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You can now start earning rewards on one of your biggest monthly expenses: rent.
Fintech company Kairos announced on June 22 the launch of a new loyalty program and credit card that offer points on rent payments, plus the option to redeem them for travel, fitness and even a down payment on a home.
The new standalone Bilt Rewards program allows qualifying U.S. renters to start earning rewards each time they pay rent through the Bilt app. To earn even more points, renters can apply for the new co-branded Bilt Rewards Mastercard.
At launch, consumers who are eligible to join the loyalty program and apply for the Bilt Rewards Mastercard live in a Bilt Rewards Alliance building. More below on how to know if your apartment is a qualifying property. If this is you, you can expect to receive an email invitation over the next six months.
And for those who do not currently live in a Bilt Rewards Alliance property, you can join the waitlist at BiltRewards.com, and you’ll be notified when you are eligible to join Bilt Rewards and apply for the Bilt Mastercard. Opening a Bilt Mastercard is subject to credit approval, but anyone can apply once the rollout is underway (you won’t need to live in a Bilt Rewards Alliance building). Renters will be able to pay their rent with the Bilt Mastercard at any property in the U.S. and start earning points on rent and non-rent transactions.
Earning Bilt Rewards points
To start earning points, download the Bilt Rewards app and create your free Rewards account. Bilt Rewards members will start by earning 250 points per rent payment, with an opportunity to earn additional points through incentives that landlords may offer. Special Bilt Rewards promotions also allow you to earn bonus points, such as when you link your Bilt Rewards account to one of Bilt’s hotel partners, which can get you 100 points.
When you use the Bilt Mastercard to pay your rent, you earn up to 2X Bilt Rewards points per dollar on every rent transaction (cardholders are limited to earning a maximum of 4,000 points per month from rent payments), plus 1X point on every non-rent transaction. There is no cap to the number of Bilt points you can earn per month on non-rent purchases.
Paying rent on a credit card fee-free is a huge perk of using Bilt: Not all landlords allow tenants to pay rent with a credit card, and those that do usually charge around a 3% credit card processing fee. Even if your landlord doesn’t accept credit cards, you can still pay rent with your Bilt Mastercard through the app and Bilt will send a check on your behalf so you still get your points for paying rent.
The more you use your Bilt Mastercard on non-rent purchases, the higher your status in the Bilt Rewards program. The program offers four membership tiers (Blue, Silver, Gold and Platinum), and each one lets you earn more points on your next rent payment. For example, with Blue status, cardholders earn 1X point per every $2 on their rent payment, but with Platinum status, cardholders earn 2X points per $1.
To earn higher status, up your monthly non-rent spend. For example, reaching Blue status requires you to spend $250 in qualifying non-rent purchases in a month, but to reach Platinum status, the spending threshold increases to $3,500 in a month.
Bilt has a limited-time welcome offer for new Bilt Mastercard cardholders. You can earn 3X points on your first rent payment after account approval, up to a maximum of 10,000 points, and earn 2X points on all non-rent spend for the first 30 days. A digital Bilt Mastercard will immediately be available after approval in the Bilt Rewards app to use for purchases and the physical card will arrive within two to four business days after approval.
In addition to paying rent through the Bilt app (with zero transaction fees) using your no-annual-fee Bilt Rewards Mastercard, there are some additional ways you can earn points when renting at a Bilt Rewards Alliance property:
- Renewing leases
- Signing a new lease
- Referring a new tenant
Ways to redeem your Bilt Rewards points
Not only can you earn points for paying rent, but you can then use those points to help cover next month’s rent. Here are all the other ways to redeem your Bilt Rewards points:
Redeem points for travel
Bilt Rewards points can be redeemed for travel at over 100 major hotels and airlines, through one of the eight transfer partners. You can transfer Bilt points to partners at a 1:1 rate, so 1 Bilt Point equals 1 airline mile or 1 hotel point. Bilt’s 1:1 airline and hotel transfer partners include:
- American AAdvantage (American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, Finnair)
- Air Canada Aeroplan (United Airlines, AirCanada, Lufthansa, Swiss Air, TAP Air Portugal, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Air India, Singapore Airlines)
- Emirates Skywards (JetBlue, Alaska Airlines, Korean Air)
- FlyingBlue (Air France, KLM, Delta Air Lines)
- Miles & Smiles (Turkish Airlines)
- Virgin Atlantic Flying Club (Virgin Atlantic)
- HawaiianMiles (Hawaiian Airlines)
- World of Hyatt (Andaz, Thompson Hotels, Miraval, Park Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt House)
Travel redemptions start at 5,000 points.
