While still invite-only, the Bilt Mastercard is an exciting new option for individuals looking to pay rent with a credit card – and skip the usual fee associated with this payment method.
As long as there have been credit cards, it seems people have wondered if there was a way to use them to pay their rent. And while several companies now accept credit card payments and remit them as rent to landlords, these services have all required a fee of approximately 3% of the rent paid.
There’s now a new alternative that allows you to use a credit card to pay rent, with no additional fees. The Bilt Rewards Mastercard is the result of a partnership between Bilt and Mastercard that allows renters to pay rent via a credit card with no fees, while earning travel rewards points and building credit.
How does the Bilt Rewards Mastercard work?
The new Bilt Mastercard® is the first and only credit card to offer cardholders a way to pay their rent without paying any additional fees.
Bilt has agreements with several of the largest property management companies to electronically remit rent payments, and it has an agreement with Mastercard to not impose any fees on either the cardholder or the landlord. And when the cardholder rents from a landlord that isn’t a part of Bilt’s existing partnerships, then Bilt will simply cut a check to the landlord, without imposing any fees on either party.
The Bilt Rewards Mastercard offers rewards for spending, including rent payments. You earn 1X points on all rent payments up to $50,000 each year. Bilt also offers 2X points on travel purchases, when booked directly with an airline, hotel, car rental or cruise company, and 3X points on dining. You earn 1 point per dollar spent elsewhere, and cardholders must make a minimum of five transactions during each statement period to earn these points. There’s no annual fee for this card.
Achieve tier status
The Bilt Rewards Mastercard also offers status tiers that unlock enhanced benefits. Those who earn fewer than 25,000 points during the calendar year receive Blue status, while those who earn more than 25,000 points receive Silver status. With Silver status, you earn interest on your rewards each month. If you earn 50,000 points in a calendar year, you’ll receive Gold status, which includes access to a dedicated concierge that will help cardholders apply points to a home down payment.
Those who earn 100,000 points in a year will receive Platinum status, which gets you a complimentary gift from the Bilt Collection, described by Bilt as an exclusive and curated assortment of home decor and art. Earning Silver, Gold and Platinum status also gets you bonus points on new leases and renewals of 10%, 25% and 50%, respectively.
Enjoy other benefits
The Bilt Rewards Mastercard comes with several valuable benefits, including a mobile phone protection plan covering you for up to $800 per year and $1,000 per incident, with a $50 deductible. Your other purchases are covered for 90 days by a theft and damage plan.
Like many rewards credit cards, the Bilt Rewards Mastercard comes with a concierge service that can help you with travel arrangements, dining reservations and other services.
How do you redeem rewards from the Bilt Mastercard?
Once you’ve earned points in the Bilt Rewards program, you have several ways to redeem them. The most valuable option may be transferring them to travel partners. Bilt currently offers transfers to the following airline and hotel programs at a 1:1 level:
- American Airlines AAdvantage
- Emirates Skywards
- Air France/KLM Flying Blue
- Turkish Miles & Smiles
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
- Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
- World of Hyatt
- IHG Rewards
When you’re able to transfer points to these travel partners and redeem those rewards for high-priced hotel stays or travel in business or first class, it can be possible to realize several cents in value per point transferred. If you’re not looking to redeem points toward luxury travel, though, you can also redeem your Bilt reward points for rent payments.
However, there’s no fixed value of points redeemed for rent, as Bilt uses a different ratio depending on the building and its management company. You can also use your points toward the down payment on a home purchase, and the value of points redeemed this way can be as much as 1.5 cents each.
Other options include redeeming your points toward fitness subscriptions from companies such as SoulCycle, Rumble Boxing and Y7 Studio. These awards start at 3,500 points and the value of the points redeemed can vary. Or you can redeem your points on the Bilt Collection, limited-edition art and home decor awards that you can redeem your Bilt Rewards points for, starting at 5,000 points.
Should you get the Bilt Rewards Mastercard?
Hundreds of different credit cards are offered in the U.S., and no one card is right for everyone. To start with, the Bilt card is made for those who rent, rather than own their residence. Furthermore, it’s never a good idea to go into debt to pay your basic living expenses, such as rent, except in case of emergency.
Pros and cons of the Bilt card
The primary advantage of this card is that you can earn rewards for your rent payments without paying a fee. When it comes to paying rent with a credit card, there are few other options, all of which will incur an additional fee. For example, a service called Plastiq allows payments to landlords, but you’ll have to pay a 2.85% fee to use a credit card. PlacePay is a similar service that has a fee of 2.99% and RentTrack will also do so for a fee of 2.95%.
The other advantage of the Bilt Rewards Mastercard is that you can earn valuable travel rewards that can be transferred to several leading airline and hotel programs. In particular, American Airlines AAdvantage and the World of Hyatt are both high-value programs with point transfers to these programs available from only a few other credit cards. Earning 2X points on travel and 3X points for spending on dining is also a very generous offer, especially for a card with no annual fee.
However, there are a few downsides to this card. First, there’s no welcome bonus, which is a feature common on most travel rewards cards, and even many without an annual fee. Also, this card is currently invite-only, so you can’t apply for it today unless you have a special invitation code. You can add yourself to the Bilt waitlist though.
And like most credit cards that offer rewards, the Bilt Rewards Mastercard is best suited to those who avoid interest charges by paying their monthly statement balances in full. So if you think you’ll need to carry a balance, then you’re better off using a card with the lowest possible interest rate, which will usually be one that offers low or no rewards.
Rent and your credit score
The major consumer credit bureaus will use your rental payment history, so long as they receive that information from properties. However, not all properties report rent payments and not all credit scoring formulas will use that information when calculating your credit score. And while there are other independent services that you can use to ensure that your rent payments are reported, these services charge fees for enrollment, monthly fees or both. Nevertheless, all credit cards, including the Bilt Rewards Mastercard, will report your payment information to one or more consumer credit bureaus.
While there’s no shortage of credit cards that offer travel rewards points and miles, the Bilt Rewards Mastercard is the only one that allows you to pay rent without paying a fee. By learning more about this unique offer and how it works, you can decide if it makes sense for your needs.