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Bilt Mastercard Review: A first for renters and future homebuyers

A unique card that helps you pay rent, earn rewards and skip the fees. 

 /  15 min
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At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for and how we rate our cards. The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of the offers mentioned may have expired. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

Snapshot

4.0

Bankrate rating
Info
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Bottom line

This card is great for renters because you can pay your rent and earn Bilt Points on your rent without transaction fees (up to 100,000 points per calendar year). For maximum value, spend in high-earning bonus categories during their Rent Day promotion on the first of each month.

Best for renters
  • Rewards value
    Rating: 5 stars out of 5
    5 / 5
    APR
    Rating: 1 stars out of 5
    1 / 5
    Rewards flexibility
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
    Features
    Rating: 4 stars out of 5
    4 / 5
Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Recommended Credit

N/A

Intro offer

Info

N/A

Offer valuation

Info

1X Points - 3X Points

Rewards rate

Info

None

Annual fee

See Terms

Regular APR

Bilt Mastercard® Overview

The Bilt Mastercard® is a unique and versatile rewards card that will appeal to renters and fee-averse travelers. The card’s standout feature is the ability to earn Bilt Points for rent payments without any transaction fees. Trying to pay rent with any other credit card typically will result in fees that cancel any points you might have earned on the transaction.

The card offers multiple redemption options, including toward travel, fitness, future rent payments or a down payment on a home — a fantastic feature for leveraging rent expenses to save for a down payment. Renters looking for creative ways to minimize the cost of living will find the Bilt card enticing.

The card also has decent earning rates on dining and travel purchases. And on the first of every month, Bilt doubles all points as part of their “Rent Day” promotion. (However, you must use your card five times each statement period to earn points. See Rewards & Benefits). This can potentially provide outsized value on your earnings.

  • Credit Card Cash Back

    Rewards

    • 3X points on dining
    • 2X points on travel
    • 1X points on rent payments (up to a maximum 100,000 points per year) 
    • 1X points on other eligible purchases 
    • Earn full points only when you make five transactions that post each statement period; otherwise, earn a flat 250 points on rent when you use your Bilt Mastercard to pay rent through the Bilt App.

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Search

    Rates and fees

    • Annual fee: $0
    • Regular APR: See terms
    • Foreign transaction fee: None

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

  • Congrats

    Other cardholder perks

    • Up to 10,000 Bonus points on the first of every month
    • Potential to earn elite status
    • Trip Delay Reimbursement
    • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
    • Lyft credits
    • Cellphone protection (up to $800, subject to $25 deductible, two paid claims per year, see Guide to Benefits)

    Expert Appraisal: Good
    See our expert analysis

Bilt Mastercard pros and cons

Pros

  • Checkmark

    You can earn points on rent without worrying about transaction or processing fees eating into your earnings (up to 100,000 points per calendar year).

  • Checkmark

    Unused points accumulate interest if you attain Silver or higher elite status.

  • Checkmark

    You can fund your next trip by transferring your points to one of 18 hotel or airline partners.

Cons

  • Competing travel and cash back cards offer better bonus rewards rates the entire month as opposed to one day.

  • The lack of a welcome offer gives the card poor short-term value compared to the top rewards cards.

  • Renters with fair or bad credit who could benefit the most from this card are unlikely to be approved since the card requires good to excellent credit.

Why you might want the Bilt Mastercard

This card offers rewards on rent payments without additional processing fees while providing unique redemption options. With no annual fee, you can enjoy numerous benefits from this card.

Rewards: Earn on rent with no transaction fees

Earning 1X points on rent while avoiding a transaction fee is a primary reason to use the Bilt Mastercard since this feature is unique and highly sought after. The 3X points on dining is solid, but many rewards cards offer the same rate.

The spending cap on rent rewards of 100,000 points per year won’t affect anyone paying $4,166 or less monthly. But there are some restrictions:

  • Rent payments can only be made to one rental property per month. 
  • You must use the Bilt Mastercard at least five times each statement period to earn the maximum amount of points. 
  • If you fail to make the minimum required transactions each month, you’ll only earn a flat rate of 250 points for paying your rent.

The most significant requirement is remembering to use the card at least five times per month to earn the maximum number of points. This means you can’t just use the card for one rent payment each billing cycle if you want to maximize value — you’ll need to use it for four more transactions.

One way to do this is to use the Bilt Mastercard for four dining transactions on the first of the month along with your rent payment. Many restaurants allow you to load funds on an app, which is an easy way to meet this requirement. For example, you can add money on your Starbucks app in small amounts.

Redemption: Flexible point transfers and redemptions

The Bilt Rewards program offers various options for redeeming your points, like using the Bilt Travel portal to book flights, hotels, car rentals and more. But what makes the card even more unique is that you can use your points to cover rent or save up for a down payment on a home. You can also transfer your points to one of Bilt’s 18 transfer partners. These programs include: 

  • Aer Lingus AerClub
  • Air Canada Aeroplan®
  • Air France-KLM Flying Blue®
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines AAdvantage (leaving June 2024)
  • Avianca Lifemiles
  • British Airways Executive Club
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Emirates Skywards®
  • Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
  • Hilton Honors
  • Iberia Plus
  • Marriott Bonvoy™
  • Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
  • United MileagePlus®
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
  • IHG®  One Rewards
  • World of Hyatt®

Other redemption options include items on Amazon.com or curated art, apparel and decor through the Bilt Collection. Fitness classes are another option, with classes at companies like SoulCycle, Y7 Studio more.

