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The Bilt Mastercard has no annual fee and lets you earn up to 50,000 transferable points per year paying rent – a spending category you generally can’t earn points on with any other card without paying a service like Plastiq 2.85%. Not only that but the card earns double points on travel and triple points on dining, and both United and American (and Hyatt, among others) are transfer partners.
Last night I attended the Bilt-Wells Fargo event in New York City at Summit One Vanderbilt celebrating the launch of their new partnership.
Bilt Rewards Founder Ankur Jain Welcoming Guests
This milestone was significant for both for several reasons.
- Bilt Rewards is unique, one of the first really new ideas in loyalty in a long time. And their credit card is innovative too – high value, high rewards, no annual fee and offers the ability to earn points paying rent with no cost.
- But Bilt hasn’t been able to scale its credit card portfolio. They had a wait list. People could not apply. Wells Fargo solves that for them. Wells is able to handle the scale and volume that makes the Bilt Rewards Mastercard broadly available.
- This also gives Wells Fargo a really valuable co-brand card and really valuable travel card, which is something they’ve been lacking.
- Wells Fargo is a huge bank, but hasn’t had a real presence in co-brand credit cards. This puts them on the map. And it gives what’s traditional seen as a staid, conservative bank a product to reach younger affluent consumers. (Bilt has a presence in the major corporate-owned high rise buildings across the U.S.)
- With Wells behind them, Bilt Rewards shifts from being a small upstart to a major player positioned to compete with Ultimate Rewards and Membership Rewards.
View From Summit One
Bilt Rewards is a strong product, but the Wells Fargo partnership makes them a much bigger deal. Wells Fargo is a big bank, but the Bilt partnership gives them an important presence in co-brand and travel. So I wanted to show up for the launch.
Plus I know many of the people involved. On the Wells side their cobrand team is being led by Dan Dougherty who ran the portfolio at Barclays and used to run the Southwest Airlines co-brand at Chase. I’ve known Richard Kerr at Bilt for a long time (the Award Travel 101 Facebook group and The Points Guy) and the head of the loyalty program is Dave Canty who ran loyalty at IHG and JetBlue. I got to know Bilt’s founder Ankur Jain last fall. So I wanted to cheer them on.
The evening was a great opportunity to see old friends.
And the big draws were entertainers Wyclef Jean and A$AP Rocky, though many of the guests were well-known too like Dr. Oz and Mayor Adams. I had to Google who A$AP Rocky was.
I did not, however, have to Google Wyclef Jean.
The Bilt launch event was a lot of fun – and very cool to be there with Wyclef Jean, A$AP Rocky, Mayor Adams and Dr. Oz – but even cooler is that Wells Fargo has a genuine top travel card and has entered the co-brand space with some thunder.
While Bilt is a product that gives consumers something they cannot get anywhere else (free points-earning for their biggest expense) in a no annual fee top travel card to boot.
[…] another entry into the co-brand space for Wells Fargo, which also issues the Bilt Rewards Mastercard. It’s the first major airline or hotel chain for […]