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No more waitlist: Bilt opens its Mastercard to all with Wells Fargo backing

March 28, 2022
9 min read
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In summer 2021, a small (but mighty) New York City startup disrupted the rental, credit cards and rewards marketplace.

Enter Bilt Rewards, the first-ever loyalty program to offer points on rent — without any fees attached. You can then redeem your points for travel, future mortgage or rent credit, fitness classes and more.

The Bilt Rewards program goes hand in hand with the Bilt Mastercard — which comes with no annual fee. You don't need a Bilt Mastercard to earn points on rent if your landlord is a part of the Bilt Rewards Alliance, but even if they are, carrying this card can help accelerate your earnings toward your next redemption.

However, since the program's launch, applications for the card have been invite-only.

That all changes today. Just short of a year later, Bilt has now partnered with Wells Fargo to become the exclusive issuer of the Bilt Mastercard, which will allow applications to go live for the public. And with this announcement, TPG is releasing our first-ever valuation of Bilt Rewards points.

Let's take a look at what this partnership means for current cardholders and prospective applicants.

(Editor’s note: TPG founder Brian Kelly is a Bilt advisor and investor.)

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Why Wells Fargo?

(Photo by Wyatt Smith/The Points Guy)

While Wells Fargo is a huge bank — serving one in three households across the U.S. — the issuer isn't known for its cobranded cards.

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Prior to Bilt, Hotels.com has been the lone partner of Wells Fargo. In fact, the Bilt Mastercard will be the first new credit card that Wells Fargo and Mastercard have launched together in five years.

Thanks to this new partnership, applications for the Bilt Mastercard will be live to virtually anyone, much like any other credit card on the market. Plus, the Bilt Mastercard will now garner the attention of Wells Fargo's existing customers, as the bank "counts over 64 million customers and operates more than 4,700 branches across the country."

Related: The best Wells Fargo credit cards

Is the card changing?

(Photo courtesy of Bilt)

While Wells Fargo will now be the issuer for Bilt Mastercard, the core product is not changing. That means for existing cardholders, you will continue to earn the same number of points according to your Bilt status tier.

For new applicants, here's a quick refresher on the Bilt Mastercard if you were interested in applying.

First, the Bilt Rewards Alliance represents more than two million rental units in the U.S., allowing you to pay your rent and earn points, fee-free. Even if your rental isn't part of the alliance, you can still pay rent through the Bilt App, and Bilt will cut a check to your landlord on your behalf.

How to earn points

With the Bilt Mastercard, you'll earn points on everyday purchases and rent:

  • 3 points per dollar on dining and takeout.
  • 2 points per dollar on travel booked directly with airlines, hotels, cruises and car rental companies.
  • 1 point per dollar on rent (up to 50,000 points per year) and all other eligible purchases (with no limit).

Note that cardholders must make at least five transactions per statement period to earn points — but that shouldn't be a problem for most cardholders.

How to redeem points

Perhaps the most exciting part about Bilt Rewards is its breadth of airline and hotel transfer partners. Your Bilt points transfer at a 1:1 ratio over to the following loyalty programs:

  • American Airlines AAdvantage.
  • Air Canada Aeroplan.
  • Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.
  • Emirates Skywards.
  • Flying Blue - Air France/KLM.
  • Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles.
  • IHG Hotels and Resorts.
  • Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles.
  • United Airlines MileagePlus.
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.
  • World of Hyatt.

Other redemption options include fitness classes (such as Rumble and SoulCycle), future rent or mortgage credit, and specially curated items in the Bilt Collection.

Finally, there are other noteworthy perks such as World Elite Mastercard benefits and no foreign transaction fees, making this a compelling card for the U.S. renter.

Earn Bilt status — and amplify your rewards

In addition, the Bilt Rewards program has four status tiers based on how many points you accrue (from both rent and non-rent purchases) in a calendar year.

If you earn a particular tier from Jan. 1 to June 30, you'll maintain your status through Jan. 31 of the following year. For those who earn status between July 1 and Dec. 31, you'll keep your status for the rest of that year and the entire following year.

FeatureBlueSilverGoldPlatinum
RequirementsAnyone enrolled in Bilt Rewards or under 25,000 points earned.25,000 points earned.50,000 points earned.100,000 points earned.
Transfer to airlines and hotelsMust be done in 2,000-point increments.1,000-point increments.1,000-point increments.1,000-point increments.
Homeownership concierge (if you opt to redeem Bilt points toward a future mortgage).No.No.Yes.Yes.
Complimentary Bilt Collection giftNo.No.No.Yes.
Bonus points on new leases and renewals.Yes.10%.25%.50%.

How much are Bilt points worth?

Now that the Bilt Mastercard is available publicly, TPG's editorial team has analyzed the Bilt Rewards program to come up with a valuation of Bilt points. This will be included in the April launch of our monthly valuations, but we're publishing it here first.

As we announced in Dec. 2021, we're in the process of shifting all of our valuations to a data-backed model, but for now, our team utilizes a proprietary formula for valuing transferable points (like Bilt Rewards) based on a number of criteria. This includes the highest-value transfer partner and the number of individual partners with loyalty currencies higher than 1 cent.

We also factor in the "simple" redemption option — how you can using the currency for those not looking to transfer to partners and maximize the value that way.

Based on these calculations, TPG pegs the value of Bilt Rewards points at 1.8 cents apiece.

The program gets a lot of credit for top-notch transfer partners, including World of Hyatt, United MileagePlus and American AAdvantage (in fact, it's the only transferable currency to partner with AA). This list covers all of the major airline alliances along with solid non-alliance programs like Emirates Skywards and Virgin Atlantic Flying Club.

However, with a total of 11 partner programs, the list still isn't quite as lengthy as that of American Express Membership Rewards (20) or Chase Ultimate Rewards (14).

In addition, the 2,000-point minimum for non-elite members to transfer points is notably less flexible than others.

Finally, for cardholders who aren't well-versed in the world of transfer partners, Bilt Rewards offers limited and/or low-value direct redemption options for your points: down payments on a new house (1.5 cents per point) or future rent payments (0.55 cents per point).

This valuation is likely to change as the program evolves and our data-backed valuations expand to additional programs, but for now, 1.8 cents per point is where Bilt Rewards lands.

What's next for Bilt?

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

We're seeing rapid growth for the Bilt Rewards program already. In the past month alone, Bilt has added Cathay Pacific Asia Miles and United MileagePlus as two new airline transfer partners.

And in less than a year, the program's marquee product — the Bilt Mastercard — has gone from invite-only to publicly-available, backed by a major credit card issuer in Wells Fargo.

Richard Kerr, Bilt's director of travel rewards, indicated that there's more to come in an emailed statement to TPG:

"In the 10 months since launch, we've listened to our members and thought hard about what it would take to make Bilt Rewards the most valuable and relevant loyalty program in existence. The recent partner additions of United MileagePlus and Asia Miles strengthened our already valuable travel program — but they are just the start.
In the coming months, you'll see many more announcements from us that will continue to make Bilt Points relevant and valuable to every member regardless of their passions and interests. We're excited with what we have to bring to market the rest of 2022."

If recent developments are any indication, we'll likely see Bilt continuing to pave the way to becoming one of the best transferable points programs available — even rivaling the likes of Amex or Chase in providing value to travelers.

Bottom line

Rent is a recurring expense that millions of Americans pay, and many get no reward for doing so. With this new key partnership with Wells Fargo, Bilt is able to open up applications for the public, giving renters access to this lucrative and innovative program.

Featured image by (Featured photo by Bilt)
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.

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023