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Earn points on rent: Your complete guide to the Bilt Rewards program

Aug. 02, 2022
12 min read
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Editor’s note: TPG founder Brian Kelly is a Bilt advisor and investor.

For a long time, the dominant players in the credit card points world have been American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards — and for good reason. Thanks to their generous list of transfer partners, both types of points are estimated to be worth a respectable 2 cents apiece toward travel. Of course, it's possible to get more value if you redeem for high-end flights or hotel stays.

In recent years, however, competition has grown fiercer. Almost every card issuer has developed its own version of a rewards program to mimic these legacy programs and encourage spending within its ecosystem.

One of these newcomers is Bilt Rewards — and it’s built (yes, pun intended) like none other. You can earn points for paying rent, which is great news since renting can amount to thousands of dollars spent per year. And although Bilt Rewards is a new entrant to this competitive space, the program already offers an impressive list of transfer partners, including American Airlines AAdvantage and World of Hyatt.

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We value Bilt points at 1.8 cents each when you leverage the right travel transfer partners. In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about the Bilt Rewards loyalty program and how you can earn and redeem points for the maximum value possible.

How to earn Bilt Rewards points

(Photo courtesy of Bilt)

The nice thing about Bilt Rewards points is that you don’t necessarily need the Bilt Mastercard® to start earning. It’s completely free (and takes just under a minute) to sign up through, but you’ll need to live in a Bilt Rewards Alliance property to be eligible.

The Bilt Rewards Alliance comprises more than 2 million affiliated rental properties across the U.S., allowing you to pay rent through the Bilt app seamlessly for no additional fee. If you live in one of these eligible rentals, you’ll earn 250 points per monthly on-time rent payment, no matter how much your rent costs.

Admittedly, the earnings are limited since you can earn up to 3,000 points each year. While that may not amount to much — an estimated $54 in value per year — who doesn’t like free points?

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Bilt Mastercard

While signing up for the free program is one way to earn Bilt points, the better way to supercharge your earnings is by applying for the Bilt Mastercard. It allows virtually all U.S. renters to take advantage of the Bilt loyalty program, even if you don’t live in a Bilt-affiliated property.

You can pay your rent via online automated clearing house payment with your Bilt Mastercard through the Bilt app. If your landlord only accepts physical checks, don’t fret: You can still pay your rent with the Bilt Mastercard on the app, then Bilt will directly mail your landlord a rent check each month, allowing you to earn points on rent without incurring any additional fees.

Since the Bilt Mastercard itself doesn’t carry an annual fee, many renters may want to apply for it outright. Cardholders will earn 1 point per dollar spent on rent, capped at up to 100,000 points annually, which is much better than being capped at 3,000 points without the Bilt card.

Another small caveat is that you must make at least five transactions on your card each statement period to earn any points — but that should be easy given that cardholders will also earn 3 points per dollar at restaurants and 2 points per dollar on travel. There’s a whole suite of impressive perks for a no-annual-fee card, including complimentary cellphone protection, trip cancellation and interruption protection, no foreign transaction fees and more.

Related: Should you use the Bilt Mastercard? Why it could be a game changer for renters

Elite status through Bilt Rewards

(Photo courtesy of Bilt)

Another interesting aspect of the Bilt Rewards program is its elite status membership, which encourages users to spend more on the Bilt Mastercard. Here’s a quick overview:

Qualification (points earned per year)All Bilt Rewards members.25,000 points.50,000 points.100,000 points.
Earn interest on your pointsN/A.Yes.Yes.Yes.
Access to complimentary home ownership conciergeNo.No.Yes.Yes.
Bonus points on new leases or lease renewalsNone.10%.25%.50%.

Your member status is based on the total points earned in a calendar year from all of your credit card spending. Elite status earned between Jan. 1 and June 30 each year will expire on Jan. 31 of the following year, while status earned between July 1 and Dec. 31 will remain active the rest of the year in which it was earned as well as the entire following year.

While these elite status tiers likely won’t move the needle for most users, if you can qualify for the Silver, Gold or Platinum tiers, the most enticing feature is that you can start to earn interest on points.

Related: Quick Points: How to earn ‘interest’ on your rewards balance with Bilt

Redeeming Bilt Rewards points: Poor-value options

Redeeming Bilt Rewards points on Amazon gets you much less value than TPG's valuation. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto)

The Bilt Rewards loyalty program aims to cast a wide net with various redemption options. With your hard-earned points, there seems to be a catalog of choices, from shopping to applying your points to your next rent payment.

