round-trip flight right away. Welcome offers are so vital to any good travel hacking strategy that I usually advise against signing up for a card unless there is a great one. The fact that I highly recommend the Bilt Card, even without a welcome offer, should show you how great I think this card is.
3. There are minimum transaction requirements to earn points
After opening a Bilt Mastercard, perhaps the most important thing to know is that you must make at least five transactions per statement period to earn points. This applies to all points, including the points you will receive for paying rent.
This means if you don’t make five purchases with your card in that period, you won’t earn any points at all – even if you paid your rent through Bilt.
The good news is that there is no minimum purchase requirement, just a minimum proces requirements. As long as you make five purchases – of any size – on your Bilt Card each month, you’ll earn your points.
4. You can earn points on more than just rentals
While earning points on rentals is the main selling point, the card offers additional ways to earn points as well:
- 2x points on travel
- 3 times the points on food
- 1x points on all other purchases
(These earnings classes are the same as fan favorite Chase Sapphire Preferred, which has a $95 annual fee.)
So, for example, if you use your Bilt Card during the month on travel or dining purchases, not only will you get double or triple the points, but you’ll get also Meet the minimum five purchase requirements.
5. You can get the maximum points earned for rent
It is also beneficial to use your card for non-rental purchases due to the fact that you can make the most of the number of points earned on rental (rental points are capped at 50,000 points per year). After that, you won’t earn any more points on that year’s rent.
However, given that you earn an average of 1 Belt Point for every $1 spent on rent, you’ll only hit the cap if you spend more than $4,166 per month in rent. If your rent payments are less than that, you don’t have to worry about hitting the limit.
6. You can earn more points on the day of the rental
On the first day of the month, you double your points earning power, which means you’ll earn 6x on dinner, 4x on travel, and 2x on other purchases (excluding rent) on the 1st of the month.
If you’re used to using your Bilt Card for everything you buy on the first day of the month, you’ll already be very close to hitting the minimum five transactions, all while getting more points for your purchases.
And while no one wants more On their phones, you’ll need to download the Bilt app for chances to earn more points. Every rental day, there are new ways to earn points easily in the app. These change every month, but in the past have involved playing Point Quest, where you earn points for correct answers to trivia questions.
There is also a Rent Day Challenge, where you can enter to win a free month’s rent by correctly completing a fill-in-the-blank phrase during the day.
While some of these opportunities don’t offer many points, they take very little time to complete, and they all add up!
7. BILT Points = American Airlines Points
Another reason to accumulate points is that Bilt has American Airlines as a carrier partner – the only card to do so. Since no other card offers points that carry over to the American card, Bilt is the only way to get AA points without getting an AA card.
This is great news for American Airlines loyalists or travelers who have specific flights they want to use their AA points for. For example, I’m currently prioritizing my Bilt card over Chase Sapphire, because I want those AA points for a trip I’m planning to Japan this year (AA partners with Japan Airlines).
In addition to American Airlines, you can transfer your BILT Points on a 1:1 basis to many other travel partners, including:
- Canadian Air
- Air France
- Cathay Pacific
- The UAE
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Turkish Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
You can also redeem points for fitness classes, such as SoulCycle, Solidcore, Rumble, and Y7, and for items in the Bilt Collection, an eclectic collection of artisanal home decor items. However, I would advise against this, as redeeming points for fitness classes is about 1 point per cent – and you can get much better refunds on travel purchases.
8. The Bilt provides great travel protection
In addition to the points-earning capabilities, Bilt offers strong travel protection, especially for the no-fee card. Just keep in mind that you must book travel with a Bilt Card in order to receive these benefits. The protection is similar to that of other “junior” travel credit cards, such as Chase Sapphire Preferred.
The following are the travel protections that Bilt currently offers:
- Trip cancellation and interruption protection coverage
- Flight delay compensation (for delays of six hours or more)
- Car rental collision coverage
- Mobile phone protection (up to USD 800)
- There are no foreign transaction fees
Click here for full details of rewards, benefits, rates and fees.
While this protection – like any card – is not a substitute for travel insurance (which you should always have!), they are great perks, and you can get them at no extra cost.
Overall, getting a Bilt Card is a no-brainer for anyone who pays rent in the US, as it’s currently the only way to earn points for free on these must-have monthly expenses.
But while it’s worth getting just this feature, the Bilt Card offers a lot of other great features that make it even more valuable. The ability to transfer to American Airlines, double points on the day of your rental, new ways to earn bonus points, and a comprehensive list of travel and protection benefits make the Bilt Card more than worthy of the space in your wallet. It has become one of my favorite cards and I find myself reaching for it a lot!
Book your flight: logistics tips and tricks
Book your flight
Find a cheap flight with Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the world so you’ll always know that no stone is left unturned.
Reserve your accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it constantly shows the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.
Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will protect you from illness, injury, theft and cancellation. It is comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
Want to travel for free?
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodations. They are what makes me travel so much for so little. Check out my guide to choosing the right card, current favorites to get started, and see the latest best deals.
Ready to book your flight?
Check out my resources page for the best companies to use when traveling. I list everything I use when I travel. It’s the best in class and you can’t go wrong with it on your trip.