Bilt Loyalty Program Changes
If there's been a trend in loyalty programs over the last few years, it's that credit card spend is now the focus. We've seen this from the Big 3 airlines (American, Delta, and United) and most of the major hotel brands. As of January 1, 2024, Bilt Rewards loyalty program changes mean a heightened focus on credit card spend, too. Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen. For now, we'll break down what we know (and what we don't).
History of the Bilt Loyalty Program
First launched in 2021, the Bilt Loyalty program was very simple: earn a certain amount of points and you receive a corresponding status level. Prior to 1/1/24, the thresholds for status were:
- 0 to 24,999 points earned in a calendar year for Blue Status
- 25,000 points in a calendar year for Silver Status
- 50,000 points in a calendar year for Gold Status
- 100,000 points in a calendar year for Platinum Status
Prior to the upcoming Bilt Loyalty Program changes, the tiers of status were relatively meaningless. Earning Silver Status meant you earned interest on your points balance, which is basically a big nothing-burger. Sarah, as a Silver member, earned a whopping 46 points for interest in November 2023 for her 120,000+ Bilt Rewards. There are bonus points for status members for signing leases with Bilt Rewards partner properties (10%, 25% and 50% for Silver, Gold, and Platinum respectively) and other minor perks.
One fun addition in 2023 was the addition of tiered transfer bonuses based on elite status. We covered all of these bonus opportunities in our Rent Day posts. Frankly, this was the first meaningful elite status benefit for award travelers.
Bilt Status Changes for 2024
Beginning on January 1, 2024, Bilt is completely revamping the Loyalty Program. Members can now earn status via points earned or through credit card spend. The breakdown for 2024 and beyond is this:
|Qualifying Points (Earned in a Calendar Year)
|Credit Card Spend (Eligible Non-Rent Spend
on the Bilt Rewards Mastercard or some spend on linked
Amex, Mastercard, or Visa)
First, earning status via qualifying points is a 100-150% devaluation. When it comes to earning status via qualifying points, the Bilt loyalty program changes are a harsh kick in the teeth. A 10 day notice of such a massive devaluation is unprecedented. While Bilt Rent Day promos, the dining program, etc. have expotentially increased our ability to earn Bilt Rewards points, it's very difficult to explain away a 100-150% devaluation. Frankly, almost no one should consider earning Bilt status via qualifying points in 2024.
But there is good news. The Bilt loyalty program changes for 2024 allow you to earn status via credit card spend, either on a Bilt Rewards Mastercard for all eligible, non-rent spend, or on an Amex, Mastercard or Visa credit card spend on eligible Bilt Dining, Bilt Travel Portal, or Lyft charges. This is a much easier, and a more common-sense way to earn Bilt Status. If you regularly spend on Bilt Rent Day promos, use Lyft, and/or Bilt Dining, these thresholds, at least Silver Status, are likely fairly easy to meet. But does this even make sense to do?
Is Bilt Status Worth Pursuing?
After the Bilt Loyalty Program changes, the first question we need to address is if Bilt Status is worth pursuing. In a nutshell, we have no idea. Prior to 1/1/24, Bilt Status was absolutely not worth pursuing for almost anyone. The tiered transfer bonuses on Bilt Rent Day in 2023, which rewarded elite members, were an awesome addition. But these benefits were sporadic, unannounced in advance, and unknown. It does not make sense to chase status in the hope of future perks.
Unfortunately, that is where we are with the Bilt Rewards Loyalty Program. We have to guess what the future perks are and if it makes sense for us to pursue status. Bilt now promises Milestone Rewards as you work your way towards status, including bonus multipliers at Bilt Dining and accelerator earning opportunities. However, nothing is mentioned about any Milestone Rewards while earning status via credit card spend. If Milestone Rewards are solely tied to points accrual, and in increments of 25,000 points, these rewards are meaningless to most folks. Also, we have no information about future transfer bonuses or other perks only available to elite members. We can assume those will continue in the future, but you know what they say about assumptions.
There is certainly promise with these Bilt Loyalty Program changes, but it is too soon to know if it moves the needle one way or the other.
Bilt Loyalty Program Changes: ToP Thoughts
Overall, it is good to see Bilt Rewards revamp the loyalty program. Generally, earning status via credit card spend alone is enticing to award travelers, and this is no exception. Likewise, I am pleased that spend on non-Bilt Rewards Mastercards counts towards status at Lyft, Bilt Dining, and the Bilt Travel Portal. However, everything isn't peachy with this news. Earning status via qualifying points took a major devaluation of 100-150%. Likewise, little is known about the perks of Bilt elite status, or if there are actual legit perks in the future. While I do think there is good potential, it is too soon to know if the Bilt Loyalty Program changes are a good thing or a bad thing.
What are your thoughts? Do you like these changes, hate these changes or are you indifferent? Come over to our Facebook group and let us know.