Everyday expenses and rewards credit cards typically go hand in hand — you pay your necessary charges with the right credit card and earn points, miles, or cash back in return.
However, rent payments have been largely excluded from earning opportunities because the associated credit card fees often negate the value of any rewards you might receive.
But is that about to change?
This Bilt Mastercard review covers the details on how this new credit card might be the best solution for paying rent and earning rewards while avoiding credit card fees. Let’s see whether it makes sense for you.
Earn Rewards Just by Paying Rent
3X points on rent
up to 2X points
- Pay rent with no fees
- Lyft and DoorDash credits
- No annual fee
- Only earns 1X points on non-rent spending
- No balance transfers
- Earn 3X points on rent in the first 30 days after account opening (up to 10,000 points)
- up to 2X points on rent and 1X points on all other purchases
Who should get the Bilt Mastercard?
If you want to earn rewards on rent payments, the Bilt Mastercard might be the way to go. Credit cards aren’t always accepted for rent payments and if they are, they often come with heavy processing fees. But because the Bilt Mastercard doesn’t have these fees and also has a $0 annual fee, it’s like a renter’s dream come true.
Keep in mind, you likely need a good or excellent credit score to qualify for this card. Also, the Bilt Mastercard doesn’t have the overall best earning potential (more info on this below) when compared with other rewards credit cards, especially if you want to use it for non-rent spending.
But there’s no other card that rewards you with bonus points for rent. And you get some excellent benefits and card perks, such as being able to transfer your points to certain airlines, as well as receiving cell phone protection.
|Card type||Travel/Cash Back|
|Credit card issuer||Evolve Bank & Trust|
|Credit card network||Mastercard|
|Intro bonus||Earn 3X points on rent in the first 30 days after account opening (up to 10,000 points)|
|Reward rate||up to 2X points on rent and 1X points on all other purchases|
|Recommended credit score||Excellent, Good|
|Foreign transaction fee||None|
Bilt Mastercard benefits and perks
- Generous welcome offer: Earn 3X points on rent in the first 30 days after account opening (up to 10,000 points).
- Earning potential: Earn up to 2X points on rent and 1X points on all other purchases.
- No annual fee: With a $0 annual fee, there’s no annual cost to offset.
- No fees for paying rent: Your rent payments are fee-free, which is a unique benefit among credit cards. In most cases, if you want to pay rent with a credit card, it comes with fees.
- BiltProtect: This feature lets you pull funds for your rent payments from a linked bank account instead of your credit line so there’s no risk of going into debt by paying your rent. This feature doesn’t incur any fees and you still earn Bilt points for paying rent.
- World Elite Mastercard benefits: Receive World Elite benefits, such as World Elite Concierge Service, which offers 24/7 services. This includes a variety of assistance options, such as making dinner reservations or getting concert tickets.
- Cell phone protection: Receive up to $1,000 per year in cell phone coverage against lost or damaged phones.
- Purchase protection: Receive up to $1,000 if an eligible item purchased in the past 90 days with your card is lost or damaged.
- Lyft and DoorDash credits: Receive up to $60 per year in Lyft credits and up to $120 per year in DoorDash credits.
- Transfer partners: Transfer your points to popular airline and hotel partner programs, including American Airlines AAdvantage, World of Hyatt, and Air Canada Aeroplan.
- Cover your rent: You can redeem your rewards points to cover rent payments.
- Mortgage down payment: You could also redeem your points to cover a portion of a down payment on a house.
- Fitness redemptions: Use your points for fitness classes from Y7 Studio, Rumble Boxing, and SoulCycle.
- Bilt Collection: Redeem points for items from the Bilt Collection, which features home decor products from different artists. Items could include speakers, candles, vases, and more.
Drawbacks to this card
- Low non-rent earning: Non-rent purchases with this card receive only a 1X earning rate, which is average at best. If you compare credit cards, you have plenty of better options for higher earning potential on non-rent spending.
- Difficult to achieve best earning rates: Unfortunately, having the Bilt Mastercard doesn’t automatically qualify you for the maximum earning rate available on rent payments. To earn the up to 2X possible on rent payments, you have to spend a certain amount of money on non-rent purchases each calendar month and move up the Bilt status tiers. The highest earning rate, the Platinum level, requires $3,500 of non-rent spending in a month.
- Redemption options: The Bilt Rewards program does offer some useful redemption options, but it’s not as flexible as other credit card loyalty programs, at least when it comes to travel redemptions. If you want to use your points for travel, you have to transfer them to a travel partner. Many of the best travel credit cards earn flexible rewards that can be redeemed either directly through a travel portal or transferred to a travel partner. This ends up giving you more options.
Earning and redeeming Bilt Rewards
Potential earnings in years one and two
Here's a look how your points can add up with the Bilt Mastercard. To calculate these values, we used a point valuation of 1.55 cents per point, which is the average of the typical value of Hyatt points and AAdvantage miles.
According to ApartmentGuide.com, the average cost of rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the United States is $1,711 per month. That comes out to $20,532 per year. If we estimate your earnings based on you achieving the Blue status level, then you would receive 1 point for every $2 spent on rent. You would also receive bonus points on your rent for your first 30 days.
Year one earnings: $225.42
Year two earnings: $145.86
Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.
Obviously, if you did more non-rent spending and worked your way up to higher status tiers within the Bilt Rewards system, you could earn more back on your rent. But whether or not you choose to do that would depend on if you are utilizing other rewards cards that might earn more on that spending or if you want to prioritize earning Bilt points.
Best ways to earn
As a Bilt Mastercard cardholder, your rent and non-rent expenses automatically earn points through the Bilt Rewards loyalty program. However, you don’t actually need the credit card to be a member of the program — it’s free to join and you can earn a base of 250 points per rent payment. You can learn more about the rewards program in our Bilt Rewards review.
