Posted: 11/7/22 | November 7, 2022
As an avid travel hacker, I’m always looking for new ways to earn more points and miles through my daily spend. As a result, I earn over a million points each year, which allow me to enjoy all kinds of free flights and hotel stays, upgrades, lounge access, elite status and more.
Travel hacking has saved me thousands upon thousands of dollars over the years, and I couldn’t travel as much without it.
However, traditionally there is one huge expense that has always been difficult to earn points for: rent.
For years, travel hackers have used temporary offers that waive credit card fees or go through complex procedures to pay for their rent so they can earn points.
But these maneuvers were all successful and never lasted long. Thousands of potential points remained on the table.
A card called the Bilt came out earlier this year. And it changed the game.
What is Bilt?
Bilt is a credit card that allows you to earn points when paying your rent (as well as everyday purchases). You then use these points like any other rewards program: you can use them to book travel directly, you can transfer them to travel partners, or you can use any of the other redemption options.
There are two ways to earn points with the card: by renting a Bilt Alliance property or by using the Bilt World Elite Mastercard®.
Bilt Alliance properties form a network of two million units across the United States. But I won’t focus on that. I’ll talk about his credit card.
How does the Bilt bonus card work?
Once you open a Bilt Mastercard® (which is issued by Wells Fargo and has no annual fee), go to the Bilt app or website to set up your recurring monthly rental payments.
Bilt then creates a unique bank account linked to your Bilt credit card, so your rent is paid with an e-check, not your credit card. This bank account is basically a legal “dummy” account created as a workaround for credit card processing fees. You don’t use it for anything else, and you don’t withdraw or deposit money from it.
Whenever these unique routing and account numbers are used to pay for rent, your Bilt Mastercard® will be charged the same amount. (You still need to connect your personal bank account to cash out the card each month.)
And if your place is dated and 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.
This all takes about five minutes to set up. When you’re done, you’ll earn points toward your rental. I use it so I don’t leave points on the table.
Bilt Reward Perks
Once your account is set up, you’ll earn one point for every dollar you spend on rental payments with the Bilt credit card, up to 50,000 points per calendar year. While the miles required for free flights vary drastically depending on many factors, if you play your cards right, those many points can net you a free round trip flight from New York to London.
And while earning points for rental payments is Bilt’s main attraction, you also get two points for every dollar spent on travel (when booking direct or through the Bilt Travel portal) and three points for every dollar spent on restaurants . All other purchases earn you one point per dollar.
Just note that you must make five purchases per month (with no minimum spend) to receive these rewards.
You can transfer points 1:1 to travel partners including American Airlines, United, Emirates, Hawaiian, Virgin Atlantic, Air Canada, Air France/KLM, Hyatt and IHG.
The fact that they’re switching to American Airlines and Hyatt really makes this card stand out (aside from the rental thing). Nobody is switching to American, so that’s a big selling point for this card, as it’s the only way to get AA points without having an AA card. And earning Hyatt points gives you a way out of the Chase system.
You can also redeem points for fitness classes like SoulCycle, Solidcore, Rumble and Y7, as well as items from the Bilt Collection, a curated selection of handcrafted home accessories. However, redemption for fitness classes accounts for about one percent — you get better redemption for travel purchases.
In addition, purchases also help you earn status in the Bilt Rewards program based on total points earned each year.
The tiers for these bilt rewards are as follows (subsequent tiers include everything in the above):
Blue: Earn points on rent and transfer them 1:1 to travel partners National Savings Rate published by the FDIC) Gold (50,000 points per year): 25% bonus points on new leases/renewals and access to a home ownership concierge (the Guides you through the home buying process) Platinum (100,000 points per year) : 50% bonus points on new rentals/renewals and a free gift from the Bilt collection of home accessories
While the perks aren’t particularly exciting at the higher tiers, they’re a nice way to earn even more points when they apply to you. But even at the basic level, you can still take advantage of Bilt’s main attraction: earning points on rent.
In addition to earning points, the card also gives you:
Trip Cancellation and Interruption Protection Trip delay reimbursement (for delays of six hours or more) Rental car collision protection Cell phone protection (up to $800) No international transaction fees A free three-month DashPass and $5 off your first DoorDash order $5 in Lyft credit every month after three months trips this month
Who is this card for?
This card is suitable for anyone who wants to collect points towards their monthly rental. Once you’ve set up online payments (you can also set up Auto-Pay) and use your card five times a month, it’s essentially a set-and-forget type of card. With no annual fee, you have nothing to lose and only points to gain.
The card is particularly aimed at travelers and diners, as it offers 2x travel points and 3x diner points. However, it pairs best with other travel credit cards that offer better perks, nice welcome bonuses, and higher earning rates.
I’ll probably start using the Bilt card instead of my Chase Sapphire because I get a lot of Chase points from business expenses and I want to fly to Japan next year, so I want those AA points (AA is a partner of Japan Airlines) .
Who is this card not suitable for?
As with any travel credit card, do not purchase the Bilt card if you already have or plan to carry a balance. Travel credit card interest rates are notoriously high, and the Bilt card is no different, with a whopping 19-27% APR. The points just aren’t worth it if you’re paying interest every month.
This card is also not for those with bad credit, as you need good or excellent credit to qualify.
Additionally, the Bilt card isn’t for someone looking for one with a big welcome bonus (since there isn’t one), and it counts towards Chase’s 5/24 rule (you can’t have more than five Chase cards in a 24-month period). open months). ). If you already have five Chase cards open or plan to open more, you might want to skip those for now.
In summary, if you’re a renter and want to earn points for those big monthly expenses, consider the Bilt card. It’s completely free and easy to set up, so you really have nothing to lose. Even if your rent isn’t terribly expensive, points are points, and the Bilt card could be a nice additional resource for earning those coveted points and miles (especially if you’re flying American Airlines, as that’s one of their only transfer partners ).
As the only rewards card that offers points to borrow completely free, Bilt is a welcome new player in the travel space. In my opinion paying rent is really a no-brainer so you can start working towards some free flights and hotel stays!
Click here to sign up for Bilt!
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Book your trip: logistical tips and tricks
Book your flight
Find a cheap flight with Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the world so you always know that no stone is left unturned.
Book your accommodation
You can book your hostel at Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they always show the cheapest prices for guesthouses and hotels.
Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance protects you against illness, injury, theft and cancellations. It’s total protection in case something goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I have had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value for money are:
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