Most products on this page are from partners who may compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how they appear on the page. However, opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain. This page may include information about American Express products currently unavailable on Slickdeals. American Express is not a partner of Slickdeals.
The Bilt Mastercard® is one of the most disruptive travel reward credit cards to hit the landscape in recent years. Issued by Wells Fargo, this new card introduces a proprietary Bilt points currency to the travel rewards ecosystem, and rewards renters for paying one of their biggest monthly expenses.
Cardholders also earn bonus points on travel and dining expenses. In turn, those points can be spent on Amazon, used toward rent or even a future down payment on a home, or transferred to airline and hotel partners including American Airlines, Hyatt and United Airlines. To further sweeten the deal, Bilt card holders also get cell phone insurance and primary rental car insurance -- all with no annual fee.
Here’s what you should know about the Bilt Mastercard so you can decide if it deserves a slot in your wallet.
Benefits of the Bilt Mastercard
Bilt is a great credit card for rent-paying consumers. The ability to earn rewards on rent without incurring a transaction fee sets Bilt apart from any other credit card in the market right now.
The Bilt Alliance includes more than 2 million rental units throughout the United States, although cardholders can pay rent to any landlord in the U.S., even if they’re not part of the Bilt network.
Cardholders can generate a virtual routing and account number to use for rent payments, or have a check sent directly to their landlord’s mailing address.
Outside of earning rewards on rent, Bilt card holders have access to complimentary cell phone insurance, no foreign currency conversion fee and retail benefits, all with no annual fee.
The rates below apply when you use your Bilt credit card five or more times per month.
- 3 points per dollar spent with dining establishments such as restaurants, bars and bakeries.
- 2 points per dollar spent on travel with airlines, hotels, motels, resorts, cruise lines, and car rental agencies.
- 1 point per dollar spent on qualifying rent payments at one rental property per month, up to 100,000 points per year. If you pay less than $250 in rent each month, you will earn a flat 250 points.
- 1 point per dollar across all other categories of spend.
You can earn double points each month on “Rent Day” -- the first day of the month: All dining expenses will earn 6 points per dollar and all travel earns 4 points per dollar if the purchase posts to your account with a transaction date of the first of that month.
Additional benefits of the Bilt Mastercard
Cell phone insurance
If you use your Bilt Mastercard to pay your monthly cell phone bill, you are eligible for up to a $800 reimbursement toward the cost of fixing or replacing a broken cell phone after a $25 deductible.
Bilt cardholders have access to a few benefits when shopping, including the ability to:
- Connect your Bilt card to Amazon.com to shop with points
- Receive free 2-day shipping with ShopRunner as a World Elite Mastercard holder
No foreign currency conversion fee
If you take your Bilt Mastercard overseas with you, you won’t have to pay a foreign currency conversion fee to use this card.
Fee-Free Rewards for Renters: A Review of the Bilt Mastercard
Who should get the Bilt Mastercard?
Someone who pays rent within the United States
The Bilt card is a no-brainer for U.S. renters - and even for non-renters, the Bilt Mastercard can be a great addition to your credit portfolio. For instance, I have a mortgage so I don’t pay rent; however, I signed up for a Bilt card to earn points that I can transfer to American Airlines, since I don’t have another credit card that earns AA-transferrable points.
Bilt sends fee-free rent payments to any residential landlord in the United States who accepts checks or uses an online payment portal.
You will not pay a transaction fee if you link your Bilt account for rent payment through the Bilt app or on the Bilt Rewards website. However, you may be charged a credit card fee if you use the card to pay rent within your property manager’s online portal without setting up your Bilt account according to the card instructions.
Someone seeking an everyday card without an annual fee for earning travel rewards
The Bilt credit card is a great starter card, particularly for Gen Z and Millennials, because it rewards one of our biggest expenses - rent - as well as two of our biggest passions: travel and food.
Throw in the fact that there’s no annual fee, comes with cell phone insurance and primary rental car insurance, and this card becomes a metropolitan 20- or 30-something’s daydream.
Frequent travelers who want to book directly through Bilt, or transfer award points to major airlines and hotels
A lot of people have high praise for Bilt points right now - for good reason. Bilt’s unique partnerships make this one of the most flexible cards in the points and miles ecosystem despite being the newbie on the block.
Bilt points can be transferred to American Airlines and United, two of the largest airlines in the United States and members of two of the world’s three major airline alliances, Oneworld and Star Alliance.
This point transfer flexibility alone makes Bilt stand out favorably against legacy card issuers such as Chase, American Express, Citi and Capital One, none of which hold partnerships with more than one of the “Big 3” airlines (American, Delta and United).
In addition to American and United, Bilt airline and hotel partners include:
- Air Canada
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Turkish Airlines
- Air France/Flying Blue/KLM
- Cathay Pacific
Travelers who prefer to book Bilt flights or hotels directly through the credit card can also do so through Bilt’s proprietary travel portal.
If complimentary cell phone insurance appeals to you
Backed by Wells Fargo, the Bilt Mastercard comes with great cell phone protection in the form of insurance. As long as you pay your monthly cell phone bill with the Bilt card, you can receive up to $800 toward the cost of fixing or replacing a broken cell phone, after you pay a $25 deductible.
You can make up to two claims on eligible phones within any 12-month period, for a total possible reimbursement of $1,600.
If you like bonus points, contests and exclusive social activities
The first of the month usually is an important date in a renter’s world, although you may not associate it with fun. Fortunately, Bilt makes rent payment day fun by offering up trivia questions that allow you to earn some bonus points each month.
That’s right: Just for playing a fun game that takes three minutes at most, you can earn several hundred points. You can also participate in Point Quest, where correctly guessing a common phrase will enter you into a monthly drawing. The prize? Your month’s rent paid by Bilt, up to $2,500.
The fun extends to fitness as well. If you’re a SoulCycle fan, Bilt has a partnership with the cult cycling brand: Book a session at select partner studios using the Bilt app, then bring a friend for free as long as there are spots available.
Who shouldn’t get the Bilt Mastercard
People who won’t sign up for any credit card without a sign-up bonus
If you’re a serious credit card hobbyist, you may be put off by the fact that this card doesn’t include any benefits for first-time card holders. And if you are working on getting below Chase’s unofficial 5/24 limit for new card sign-ups, you may want to hold off on this card, too.
People who get impatient with technology that’s still under development
Make no mistake: Powerful as the Bilt rewards currency can be, the brand is still in startup mode - and as such, certain issues have yet to be ironed out as smoothly compared to some of the bigger-name competitors on the market.
Most important account management steps must be done through the Bilt app, which can be frustrating for people who prefer to transact banking activities through an online portal. And autopay setup still goes through the Wells Fargo website, which offers a very different experience from the Bilt interface.
People who don’t pay rent, dine out or travel often
If you don’t do any of the above activities, the Bilt card may only be as useful for you as a generic cash back or flat-rate earnings credit card.