Bilt Rewards has been making a habit out of doing things others have been unable to. They figured out how to reward renters on their largest monthly expense, rent. And, they even launched a credit card so folks who own their home (or otherwise don’t have a rent expense) could still participate in the program. Prior to Bilt Rewards, there were ways to earn rewards on rent payments. They were clunky and expensive, mostly not worth the time.
On top of that, they figured out how to get American Airlines to be a transfer partner. Along with partners such as Hyatt, Air France/KLM Flying Blue and Virgin Atlantic it was a really strong program. Today, it’s even stronger as Bilt Rewards has added United Airlines as a 1:1 transfer partner.
Prior to this addition you could have transferred your points to Air Canada’s Aeroplan program to redeem for United Airlines flights. However, this is usually where people’s eyes start to gloss over. While there are a handful of us folks that love doing all sorts of crazy things with points and miles, it’s a very small group of people. Most folks redeem miles or points with the airline they intend to fly. United Airlines is one of the largest airlines in the world and incredibly popular for folks who live near one of their hubs in the US.
Bilt Rewards also announced they’ll be adding Asia Miles (Cathay Pacific’s loyalty program) as a partner in April. I find that particular partnership less useful for most folks, especially with the draw down in some Cathay Pacific flights during the pandemic.
Is Bilt Rewards The Most Valuable Currency?
If you’ve read my blog for any length of time or listen to my weekly travel podcast, you know I tend to shy away from extreme opinions. I do have strong opinions on some areas. For starters, I think everyone should have some sort of flexible currency in their travel stash. Whether that’s Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards or the much improved Capital One program, these programs offer the most flexible way to travel. One way I try to explain this to folks is to ask if their 401K (or similar retirement account) is invested all in one company’s stock. Inevitably, that answer is no. That’s why I tell folks not to put all their points or miles in one airline or hotel chain’s loyalty program. It’s too risky.
Instead, you want to be diversified, in your retirement accounts and in your stash of points and miles. Bilt Rewards was already a great play to be diversified. American Airlines gives many people access to flights all over the world from their home airport without needing to jump through hoops. Hyatt has wonderful hotels worldwide and IHG has a larger footprint, if less desirable properties by and large.
It’s worth asking the question now if Bilt Rewards is more valuable than any other loyalty program that offers flexible ways to redeem your points. Does the ability to transfer your Bilt Rewards points to both American and United make them more valuable than American Express Membership Rewards? It clearly makes them more flexible.
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