Bilt Mastercard Credit Card Review

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Key statistics:

  • Points rate: 1x on rent up to 50,000 points per year, 2x on travel, 3x on meals, 1x on everything else
  • Sign-up bonus: None
  • Annual fee: None
  • APR: 19.99% to 27.99%, variable

About $30,000 a year – that’s how much I paid in rent for my first New York apartment five years ago – and it’s only gone up since. As someone who takes credit card points more seriously than perhaps I should, I’m always upset that I don’t see any sort of reward in the biggest category of my annual budget. This is why the The Bilt Mastercard® credit card caught my eye and eventually earned a place in my portfolio.

It’s the only credit card I’ve found that allows me to pay my rent while earning those valuable points. To me, that’s worth $500 a year with no fees. There are a few little hassles, you have to remember to make a certain number of purchases each month, for example. But whether you have a stack of credit cards for specific purchases or it’s your only card, the Bilt Mastercard is a no-brainer for any rewards-minded renter.

How Bilt Mastercard Rewards Work

The Bilt Rewards program allows you to earn one point per dollar on your rent, with a cap of 50,000 points per year. This may seem like a hard number to reach, but it’s actually not the case if you live in an area with high housing costs. A recent report showed the average monthly rent in Manhattan topped $5,000 for the first time ever, meaning the average Manhattanite would hit the rent point cap in just 10 months. Even if you never exceed the 50,000 point limit, this card still gives you points on what is the largest monthly expense for many Americans. (Make sure your rent is reported to the credit bureaus can also be a great way to build a solid credit record.)

Although not a cashback card, Bilt points can be redeemed in a variety of ways, including the company’s rotating selection of home decor and art, fitness classes and of Amazon purchases. You can even use points for your rent or down payment on a house, with cash values ​​of around a penny per point.

But you’ll get the best value by transferring points at a rate of one point per mile to Bilt’s travel partners, including American Airlines AAdvantage, United MileagePlus, IHG Rewards, and World of Hyatt, among others. Points with these programs are often worth more than 1 cent each, with some approaching 2 cents.

The result is that even though your points are only worth a penny each, you will earn $225 worth on the national average annual rent $22,500, or up to $500 if you max it out. Because there’s no annual fee on the card, it’s like free money. And that’s on top of the two points per dollar spent you can earn on travel and three points on dining.

One note: you must make at least five transactions (including your rent payment) on the card for that month’s rent points to be credited to their full value, otherwise you only earn a fixed return of 250 points. There is no minimum transaction amount, so I keep a recurring reminder on my phone to charge the first four subway rides of each month to the Bilt card.

How to pay your rent with Bilt Mastercard

Setting up your rent payments takes a step or two, but it’s not onerous. bill partners with more than 20 apartment companies to offer direct payments through its Bilt Rewards Alliance. You can use your Bilt account to pay online and earn points if your owner is part of this group. But what about the millions of renters whose homes are unaffiliated? Bilt can send a check on your behalf, free of charge, via its mobile application. Since the card comes with a corresponding Wells Fargo account, you can also pay via systems that support bank transfers, including Venmo and PayPal. And there are no fees because it is an electronic funds transfer rather than a credit card transaction.

If you’re worried about carrying a balance on the card, you can set up BiltProtect Debit, which pulls funds directly from a linked bank account without using your credit limit while earning you points. That’s what I do.

How Bilt Mastercard fits into my wallet

I can’t recommend the Bilt Mastercard to anyone who doesn’t rent because you can get other cards at no cost with greater rewards. Buy Side’s favorite cash-back credit card is the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card, which offers two cents in rewards on the dollar on almost all purchases with no annual fee. This is an excellent rate of return with few downsides. But if you wanted to pay your rent with this card, you would have limited options. Venmo charges a 3% fee on credit card payments, for example, which means you’d actually lose a penny on the dollar (if your landlord even accepts Venmo).

I’m the kind of person who literally has a stack of credit cards, because I’m happy to strategically use certain cards for certain categories of purchases – I use the Amazon Prime Rewards Signature Visa for my Amazon purchases, for example. But even if that sounds like a hassle, if you’re just not picky about collecting points and would rather have just one card, the Bilt Mastercard offers competitive points on travel and dining. And what’s better than feeling like you’re getting something substantial in return for paying your rent each month.

Any advice, recommendations, or rankings expressed in this article are those of the WSJ’s Buy Side Editorial Team, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by our business partners.


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