Bilt Rewards Adds Points-Earning At 20,000 Restaurants

A year ago Bilt Rewards added a card-linked dining program that let you earn points at participating restaurants whenever paying with a card linked to your Bilt account (it didn’t have to be Bilt’s own co-brand credit card). They were only in larger cities, but the curated lists of restaurants was outstanding.

Now they’ve done a couple of deals to hugely expand their presence to around 20,000 more restaurants in what they call their Neighborhood Dining program. They’ve folded in restaurants from:

  • Rewards Network (which white labels dining programs with airlines and hotels)
  • Seated
  • As well as their own continued work adding restaurant groups

Unlike with Rewards Network, where you can only add a credit card to a single one of their dining programs, it is possible to add the same card with – for instance – United MileagePlus Dining as well as Bilt Rewards.

You won’t earn with both. Instead, where there’s a conflict restaurants will be greyed out and you’ll just toggle to enable Bilt and disable the other program. Earning a single Bilt point is more valuable than earning a single United, American, Alaska, Delta, etc. mile. Earn may not always be comparable, such as with promotions, but ceteris paribus I’d certainly prefer earning through Bilt Rewards (whose points transfer to United, Alaska, Hyatt and more). Though in the case of American it’s worth noting that crediting to them means earning Loyalty Points towards status as well.

This seems like it’s going to take away a bit of activity from other airline and hotel programs, though at the same time Rewards Network dining has always been lower volume than I’d expect.

In the fall I noticed that Bilt’s dining program added my home town of Austin and what struck me at the time was that every place on the list was good and somewhere that I actually go. That differentiated their program from the Rewards Network-driven dining programs of the airlines and hotels where it’s frequently struggling bad restaurants in need of capital. It was on-brand for Bilt and unique.

Austin restaurants included at the time Kemuri Tatsu-ya (a personal favorite); Uchi and Uchiko (good but overrated); Monger Market (a sleeper); Dai Due (arguably best burger in Austin but not only that); Salty Sow; Foreign and Domestic; Emmer & Rye; L’Oca d’Oro; Lenoir (50% off wine nights!); Peached Tortilla; Odd Duck; Olamaie; Jeffrey’s.

Now, adding many more restaurants is better in the sense of more points. It gets them scale, but dilutes the imprimatur – Bilt has had an art program, their merchandise has been interesting, and their restaurants all good. In a sense it’s like Amex adding Walmart+ to their Platinum product – it adds a lot of value but also seems dilutive?

Meanwhile this also means the end of double dipping across Bilt and these other platforms. There have been restaurants that Bilt had, where you could earn points with them, and those same restaurants were also on – say – a Rewards Network dining platform like SkyMiles Dining. You were able to earn with both. Now you toggle which one you want to earn through.

What I’m looking forward to – and more on-brand – is that next year Bilt says they’re launch benefits and not just points-earning with Neighborhood Dining program restaurants. Free appetizers, desserts, or a welcome drink maybe?

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, 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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  1. “You won’t earn with both. Instead, where there’s a conflict restaurants will be greyed out and you’ll just toggle to enable Bilt and disable the other program”

    Where is this done? I don’t see this toggle feature in the app yet

  2. I just don’t see the value in Bilt for the points enthusiast. No SUB, mediocre earning categories, and the whole rent scheme. (lets face it, if you are a long time enthusiast – you most likely have above 800 credit score and own a home) Now just a copy of what everyone one else has done with restaurant rewards.

    I am wondering if certain people have an equity interest in Bilt the way they keep pushing the program. Hype it up, get someone to buy it. and get a payday. I have a feeling once Bilt gets bought by someone, we will hear crickets about it.

  3. I have the same question as Nick. I don’t see an option to toggle on or off and would definitely like to make sure I’m earning with Bilt!

    eds183- to your point, I don’t have the Bilt card but even with the free app, I have already racked up 6,000 points just with dining and linking transfer partners. Not bad!

  4. Sometimes I’ll even earn a triple stack with Dosh, hope that doesn’t change!

  5. I tried adding a card to Bilt that was with the mileage plus dining program. it was immediately removed from that program and I was notified by email. I canceled it with Bilt and tried to reinstate it with United, but it was blocked. i had to call Mileage Plus dining to get it reinstated.

  6. When I hit that Neighborhood Dining toggle – it was for all dining, not individual restaurants – it immediately removed all my cards from my American AAdvantage Dining. Then I was no longer earning dining bonus in EITHER AAdvantage Dining or BILT Dining for the next few days. So I added back all my cards, including BILT Mastercard, to AAdvantage Dining. All of them are still in my BILT Wallet as well. So we will see where I earn dining rewards, if at all.

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