The Bilt Mastercard has no annual fee, lets you earn points paying rent on your card, and has bonus categories similar to a Sapphire Preferred Card as well (2x travel, 3x dining). If you rent an apartment or house you can be 100,000 points richer each year with this card, and points transfer to great airline and hotel partners.
It’s a great travel card period and arguably the best no annual fee card too. And that’s even if you aren’t in their target demographic (I have the card and I own my home, I do not rent). I mention the demographic because it’s so desirable to loyalty program partners, and it seems to be allowing them to do really interesting things. You can now search for award availability with American Airlines AAdvantage and Air Canada Aeroplan inside Bilt’s app with a button to transfer points right above award search results.
Here’s why it’s interesting.
- Enter your search parameters once, toggle back and forth between AAdvantage and Aeroplan
- Results are rendered fast
- This is fairly unprecedented, it’s something that other transferable programs like Chase, Citi, American Express, Capital One and Brex do not have.
Here’s an American AAdvantage result.
Here’s an Air Canada Aeroplan result.
I value Bilt points at 1.7 cents apiece. Points in the Bilt program transfer to:
- Airlines: American AAdvantage, Air Canada Aeroplan, Emirates Skywards, Air France KLM Flying Blue, Turkish Miles & Smiles, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
- Hotels: Hyatt, IHG Rewards
This set of partners is at least as good as Chase’s transfer partners in my view. But direct award booking without leaving the program’s environment is pretty unprecedented, and now available with both oneworld (American) and Star Alliance). And this is going to make it pretty easy for individual members to compare availability and award pricing for their own use cases.
Bilt’s customers are primarily young urban professionals. It’s an upwardly mobile demographic. And they reach them in the high rise apartments they live in in big cities. They convert tenants in partner buildings into cardmembers by letting them earn rewards charging their rent to the card. That’s an incredible distribution channel to reach a highly desirable demographic. That’s the only way I can make sense of airlines giving them direct access to an award search.
Remember, American Airlines just blocked Award Wallet from hosting any AAdvantage data, expecting program members to go to the American website instead.
To be clear you can do this all yourself, just open a separate browser tab for each program and enter your searches separately. There’s a modest increase in convenience here. What’s striking is that Bilt was able to do this as much as that program members have the convenience.
If you’re interested in their card – and if you pay rent it’s a no brainer for most – there’s a waitlist to join the program, and it reportedly takes months to be invited in at the moment. However you can go to BiltRewards.com/waitlist, enter your email to joint the waitlist, and you’ll be asked if you have a fast track code. VFTW4BILT will take you right in. (I do not receive any referral credit for this, I simply pass this along as a service to you.)
You sign up for their waitlist, verify your email, and then you can enter the code to go straight to the application. I used the code myself and was approved instantly with a good credit limit.