Bilt losing American Airlines as transfer partner in June

64

One of the most notable transfer partners that Bilt Rewards launched with back in 2021 was American Airlines. The reason that was so notable was that American Airlines wasn’t a transfer partner of any other transferable points currency (Marriott excepted).

Well, there’s bad news on that front today because View From The Wing shared the news this morning that Bilt will be losing American Airlines as a transfer partner.

Bilt American Airlines breaking up

Gary confirmed directly with Bilt this development, with them advising:

Bilt and American have agreed to wind down our partnership beginning in June. We appreciate everything we’ve been able to accomplish together since Bilt’s launch in 2021.

We don’t know yet exactly when in June this change will occur. The Bilt Mastercard launched on June 22, 2021, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Bilt and American Airlines initially signed a three year agreement at launch, with one or both of them deciding not to continue the relationship beyond June 2024.

If this change had occurred a year into Bilt’s life, that would’ve been a massive loss as the ability to transfer points to American Airlines – along with Hyatt – is something that set them apart from other transferable currencies. However, recent developments mean the loss isn’t necessarily as great as it once would’ve been.

That’s because over the last year or two Bilt has run a number of exceptional transfer bonuses on the first day of some months. They kicked that off with 100% bonuses to partners like Air France/KLM and Hawaiian Airlines and have since shifted to bonuses of 75%-150% based on your Bilt Rewards status level to partners including Aeroplan and Virgin. For people into the points and miles game, being able to convert 1 Bilt point into 1.75-2.5 points for other programs reduces the appeal of transferring to American Airlines on a strict 1:1 basis.

Where this change will likely hurt is for your average Bilt Rewards member who’s not as familiar with the points and miles game. I imagine that for someone not well-versed in transfer partners the thought of transferring Bilt points to a foreign airline loyalty program will fill them with fear and make it a no-go. Unless they’re planning to travel to Hawaii, Hawaiian Airlines would likely be out of their equation too. That’ll leave United as the only domestic airline transfer partner (as your average person based in the U.S. will likely consider Aeroplan as a foreign program) once American Airlines ceases to be a transfer partner.

The good news is that this information has come out at least 2.5 months before any changes are going to happen. Hopefully Bilt puts forth an official announcement for members in the coming days/weeks, so that those regular Bilt Rewards members have plenty of time to transfer their existing points balances to American Airlines if desired.

Question

What are your thoughts on this? Will this affect your willingness to earn Bilt points? Let us know in the comments below.

Want to learn more about miles and points? Subscribe to email updates or check out our podcast on your favorite podcast platform.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

64 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rich B

But they added Alaska!! I didn’t see anybody else mention this and that’s a huge offset, given it’s similarly never been a transfer partner and that they are generally quite valuable many ways will sort of make up for it.

Huge loss for me though personally asI’m the master remnant paying $5000/month rent (only 1/3 is actually mine) – so this is 60k/yr easy passive earning I wouldn’t get without BILT and more than makes the card worthwhile – otherwise I feel like it’s pretty lackluster, other than all the specific bonuses rent day bonuses, nothing very compelling in comparison to other options in my wallet. I have sorta unique travel situation, even appreciating the fantastic transfer bonuses, FB, VA and most of them just haven’t been useful to me and particular routes I’m looking at, but I regularly use AA for JAL tickets from SFO. 80k AA for JAL F (which is a $15k-$17k cash fare) or 60k for J (and no taxes just the $5.60, not $500 like VA>ANA which really makes this way less exciting than people make it out as) with actual regular and frequent seat availability (enough I’ve done it 4x) is probably one of the greatest redemptions there is in all of points and miles, and a real sweet spot thats always worked so well for my particular travel needs and location. Bilt was basically earning me a flight/year for doing noting special and not even an AF.

Vernon

Figures! I was late to the party and only got the Bilt card 3 months ago, solely to boost my dwindling AA balance. Now where can I turn?

