Huge: Bilt Dining Now Offers 5x At Curated Restaurants (Earn 8X Or More Total)

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Bilt Rewards has introduced Bilt Dining where you’ll automatically earn 5 points per dollar spent at participating restaurants when you pay using any credit card that you’ve added to your Bilt Wallet in the Bilt Rewards mobile app.

You may be familiar with the dining programs of airlines and hotel programs, run through third party Rewards Network. This is a different program, being built from the ground up with restaurants that in many cases are quite good – that you’ll actually want to eat at – rather than just being financially-strapped restaurants that need Rewards Network funding. So far Bilt Dining is only in 5 cities (New York, Dallas, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta) but they’re in the process of adding more.

You don’t need to be Bilt World Elite Mastercard® cardmember to earn points at participating restaurants, but that card earns 3 points per dollar spent at restaurants and that’s in addition to the 5 points per dollar spent through Bilt Dining.

In fact you can earn 11x per dollar total on spend at participating restaurants on Rent Day:

  • You do not need to use a Bilt Rewards Mastercard to earn 5x at participating restaurants.
  • That means if you do use the Bilt Rewards Mastercard, you earn 3x from that source as well, for 8x total on this spending.
  • And on the 1st of each month (Rent Day) you’re earning 6x on dining spend with the Bilt Rewards Mastercard and 5x for their new restaurant program for 11x total.

Free Points For Setting This Up

To get started and earn points at participating restaurants (there’s no reason not to do this), you simply need to join Bilt Rewards if you aren’t already a member and add credit card(s) you use at restaurants under the Bilt Wallet tab of the Bilt app. And they’re giving you 100 points for each of 3 cards you add to the Bilt Wallet, for 300 total free points.

Valuable Transferable Points Currency

The Bilt Mastercard has no annual fee card and lets you earn points paying rent at no cost (up to $100,000 per year) and earns double points on travel and triple points on dining (as long as you make at least 5 purchases per month) – plus on the first day each month those earning values double for “Rent Day.”

Each Bilt point can be spent at 1.25 cents apiece towards travel through their portal or transferred 1:1 into:

  • Star Alliance: Air Canada Aeroplan, Turkish Miles & Smiles, United Airlines MileagePlus
  • oneworld: American AAdvantage, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles, British Airways Executive Club, Iberia Plus
  • SkyTeam: Air France KLM Flying Blue
  • Non-alliance: Emirates Skywards, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles, Aer Lingus Aer Club
  • Hotels: Hyatt, IHG Rewards

You even receive free points for linking your frequent flyer accounts to Bilt, though note that you need 2,000 total points before transferring out to a partner. You don’t need the Bilt Mastercard to earn points through Bilt Dining.

More Lucrative Than Airline/Hotel Dining Programs

When I first got involved in miles and points, Transmedia had become iDine but they weren’t yet Rewards Network. That’s the company which offers the branded ‘dining for miles’ programs from airlines and hotels.

They used to have a premium service offering 20% back (you got this with a Diners Club credit card), and the airline programs offered 10 miles per dollar. After a series of devaluations, standard earn when crediting restaurants to one of these programs is

  • 1 mile per $2 spent if you don’t accept their email marketing
  • 3 miles per dollar spent for most members
  • 5 miles per dollar once you’ve completed 11 dining transactions in the calendar year

They do everything they can to avoid being lucrative. And the restaurants that are involved in the program usually aren’t very good. I used to try to eat at participating restaurants when I’d earn 10 miles per dollar and they had places I enjoyed.

However you’ll find many of the restaurants that earn through that program are places that are having a hard time bringing in customers, often because they aren’t very good. Rewards Network might take a 30% cut while making prepurchase commitments. They’re rebating a little bit of the money to you in rewards, but Rewards Network keeps an outsized portion.

I share this context because I find the value proposition here to be better, at least what we see of it so far.

  1. Better restaurants that I’d actually eat at (though there’s some overlap with existing dining programs as well)
  2. 5 Bilt points per dollar is better than 5 United or American miles, because Bilt points transfers to United or American or numerous other programs and you get to pick later – and you don’t have to wait until your 13th dine in a year to earn at that level.

More lucrative earn and not wasting a meal appeal to me. I’m a member of Rewards Network programs but I don’t remember the last time I earned through one.

A Hint Of Things To Come?

Bilt Rewards now has the technology for card-linked offers. When you add your card to the Bilt Wallet, they’re able to identify transactions at participating restaurants. If they can do that, they can set up to identify – and reward – transactions with other businesses. Think various shopping programs that don’t work via cookies, but via card transaction. One example of this is the American Airlines-Mastercard SimplyMiles program.

It strikes me that once they have this technology, adding on additional earning opportunities becomes possible, so we may see Bilt expand into more areas beyond this dining effort.

Homework Assignment

It’ll be interesting to find a restaurant that participates both in Bilt Dining and in one of the Rewards Network programs. You should be able to add the same credit card to both the Rewards Network program and to your Bilt Wallet, and then dine at that restaurant. In theory you’d earn in both programs? I look forward to real world data points on this.

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. The problem with Rewards Network that you did not mention is getting rewards you are entitled to. I find that it is MORE LIKELY THAN NOT that credit is not posted. This makes it just not worth the hassle.

  2. I found a restaurant here in Brooklyn Heights that’s both on the Bilt dining and Rakuten dining. I have my AMEX Gold card connected to both and I opted in to receive AMEX points on Rakuten.

  3. @Gary – Do you have to pay rent rather than a mortgage on Rent Day to get the double points?

  4. Huge!

    So far Bilt Dining is only in 5 cities (New York, Dallas, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta) but they’re in the process of adding more.


  5. These are the same exact restaurants (with the same exact pictures) as the Seated app which gives cash back rewards for dining out.

  6. @ Gary Just a quick edit, I think Bilt upped the maximum rent earning from 50k to 100k recently

  7. @Ryan: Good catch. Wells Fargo appears to be adding their own card that uses the same network as well.

    Hopefully, competition for Rewards Network’s member airlines.

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