The Bilt Mastercard sure has polarizing views in the miles and points world. I think that, in short, the card is worthwhile if you pay rent (as it’s the only way to earn points on your rent payment with no fees) in a reasonably high cost of living area.

It earns 1 point per dollar spent on rent each month, so long as you also make 5 other transactions on the card within the same bill cycle, up to $50,000 per calendar year. It also earns 3X on dining, 2X on travel, comes with cell phone protection, and the points transfer to the likes of United, Hyatt, and Turkish – three of my favorite partners. It also transfers to American AAdvantage, the only non-American Airlines branded card that does.

When the card first launched, I covered it, but I had trouble getting excited. I wasn’t paying rent at the time and so, despite being a reasonably good fee free card even without rent, my position on the fence fell in favor of not applying due to a reason that many give – no signup bonus.

And it’s true – technically there is no signup bonus.

Two months ago, I realized that when I moved to Connecticut and began (hopefully temporarily) renting again, I was missing out on a boatload of points that could be transferred to great partners. I still hesitated because of the lack of signup bonus, but decided that 50,000 points a year was too good to pass up and told myself I’d consider the first month the SUB.

But it turns out, there actually is a secret signup bonus!

The day my card arrived, I got an email (since they knew when it arrived) letting me know that I could earn 5X on EVERYTHING for 5 days, up to $10,000. This meant that if I spent $10,000 on the dot, I’d be getting 40,000 extra points.

So, I did. I had several big bills waiting to be paid including an estimated tax payment (to me it was a no brainer to pay the 1.87% fee to earn 5X). The bonus points all awarded immediately, as all posted charges on the Bilt card do (you don’t have to wait until statement close).

OK, OK – it’s not a traditional signup bonus and it requires BIG spend in a very short amount of time to maximize it. But if you do, that’s 40k bonus points on a no annual fee card. I can’t think of another fee-free card with that kind of SUB.

If you rent in a relatively high cost of living area, you should really have this card for the free points on rent. And if you’re going to get it, make a plan to signup when you will be able to spend big when the card arrives.

Also, if you get the card, definitely remember to hit those 5 additional transactions each statement cycle or you won’t get any points for your rent that statement period.

And if you missed the post last week, you can now earn double Bilt Rewards points on everything on the first day of the month, up to $10,000. Timed well, that is the only way you’ll earn 2 Hyatt points (OK, Bilt points – but I love Hyatt 🙂 ) per dollar on everyday non-bonused spend. It would be a great time to pay an insurance premium, for instance. I personally just switched a $2,200 a month daycare bill to be paid on exactly the first of the month. And between rent and that, I’ll hit Platinum status with Bilt.

If this secret signup bonus changed your tune on the Bilt Mastercard, you can apply here.

PS: Yes, that’s an affiliate link just like many of the credit cards I write about (although I write about both cards I do and don’t have links for and regardless of the payout). But I wrote this post solely because, as you can tell, my own experience with the card changed my tune. I’d barely written about it at all until I became a customer. I was at the original Bllt launch party in NYC but have not been to any other Bilt events.

And I still recommend seeing how this fits into your 5/24 strategy and of course we can talk about that in the Facebook group.


Let me know below in the comments, on Twitter, or in the private MilesTalk Facebook group.

And if this post helped you, please consider sharing it!

You can find credit cards that best match your spending habits and bonus categories at Your Best Credit Cards

New to all of this? My “introduction to miles and points” book, MilesTalk: Live Your Wildest Travel Dreams Using Miles and Points is available on Amazon and at major booksellers.

I got "in the game" in 2003 and since then I've collected literally millions and millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points. I've flown around the world in first class seats that would cost $29,000 using frequent flyer miles and a few bucks in tax. And I've stayed in some of the finest hotels - all for free! A few years ago I realized many of my friends actually thought I was paying for these!! So I started sharing my tips. It's long been a passion, but when I hosted a session on Miles and Points at the South by Southwest festival, my love of the game intensified and this blog was born.


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