The Bilt Mastercard has become one of the most popular travel credit cards on the market, allowing renters to earn valuable points on their largest monthly expense – rent. In this in-depth review, we’ll explore the card’s features, benefits, and drawbacks to help you determine if it’s the right fit for your financial and travel goals.


Annual Fee vs. Signup Bonus

When evaluating the Bilt credit card, it’s essential to consider its annual fee and signup bonus.

No Annual Fee

The Bilt Mastercard stands out because it has no annual fee. This feature makes it accessible to a broader audience, especially those who may be hesitant to pay annual fees for premium cards.

Despite being fee-free, the card offers premium benefits comparable to other travel credit cards that often come with a $95 annual fee.

No Standard Signup Bonus

On the downside, the Bilt Mastercard does not offer a standard signup bonus. This is a significant drawback because most credit cards today provide some form of bonus to attract new users.

However, the incentive here is the ability to earn up to 100,000 Bilt Points per year on rent payments without any transaction fees, which can be more valuable in the long run.

Earning Points: The 5-Transaction Requirement

To earn points with the Bilt credit card, users must meet a specific usage requirement each month.

The Requirement

Cardholders must use the Bilt Mastercard for at least five transactions during each statement period. This includes rent payments, which count as one transaction.

Failure to meet this requirement means forfeiting all points earned during that period, including points from rent payments.

Strategies to Meet the Requirement

Two main strategies can help ensure the 5-transaction requirement is met:

  • Use the card for rent and daily expenses like coffee or groceries
  • Set the card as the default payment method for recurring subscriptions

Both methods help automate spending, making it easier to meet the requirement without much effort.

Multipliers and Strategies for Maximizing Earnings

The Bilt credit card offers various multipliers that can significantly boost your points earnings.

Understanding Multipliers

The Bilt Mastercard provides the following multipliers:

  • 3x points on dining
  • 2x points on travel
  • 1x point on rent and other purchases

These multipliers can add up quickly, especially if you frequently dine out or travel.

Optimizing Points with Dining and Travel

To maximize earnings, use the Bilt card for all dining and travel expenses. The 3x multiplier on dining can be particularly lucrative if you dine out often.

For travel, the 2x multiplier ensures you earn double points on flights, hotels, and other travel-related expenses.

Leveraging Partnerships

Bilt has partnered with Lyft to offer additional points. By linking your Bilt and Lyft accounts, you can earn 2x points on Lyft rides. Paying with your Bilt card adds another 3x points, totaling 5x points per ride.

This partnership can significantly boost your points, especially if you frequently use ride-sharing services.

Setting Up Automatic Payments

To ensure you never miss the 5-transaction requirement, set your Bilt card as the default payment method for subscriptions like Spotify, Netflix, and Audible. While these only earn 1x points, the convenience of automated transactions helps you meet the requirement effortlessly.

Although you may miss out on higher multipliers from other cards, the ease of meeting the Bilt card’s requirements can outweigh this drawback.

By optimizing your spending and leveraging partnerships, the Bilt credit card can be a valuable addition to your financial toolkit, especially if you’re a renter.

Rent Day: Double Points and Exclusive Promotions

Rent Day is one of the most exciting features of the Bilt credit card, offering unique opportunities for cardholders to maximize their rewards.

Double Points on Rent Day

On the first day of each month, known as Rent Day, Bilt cardholders can earn double points on various purchases. This means you can earn:

  • 6x points on dining
  • 4x points on travel
  • 2x points on all other purchases

It’s important to note that rent payments still earn 1x points. However, these elevated multipliers make Rent Day an excellent opportunity to boost your points balance significantly.

Exclusive Promotions and Offers

In addition to double points, Bilt frequently runs special promotions on Rent Day. These can include:

  • Hotel and airline status upgrades
  • Transfer bonuses to partner programs
  • Other limited-time offers

For example, on January 1st, 2024, Bilt offered a transfer bonus of 75-150% to select travel partners, depending on your Bilt status. Such promotions can significantly enhance the value of your points.

Bilt Status: Changes and Implications

Recent changes to Bilt status requirements have implications for cardholders aiming to maximize their rewards.

Updated Status Tiers

Bilt has increased the points required to reach each status tier. The new requirements are:

  • 50,000 points for Silver
  • 125,000 points for Gold
  • 200,000 points for Platinum

These higher thresholds mean that cardholders will need to earn significantly more points to achieve and maintain status.

