You can pay rent with any credit card and earn rewards on the entire payment. But even if your credit limit can accommodate the transaction, there’s a catch: You generally have to use a payment portal that tacks 2% to 4% onto the transaction. That’s more than enough to offset any rewards you’d earn.
Bilt Mastercard offers a way around that. It has a built-in rent payment portal that lets you pay your rent without the transaction fee. You earn a 1% return on those rent payments too.
Transaction-fee-free rent payments with rewards is Bilt Mastercard’s biggest selling point, but it’s not the card’s only notable feature. Bilt Mastercard has some additional upsides — and downsides — to consider before you apply.
What Is Bilt Mastercard?
Bilt Mastercard is a rewards credit card with no annual fee. It’s one of the few credit cards that waives transaction fees on rent payments, significantly reducing the cost of paying rent with a credit card.
Bilt Mastercard has an above-average rewards program that earns points on everything you buy — double and triple points on common purchases like travel and dining. Heavy spenders can move up the Bilt Rewards hierarchy, earning points toward travel, experiences, or even a down payment on a house.
What Sets Bilt Mastercard Apart?
Bilt Mastercard has a few unusual features that set it apart from most rewards credit cards.
- No transaction fee on rent payments. When you pay your rent with Bilt Mastercard, you don’t pay a transaction fee. That’s a big advantage over other rent payment portals, which charge at least 2% for rent payments.
- The opportunity to build credit through rent payments. If you live at any of the more than 1 million units in the Bilt Rewards Alliance, a group of 20-plus property management companies, you can opt into a credit reporting program that alerts the major credit bureaus to your rent payments. That can become part of your strategy to build or rebuild credit faster.
- Double points on the first day of the month. Bilt Mastercard doubles your point earnings on all purchases you make on the first of the month — Rent Day. That’s 6x points on dining purchases, 4x points on travel purchases, and 2x points on everything else. Plan your spending accordingly, especially big-ticket purchases.
Is Bilt Mastercard Legit?
Funds held with Wells Fargo are FDIC-insured, and it’s one of the few banks qualifying as “too big to fail,” so it’s not going anywhere. If it does, we all have bigger problems than whether this one credit card is a scam.
Key Features of Bilt Mastercard
Bilt Mastercard touts its transaction fee-free rent rewards. But that’s just one feature on a much bigger menu.
Earning Bilt Rewards
Bilt Mastercard has a tiered rewards program. The rewards you earn depend on what category your purchase falls into. But overall, it’s a generous rewards program.
- Unlimited 3x rewards on dining: Earn 3 points per $1 spent on eligible dining purchases, including takeout and delivery.
- Unlimited 2x rewards on travel: Earn 2 points per $1 spent on travel booked directly with the provider, including airfare, hotels, rental cars, and cruises. Purchases through third-party booking engines like Expedia may not qualify.
- 1x rewards on rent payments: Earn 1 point per $1 spent on rent payments, even if your unit isn’t part of the Bilt Rewards Alliance. Bilt caps rent rewards at 100,000 points each year, high enough for most cardholders.
- Unlimited 1x rewards on everything else: Earn 1 point per $1 spent on all other eligible purchases.
You have to make at least five transactions in a statement period to earn rewards for that period. That rules out using Bilt Mastercard for rent payments only.
Redeeming Bilt Rewards
You can redeem Bilt rewards for:
- Direct travel purchases with over 100 airline and hotel partners
- Transfers to more than a dozen airline and hotel partners, generally at a 1-to-1 ratio
- Rent payments
- Credit toward a down payment on a home
- Experiences and merchandise, including classes with fitness partners like SoulCycle and home decor and apparel brands in the Bilt Collection
Redemption minimums and values vary, but if you travel regularly, the most reliable value comes from transfers to airline and hotel partners. Otherwise, rent payments are your best bet.
Bilt Rewards Status Levels
Bilt’s rewards program has four tiers based on your annual point earnings. Each tier unlocks new benefits:
- Blue: Everyone starts as a Blue member.
- Silver: Unlocks when you earn 25,000 points in a calendar year. Perks include a 10% bonus on Bilt points when you begin or renew an apartment lease with a Bilt Rewards Alliance members. So if your first month’s rent on a qualifying lease is $2,000, you earn 200 bonus points.
- Gold: Unlocks with 50,000 points earned in a calendar year. With Gold, the points bonus for a new or renewed lease jumps to 25%. Plus, you get access to Bilt’s Homeownership Concierge, a homebuying consulting service.
- Platinum: Unlocks with 100,000 points earned in a calendar year. The lease incentive bonus increases to 50% and you get an exclusive gift from the Bilt Collection — typically some sort of home decor item.
Building Credit With Rent Payments
If you wish, you can allow Bilt to report your rent payments to the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). That may help you build credit faster, especially if you don’t have many other credit accounts. But it can also hurt you if you stop paying rent for any reason or you’re late on rent payments.
