Link: Apply for the no annual fee Bilt Mastercard®
I’ve written quite a bit recently about the Bilt Mastercard®, as it’s a card that I recently applied for. I’ve covered many of the ways that you can earn points with Bilt, and in this post I wanted to talk more about redeeming points with Bilt.
The basic value proposition of the Bilt Mastercard
The Bilt Mastercard is a no annual fee credit card issued by Wells Fargo, which is especially compelling for renters.
The card offers 3x points on dining, 2x points on travel, and 1x points on all other purchases. On top of that, the card has valuable perks, ranging from cell phone protection, to primary rental car coverage, to trip delay reimbursement, all of which are rare for a no annual fee card.
What really sets the card apart, though, is that you can earn points for paying rent with no fee, up to a limit of 100,000 points per year. Given how many Americans rent, this is an incredible opportunity. In order to earn points for paying rent, you need to have at least five transactions per billing cycle.
As I’ve covered in other posts, the card also seems to have a secret sign-up bonus, and it might also be possible to pay your HOA and earn points for free.
Read a full review of the Bilt Mastercard.
How to redeem points earned with the Bilt Mastercard
Earning lots of points is one thing, but how can you actually redeem points earned with the Bilt Mastercard? Bilt points are quite competitive with the other major transferable points currencies out there, so there are lots of great uses of them.
Let me go over the different ways to redeem Bilt points, ranked from most valuable to least valuable (in my opinion).
Transfer Bilt points to 14 airline & hotel partners
For those of us into miles & points, the good news is that Bilt has 14 travel transfer partners, as the program partners with 12 airline loyalty programs and two hotel loyalty programs. Specifically, you can transfer points at a 1:1 ratio to the following programs, and all transfers are typically instant:
- Aer Lingus AerClub
- Air Canada Aeroplan
- Air France-KLM Flying Blue
- American AAdvantage
- British Airways Executive Club
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- Emirates Skywards
- Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
- Iberia Plus
- IHG One Rewards
- Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
- United MileagePlus
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- World of Hyatt
There’s quite a bit of overlap here with other transferable points currencies, though I should call out two things:
- The other major transferable points currencies don’t partner with American AAdvantage, so that’s a unique partner, given all the great uses of AAdvantage miles
- World of Hyatt is otherwise only transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards, and there are lots of great uses of World of Hyatt points
Redeem Bilt points toward a home downpayment
Since Bilt is designed largely for people who rent, here’s a cool way you can redeem your Bilt points. If you buy a home, you can redeem your Bilt points toward a downpayment at the rate of 1.5 cents each, which is quite good. In other words, 10,000 points would get you $150 toward a downpayment.
To use this option, you just email Bilt with proof of a home purchase, and include how many points you’d like to redeem. That’s pretty straightforward, and a good value!
Redeem Bilt points with the Bilt Travel Portal
Bilt has a travel portal that’s powered by Expedia. You can choose to either earn or redeem points through the portal. If you’d like to redeem points, Bilt points are worth 1.25 cents each toward a travel purchase. In other words, 10,000 points would get you $125 toward a travel purchase.
The Bilt Travel Portal allows you to book flights, hotels, rental cars, and activities, so you have quite a bit of flexibility.
Redeem Bilt points for shopping, fitness, and lifestyle
There are a variety of other ways you can redeem Bilt points, though personally I wouldn’t recommend these:
- You can redeem Bilt points through Amazon, at the rate of 0.7 cents per point
- You can redeem Bilt points toward select fitness classes, typically at the rate of somewhere around 1.0 cents per point
- You can redeem Bilt points toward the Bilt Collection (which includes apparel, art, home decor, and more), but the value is generally around 1.0 cents per point
Redeem Bilt points to pay your rent
Bilt lets you redeem your points to pay rent. However, each point will only get you 0.55 cents toward a rent payment. In other words, 10,000 points would get you $55 toward rent. This is a very poor use of points, so it’s not how I’d recommend redeeming Bilt points.
My strategy with redeeming Bilt points
If you’re looking to maximize value (hopefully you are!), you shouldn’t redeem your Bilt points for any of the options that you get one cent of value per point or less. In other words, avoid paying rent with your Bilt points, and don’t use them for Amazon purchases, or for any of the fitness classes or lifestyle options.
Then there are two options that aren’t necessarily the best way to redeem your points, but which could still prove to be worthwhile:
- Redeeming Bilt points for 1.5 cents each toward a home downpayment could be a good deal, though admittedly this is pretty niche
- Redeeming Bilt points for 1.25 cents each toward a travel purchase could be a decent option, assuming you’re struggling to otherwise get more value with your points
My preference is most definitely to transfer Bilt points to the program’s airline and hotel partners. After all, you can get such outsized value, especially for premium travel (first and business class flights, and five star hotels).
There’s value to be had with most of Bilt’s transfer partners, though personally here’s my strategy with these points:
- By default, I’ll probably be transferring my Bilt points to World of Hyatt, given all the amazing uses of these points, and also given that the only other partner for World of Hyatt is Chase Ultimate Rewards
- I also think there’s a lot of value to be had with American AAdvantage, but that’s probably not how I’ll use my Bilt points, as I have a sizable balance of AAdvantage miles
- We see a monthly Bilt Rent Day promotion, and we’ve seen some amazing transfer bonuses (in the past, 100% to both Air France-KLM Flying Blue and Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles), so it could be worth waiting to take advantage of those
The Bilt Mastercard has its own rewards currency, and you can rack up points for both your everyday spending and for paying rent. For all practical purposes, Bilt has a transferable points currency, and you can transfer your points to 14 different partners. I think that American AAdvantage and World of Hyatt are the two standout partners.
You can also redeem your Bilt points for 1.5 cents each toward a downpayment for a home, or for 1.25 cents each through the Bilt Travel Portal. While there are further lower value redemptions, I wouldn’t recommend redeeming your points that way.
What’s your favorite use of Bilt points?
Is the monthly maintenance fee on Condos the same as HOA fees?
Bilt changed the sign-up bonus for me - now it appears that there are 4 points (one base point plus 3 bonus points) for travel purchases made only on the first day of each month, although I don't know when this offer will end. And it is probably limited by the 100,000 points per year rule.
Also, my water company wanted a cancelled "void" check - Bilt is willing to send me a letter that I can send to my water company in hopes I can use Bilt for my water company.
I just recently got my Bilt card, so this article is helpful when I start planning stuff. I don't do a lot of award travel, so my primary choice is between transferring to Aeroplan (due to the great uses for Aeroplan miles) or restock my United MileagePlus. Anyone have any opinion on this? I'm leaning toward Aeroplan right now.
How does Bilt prevent people from gaming the system? For example, what prevents me from sending my friend (or my friends’s registered LLC) a $10,000 “rent payment“ (which allows me to earn points) and then my friend returns the money to me and we repeat the process the following month. Asking for a friend.
The IRS. Maybe the FBI too. Sounds like fraud. Your post here will be exhibit a.
Can't be Exhibit A. He's asking for a friend :D