Why I applied for the Bilt Rewards Card

I just dipped below 5/24 this month. Two years ago, in October 2020, I had applied for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa and the Apple Card (a Mastercard). I was looking forward to potentially applying for another Chase card, like the Chase Ink or maybe a cobranded card such as the United Explorer or perhaps one of the new Marriott Bonvoy cards. In addition, there’s also the Amex Gold I’ve been wanting to get, especially after I found out that having an Amex Corporate Card gets me a sweet $100 discount on the annual fee. Oh, and also, there’s the elusive Capital One Venture X card, which pretty much pays for itself thanks to its credits, and is also beloved for its access to the Capital One lounge. (As a native Dallasite, this benefit is actually much more valuable to me than many other Americans.)

However, realistically speaking, I needed to open as many avenues for myself to earn points as possible on all of my spending. I recently found out that I actually would benefit from using Bilt Rewards to pay my rent.

What’s Bilt Rewards?

It’s a card that gives you 1 point per dollar spent on rent, 2 points per dollar spent on travel (defined as airfare and hotel only), and 3 points per dollar spent on dining. (In addition, all other purchases on the credit card not in the previous categories give 1 point per dollar.) While 1 point on rent may seem like nothing, I spend over $2,000 on rent every month because I live in a high cost-of-living city. That means I am saying goodbye to over 2,000 points per month when I don’t pay with Bilt.

What kind of renters does Bilt Rewards apply to?

Originally, I thought Bilt Rewards wouldn’t apply to me because paying my rent through a credit card meant incurring a 3.25% transaction fee, which outweighs the 1 point per dollar spent on rent. However, it turns out Bilt Rewards has a clever way of avoiding this. Basically, anyone who rents from a landlord and pays cash can use Bilt to earn the points. Even if your landlord isn’t part of the “Bilt Rewards Alliance”, you can still pay your rent through Bilt by giving the landlord a checking account number that belongs to Bilt, but is charged against your credit card. This allows you to avoid a transaction fee (since bank transfers are free). If your landlord only takes checks, that’s fine too, since Bilt can also give you a check for your landlord to cash, and it’ll still count towards your rewards.

Are Bilt Rewards points powerful?

Yes, they are very powerful. Here’s a few reasons why:

  • They are currently the only credit card program offering transfers to AAdvantage. As an AAdvantage Platinum, this means a lot to me.
  • The points can be transferred to Hyatt, which has the highest point valuation among hotel loyalty programs.
  • Other great loyalty programs in Bilt Rewards include Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles, Emirates Skywards, Flying Blue (Air France and KLM), Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines MileagePlus, and Air Canada Aeroplan.
  • All point transfers are 1:1. (To be specific, they can be transferred in 1,000 point increments.)

This brings Bilt Rewards points up to par with the value of Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards points.

Any additional benefits?

Bilt Rewards runs “Rent Day” promotions on the first of every month. Typically, it means more points earned if purchases are made that day. For December 1, 2022, they’ve made it one week long (from November 25 to December 1) in time for Black Friday shopping. The points they are giving are insanely high:

  • 6x points for dining
  • 4x points for travel
  • 2x points for literally everything else except rent

Was it worth it?

So far, it’s too soon for me to tell for sure. But given the crazy potential for points back, I’m not at all disappointed that there’s no sign-up bonus. And thanks to a 5-day surprise “5x points on everything” deal I got, I put some heavy spending on my Bilt card and I now already have 6,192 points in my Bilt account, so I’m pretty happy.

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