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The Bilt World Elite Mastercard, issued by Wells Fargo, has a unique feature: it lets you earn rewards on rent payments with no processing fees. The card could also be attractive to non-renters, as it offers extra points on travel and dining purchases and also doesn’t charge an annual fee.
To maximize the card’s benefits, make sure you don’t have a balance, especially if you’re using it for large monthly payments, like rent.
What is the Bilt Mastercard?
The Bilt Mastercard was originally introduced with the Bilt Rewards loyalty program in 2021 as a tool to help renters earn rewards on their rent payments. The map was invitation-only to begin with, aimed at those who live at a Bilt Alliance property. In March, Wells Fargo became the issuing partner and the card is now available to anyone who wants to apply.
The Bilt Mastercard complements the Bilt Rewards program, created for the Bilt Alliance network of 2 million apartments, in the same way that co-branded airline cards complement mileage programs. However, you are not required to rent at an affiliated property to use the card or program.
How does the Bilt Mastercard work to pay the rent?
If you live in a Bilt Alliance property, your card payment will automatically be accepted. But even if your landlord doesn’t accept plastic, you can pay through the Bilt Rewards app and Bilt will send a check on your behalf.
Once your payment is submitted, you will earn one point per dollar of rent. This can be important because rent is one of the largest recurring expenses. The card also awards three points per dollar spent on meals, two points on travel purchases, and one point for all other purchases.
If you’re concerned about the risk of putting such a large payment on a credit card, the Bilt Mastercard has another great feature: BiltProtect. When you activate it, you link a bank account to your Bilt account, and Bilt will withdraw funds directly to pay the rental charges to your card within 48 hours. Not only does this help you avoid carrying a balance, but it keeps more of your line of credit available.
What are the main features of the Bilt Mastercard?
In addition to earning one point per dollar on rent (capped at 50,000 points per year), you’ll also earn three points per dollar spent on meals and two points per dollar on travel.
As you earn points, you can move up the ranks of the Bilt Loyalty Program to earn additional benefits. Once you cross the 25,000 point threshold, you can earn interest on the points you have.
“I got the Bilt Card because I was interested in the value proposition of earning 3x points on dining and 2x on travel without having to pay an annual fee,” says Michael Romero, Bilt Cardholder and passionate about points and miles. It should be noted that Romero is not even a tenant.
The value of points will vary depending on how you redeem them. You can redeem your points for future rent payments, a down payment for a future home, with travel partners, fitness classes, or merchandise.
Points are redeemable 1:1 with travel partners like United Airlines, American Airlines, World of Hyatt, IHG Rewards and more.
Romero says transfer partners were the other big reason he got the card, especially for the partnership with American Airlines. Although American Airlines credit cards offer two points per dollar in some categories, they are not as broad as the Bilt Mastercard bonus categories (all travel and all meals), and they do not offer a three points per dollar. .
The card has no annual fee, no fees for rent payments, and no foreign transaction fees.
The Bilt Mastercard offers travel benefits and purchase protections that are typically reserved for annual fee cards. These include trip cancellation and interruption insurance, cell phone coverage for trip delays, and rental car collision insurance. Other perks include a three-month DashPass membership and $5 Lyft credit if you take three rides in a month.
One of the concerns about renting on a credit card is that you’d potentially be using up a lot of your available credit, says John Ulzheimer, a credit expert who’s worked with FICO and Equifax. “Even if they pay their credit card balance in full each month, their credit reports will never show a zero balance,” he says. “It can be problematic for their credit ratings.”
But if you use the Bilt Card’s optional BiltProtect feature, which withdraws your rent payment from a linked bank account, you’ll still earn rewards points without affecting your credit usage (the amount of available credit you use, which is a key factor in credit score calculations).
Additionally, if you live in a Bilt Alliance property, you can request that your rent payments be reported monthly to the credit bureaus to help establish your credit history.
How can you maximize the Bilt Mastercard?
- Pay on time each month. While this is necessary to avoid interest on any credit card, it’s especially true on a card you use for big purchases like rent. Additionally, the annual percentage rate of the Bilt card can be as high as 24.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. Once the interest charges are added, you’re essentially canceling the rewards program, Ulzheimer says.
- Make at least five purchases per month. A special feature of the card is that you must use it five times in a billing cycle to earn your points. If you don’t, you get a flat rate of 250 points each month.
- Use the card for rental, restaurant or travel purchases. Earning points on rent – something you have to pay anyway – is a no-brainer for this card. But you can also earn bonus points on dining and travel at rates comparable to many other rewards cards.
- Redeem with travel partners to get the most out of your points. Some point redemptions may be more valuable than others, so do some math.
Is the Bilt Rewards Mastercard worth it?
If you are a tenant and can be rewarded on your biggest monthly expense, why not? It won’t cost you anything to carry the card, and you can also score bonus points if you enjoy dining out and traveling. People who appreciate the flexibility of point transfer can also get a lot of value.
If most of your non-rental expenses are for everyday purchases like gas and groceries, you can use a flat-rate reimbursement card that offers 1.5% or 2% for those purchases.
If you decide to try the Bilt Mastercard, consider setting up the BiltProtect feature so you don’t use up a large portion of your credit line. Either way, make sure you don’t let those rent payments spin with high interest charges on top of that.