Is the Bilt Mastercard Worth It for Non-Renters? The Pros and Cons Is the Bilt Mastercard Worth It for Non-Renters?
Bilt Mastercard

Is the Bilt Mastercard Worth It for Non-Renters? The Pros and Cons

When I first heard about the Bilt Mastercard, I was both intrigued and excited. That’s because the card’s signature feature is the ability to pay rent with the card and earn 1 point per dollar (while also avoiding any fees). Seeing as we lived in an apartment at the time, I decided to apply for the card and was thrilled to find that the platform only got better with time. Alas, as of late last year, we are no longer renters — which begs the question: is the Bilt Mastercard still worth it if you don’t pay rent?

Recently, Bilt teased that it would be moving into mortgage payments. But, in the meantime, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the card, removing the rent benefits factor from the equation.

The Pros of the Bilt Mastercard for Non-Renters

holding chopsticks overall a bowl of Bilt Rewards

Rewards Categories

Beyond the signature “1x back on rent” feature, the Bilt Mastercard offers some useful reward categories. First, cardholders can earn 3x points on dining purchases. That’s on par with the likes of the Capital One SavorOne (which features 3% cashback on the category).

On top of that, the card earns 2 points on what I’ll call “select travel.” The Bilt site itself just lists this category as “Travel” — but it’s not quite as broad as some other cards. Specifically, the terms state this 2x rate applies to purchases “made directly at retailers whose Merchant Code for Mastercard is classified as airlines, hotels, motels, resorts, cruise lines, and car rental agencies.” In any case, this rate isn’t too remarkable as there are plenty of flat 2% back cards. Still, this plus the dining category likely means you’ll be able to make use of the Bilt Mastercard often enough.

Rent Day promotions

If those reward categories sounded lackluster, what if we doubled them? Well, for one day each month, that’s exactly what Bilt does. On the first of each month, Bilt celebrates Rent Day by offering cardholders double points on all non-rent purchases. So, that’s 6x points on dining, 4x points on select travel, and 2x points on all other purchases. Therefore, this can be a great opportunity to rack up points.

Perhaps more importantly, though, recent Rent Days have also brought some impressive transfer bonuses and other opportunities. While Bilt offers 1:1 transfers to a roster of travel partner programs, they’ve offered bonuses that have taken this rate as high as 1:2.5! That could be incredibly lucrative to those who know their way around points and miles.

With that said, in order to earn the best bonuses, you’ll need to have status with Bilt. For example, a recent Aeroplan deal saw those with Platinum status enjoying a 150% transfer bonus, while those without status only got a 75% bonus. Still, 75% is nothing to sneeze at — and, if you really want to move up the ranks, Bilt’s revamped program allows you to move up to Silver, Gold, or Platinum by putting more spend on your card.

Points can be worth more than 1¢

More often than not, a credit card point can be valued at 1¢. This is especially common with cashback cards that may technically earn points but those points can then be redeemed at a rate of 100 for $1. Meanwhile, other point currencies operate differently, with redemptions offering a sliding scale of value.

In the case of Bilt, an easy way to up the value of points is by using the Bilt Travel platform. Here, points are worth 1.25¢ each. Also, while it might not apply to you, members can redeem Bilt Points at a rate of 1.5¢ each toward a down payment on a house (P.S. you can read more about that process in my full write-up).

Yet, perhaps the best value for your Bilt Points comes from transfer partners. While it’s difficult to put a specific price-per-point value on this option, the savviest award travel bookers could get 2¢ per point or more when all is said and done. Actually, that value could be even higher if you transfer during a Rent Day bonus period.

The Downsides of the Bilt Mastercard

Bilt Rewards birthday logo

No official welcome bonus

At this point, it’s common knowledge that one of the best ways to get value for a rewards credit card is via big welcome bonuses. Well, that’s where Bilt Mastercard falls flat. At this time, the card has no official bonus at all.

However — as many people have reported — Bilt has been known to send new cardholders an offer allowing them to earn a total of 5x points on non-rent purchases during their first five days after activating their card. Although there’s no guarantee that you’ll receive this deal, it does seem pretty common. Then again, even if you do receive this bonus, it pales in comparison to some of the other welcome bonuses out there. So, I’ll still put this point firmly in the “cons” column.

Requires five transactions per month to earn points

Another downside of the Bilt Mastercard is that, in order to earn any points during a given statement period, you’ll need to make at least five purchases with your card. Although this isn’t exactly difficult, it is pretty annoying. Plus, it means you may need to use your card for non-category spending during the month just to ensure that you’re meeting the threshold. If you’re someone with several rewards credit cards, this quirk not only complicates your setup but could also come with an opportunity cost.

Low cashback redemptions

Lastly, should you decide to skip the travel options and cash out your Bilt Point instead, you may find yourself being disappointed. That’s because Bilt’s cashback valuation on points is an anemic 0.55¢ per point. To put that into perspective, if you were to redeem 100,000 Bilt Points on Bilt Travel, they’d be worth $1,250. Meanwhile, the same 100,000 points would earn you just $550 in cashback.

Unless it’s an emergency, I cannot in good conscience recommend this redemption option. So, if you’re not willing to use your points for travel (either via the portal or by transferring to partners) then I think the Bilt Mastercard is an automatic skip.


Bilt Mastercard
Bilt Mastercard: A Great and Unique Rewards Option for Renters
4.5
Annual fee
None
Welcome bonus
None (officially)
Rewards
3x points on dining, 2x points on select travel, 1x points on rent payments (up to 100,000 points per year), 1x points on all other purchases
Bilt Mastercard Review for Renters
The Bilt Mastercard is unlike any other card on the market as it offers 1x points on rent payments with no-fee rent payment options. Plus, it’s continually been improved with new and interesting ideas such as their Rent Day promotions. That said, those who don’t rent may not see as much benefit from the card. Additionally, in order to get the most value from points, cardholders will want to redeem them for travel.
Pros
Cons
  • Statement credit redemption option value is low
  • Less effective for non-renters
  • 2x on select travel category is lacking
  • No official welcome bonus

So, is the Bilt Mastercard ultimately worth it for non-renters? My answer is that it can be — but it will take some work to get there. By this I mean that, in addition to making sure you use the card at least five times a month and make the most of Rent Day’s double points, you’ll also want to redeem your Bilt Points for travel. More specifically, those willing to put in the time to research redemption options for loyalty programs featured as part of Bilt’s transfer bonuses will likely see the best results. Of course, these transfer bonuses are not a guarantee and those wanting to get the highest rates will want to earn Bilt status. As a result, things could very well change in the future.

To reiterate, if you’re looking for a credit card with strong everyday spending categories, cashback potential, and a big welcome bonus, the Bilt Mastercard is not for you. But, if you’re a points and miles pro willing to roll the dice, then a bet on Bilt could pay off.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Money@30's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

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