Keep in mind, non-cardholders can earn Bilt Rewards points on rent only if their apartment is within the Bilt Rewards Alliance. Cardholders can earn points on rent payments whether or not they’re within the Bilt Rewards Alliance. The Bilt Rewards Alliance is a network of more than 2 million apartments from popular management companies, such as Windsor Communities, Morgan Properties, and Starwood Capital Group. You can check to see whether your apartment is in-network by using the Bilt app.
Having the Bilt Mastercard increases your earning potential with Bilt Rewards. With the Bilt Mastercard, you have the opportunity to earn up to 2X points on all your rent payments. This is made possible if you move up the Bilt status tiers and achieve the highest Platinum level.
Here are the Bilt Rewards status tiers, including their earning rates and qualifications:
|Status tier||Qualification||Earning rate|
|Basic||Becoming a cardholder||
|Blue||$250 of non-rent spending in a month||
|Silver||$1,000 of non-rent spending in a month||
|Gold||$2,000 of non-rent spending in a month||
|Platinum||$3,500 of non-rent spending in a month||
As shown in the table, you have to use your card for non-rent spending to qualify for the best rate on rent payments. This might be difficult to achieve for some individuals, but it could work for certain renters.
Maximizing your redemptions
The Bilt Rewards program offers multiple ways to redeem your points, including:
- Transfers to travel partners
- Paying rent
- Paying for a portion of a down payment on a house
- Fitness classes from Y7 Studio, SoulCycle, and Rumble Boxing
- Home decor items from the Bilt Collection
The best way to redeem your points ultimately depends on what kind of redemption will be valuable to you. For example, if you aren’t interested in travel redemptions, it likely makes more sense to use your points on paying rent or something else.
But overall, transfers to travel partners often provide the best value for your points depending on which loyalty program you transfer your points to. World of Hyatt points are typically worth 1.7 cents per point, which is likely your best redemption option when it comes to actual value. For slightly less value, you might consider using your points to cover a portion of a down payment on a house at 1.5 cents per point.
Bilt Mastercard transfer partners
One of the best redemption options for your Bilt Rewards points is transferring them to different travel partners. This allows you to help fund your travels from rewards you earn on paying rent and other expenses.
Bilt Rewards transfer partners include:
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue
- American Airlines AAdvantage
- Emirates Skywards
- World of Hyatt
Your Bilt Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to the listed travel partners, which means 10,000 Bilt Rewards points could equal 10,000 Hyatt points, 10,000 AAdvantage miles, or another 10,000 of an applicable rewards currency.
Five transfer partners may seem like a small number to choose from, but it should be noted that you indirectly receive access to the transfer partners of these travel partners as well. For example, if you transfer your Bilt Rewards points to your AAdvantage account, you can now use miles to book flights with American Airlines. But your miles are also good for American Airlines partner flights with Alaska Airlines, British Airways, Japan Airlines, and more.
Overall, your Bilt Rewards points can be transferred to five direct travel partners and loads of indirect travel partners.
Bilt Mastercard FAQs
How does Bilt make money?
Bilt Rewards makes money in a few different ways, including taking a portion of the transaction fees whenever a Bilt Mastercard is used to make a purchase. In addition, Bilt also makes money through partnerships with real estate companies.
Is Evolve Bank & Trust legit?
Evolve Bank & Trust is a legit bank with an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Evolve is the card issuer for the Bilt Mastercard.
Who owns Bilt Rewards?
Bilt Rewards is the loyalty program for Bilt, a company founded by Ankur Jain and part of the Kairos family of companies. Bilt was founded as a way to give renters a path to homeownership, which the Bilt Rewards program provides. Rent payments made with the Bilt Mastercard earn Bilt Rewards points, which can be redeemed for a variety of things, including cash for a down payment on a house.
What credit score is needed for a Bilt Mastercard?
You typically need a good or excellent credit score to qualify for the Bilt Mastercard. For FICO scores, a good score would be at least 670, whereas an excellent score is 800 or more. For the VantageScore model, a good score is at least 661, whereas an excellent score is 781 or above.
Other cards to consider
The Bilt Mastercard provides a unique opportunity for renters to earn points for paying their rent, but it won’t make sense for everyone. For other credit card options that could work in different situations, consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Citi Double Cash.
The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a Visa card with a $95 annual fee, but its rewards and benefits can easily offset this cost. You get a $50 annual hotel credit and 5X points on Lyft rides (through March 2022) and travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards; 3X points on eligible dining, select streaming services, and online grocery purchases; 2X points on travel; and 1X points per $1 on all other eligible purchases. If your everyday purchases align with these bonus categories, you could have better earning potential than with the Bilt Mastercard.
For more details, read our Chase Sapphire Preferred review.
The Citi Double Cash is an excellent choice for flat-rate cash back. It has a $0 annual fee and offers up to 2% cash back on all purchases: 1% as you buy and 1% as you pay. This rate is much better than the all other purchases rate you get on the Bilt Mastercard for non-rent purchases. If you can’t meet the non-rent spending requirements on the Bilt Mastercard to get the best earning rate, this card could be a better option for your everyday expenses.
For more details, read our Citi Double Cash Card review.
Earn Rewards Just by Paying Rent
Earn 3X points on rent in the first 30 days after account opening (up to 10,000 points)
See how these cards compare:
Chase Sapphire Preferred
- 60,000 point sign-up bonus
- 5X points on travel booked through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 25% more value when redeeming rewards for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- 10% anniversary point bonus each year
- $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through Ultimate Rewards
- Premium travel protection benefits
Citi Double Cash Card
- 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months
- 2% cash back on all purchases - 1% when you buy and 1% when you pay
- No annual fee