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 Points Just by Paying Rent
Earn 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, up to 1X points on rent payments without the transaction fee (up to 100,000 points each calendar year), and 1X points on other purchases
Who should get the Bilt Mastercard?
If you want to earn rewards on monthly 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, many factors including your credit history are considered when applying 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||Wells Fargo|
|Credit card network||Mastercard|
|Welcome bonus||Earn up to 1X points on rent payments without the transaction fee (up to 100,000 points each calendar year)|
|Reward rate||3X points on dining, 2X points on travel, up to 1X points on rent payments without the transaction fee (up to 100,000 points each calendar year), and 1X points on other purchases|
|Recommended credit score||Excellent, Good, Fair, Bad|
|Foreign transaction fee||None|
Bilt Mastercard benefits and perks
- Unique earning opportunity: Earn up to 1X points on rent payments without the transaction fee (up to 100,000 points each calendar year).
- Earning potential: Earn 3X points on dining, 2X points on travel, up to 1X points on rent payments without the transaction fee (up to 100,000 points each calendar year), and 1X points on 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 $800 (with a $25 deductible) in cell phone coverage against lost or damaged phones, with up to two paid claims in a 12-month period.
- Purchase security: Receive up to $10,000 (dependent on repair or replacement) if an eligible item purchased in the past 90 days with your card is lost or damaged.
- Lyft and DoorDash credits: As a cardholder, you'll receive credits for both DoorDash and Lyft.
- 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, including 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-travel earning: Non-travel and non-dining 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.
- Minimum use requirements: Unfortunately, having the Bilt Mastercard doesn’t automatically qualify you to earn rewards on all purchases. Beyond spending on travel, dining, and rent, you must use your card five times each statement period to earn rewards on all purchases. This is an uncommon restriction that you won't find on the best travel credit cards.
Earning and redeeming Bilt Rewards
Potential earnings in years one and two
Here's a look at 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 (both transfer partners with Bilt).
According to ApartmentGuide.com, the average cost of rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the United States is $1,680 per month. That comes out to $20,160 per year. Here are your estimated earnings based on receiving 1 point for every $1 spent on rent.
Year one earnings: $708.35
Year two earnings: $708.35
Remember, this is an estimation. The actual value will be determined by how much you spend and in which categories you spend.
Of course, if you did more non-rent spending and worked your way up to higher status tiers within the Bilt Rewards system, you could potentially increase your earnings. 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 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 1X points on all your rent payments, up to a maximum of 100,000 points per year. Without this card, you're limited to earning a maximum of 250 points per month, or 3,000 points per year.
Here are the Bilt Rewards status tiers:
|Blue||Enroll in Bilt Rewards||
|Silver||Earn 25,000 points in a calendar year||
|Gold||Earn 100,000 points in a calendar year||
|Platinum||Earn 100,000 points in a calendar year||
As shown in the table, Silver members and higher can receive interest on their eligible points balance. This is an interesting concept (like a savings account), but you typically want to use your rewards rather than hanging onto them for long periods of time. Also, it might be difficult to earn these higher tiers of membership since the points requirements are so high.
Maximizing your redemptions
The Bilt Rewards program offers multiple ways to redeem your points, including:
- Transfers to travel partners
- Travel portal redemptions
- Paying rent
- Paying for a portion of a down payment on a house
- Fitness classes from Y7 Studio, SoulCycle, Solidcore, 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 one of your best redemption options 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.
You might also consider using the Bilt travel portal (powered by Expedia) for travel redemptions. Your points are worth 1.25 cents per point in the travel portal, which is decent value for redemptions such as flights, car rentals, and hotel stays.
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
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Emirates Skywards
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
IHG Rewards Club
- World of Hyatt
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
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.
It should be noted that you receive indirect access to the transfer partners of these 10 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 at least 10 direct travel partners and loads of indirect travel partners. Bilt is frequently updating its travel partner information, including adding more partners. To see this updated information, check the Bilt Rewards app.
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 Bilt part of Wells Fargo?
Bilt isn't part of Wells Fargo, but Bilt has a partnership with Wells Fargo to issue the Bilt Mastercard. Wells Fargo announced its partnership with Bilt Rewards in March 2022 to become the official card issuer for the Bilt card. Bilt previously had a partnership with Evolve Bank & Trust to issue its credit card.
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?
A range of credit scores may qualify for the Bilt Mastercard. Your credit score, information on your application, and other information available to Wells Fargo and Bilt Rewards will determine if you qualify for the Bilt Mastercard.
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® Card and Citi® Double Cash Card.
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 travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®; 3X points on dining, select streaming services, and eligible online grocery purchases; 2X points on all other travel purchases, 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 Card is an excellent choice for flat-rate cash back. It has a $0 annual fee and offers 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases. This rate is much better than the 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 Points Just by Paying Rent
Why We Like It
Earn up to 1X points on rent payments without the transaction fee (up to 100,000 points each calendar year)
See how these cards compare:
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
- 5X points on travel purchased 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
- Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases
- 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 18 months, then 18.99% - 28.99% (Variable) APR
- No annual fee
- Rates and fees