Rates and fees: No annual or foreign transaction fees

The Bilt Mastercard has no annual fee, making it easy to come out ahead when you earn rewards. It also doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, which is a terrific advantage when traveling abroad.

However, the card’s variable APR (See Terms) and common credit card fees are fairly typical. If you are concerned about debt management, a low-interest credit card or a balance transfer card with a long intro APR offer might be more valuable for you.

Perks: One-of-a-kind features

The Bilt Mastercard offers unique perks. Take advantage of these features to build significant value with the card.

Why you might want a different no-annual-fee card

While the Bilt Mastercard comes with plenty of perks and benefits for renters and travelers, it may not be suitable for everyone. Here’s why you might skip the Bilt card.

No welcome offer: Lacks first-year value

The Bilt Mastercard doesn’t have a welcome offer, putting it at a disadvantage in first-year value compared to many other rewards cards. While there are other features to consider, welcome bonuses have become standard for many cards, especially for people with good credit, who can typically find offers worth $200 or more on many cards that don't charge an annual fee.

Credit score: Requires good to excellent credit

While this card allows you to build credit by paying your rent and reporting to all three credit bureaus, those who would benefit the most may not qualify. 

The recommended credit score to apply for this card is good to excellent (670-850). But people with fair credit or lower would benefit the most from this feature. If you already have a good to excellent score, this feature is less advantageous. 

If you need help finding your score, our guide on how to check your credit score can help.

We tried it: Here’s what our experts say

Bankrate credit cards writer Ryan Flanigan often waits to make purchases until the first of the month to take advantage of using the Bilt Mastercard.

I was initially skeptical about this card, but the earning rates along with the exceptional value of the rewards program are definitely worth a spot in my card portfolio. I like that this program takes a different approach to the rewards space, offering useful promotions and other out-of-the-box ways to earn points. This card comes out in full force on the first of the month when earning rates are doubled (except for rent payments). I’ll often save planned expenses for that day to boost my earnings. And the ability to pay rent fee-free is a unique and helpful feature for a lot of people.

— Ryan Flanigan, Writer, Credit Cards

How the Bilt Mastercard compares to other no-annual-fee cards

The Bilt Mastercard is unrivaled if you’re looking for a card that rewards your rent payments and helps you save money for a home. But other rewards cards may do a better job of getting you the most value on your most common purchases.

Image of Bilt Mastercard®
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Wells Fargo's secure site

Annual fee

None

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

1X Points - 3X Points
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Bankrate Score
Apply now Lock
on Chase's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

Up to $300 cash back
Info

Rewards rate

1.5% - 5%
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info
Image of Wells Fargo Autograph℠ Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Wells Fargo's secure site

Annual fee

$0

Intro offer

20,000 bonus points
Info

Rewards rate

1X - 3X
Info

Recommended Credit Score

Good to Excellent (670 – 850)
Info

Best cards to pair with the Bilt Mastercard

To make the most of the Bilt Mastercard’s strengths, consider combining it with a high-earning rewards card that aligns with the purchases you make in categories not covered by Bilt. Pay your rent with the Bilt Mastercard and use it for dining purchases, but for all other purchases using another card can help you bring in more rewards.

Who is the Bilt Mastercard right for?

For such a specialized card, the Bilt Mastercard offers enough flexibility for various types of consumers. 

Bankrate’s Take — Is the Bilt Mastercard worth it?

The Bilt Mastercard is a solid pick for people who want the ability to pay rent using a credit card without having to deal with transaction fees.

The card comes with additional features that may appeal to renters seeking a convenient way to earn and redeem rewards without having to pay an annual fee. This card also has the highest average rewards value on the market according to Bankrate’s valuations. But this card works best as part of an overall card rewards-earning strategy to ensure you’re maximizing its value.

How we rated this card

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We rate credit cards using a proprietary card scoring system that ranks each card’s estimated average rewards rate, estimated annual earnings, welcome bonus value, APR, fees, perks and more against those of other cards in its primary category.

Each card feature is assigned a weighting based on how important it is to people looking for a card in a given category. These features are then scored based on how they rank relative to the features on other cards in the category. Based on these calculations, each card receives an overall rating of 1-5 stars (with 5 being the highest possible score and 1 being the lowest). 

We analyzed over 150 of the most popular rewards and cash back cards to determine where each stacked up based on their value, cost, benefits and more. Here are some of the key factors that influenced this card’s overall score and how the score influenced our review:

Frequently asked questions

Written by
Robert Thorpe
Editor, Personal Finance

Most recently before joining Bankrate, Robert worked as an editor and writer at The Ascent by The Motley Fool, covering a number of personal finance topics, including credit cards, mortgages and loans.

Edited by Former Senior Editor, Credit Cards

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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.