Why I Love the Bilt Rewards Card, Even Though I Don’t Pay Rent

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The Bilt Credit Card allows you to pay your rent with a credit card and earn rewards points, without any payment processing fees being tacked on to the final amount. 

As a homeowner, I’m not the typical target customer for the card. But after learning more about the program, I realized that getting it still made a lot of sense because:

  1. Bilt pays double rewards when you use the card on the 1st of every month, which they call “Rent Day.” You receive two points per dollar for general spending, four points for travel, and six points for dining. 
  2. Many of my larger expenses, such as insurance, utilities and taxes, have flexible payment dates, allowing me to strategically pay these bills on the 1st to get the double points. (I’ll talk more about using a credit card to pay taxes later in this article.)

Many credit cards offer bonus rewards in specific categories like dining or travel, while all other purchases earn a base rate of typically 1 point per dollar. These other purchases are called “non-bonus categories.”

Before getting the Bilt card, I was putting non-bonus category spending on either the Chase Freedom Unlimited, which pays 1.5% in all categories, or the Capital One Venture X, which pays 2% in all categories but doesn’t have as good of transfer partners as Bilt. (The Venture X also has a $395 annual fee.)

The Value of Bilt Points

Bilt Rewards stands out among credit card programs thanks to two key features: monthly promotions that can significantly boost your points’ value and an unrivaled lineup of travel partners.

While they vary from month to month, past promotions have featured incredible transfer bonuses to airline and hotel partners.

Some notable examples include the following:

  • February 2023: 100% transfer bonus to Hawaiian Airlines.
  • May 2023: 100% transfer bonus to Flying Blue (KLM/AirFrance).
  • August 2023: Up to 150% transfer bonus to Virgin Red.
  • November 2023: Up to 150% transfer bonus to Emirates Skywards.
  • February 2024: Up to 150% transfer bonus to Aeroplan.

Let’s say you spend $100 on non-bonus category purchases on Rent Day. This would earn you 200 Bilt points.

If you transfer those points to an airline partner during a 150% bonus promotion, your 200 points become 500 points (200 x 2.5).

This means you’ve effectively earned 5 points per dollar in a loyalty program on your original $100 purchase, which is an exceptional earning rate for a no-annual-fee credit card.

Of course, transfer bonuses are only valuable if they’re for programs you use. Fortunately, Bilt has what I consider to be the most valuable list of transfer partners in the space. 

The current list includes:

  • AerClub
  • Air Canada Aeroplan
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Aviance Lifemiles
  • Cathay Pacific 
  • Emirates Skywards
  • Flying Blue (Airframe/KLM)
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Iberia
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles
  • United Mileage Plus
  • World of Hyatt

Transfer partners that stand out on the list to me are:

  • Aeroplan. This is Air Canada’s loyalty program, which allows you to book flights on Air Canada and its partner airlines, including United Airlines, Lufthansa and many others. It’s an excellent option for international travel.
  • Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan. Alaska Airlines miles are highly valuable but notoriously hard to earn. Bilt is the only credit card rewards program that transfers to Alaska.
  • World of Hyatt. This is the loyalty program of Hyatt Hotels, which includes brands like Park Hyatt, Andaz and Thompson Hotels. Hyatt allows you to book these high-end properties for as low as 21,000 points per night when cash rates can exceed $1,000 per night. 
  • Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles. This is the loyalty program of Turkish Airlines, which has a unique way of pricing award flights based on the distance you fly. For example, you can use Turkish Airlines miles to fly from anywhere in the mainland United States to Hawaii for just 10,000 miles one-way.

Using the Bilt Card to Pay Taxes

Paying taxes with a credit card can be a smart way to earn rewards points, but it’s not free. 

The IRS offers payments through several providers, with a minimum fee of 1.82%. This fee essentially means you’re buying the rewards points you earn. 

So, if the fee is 1.82% and you use the Bilt card on Rent Day, you’ll earn 2 points per dollar spent. In this case, you’re buying Bilt points at 0.91 cents each. 

Whether that’s a good deal depends on how much value you can get when redeeming those points. If you can redeem them for more than 0.91 cents per point, paying the fee to earn the points can be worth it.

According to The Points Guy, Bilt points are valued at 2.05 per point. So there’s a lot of opportunity to get more than 0.91 cents in value when transferring your Bilt points to one of their transfer partners. 

Drawbacks of the Bilt Rewards Credit Card for Non-Renters

As a self-employed person with taxes and health insurance to pay, I’m part of a minority of people who don’t pay rent but would still benefit from using the Bilt card. 

If you’re a homeowner with no significant expenses that you can pay on the 1st of every month, the Bilt card doesn’t make much sense. 

The same can be said about those who don’t utilize credit card transfer partners, or who aren’t interested in using Bilt’s partners in particular.

Aside from that, some people may prefer earning points to attain a higher status via a certain card, while others may choose to use a card like the Capital One Venture X card, which earns 2% on all purchases and has a solid list of transfer partners.

At the end of the day, there are cards that earn 2% straight cash-back every day of the month without an annual fee. And coming soon is the Robinhood Gold Card, which offers 3% and has the equivalent of a $50 annual fee. 

So, if you’re going to choose a card that pays less than that, such as the Bilt card, you want to make sure the program benefits align with your travel goals.

Final Thoughts

By strategically utilizing the Rent Day promotions, transfer bonuses and travel partners, you can get exceptional value out of the Bilt credit card rewards program — even if you don’t pay rent. 

While the Bilt Card may not be the perfect fit for everyone, it’s definitely worth considering if you have the flexibility to align your spending with the card’s features and can take advantage of its impressive roster of transfer partners.

Have questions or comments? Let me know in the comments section below…

R.J. Weiss
R.J. Weiss, founder of The Ways To Wealth, has been a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ since 2010. Holding a B.A. in finance and having completed the CFP® certification curriculum at The American College, R.J. combines formal education with a deep commitment to providing unbiased financial insights. Recognized as a trusted authority in the financial realm, his expertise is highlighted in major publications like Business Insider, New York Times, and Forbes.

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