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With a waiting list 600,000 strong, the much-hyped X1 credit card became available to the public in mid-September 2022, and its popularity has exploded since. The sleek, new, rewards-driven credit card is backed by a lot of big names in tech, finance, and social networking, including cofounders Deepak Rao and Siddharth Batra (of Twitter fame), Max Levchin (Spark Capital and PayPal cofounder), and David Sacks (PayPal’s founding COO).
The card oozes style through design but carries no annual fee and delivers a strong earnings structure. Everything from X1’s application process to its instant redemption opportunities differs from the credit card mainstay.
When it first debuted, X1 caught our eye as a respectable travel credit card thanks to redemption opportunities on multiple airlines and other travel partners. Now, after four months on the market, the card has tweaked its earning structure and certain benefits, making it even more valuable than its original incarnation.
Here, we look at some of the current qualities that brand the X1 card a disrupter in the credit card industry and why you may want to consider applying for it.
Credit lines based on income, not credit scores
While approval for most credit cards is granted based on credit scores, approval for the X1 and a credit limit is based on current and future income. During the application process, you’ll be asked to log into your bank account(s) where paychecks are deposited or income is received. Your credit limit will then be determined based on these accounts. This works in favor of those who have decent money landing in their accounts monthly and is a relief to those who may not have the credit score needed to land top travel credit cards.
A great earnings structure for a no-fee card
The earnings structure for the X1 is smart, simple, and frankly unheard of for a card with no annual fee. You’ll earn a minimum of two points per dollar spent on the card.
After you spend over $1,000 in a calendar month, you’ll start earning three points on every dollar spent for the rest of that month. (A handy graphic in the app helps you keep tabs on how close you are to achieving the three-point multiplier.) You’ll continue to earn triple points on your next $6,500 of eligible purchases during that calendar month and go back to double points after you hit $7,500 for the month (the original $1,000 plus the other $6,500).
The original version of the card granted the triple point multiplier based on annual spending: After spending $15,000 in a year, you’d get three points per dollar spent on all previous and future purchases. This annual benefit is currently being phased out in favor of the monthly benefit and is not an option for new cardholders.
Points are attained and can be redeemed instantly
Credit cards typically require waiting until a statement’s close to be awarded points or miles. With X1, points are allotted as soon as purchases are made, speeding up the process of redeeming points or getting cash back, both of which are possible in the app with a single tap.
Valued at the rate of one cent per point, X1 points can be redeemed on several airline partners, including:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- JetBlue Airways
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
It’s important to note that X1 points are not transferred to these airlines’ loyalty programs. Points are redeemed as credits against charges made directly with these airlines. One hundred points can be redeemed for $1 in statement credit.
In addition, X1 points can be used on other travel partners at the same rate of one cent per point, including:
- Hotel Tonight
A full suite of insurance and benefits
No-fee cards usually come with fewer benefits than their high-fee counterparts. However, X1 offers the full portfolio of Visa Signature travel and shopping protections more commonly associated with cards having annual fees. These include cell phone protection, trip interruption and cancellation insurance, purchase security, auto rental collision damage waiver, extended warranty protection, and return protection.
Other things we like about the card
In addition to the bigger items discussed above, a few other card features are worth mentioning.
The X1 card is made with 17 grams of sleek stainless steel. It looks and feels modern and sexy.
The X1 app has a tab dubbed “Boosts,” which are weekly flash offers on your card. There are five new boosts that populate on the app every Friday. Once you activate an offer, it’s good for 24 hours so be wise about it. Boosts include the likes of “Earn three points on your next restaurant check,” “Earn 400 points on your next $1,000+ purchase,” and “Earn three points on your next grocery purchase.” Who doesn’t love a good bonus?
Virtual card capability
The X1 app allows you to instantly create virtual credit cards, an important feature for those who are concerned about credit card security, want to issue cards for single use, or want to sign up for free trials. Virtual cards function as tokens for digital payment.
You’ll also earn bonus points for shopping through the links directly in your app. Of note, earn 3 points on Apple and Home Depot purchases, 10 points on Warby Parker and at Nordstrom Rack, and 4 points at Bed, Bath & Beyond and Macy’s.
With an alternative application process and a high earnings rate yet no annual fee, X1 is continuing to rewrite the credit card narrative. Despite the absence of a welcome bonus, the card possesses plenty of long-term benefits and is a compelling choice for everyday purchases and for racking up points aplenty throughout the year.
While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they are subject to change at any time, and may have changed or may no longer be available. This article was originally published in October 2022; it was updated on January 24, 2023, with current information.