If you want to extract the maximum value from your Bilt Rewards points, you’ll likely want to avoid some of these less valuable redemption options:

Use points for Amazon purchases: You can select your Bilt Mastercard on as a payment method and redeem your points to cover all or a portion of your purchase at checkout. When used this way, however, Bilt points are worth a mere 0.7 cents each. For example, you’ll need approximately 14,300 Bilt points to cover a $100 Amazon purchase. Compare that to the potential estimated value of 1.8 cents apiece (or greater), and it’s not necessarily the best value.

Shop the Bilt Collection: The Bilt Collection is a curated list of items including art, home decor and apparel. The value per point will vary but rarely exceed more than 1 cent per point, which is why you should likely pass on this option.

Redeem your points for fitness classes: Fitness enthusiasts can redeem their Bilt points to attend name-brand classes like SoulCycle, Y7 Studio and Rumble Boxing. The value will depend on the class that you select, but hovers around just 1 cent per point.

Pay your rent with points: A potentially enticing option with your points is to save them to help cover your next rent payment. However, this is only available if you live in a Bilt Rewards Alliance property or for check payments. And even worse, the redemption value is just 0.55 cents per point.

Related: 5 common purchases you should never redeem miles for

Redeeming your Bilt Rewards points: Medium-value options

You can use your Bilt points toward a down payment on a home. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

The following redemption options will get you a decent value (read: more than 1 cent per point):

Use your points to save up for a down payment on a home: Bilt offers the unique ability for users to save up their points toward a down payment on a home one day. If you opt for this route, your Bilt points are valued at 1.5 cents each toward a down payment.

Redeem for travel on the Bilt Travel portal: Through Bilt’s in-house travel portal, you can cover all or a portion of your flight, hotel, rental car or excursions — at an elevated rate of 1.25 cents per point. For families, this could be a great option since you can redeem your points toward Disney hotels and park tickets.

Transferring to airline and hotel partners: Best value

You can use your Bilt Rewards points for business- and first-class airfare when you leverage the program's transfer partners. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Nothing beats the outsize value of transferring your points to Bilt’s airline and hotel partners. In fact, there are 11 affiliated loyalty programs representing every airline alliance. Bilt Rewards is the only transferable points program to offer American Airlines AAdvantage as a transfer partner, which is one of our favorite options for some pretty amazing sweet spots.

It’s free to join these loyalty programs, even if you’ve never flown or stayed with any of these partners. Plus, Bilt gives cardholders 100 bonus points for each loyalty program you link to your account. This is a no-brainer and can easily get you 1,100 bonus points with minimal effort.

You can easily get 1.8 cents per point in value — or perhaps much more — and score a lie-flat airplane seat or a luxurious hotel stay by transferring your Bilt points to the right programs, all at a simple, 1:1 transfer ratio:

ProgramRatioTransfer time
American Airlines AAdvantage1:1.Usually instant, but up to 24 hours.
Air Canada Aeroplan1:1.Instant.
Air France-KLM Flying Blue1:1.Instant.
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles1:1.Instant.
Emirates Skywards1:1.Instant.
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles1:1.Instant.
IHG One Rewards1:1.Instant.
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles1:1.Instant.
United Airlines MileagePlus1:1.Instant.
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club1:1.Instant.
World of Hyatt 1:1.Instant.

There are some particularly high-value loyalty programs that you can leverage to get maximum value for your Bilt Rewards points. Here are a few ideas to get you going:

Simply put, the options are endless. And because so many of Bilt’s transfer partners overlap with existing transferable points programs, you can refer to those guides as inspiration to maximize programs like Air Canada Aeroplan, Air France-KLM Flying Blue, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club and so many more.

Related: The 6 best airline award chart sweet spots

Bottom line

As a whole, the Bilt Rewards program offers a unique value proposition: Earn transferable points on rent, fee-free. Not to mention, Bilt has world-class partnerships with many popular airline and hotel loyalty programs that can help you get outsize value for your points. Even better, your points will transfer at an easy-to-understand, 1:1 ratio, and instantly for almost all programs.

Photo by kolderal/Getty Images.

See Bilt Mastercard rates and fees here.

See Bilt Mastercard rewards and benefits here.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.