Travel on Points

Review: Bilt Mastercard

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, making it one of the best no annual fee cards on the market.
Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

Review: Bilt Mastercard

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, making it one of the best no annual fee cards on the market.

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

 

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.

Current Offer

The Bilt Mastercard does not currently offer a sign-up bonus. In fact, the card has not offered a SUB since it launched in June 2021. Without a doubt, a sign-up bonus would be a welcome addition. The Bilt card does not have an annual fee.

Earn Rate

The Bilt Mastercard‘s earning structure is unusual, but it's where the card shines. When you make at least 5 transactions with your Bilt card during a statement period, you will earn 1 point per dollar on rent paid through the Bilt App. If you do not make 5 transactions during a statement period, then you will only earn 250 points for rent payment during that period. You can earn up to 50,000 points per year through rent payments via the Bilt App.

The Bilt card earns 2x on travel, which is limited to purchases made with airlines, hotels, resorts, cruise lines, and car rental agencies. Interestingly, the card's terms & conditions include a long list of merchants that are not considered travel. These include bus lines, passenger railways and trains, taxis, rideshares, travel agencies, online travel sites, vacation rental platforms (e.g., VRBO, Airbnb), toll bridges and highways, parking lots, and garages.

The card earns 3x on dining, including restaurants, bars, and fast food. Lastly, the card earns 1x on all other qualifying purchases.

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 September 30, 2022, 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.
  • Free DashPass trial and DoorDash $5 credit (monthly): Cardholders are eligible for a free 3-month trial of DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service that offers unlimited deliveries with $0 delivery fee on orders over $12. Cardholders also receive $5 off their first DoorDash order every calendar math.
  • Cellphone protection: 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.

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. As of August 2022, Bilt Rewards now offers transfer partners, including:

  • Aer Lingus (coming September 2022)
  • Air Canada
  • Air France/KLM
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Cathay Pacific
  • Emirates
  • Hawaiian
  • Iberia Airlines (coming September 2022)
  • Turkish Airlines
  • United
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Hyatt
  • IHG

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.

The glaring downside of this card is the lack of a sign-up bonus. For those of us in the award travel world, we crave lucrative signup bonuses 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 50,000 points per year, is a built-in signup bonus. Don't get us wrong, the card would be better with ANY outright signup bonus over the current offering, but fee-free rent earnings each year certainly help 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.

Final 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!

Travel on Point(s) has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel on Point(s) and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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