Whether you're an Olympic fanatic or think October 3rd is "so fetch," Olympian Ryan Lochte and "Mean Girls" star Jonathan Bennett have teamed up to help fans everywhere — particularly fans who rent an apartment.
The two, who met during their time on Celebrity Big Brother last year, have been tapped as brand ambassadors for a first-of-its-kind rewards app, Piñata, solely dedicated to helping renters around the country earn major perks — like hotel and rental car discounts — and in-app cash for paying rent on time.
"I’ve been training for the Olympics and I’ve always been on the road non-stop, so renting was the best thing for my lifestyle," Lochte, a Piñata user himself, explained to Travel + Leisure. "When I learned about Piñata and their mission of reimagining rent, I was like, 'Wow, I’ve been renting for how long and I haven't been getting any rewards.'"
Lochte, who is currently living in Gainsville, Fla. while he trains for the Olympics, which have been postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19, said he's saved up to $4,000 thanks to the perks he's earned while using the rewards platform. He says he uses his Piñata cash for items in the app's marketplace, which has over 300,000 deals and special offers on major brands.
Bennett, who lives in Palm Springs, Calif., agreed from his perspective as an actor knowing that living situations can change with new filming locations. Additionally, he mentioned that a renter in a new city could benefit from Piñata's perks while exploring their neighborhood and stocking up on essentials. Users can redeem rewards at stores like CVS, Costco, and Papa John's Pizza.
The app is free and can be downloaded in the iTunes App Store or on Google Play. To use the app, participating landlords or property managers would invite a potential user who would receive a welcome gift of $30. Every time they pay rent on time and in full they're rewarded with gift cards or Piñata cash.
By the end of the year, Piñata users will also be to build their credit score as they use the app.
"Renters who are currently using Piñata through their property management company can receive credit when paying their rent in full and on time," a spokesperson for Piñata told T+L. "The company plans to roll out the credit-building feature to all renters by the end of 2020."
"If you’re renting, you're still building your credit for whatever future purchases you're going to make in your life are, so it's a really great way to get rewarded for it," Bennett added.
And while the renter-friendly app is on its mission to help make monthly payments a little sweeter, Piñata has also hosted initiatives to feed the homeless and encourage people to vote (much like how Bennett reunited with his "Mean Girls" cast members ahead of the 2020 Election) through a partnership with Vote.org.
As for their unlikely friendship, the bromance is real, whether they're talking Piñata or planning the trip that tops their bucket lists — which just so happens to be the same place, Bora Bora.
"It's two people that you would normally never expect to all of the sudden become besties, and now we talk probably once a week," Bennett said. "He still hasn’t taught me how to swim though, and I have a pool!"
Christine Burroni is Travel + Leisure’s Digital News Editor. Find her keeping up with just about everything on Twitter or see what she’s up to in NYC or on her latest trip on Instagram.
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