[LIVE} Bilt Adds United Airlines, Cathay Pacific As Transfer Partners

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Update: Cathay Pacific Asia Miles transfers are now live.



Bilt Mastercard

Bilt Rewards, the first major loyalty program for people who rent their homes or apartments, is bringing on two new instant points transfer partners: United Airlines MileagePlus and Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles. Points in the Bilt program will transfer to:

  • Star Alliance Airlines: Air Canada Aeroplan, Turkish Miles & Smiles, United Airlines MileagePlus

  • oneworld Airlines: American AAdvantage, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

  • SkyTeam Airlines: Air France KLM Flying Blue

  • Non-alliance Airlines: Emirates Skywards, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles

  • Hotels: Hyatt, IHG Rewards


United Polaris

United transfers are now live. Cathay Pacific will come in mid-April. Both will be 1:1 transfer partners.

I’m a member of their program, and I have their co-brand credit card, even though I own my home. It’s just that good of a value proposition. Renters earn points paying rent, but even without that you can think of their cobrand as a Sapphire Preferred without the annual fee.

Before this addition I valued Bilt points at 1.7 cents apiece. Already I argued their partners were at least as good as Chase’s transfer partners. Before declaring Bilt Rewards a better program than Chase Ultimate Rewards, though, I’d want to see more longevity from Bilt. They’ve only been launched publicly since last June. Chase has shown a willingness to defend its value proposition losing hundreds of millions of dollars to do so (on Sapphire Reserve, and re-upping their co-brand early with United ensuring continued transfers).

And I’m not sure how much United adds to Bilt for the expert miles collector, since Bilt already had Star Alliance members Aeroplan and Turkish. Aeroplan is probably better overall and Turkish has great sweet spots. United miles give you access to awards on United that aren’t offered to partners (usually for more miles) and the domestic familiarity will be comfortable for some members to use.

Meanwhile Asia Miles is a good distance-based program and generally lower fuel surcharges than many competitors (for instance, redeem British Airways awards for less money than spending BA’s Avios or American AAdvantage miles). However instability in the Hong Kong aviation market gives me pause about the future of Cathay Pacific, and thus about the future of Asia Miles which relies on Cathay as part of oneworld. Since they’re an instant transfer partner that may not matter, you won’t house points there, but making bookings far off into the future could entail some risk.


Cathay Pacific First Class

This makes Bilt the first transferable points program in more than a decade to offer transfers to two of the three largest U.S. airlines. It’s the only generally active program to have ever done so. (In the mid-2000s Diners Club offered transfers to both American AAdvantage and United MileagePlus, boy do I miss pre-2005 Diners Club which offered 60 days to pay your statement.) Some hotel programs of course offer transfers to airline miles and include major U.S. airlines as partners, of course.

Bilt Mastercard

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. “Bilt Rewards, the first major loyalty program for people who rent their homes or partners”

    Wait. We can whore out our partners for miles? I mean more than we already do with partner credit cards and authorized users?

  2. I live in DC and pay high rent. I use my Bilt card for restaurants and my rent. I’ve been raking in the points. I love it!

  3. Problem I face is that paying rent by credit card (Bilt) incurs a $60/month processing fee for my buildin. Despite paying very high rent, this negates any miles. Would love to know if anyone has a workaround for this….

  4. Looks like Chase needs to do something. The entire value proposition for the Sapphire Family of cards is now down the toilet compared to Bilt.

  5. @ Gary — Now they need to add a SUB. Otherwise, this card is useless to non-renters.

  6. 1. CX is blocking award space to those without MPO status
    2. CX downgrades award pax to Y and offers the seat to local HK based revenue pax or MPO Diamonds/Golds.
    FYI….

  7. Asia Miles is a lower fuel surcharge option for booking British Airways awards, charges fewer points than BA for oneworld awards in many cases as well.

  8. So… what can Chase Sapphire Preferred do to compete? The Bilt card’s earning structure and travel benefits seem to be exactly the same though at somewhat smaller amounts (e.g. $200 for delay coverage vs. $500 for the preferred, but Bilt starts coverage at 6 hours, not 12/overnight like CSP). The extra bonus on streaming services and online grocery with CSP doesn’t seem to be enough to move the needle but the additional 3x points on airfare and hotel (through the Chase portal) could sway some users.

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