Bilt Mastercard Review
The Bilt Mastercard, known for offering cardholders the ability to earn rewards on fee-free rent payments, is also the backbone of the newest transferrable currency: Bilt Rewards. For folks in specific circumstances, this card is one of the best no annual fee cards on the market. In our Bilt Mastercard review we will go over the current welcome offer, earning structure, card perks and share out overall thoughts.
*It should be noted that we have a business relationship with Bilt Mastercard and if you use our links in this review we may receive compensation for it. The opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by Bilt Rewards or Bilt Mastercard.
Updated 11/8/23: with new Bilt transfer partner Marriott Bonvoy added in.
Current Welcome Offer
The Bilt Mastercard does not currently offer a welcome offer that is guaranteed. Some new card members are targeted for a spending promo though. The email alerting them to this offer comes via email the day the physical card is delivered to their house. The terms are as follows:
- For 5 days from the date this email was sent, you will earn a total of 5 rewards points, (1 base point plus 4 bonus points), per $1 spent on net purchases (excluding rent).
- The maximum bonus points you can earn with this offer is 50,000, regardless of how much you spend.
- You must make at least 5 transactions each statement period using your Bilt Mastercard to earn points, including bonus points for this promotional offer.
- Rent payments do not count
This is not guaranteed and is a luck of the draw type of offer. Normally there is no welcome offer for the Bilt Mastercard.
The Bilt Mastercard‘s earning structure is unusual, but it's where the card shines. Here is a breakdown of the card's earning structure:
- 5x on Lyft (be sure to link your accounts first)
- 3x on dining
- 2x on travel (defined as airlines, hotels, resorts, cruise lines, and car rental agencies)
- 1x per dollar on rent paid through the Bilt App (up to 100,000 points per year).
- You must make 5 transactions on your card each statement period to earn at this rate on your rent payment.
- If you don't do the required 5 transactions on your card you will earn a flat 250 Bilt Rewards points for your rent payment, regardless of the amount.
- 1x on everything else
Bilt Mastercard Review: Card Benefits
The Bilt card offers solid benefits, especially for a card without an annual fee. Many of these benefits are offered to Mastercard World and World Elite cards generally, and the Bilt card is a World Elite Mastercard.
Trip cancellation & interruption protection:
Cardholders can receive reimbursement for the cost of scheduled fare if the trip must be canceled or interrupted because of a covered reason. The entire fare, less redeemable certificates, vouchers, or coupons, must be paid with your Bilt Mastercard.
Trip delay reimbursement:
If your trip is delayed at least 6 hours, the card can cover reimbursement of trip delay expenses incurred, up to the daily amount of $200 and up to a maximum amount of $1,800 for all covered persons on the same trip. Benefits begin on the scheduled departure date and end on the scheduled return date. Eligible trip delay expenses are covered for the cardholder and immediate family members, on the same trip, when you charge your trip to your Bilt card.
Auto rental collision damage waiver:
The card can reimburses the cardholder for damages caused by theft or collision to a rental car, up to the actual cash value of most rented cars.
$5 Lyft credit (monthly):
Through March 31, 2024, cardholders users can participate in Lyft's and Mastercard's Take 3, Get $5 program by taking and partially or fully paying for 3 eligible rides in a calendar month to receive a $5 Lyft credit.
Cardholders can be reimbursed for damage to or theft of a cell phone when the cardholder's monthly cell phone bill is paid with the Bilt Card. This coverage requires a $25 deductible and is limited to 2 paid claims per 12-month period. Each approved claim is capped at $800. This benefit does not cover lost cell phones. This coverage is supplemental coverage not otherwise covered by another insurance policy (for example, cell phone insurance programs, or homeowner's, renter's, automobile, or employer's insurance policies) and may be applied after all other insurance is exhausted.
Bilt Mastercard Review: Our Analysis
The Bilt Mastercard‘s really shines in two main areas: 1) the ability to earn rewards points on rent payment without incurring credit card fees and, 2) earning 1-3x Bilt Rewards for spend. While Bilt Rewards is the newest player in the transferrable currency world, it is not to be missed. Bilt Rewards may now have the best list of transfer partners, which include:
- Aer Lingus
- Air Canada
- Air France/KLM
- American Airlines
- British Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Iberia Airlines
- Turkish Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Marriott Bonvoy
The Partners Really Shine
For many, the first thought in earning Bilt Rewards is a secondary way to earn Hyatt points. You are no longer required to rely on a Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve or any of the other Ultimate Rewards-earning cards to earn points that can be transferred to Hyatt. While that is great, the often overlooked gem of the Bilt Mastercard is the ability to earn up to 3x points for TWO of the big three domestic legacy carriers, either American Airlines or United. No other transferrable currency has this capability. In fact, the much hyped Capital One Venture X, and its 2x miles on all spend, offers ZERO domestic airlines as transfer partners. When you combine Bilt Mastercard's 1-2-3 earning structure with Bilt Rewards' list of 14 transfer partners, it's clear to see that it is one of, if not the best, no annual fee cards on the market.
One Missing Piece To The Puzzle
The glaring downside of this card is the lack of a welcome offer (if not targeted for the 5x earning). For those of us in the award travel world, we crave lucrative welcome offers and know that signup bonuses have more earning potential than everyday spend. However, if you are a renter and cannot currently pay your rent fee-free, the Bilt Mastercard's fee-free rent earnings of 1x per dollar spent, up to 100,000 points per year, is like a built-in welcome offer.
Travel Definition Is Narrow
Don't get us wrong, the card would be better with ANY guaranteed welcome offer, but fee-free rent earnings each year certainly helps soften the blow. Less worrisome is this card's meager definition of “travel.” While we understand not considering parking or toll as “travel,” it is unfathomable that buses, passenger trains, OTAs, taxis and rideshares do not count. Simply put, Bilt Mastercard's definition of “travel” is the most narrow of any travel rewards card issuer.
Bilt Mastercard Review: ToP Thoughts
Overall, the Bilt Mastercard is a no annual fee card that packs a lot of punch. Earning 1-2-3 Bilt Rewards, fee-free 1x on rent, and lots of World Elite Mastercard perks, puts this card squarely in the “mid-tier” ranking of credit cards, joining other cards like the Citi Premier ($95 annual fee), the Amex Gold ($250 annual fee), and the Chase Sapphire Preferred ($95 annual fee). Toss in fourteen transfer partners of Bilt Rewards, and this card is easily a contender for the best no annual fee card on the market.
What are your thoughts? Is this card the best no annual fee card available? Join the discussion in our Facebook group!