New X1+ Card: 4X Back on Expedia, Hotels.com, Vrbo; Unique Lounge Perks
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The X1 Card is getting a sibling — the X1+ — which will feature unique travel rewards and perks for an annual fee of $75.
Like the original X1, the X1+ will be a metal credit card issued by Coastal Community Bank, with an underwriting process that places a good amount of weight on income to determine eligibility. There’s no hard credit check to see whether you pre-qualify, though you can expect a hard inquiry if you formally accept your offer.
X1, the company behind both cards, has opened the waitlist for the travel-focused X1+ but with no specific date for distribution, beyond "spring 2023." The card will roll out in phases by priority, based on your place in line, according to Deepak Rao, co-founder and CEO of X1.
Here’s what to know about the X1+ Card.
What the X1+ Card will offer
The X1+ will share some features found on the original X1 Card. You’ll be required to link a bank account through a third-party service provider to show proof of income. The emphasis on income in the application process may make it possible to qualify for a higher credit limit than is available on other credit cards, according to Rao.
But the X1+ Card will have a long list of travel-focused features that distinguish it from the original X1 Card and account for the "plus" in its name.
The X1+ Card will earn:
4 points per $1 spent on Expedia, Hotels.com and Vrbo.
2 points per $1 spent on other purchases. (You can boost this to 3 points per $1 after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in a month. Terms apply.)
10 points per $1 spent with a handful of select merchants, but only when you shop in the X1 app.
The original X1 Card earns a flat 2 points per $1 spent. But both cards feature ways to boost your reward rates, either through referrals to friends or by hitting a spending threshold.
Travel redemption and benefits
As with the original X1 Card, rewards you earn with the X1+ Card are redeemable for cash back at a rate of 1 cent per point or for statement credit toward purchases with select merchants. But the X1+ Card's list of qualifying merchants will also feature travel-specific companies like the Four Seasons, Intercontinental, Westin, Emirates, Hawaiian Airlines and JSX (a jet service for private travel). Points are also worth a penny each for those travel-related redemptions.
Other features of the X1+ will include:
Complimentary lounge access for flight delays: Cardholders and up to four additional passengers will be able to get complimentary access to Priority Pass airport lounges if their flight is delayed by one hour or more.
On-demand lounge access: Cardholders will be able to buy lounge access at over 1,000 Priority Pass lounges at a discounted rate, according to Rao.
Travel benefits: For delayed bags, cardholders will get $100 per day in protection for three days. For lost baggage, cardholders will get $3,000 in protection per trip. Trip cancellation coverage will also be offered up to $5,000 per person, per trip. And primary coverage will be available for domestic and international car rentals.
Purchase protection: The card will cover up to $10,000 per occurrence, including porch piracy, with a limit of $50,000 per cardholder.
Design options: The X1+ will offer three design options that include silver, gold and rose-gold metal. Cardholders may also choose whether to opt out of having a visible number on the card.
Future X1+ cardholders can also expect the following:
No late fees.
No foreign transaction fees.
Rewards that become available the minute you spend.
A card you can use instantly after approval.
An APR range between 15.25%-27.50% (as of this writing).
Virtual credit card numbers that can be used one time to shop anonymously or pay for free trials.
Is it a good deal?
The X1+ Card packs some unique, highly specific features that you’re not likely to find on other travel credit cards at or near its price point, especially in terms of its lounge access benefits. And it could be valuable for those who prefer to make travel purchases via online aggregators like Expedia, as opposed to booking directly with an airline or hotel site.
But for the most part, you’ll need to count on something going wrong with your travel plans to make full use of the card’s travel benefits. And even with the card's elevated 4x rate, you’d have to spend at least $1,875 per year on travel to offset the card's $75 annual fee. (And remember, you'll earn that rate with only three specific sites.)
And while it's difficult to impossible to find similar lounge perks on travel cards in its class, the X1+ Card notably lacks something that its competitors do offer: a rich, upfront, easy-to-earn sign-up bonus, which can go a long way toward funding your next vacation. The X1+ offers referral bonus points only when someone you know signs up for the card and gets approved.
If lounge access and travel benefits are what you’re after, other travel credit cards can offer more lucrative options that can offset the cost of their higher annual fees. But if the idea of paying more than $100 for an annual fee is a deal-breaker, the X1+ can be a decent alternative for those who value travel protections and convenient features that simplify spending.
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