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Bilt Rewards announced yesterday that they’ve raised an add $200 million at a $3.1 billion valuation – remarkable growth for a company that launched less than three years ago.
Bilt Launch Party, March 2022
CEO Ankur Jain reports that the company is profitable, which I take to mean that current members more than cover redemption costs. Additional capital must be for membership expansion or new features (or to allow some existing shareholders to cash out).
The company actually tells us that the money is to “fuel further expansion” across “multifamily, single-family, and student housing sectors nationwide” (more markets) and “bolster Bilt’s Neighborhood Rewards program” (more features).
What’s really interesting is these new markets. Student housing means expanding beyond the core urban professional renter, but is still adjacent, reaching a demographic likely to graduate into their current core – earlier.
But “single-family” is interesting, too, since they also say that “Bilt plans to venture into mortgage payment rewards.” So earning rewards paying your mortgage like they currently offer rewards for paying rent.
- It makes sense, and really isn’t fundamentally different. Lease (rent) payments are debt payments, and Mastercard has been comfortable with mortgage payments through platforms like Plastiq.
- If the economics of rewarding rent payments work, through favorable terms with Mastercard and Wells Fargo, then extending those to mortgages seems obvious. (Bilt certainly isn’t paying processing fees on rent like you or I would as a merchant.)
- Certainly funding this is less expensive than acquiring customers with 100,000 point signup offers.
Miles And Points People At Bilt Launch Party
This will be revolutionary. The two concerns I hear most often from readers are that Bilt is too valuable to be sustainable (but if they’re profitable and raising $200 million after their last $150 million raise this seems less a worry) and not relevant to homeowners (this wold change!).
Their Bilt Mastercard® is one of the best new rewards cards introduced in the past several years.
Earning Bilt Points for paying rent with no transaction fee with the Bilt Mastercard® is great. Earning for mortgage payments would broaden out the opportunity. The potential here is exciting.
Plus you earn earn 3x at restaurants and 2x on travel. All of this earn is available as long as you make at least 5 purchases per month on the card. And it’s all with no annual fee. (See rates and fees.)
Points transfer partners are:
- Star Alliance: Air Canada Aeroplan, Turkish Miles & Smiles, United Airlines MileagePlus, Avianca LifeMiles
- oneworld: American AAdvantage, Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
- SkyTeam: Air France KLM Flying Blue
- Non-alliance: Emirates Skywards, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
- Hotels: Hyatt, IHG Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy
You can use Bilt points at 1.25 cents apiece towards travel through their (Expedia-powered) portal, redeem for rent (please don’t) or Amazon purchases (please don’t). Given their great transfer partners and huge bonuses – like up to 150% they’ve offered to Air France KLM and Virgin Atlantic – they’re poised to eat the world.
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