Renters Loyalty Program and Credit Card Bilt Rewards Raises $60 Million
Just three months after debuting, Bilt has announced that it’s raised $60 million in a growth fund round. Investors include the likes of Wells Fargo and Mastercard as well as a group of real estate owners including Blackstone, AvalonBay Communities, Douglas Elliman, Starwood Capital Group, and several others.
Launched earlier this summer, Bilt offers a loyalty program for renters. The Bilt Alliance is a collection of more than two million rentals across the country, each allowing tenents to earn points when they pay their rent. These points can then be redeemed toward future rent payments or even a down payment on a house. Alternatively, they can be transferred to travel partners including American Airlines AAdvantage, Emirates Skywards, KLM-Air France FlyingBlue, World of Hyatt, and IHG Rewards at a 1:1 rate.
In addition to the loyalty program, Bilt also offers a credit card specifically aimed at renters. Not only can BIlt Mastercard customers make rent payments on their card without fees but will also earn 1x points on their transaction. In the event that the cardholder’s landlord doesn’t accept credit cards or isn’t part of the Bilt Rewards Alliance, customers can pay rent through the Bilt app and a check will be sent to their landlord.
Notably, with this week’s announcement, Bilt also revealed some changes to the Bilt Mastercard. The first is the aforementioned 1x on rental payment (up to 50,000 points on rent per year). Previously, customers could earn “up to 2x” but needed to meet some requirements in order to earn that amount. Elsewhere, customers can earn now 2x points on travel purchases and 3x points on dining. All other purchases will earn 1x points. However, in order to earn points, cardholders will need to make at least five transactions per month. The Bilt Mastercard carries no annual fee.
Commenting on the idea and vision behind Bilt, the company’s CEO and founder Ankur Jain said in a statement, “The concept of Bilt is simple/ And the support from our partners in this early funding round validates that we are serving a real need for both consumers and businesses.” Jain continued, “In the same way airlines and hotels have created loyalists through their rewards programs over the last several decades, Bilt has introduced a new way to turn renting into an enjoyable experience that benefits everyone, and can even build a path towards homeownership. We are continuing to add enhanced benefits and new partners to build the best program possible, and we’re only just getting started.”
While Bilt is still in the process of rolling out, what the program and card propose are quite revolutionary. Although other platforms such as Plastiq have previously allowed credit card customers to pay rent even if landlords don’t directly accept cards, the fees associated with this method rarely made them a good deal for consumers. Thus, Bilt’s disruption in this area could prove popular with consumers — hence the interest from investors. Ultimately, with Bilt already making changes and improvements to their product after only a few months, it will be fascinating to see what the program is able to accomplish going forward.