Unprecedented: Search American And Air Canada Award Availability Inside Bilt App

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 50,000 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.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. Gary, I don’t have Bilt myself, but based on the screenshots that doesn’t look like anything they need “direct access to an award search API” to do, from a tech standpoint — it looks like they’re just submitting a search request for you and showing you the results page (stripped down a bit?). The fact the results style/coloring matches the AA/Aeroplan sites seems like a tell that might be the case.

    So I think the more intriguing question is whether they’re doing this with carrier approval — any insight on that? I can’t imagine they would do something like that without approval, but I also see little reason why either carrier would want Bilt to be able to do this.

  2. The screenshots make it seem like the Bilt app is rending an iframe which seems clunky. I guess the value add is toggling between iframes without re-entering stuff.

  3. Do apartments let people pay with a credit card if they can’t connect a surcharge or convenience fee? If they do take credit cards, I’d be surprised if they didn’t offer a cash/echeck discount.

  4. Have you tried point me on amex. It’s free for platinum holders. It searches all airlines. It’s the old juicy miles dudes.

  5. Hi Mick,

    I was a previous member of Juicy Miles and that was a MUCH better search engine then the new Point.me. I also subscribed but many times it doesn’t pull up the best rates. Plus, Juicy Miles used to have a window of +/- 3 days which helped. This doesn’t.

    Just out of curiosity how are you getting Point.me free for Amex Platinum members? I didn’t see that? Thanks.

  6. @micksaint. I don’t have the link but used it a couple of times and the searches were pretty good. Accorded with what I had already found. There is a very hard to find link on amex where you enter your email and 5 digits from your card and it enables the search engine

    Def miss the /3 days

    Actually here it is

    https://amex.point.me/authentication/enroll

  7. That is so bizarre. So who is doing the ticketing? Airlines don’t let non-airlines ticket awards right?

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