As of launch, you can redeem your Bilt Rewards points for group fitness classes or subscriptions with SoulCycle, Rumble Boxing and Y7 Studio. Fitness redemptions start at 3,500 points and the redemption rate is around 1 cent per point.
The Bilt Collection offers limited-edition art and home decor pieces that you can purchase using your Bilt Rewards points. Items start at 5,000 points.
Redeeming points for future down payment
One of the most unique ways to redeem your Bilt Rewards points is to use them to fund a down payment on a future home when the financing is originated through Bilt. The redemption rate toward a down payment is valued at up to 1.5 cents per point.
Because the co-branded Bilt Mastercard is part of the World Elite Mastercard program, cardholders receive extra benefits. These perks include the following:
- Cell phone insurance
- Purchase Assurance Plus that covers your purchases for 90 days
- Exclusive merchant discounts with brands like Lyft, DoorDash and ShopRunner
- Access to the Mastercard Luxury Hotels & Resorts portfolio for amenities like upgrades, free breakfast and property credits at over 3,000 hotels
- 24/7 complimentary World Elite Concierge for all your personal assistant needs
Read more about World Elite benefits on Mastercard’s website.
Bilt also offers protections so credit card holders don’t use up all of their credit limit or risk going into debt by charging to their rent every month. By enabling the BiltProtect feature, Bilt Mastercard cardholders will have their rent payments directly withdrawn from a linked bank account so their credit line stays open for other purchases, and they continue to earn points.
How using the Bilt Mastercard can help boost your credit score
Making monthly rent payments on time will certainly pay off in more ways than one. When you use your Bilt Mastercard to pay rent, your on-time payment activity gets automatically reported to the three main credit bureaus.
Bilt estimates that this could boost cardholders’ credit scores by up to 50 to 100 points over just 12 months.
How to know if your apartment is a qualifying Bilt Rewards Alliance property
The Bilt Rewards Alliance includes the following participating real estate partners nationwide:
- The Blackstone Group
- The Related Companies
- Equity Residential
- AvalonBay Communities, Inc.
- Camden Property Trust
- Cushman & Wakefield
- Trammell Crow Residential
- Highmark Residential
- AMLI Residential
- Morgan Properties
- SL Green Realty Corp.
- Starwood Capital Group
- The Moinian Group
- Veritas Investments
- Artemis Real Estate Partners
You can also enter your address into the Bilt app to see if your building is a participating property. Qualifying participants will see a note that they are a “Member of the Bilt Rewards Alliance.”
For any renter, the Bilt Rewards program and Bilt Rewards Mastercard is a no-brainer. Bilt allows you to capitalize on the routine rent payments you already make each month by earning points. Those points can go toward next month’s rent, or be used to make your next vacation more affordable.
If you are at all hesitant about charging a big expense like rent onto a credit card, we recommend turning on the BiltProtect feature so you can rest assured that your rent isn’t accounting for too much of your credit limit. Plus, you’ll still earn the points for paying your rent bill each month.
While the Bilt Rewards Mastercard makes sense for renters, those who really want to maximize the points they can earn on other spending should consider rewards credit cards. For example, a top travel rewards credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offers members 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022, 2X points on travel and dining worldwide and 1X points on all other purchases.
Best of all, new Chase Sapphire Preferred cardholders get a massive 100,000-point welcome bonus after spending $4,000 on purchases in their first three months from account opening.
5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022, 2X points on travel and dining worldwide, 1X points on all other purchases
Earn 100,000 bonus points after spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening
15.99% to 22.99% variable on purchases and balance transfers
Balance transfer fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater
Foreign transaction fee
Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.