Pam

Maybe AA will be Bilt’s June bonus transfer partner to help soften the exit with their members

Morgan

I was inspired by the recent coffee talk episode on Bilt and recent 5k awards flights offers from American to get the Bilt card. Just got it two days ago. Bummer!

Last edited 29 days ago by Morgan
Yuri

UA is gonna be next one they lose.

Fenspinbi

It’s a big nothing burger. I regularly emptied my Bilt balance on the 100% bonus to Flying Blue (flew AF in J TWICE, and once in Y), then the 125% to Virgin (flew ANA in J), and recently the 125% to Aeroplan. Successfully used the Motley Fool/Amex Offer stack (h/t to FM) and got 7400 AA miles, and have had the AA MileUp for years. I can just MS gift cards at XYZ grocery and buy AA miles relatively cheaply if necessary, along with SimplyMiles/AAdvantage Shopping/AAdvantage Dining offers. The opportunity cost of transferring to AA from Bilt compared to the aforementioned was absurdly high at a 1:1, and it was one of the LEAST valuable transfer partners IMO.

I’ll take the 275,000 miles I got out of my Bilt points with FB/VS/AC and the multiple business class flights I took with those over any perceived AAdvantage. Can barely book one leg in QSuites by comparison. LOL Bilt should add Singapore KrisFlyer next to stay on top of the podium with Amex/Chase.

BML

The only reason to put spend and even pay estimated tax with it on double day to “buy” AA miles. Not worth my spend now.

tom

This is the start of the end for BILT. The program is unsustainable, but the bloggers* love them (wonder why)

*FM is pretty mild in that regard, unlike others

Christopher Ross

I was actually considering Bilt for that singular reason, and I’m glad to wait and see if the new Wells Fargo card offers AA asa transfer partner. Methinks the demographic Bilt leans towards isn’t a good alignment for AA. While I totally understand the renter angle, it’s still a relative minority group in terms of target markets.

Nick Reyes

I highly highly highly doubt that Wells will get AA. If anyone else gets AA as a transfer partner, I have to imagine it would be Citi.

Jay Power

I have to agree with Nick. I think there might be an angle for citi to eventually allow Thank You to transfer to AA. I have to get more Thank yous

Jeff Steinberg

Could be the beginning of the end of Bilt especially if they lose any others; this was one of the unique partners of the card vs the bigger players

Greg

While I have coveted the potential to convert BILT points to AA Miles, I have not done so — and I’m disappointed that they are leaving. I have taken advantage of Rent Day Transfer Bonuses to get 100,000 miles on Virgin Atlantic (which I then redeemed on a Delta One First Class JFK-MUC-JFK ticket in April for $125!). I have flown over 250 RT across the North Atlantic Ocean, but never in Delta — so aspirationally looking forward to their first class product! I also have 110,000 on Flying Blue as a result of another super Rent Day promotion. It is clear to me that BILT is trying to make itself the most valuable credit card you have in your wallet. But they’ve done something quietly which annoyed me, they seriously ratcheted up the amounts you need to requalify for their GOLD level in 2025.

Yuri

This is a deal breaker, since I have all other partners available through other banking programs. There is no reason for me to get Bilt anymore, apart from getting 6x on dining on the 1st of every month, but I have 5x on dining from Citi Prestige.

Andrew

I’m hoping this means AA’s partner award chart sticks around for a longer time. With no transferable points option to AA those who want the miles are going to have to earn them from co-branded cards, the shopping portal, AAdvantage hotels, and butt-in-seat flights – all of which I assume AA gets a larger cut from than what they’d be paid for transferable points.

If Citi or another large player becomes a permanent transfer option then there is more incentive to cut costs on the redemption side if points start to flood in. The partner award chart becomes the obvious target at that point.

Budugu

So the million dollar question (or 50K point) is, if one should transfer to AA or hyatt or wait for another crazy bonus

Matt

This is my question exactly.
Given the crazy bonuses, I’ll bet that will be the consensus.

whocares

fill them with fear….