Bilt Mastercard has some potentially valuable non-rewards travel benefits too.
- Trip cancellation and interruption coverage reimburses nonrefundable prepaid reservations you have to cancel so long as you have a valid reason, such as illness
- Trip delay reimbursement covers nonrefundable prepaid reservations you can’t honor due to covered flight or other transport delays
- Car rental insurance covers costs related to collision damage to your rental car when you pay for the rental in full with your Bilt card and decline the rental company’s offer of coverage
Bilt Mastercard has some other complimentary benefits:
- $5 Lyft credit per statement period when you complete at least three rides
- $5 credit off your first DoorDash order each month
- Three-month complimentary DoorDash DashPass subscription, which waives the delivery fee on eligible orders
- Cellphone protection, which covers damage and theft up to $800 per claim (less a $25 deductible)
From day one, Bilt Mastercard’s APR is 20.99%, 23.99%, or 28.99%, based on your creditworthiness. There’s no introductory APR promotion for purchases or balance transfers.
Bilt Mastercard has no annual fee or foreign transaction fees. Other fees may apply, including balance transfer and cash advance fees.
Bilt Mastercard has relatively laid-back standards. It’s not for people with bad credit, but your application may be approved, even if your FICO credit score is below 700. For more information, see our article about good versus bad credit scores.
Bilt Mastercard has an above-average rewards program, multiple perks and benefits for renters, and some potentially valuable benefits for cardholders who use rideshare and restaurant delivery services.
- Up to 3x points on eligible purchases. Bilt Mastercard earns 3 points per $1 spent on dining purchases, on par with premium dining credit cards like Chase Sapphire Reserve.
- Earn rewards on rent payments without the transaction fee. Bilt Mastercard earns 1 point per $1 spent on rent payments. That’s nice, but the real value is in the transaction fee waiver, which can save you 2% to 4% when compared to other rent payment portals.
- Earn double points on Rent Day. Bilt Mastercard doubles rewards on all purchases made on the first of the month. That boosts the maximum return to a very generous 6x.
- More points as you ascend status levels. Earn at least 25,000 points in a year to unlock higher status levels, with benefits like bonus points on new and renewed leases at Bilt Alliance properties.
- No annual fee. Bilt Mastercard has no annual fee, so you won’t pay anything to keep it around. This is a welcome contrast with some other premium dining and travel credit cards.
- DoorDash and Lyft perks. They won’t make you rich, but Bilt Mastercard offers perks for regular DoorDash and Lyft users (or users willing to switch). Both are worth at least $5 per month if you meet the qualifications.
- Relaxed standards. Bilt Mastercard has looser standards than many competing cards, which require FICO scores above 700 to qualify (and sometimes well above).
- Opportunity to build credit with rent payments. If you live in a unit managed by a member of the Bilt Rewards Alliance, you can agree to have your rent payments reported to the major credit bureaus. That can build your credit faster than simply using your credit card, though it can also hurt your credit if you stop paying rent.
Bilt Mastercard is missing some common rewards card features and falls flat on purchases outside the dining and travel categories, among other disadvantages.
- Minimum transaction requirement to earn rewards. You must make at least five transactions in a statement period to earn rewards for that period.
- Low rewards rate on most purchases. Even if you clear the transaction threshold, you earn just 1 point per $1 on most purchases. That’s lower than competing credit cards like Chase Freedom Unlimited (1.5% back on most purchases) and Citi Double Cash (2% back on all purchases when you pay in full).
- No sign-up bonus. Bilt Mastercard has no spend-based sign-up bonus. Many other no-annual-fee rewards cards do, so that’s a notable absence.
- No 0% APR introductory offer. Bilt Mastercard also has no 0% APR introductory offer, which is a big downside for new cardholders looking to finance big purchases or pay off high-interest balances from another card.
How Bilt Mastercard Stacks Up
Bilt Mastercard really leans into its rent payment benefits, but if you zoom out, it looks like a fairly typical travel and dining credit card. So before you apply, see how it stacks up against another popular credit card that rewards dining and travel: the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
|Chase Sapphire Preferred
|Unlimited 2x or 5x
|1x (limited only on rent)
|Double Points Day
|$50 on eligible hotels
|Rent Transaction Fee
Bilt Mastercard is the best credit card to use for rent payments because it waives the customary transaction fee, which can add 2% to 4% to the cost, depending on which payment portal you use. It has some other benefits too, including unlimited 3x rewards on dining purchases and unlimited 2x rewards on travel purchases. And it has no annual fee.
But Bilt Mastercard has some meaningful drawbacks. It lacks a sign-up bonus or 0% APR introductory promotion, and its baseline rewards rate is low. Most important, you have to make at least five transactions in a statement period to earn rewards for that period, which rules out getting it just to use on rent payments or infrequent use in general.
Still, Bilt Mastercard is a contender if you’re a renter in the market for an entry-level rewards credit card.