Fast-Track Options

Bilt has introduced fast-track options for non-rent spending to help cardholders reach status tiers more quickly:

  • $10,000 spend for Silver
  • $25,000 spend for Gold
  • $50,000 spend for Platinum

These options can be beneficial, but they exclude rent payments, which may limit their appeal for some users.

Implications for Cardholders

The increased requirements make it more challenging for many to achieve higher status levels. However, the benefits of having status, such as preferred treatment during Rent Day promotions, can still be valuable.

While the status increases are a drawback, the core features of the Bilt credit card, including valuable transfer partners and no annual fee, remain compelling.

Valuable Transfer Partners and Redemption Options

The Bilt Mastercard offers a variety of valuable transfer partners, making it a versatile option for travelers.

Airline Transfer Partners

Bilt points can be transferred to several major airline programs, including:

  • American Airlines AAdvantage
  • Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

These partnerships provide flexibility and opportunities to find high-value redemptions for your travel needs.

Hotel Transfer Partners

Bilt also partners with leading hotel programs, including:

  • World of Hyatt
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • IHG Rewards Club

These hotel partners enable cardholders to redeem points for stays at a wide range of properties, from luxury resorts to budget-friendly options.

Redemption Values

Bilt points can be highly valuable when transferred to partner programs. Typical redemption values range from 2 to 3 cents per point. However, during promotions, such as the 100% transfer bonus to Flying Blue, redemption values can exceed 6 cents per point.

Maximizing Your Points

To get the most out of your Bilt points, consider the following strategies:

  • Transfer points during promotional periods
  • Redeem points for high-value travel experiences
  • Accumulate points to take advantage of transfer bonuses

By leveraging these strategies, Bilt cardholders can significantly enhance the value of their rewards and enjoy memorable travel experiences.

The Bilt credit card, with its valuable transfer partners and versatile redemption options, offers a compelling proposition for renters looking to maximize their rewards. By taking advantage of Rent Day promotions and understanding the implications of Bilt status changes, cardholders can make the most of their points and enjoy significant travel benefits.

Additional Benefits and Protections

Beyond earning points on rent, the Bilt credit card offers numerous other benefits that are typically reserved for more premium credit cards.

No Foreign Transaction Fees

Cardholders can make international purchases without incurring any foreign transaction fees. This is particularly beneficial for frequent travelers.

Primary Auto Rental Coverage

When renting a car, the Bilt Mastercard provides primary coverage. This means you can avoid using your personal auto insurance and save on potential claims.

Travel Protections

The card includes essential travel protections:

  • Trip cancellation and interruption insurance
  • Trip delay reimbursement

These protections can provide peace of mind and financial relief in case of travel disruptions.

Cell Phone Protection

Cardholders can receive up to $800 in cell phone protection against theft and damage. A $25 deductible applies, and terms and conditions should be reviewed for eligibility details.

While these benefits enhance the card’s value, it’s crucial to read the terms and conditions to understand your eligibility and coverage specifics.

Fraud Concerns and Industry-Wide Challenges

Despite its many advantages, the Bilt credit card has faced some challenges, particularly regarding fraud.

Fraudulent Transactions

In early 2023, many Bilt cardholders reported fraudulent transactions on their accounts. These small, unauthorized charges were a significant concern.

Wells Fargo, the card issuer, quickly addressed these issues. They notified affected cardholders, removed the fraudulent charges, and issued new cards with new numbers.

Industry-Wide Problem

This fraud issue is not unique to the Bilt Mastercard. The entire credit card industry has seen a rise in fraudulent activities.

Many cardholders, including the blog author and their fiancé, experienced multiple cases of fraud across various credit cards, indicating a broader pattern of increased scammer activity.

Zero Liability Protection

Most credit cards, including the Bilt Mastercard, offer zero liability protection. This means cardholders are not held responsible for unauthorized charges.

While this protection is reassuring, dealing with fraud is still inconvenient. The process involves contacting customer service and waiting for new cards, which can be frustrating.

Overall, while the Bilt credit card, like many others, is susceptible to fraud, the robust protections in place help mitigate the impact on cardholders. This means that despite these challenges, the card’s benefits and features remain highly attractive.