How to Get a (Nearly) Free Vacation to Europe Just by Paying Your Rent – CNET

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Paris, France at sunset.

You can book a direct flight to Paris from several US cities with miles via Flying Blue, the loyalty program of Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

Alexander Spatari/Getty Images

As a credit card editor, I see a lot of card deals — but it’s rare that I find one I’m excited to jump on myself. 

That’s why, when the Bilt Mastercard’s May Rent Day deal landed in my inbox, I knew I had to share it… right after I checked my own Bilt account to see if I had enough points to take advantage. 

On the first of every month (aka “Rent Day”), Bilt usually drops a new special promotion. For May, the Bilt Mastercard is offering a 100% transfer bonus to Air France-KLM Flying Blue, on May 1 only. If you stack this deal with Flying Blue’s own monthly promo rewards — discounted fares for select routes that change each month — you could potentially book a flight to Europe for 6,000 Bilt points one way (or 12,000 points round trip), plus taxes and fees. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the Bilt Mastercard, the deal, and the flights available — and the tips and tricks to get the most out of this card and bonus.

About the card

4.5/10 CNET Review

Card Highlights

Intro OfferN/A

APRSee Terms

Intro Purchase APRN/A

Recommended CreditExcellent, Good

Reward Rates

  • 3x points on dining
  • 2x points on travel
  • 1x points on other purchases
  • Earn up to 1x points on rent payments without the transaction fee, up to 100,000 points each calendar year. When you make at least 5 posted transactions in a statement period using your Bilt Mastercard, you’ll earn points on rent and qualifying net purchases.

Annual FeeNone

Additional Details

Rewards & Redemption Details

The Bilt Mastercard is a no-annual-fee card that offers a unique value proposition: It allows you to pay rent with your credit card and earn rewards, while avoiding the transaction fees you’ll typically face when trying to pay rent with any other credit card. When you sign up for the card, you’ll receive a unique routing number and account number tied to your card that lets you pay rent through an online portal as if you’re paying with an ACH transaction, which is typically fee free. You’ll earn 1 point per dollar spent (up to 100,000 points each calendar year). If your landlord or apartment complex only accepts rent payments via check, you can also have Bilt mail a check instead and still earn 1x points on the transaction. 

In addition to earning points on rent payments, you’ll also earn 3x points on dining, 2x points on travel and 1x points on other purchases — a respectable rewards rate for a no-annual-fee card. Then on the first of every month, or “Rent Day,” you’ll earn double points on all nonrent purchases (up to 10,000 bonus points). This boosts your rewards rate to 6x points on dining, 4x points on travel and 2x points on all other purchases for that day only. You’ll need to make five purchases each month with your Bilt card to qualify for rent points and points on qualifying net purchases.

Redeeming Bilt points

Bilt offers several point redemption options, including credit toward your rent payments, Shop with Points at Amazon.com and exclusive merchandise, but there’s only really one option that’s worth spending your points on: transferring your points to travel partners.

Bilt has 12 airline partners and two hotel partners. You can transfer your points to a partner in increments of 1,000 or 2,000 (depending on your Bilt Rewards Status) at a 1:1 transfer ratio. But occasionally Bilt offers special transfer bonuses that offer even more value for your points: like the Flying Blue transfer offer going live May 1.

Why this offer is a big deal 

For May’s Rent Day, Bilt is offering a 100% transfer bonus to Flying Blue — the rewards program shared by Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and their partner airlines. This means you can redeem one Bilt point for two Flying Blue Miles (instead of the typical 1:1 transfer ratio), essentially doubling the value of your points. A 100% transfer bonus is a rare deal, far higher than the typical 25% transfer bonuses we usually see for this rewards program (such as the one currently active from Chase).

This offer is available only on May 1 from 12 a.m. ET until 11:59 p.m. PT, so be sure to transfer your points within the window. After May 1, you can still transfer your Bilt points to Flying Blue, but it’ll be at the normal 1:1 transfer ratio. 

How to book your dream European vacation with 6,000 points

A 100% transfer bonus is already a great deal, but Flying Blue’s own monthly promo rewards sweeten the pot even more. Every month, Flying Blue offers discounts on select reward flights, typically for bookings within the next six months. May’s promo fares include flights to Europe between May 1 and Oct. 31 that start at 11,250 miles one way — which you can get for only 6,000 Bilt points if you take advantage of the 100% transfer bonus on May 1. 

Here’s a sample of some May promo fares to and from Europe, and their prices in Flying Blue Miles (not including taxes and fees). If you’re taking advantage of Bilt’s transfer bonus, divide the Miles cost in half to determine how many Bilt points you’ll need.

Economy to Europe

  • To/From Boston starting at 11,250 Flying Blue Miles one way.
  • To/From Dallas starting at 15,000 Flying Blue Miles one way.
  • To/From Los Angeles starting at 20,250 Flying Blue Miles one way.

Premium Economy to Europe

  • To/From Houston starting at 30,000 Flying Blue Miles one way.
  • To/From Washington-Dulles starting at 22,500 Flying Blue Miles one way.
  • To/From Newark starting at 22,500 Flying Blue Miles one way.

Business Class to Europe

  • To/From Newark to Paris starting at 41,250 Flying Blue Miles one way.
  • To/From Houston starting at 48,750 Flying Blue Miles one way.
  • To/From Atlanta starting at 52,500 Flying Blue Miles one way.

For the full list of promo rewards for May, check out the Flying Blue website on May 1. 

To book a flight, first connect your Flying Blue account to your Bilt account in the Bilt app. Then you can transfer your Bilt points to your Flying Blue account and book your flight directly via the KLM or Air France website using your newly transferred Flying Blue Miles.

Other tips for getting the most out of your Bilt Mastercard

  • If you don’t have enough Bilt points to cover the full cost of a flight (and you most likely won’t if you’re a new cardholder), you can also transfer points to Flying Blue via American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards® and Citi ThankYou Points. Although you won’t get the same 100% transfer bonus Bilt is offering (though Chase is offering a 25% transfer bonus to Flying Blue through May 15), transferring your points from these issuers can still be a viable way to top off your Miles and get the flight you want.
  • If you don’t currently have the Bilt card and are considering signing up, know that you likely won’t be able to rack up enough points in time to really take advantage of the Flying Blue transfer bonus on May 1. But this card offers great ongoing value even outside of these special deals, and new Rent Day promos come around every month, so you could grab one of the next ones.
  • Flying Blue charges moderate fuel surcharges on some award flights. If you have a premium travel credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, you can use it to pay for the fuel surcharges and taxes and fees on your award flight to take advantage of the card’s travel protection benefits. 
  • Flying Blue’s promo fares last the entire month (subject to availability), so don’t worry if you can’t book your flight on May 1 exactly. The program offers new promo rewards every month, so if you want to fly with Air France or KLM (or one of their airline partners) but can’t find any flights you want right now, it may still be worth taking advantage of Bilt’s special transfer bonus and banking the miles in your account until you find the flight you want. (I normally recommend against transferring points until you’re ready to book, but a 100% transfer bonus might be one of the rare situations where it makes sense to bank your points for a future flight.)
  • You can get 100 Bilt points for each travel partner you link to your account — that’s a potential 1,400 extra points you can get just by signing up (for free) to each hotel’s or airline’s loyalty program and linking your account to Bilt.
  • Also check out Bilt’s other Rent Day offers, which include the chance to win a month of rent or a free trip to Europe via the Bilt Rent Day Challenge, the chance to win 250 extra points via the “Point Quest” Trivia game, and more.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and isn’t influenced by advertising or partnerships. It hasn’t been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

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