Editor’s note: TPG founder Brian Kelly is a Bilt adviser and investor.
Bilt Rewards and Point.me are two useful programs that entered the award travel space within the last few years. Bilt Rewards is the reward program of the Bilt Mastercard®, which lets you earn points paying rent. Meanwhile, Point.me aggregates award searches from many airline loyalty programs into one list of results.
You can sync your loyalty accounts with Point.me to get suggestions for using your existing points and miles to book award flights. Point.me has long supported major transferable currencies, such as Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards, but not Bilt Rewards — until this year.
Earlier this month, Point.me added support for searching Bilt Rewards and its transfer partners. And Wednesday, Bilt announced a new integration with Point.me. Here’s what you need to know.
Use Point.me in the Bilt app
Bilt members can now enjoy what Bilt calls “the Bilt Transfer Partners experience” by using a Point.me-powered search in the Bilt app. Now you can see real-time award availability for all the airline programs to which you can transfer Bilt points. In particular, you’ll see availability for:
- American Airlines AAdvantage.
- Cathay Pacific Asia Miles.
- Emirates Skywards.
- Flying Blue.
- Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles.
- Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles.
- United Airlines MileagePlus.
- Virgin Red.
To search for award flights with these partners, log in to your Bilt Rewards app and navigate to the “Rewards” screen. Select the “Travel” tab, tap on “Flights” and then “Transfer Partners.” You’ll see a screen on which you can enter your origin, destination, departure date, return date (if desired), number of passengers and desired cabin class.
Once you tap “Search,” you’ll get a screen with results.
If you find an award flight you want to book, you can transfer Bilt points to the award program of your choice from within the Bilt app.
Bilt members can continue to use the Point.me website as usual (with the addition of Bilt Rewards as a transfer partner) after subscribing to a Point.me plan or buying a day pass. And the benefit of doing so will be that you’ll also see results from programs that aren’t Bilt transfer partners. But now Bilt members don’t need to pay for a Point.me day pass or subscription if they only want to search across the airline loyalty programs that partner with Bilt Rewards.
Only active Bilt members can use the integrated Point.me award search in the Bilt Rewards app. I’m not an active member, as I don’t pay rent and haven’t seen a reason to add the Bilt Mastercard to my wallet. So, I could not see any results after downloading the Bilt Rewards app, creating an account and attempting a search query.
Since this post is about Bilt, I should mention that some Bilt members have recently experienced fraudulent charges on their Bilt Mastercard. Credit card fraud isn’t uncommon, but one TPG staffer reported, “Everyone I know with the card has had an issue, both inside and outside the award travel world.” In a statement to Frequent Miler, Bilt Rewards noted this is the result of “BIN attacks” wherein randomly generated card numbers are used to make fraudulent purchases.
I wouldn’t let this credit card fraud keep me from signing up for a Bilt Mastercard if I felt it was the right card for me. Again, fraudulent charges are relatively common, though we’re not sure how widespread the Bilt attack is. So long as you keep an eye on your account transactions and carry multiple cards, the recent fraud issues should be a minor inconvenience.
Regardless, if you have a Bilt Mastercard in your wallet, keep extra-close watch over your account and report any fraudulent transactions as soon as you see them.
It’s great to see this new Point.me and Bilt Rewards integration. Point.me is an excellent resource for award travelers, as it makes award travel easier to search and book regardless of your points and miles knowledge.
Of course, you’ll want to check all your redemption options before transferring Bilt Rewards points to an airline partner. In some cases, you may find that redeeming Bilt Rewards points for travel through the Bilt Rewards travel portal provides better value. When you book travel through the portal, you’ll get a redemption value of 1.25 cents per point. It’s also worth considering the value of non-airline Bilt Rewards transfer partners, such as World of Hyatt, where it’s common to get 2 or more cents per point in value on hotel stays.