Posted: 9/15/23 | September 15, 2023
The Bilt Mastercard® is one of my favorite travel credit cards. While I have a handful of others in my wallet, Bilt is my go-to for most of my day-to-day spending.
Plus, it’s still the only credit card that allows you to earn points on rent (up to 100,000 in a calendar year) entirely for free — no annual fees, tricks, or gimmicks. You just pay your rent each month and earn points you can use for free travel.
So today I wanted to take the opportunity to answer some frequently asked questions about Bilt. Hopefully, this will clear up any confusion you might have — and convince you sign up and start earning your own points today!
Why is Bilt my current favorite travel credit card?
Bilt is the only credit card that allows you to earn points on rent — up to 100,000 per year. Plus, there is no annual fee. If you live in the US and rent (especially in costly cities like NYC or SF), it is a no-brainer.
Another reason I love Bilt is because it’s the only non–American Airlines card that transfers to American Airlines. This is great news for frequent AA fliers, or travelers with specific upcoming trips for which they want to use AA points.
For example, this year, for my birthday, I flew to Japan on JAL in first class (one of my favorite first-class experiences) by optimizing my spending to amass a lot of Bilt points. AA is a partner with Japan Airlines, so I could transfer my Bilt points to AA, and then use those for a seat on a flight operated by JAL.
Finally, Bilt makes it easy to earn points, with 3x on dining, 2x on travel, and 5x on Lyft — and double those figures on all categories (except rent and Lyft) on the first of the month (aka Rent Day). You’ll also earn 2,500 points per referral (with every 5th successful referral getting you an additional 10,000 points) – up to 2 million bonus points. Plus, you’ll get the points on a rolling basis, so you don’t have to wait until your statement closes to use them.
Just note that you must make five purchases each statement period (with no minimum spending requirement) to earn points. (Further info on rewards & benefits here.)
In summary, Bilt has lots of solid bonuses. But the main draw is earning points on rent. If you aren’t doing that, you’re literally leaving money on the table.
How do you earn points paying rent with Bilt?
Once you open a Bilt Mastercard, you simply go to the Bilt app or website to set up your recurring monthly rental payments.
First, you’ll set up a Bilt Rent Account with Wells Fargo (the bank behind Bilt). This is basically a legal “dummy” account created as a workaround for credit card processing fees. You do not use it for anything else (you do not withdraw money from it or deposit into it).
Whenever these unique routing and account numbers are used to pay rent (whether you use an online portal, Venmo, or PayPal), your Bilt Mastercard is charged for the same amount. You then pay off the balance each month (in full!) by connecting it to your usual bank account, as you would any other credit card.
If your landlord only accepts checks, you can still pay with your Bilt card through the Bilt Rewards app, and Bilt will send a check on your behalf.
My rental payment portal charges a processing fee for paying by credit card. Will I get charged a fee for using Bilt to pay my rent?
Nope! With a Bilt Rent Account (see above), you’re technically paying your rent with a bank account, not a credit card. So you won’t incur any fees!
What’s the annual fee for Bilt?
There is NO annual fee, which is part of what makes Bilt so awesome! (Full card terms here.)
What are the best transfer partners for Bilt?
My favorite transfer partner is American Airlines, because, besides AA credit cards, this is the only way to earn AA points.
You can also transfer points 1:1 to 13 other travel partners:
- American Airlines
- AerClub (Aer Lingus)
- Aeroplan (Air Canada)
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Flying Blue (Air France/KLM)
- Hawaiian Airlines
- IHG (Intercontinental Hotels Group)
- Turkish Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- World of Hyatt
It’s easy to find the best use of your Bilt points when both booking flights and hotels, thanks to Bilt’s partnerships with both Point.me, the search engine for finding award flights (learn more about Point.me in my review), and Awayz, which helps you find award hotel stays (more in my Awayz review here). Just put your desired destination into the Bilt app’s travel portal, and the search function will display flights and hotels that you could book with Bilt points.
Once you’ve decided, you can transfer your Bilt points to the necessary travel partner right within the app.
What is Rent Day?
Rent Day is the first day of the month (when rent is usually due). On this day, Bilt offers double points for the main spending categories, meaning that you’ll earn 6x (not 3x) on dining, 4x (not 2x) on travel, and 2x on other purchases (except rent) made on the first of the month. (Lyft points are also not doubled.) This is my favorite way to easily rack up Bilt points. (Just remember that you must use the card 5 times each statement period to earn points. Rewards & Benefits here.)
There are even more bonuses on Rent Day in the Bilt app, where you can play various games in order to earn points. For example, in Point Quest, a mainstay of the Rent Day extravaganza, you can earn points for correct answers to (pretty easy) trivia questions.
There’s also a Rent Day Challenge that changes every month, in which you complete a challenge for a chance that Bilt will pay your rent for one month. Past challenges have included a fill-in-the-blank one and an image search (find Bilt blocks within an image).
Does Bilt work if I pay a mortgage instead of renting?
No. You currently can’t get points on your mortgage, only rent payments.
However, even homeowners might want to consider getting the Bilt card for the plethora of other benefits. It’s without a doubt the best no-fee travel credit card out there, regardless of whether you’re using the points-for-rent feature or not. The ease of earning points that are transferable to a wide range of travel partners, Rent Day benefits (available to all cardholders), free Point.me and Awayz access (for finding award flights and hotels), and solid travel insurance make it hard to beat.
What credit score is needed for Bilt?
The recommended credit score to apply for Bilt is in the good-to-excellent range (670–850), though this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. Other factors in your credit history may come into play when your application is evaluated.
How do you apply for a Bilt credit card?
Simply click this link to apply! For most applicants, it takes just a couple of minutes to receive a response. Keep in mind that this is a hard inquiry on your credit, meaning that it might cause a temporary dip in your score.
Can I use Bilt without the credit card?
If you live in a Bilt Alliance property (properties with an official partnership with Bilt), you won’t need the Bilt Mastercard to earn points on your rent. However, even if you live in one of these properties, I still think it’s well worth it for all the other ways to earn even more!
Is Bilt worth it?
Yes! Considering there’s no annual fee and only points to gain, Bilt is absolutely worth having in your wallet.
Bilt is a must-have for anyone who rents in the US — but especially travelers. I really can’t recommend it enough. As the only card that lets you earn points from paying rent, and as the only non–American Airlines card that lets you earn AA points, it’s my favorite for a reason.
Don’t leave money on the table — get your Bilt card today!
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
Want to Travel for Free?
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to picking the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.
Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.