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How to level up fast in Saints Row: Gain XP quickly to get your character to Level 20

The game's levelling system and its benefits explained

How can I level up quickly in Saints Row? In Saints Row, skill progression is tied in closely with the levelling system. As your Boss climbs the criminal ladder of Sant Ileso, they'll gain XP and advance through 20 character levels, each of which gives them access to another new skill. On this page we'll give you some tips on how to level up quickly in Saints Row so that you have access to every skill as soon as possible.

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Liam recently chatted to Alice about their favourite thing in Saints Row.

How to level up fast in Saints Row

Almost everything you do in Saints Row will net you either XP, cash, or (most often) both. Here are just a few of the best ways we've found to increase your level quickly:


Obviously, completing main story missions is a plentiful source of XP in Saints Row. Check the Missions tab on your character's phone to easily track the next story beat. Happily, the main plot of Saints Row isn't too taxing to work through, and you get a nice big XP boost every time you complete a main quest.

Side Hustles

Side hustles appear on the map as blue icons, and present you with an opportunity to freelance on a friendly NPC's criminal venture in exchange for XP and cash. Side Hustles come in a few different flavours, like:

  • Pony Express: Drive a high-value package to a drop-off point while avoiding the police dragnet. If the cops spot you, you'll need to fight them off using various vehicular combat techniques at your disposal.
  • Riding Shotgun: While an NPC takes the wheel, keep pursuers off your backs by laying down suppressing fire. Yes, you can jump onto the vehicle's roof. Yes, it does get very messy very quickly.
  • Wingsuit Saboteur: Don your character's wingsuit and airdrop whatever your paying associate desires onto the (usually) unsuspecting city below.
  • @tcha: Leave a bad review for a local business to trigger a wave-based combat challenge initiated by the pissed-off owner. Lower reviews equal a harder challenge, but better rewards. Truly dystopian.


Challenges are tracked via the Missions app on your character's phone. Not only does completing one net you a new perk, but you'll receive a nice injection of cash and XP for your troubles as well.


These optional bounty hunter side-quests are tracked via the Wanted app on your character's phone. Go after a deserving target and bring them in dead, or... well, actually, just bring them in dead.

Crimes of Opportunity

Indicated on your minimap by unsubtle icons representing a big drawstring bag with a dollar sign on it. If one of these pops up in your vicinity, track it down and fight some gang members in exchange for the cash value of whatever loot they were moving, along with a complementary dose of XP.


Indicated by yellow icons on the map, discoveries are comparatively low-stakes activities that give you a chance to nab some cash as you explore Sant Ileso. A couple of varieties also increase your XP when you complete them:

  • Golden Dumpsters: These will appear on your map when you first visit a new area. Have a rummage and you'll no doubt find some cash and XP in there, sometimes along with some questionable cosmetic items.
  • Investigate Hidden Histories: These obligingly populate your map the first time you explore a new area, and they're probably the most chill activity on offer in Sant Ileso. Wander round doing the tourist thing while listening to a nice audio tour and you'll net yourself a nice XP boost at the end.

Reckless driving

Not formally tracked (unless a particular one crops up as a Challenge goal), but performing vehicular stunts will occasionally net you a small XP boost, especially if you've just hit a significant milestone. A classic example is air time while performing jumps on a bike, but you even sometimes get small bonuses from near-misses with other vehicles, driving into oncoming traffic, and other deeply inadvisable activities I absolutely do not recommend trying in real life.

What are the benefits to levelling up in Saints Row?

In Saints Row, levelling up means gaining new skills for use in combat. Saints Row doesn't have a skill tree as such, but each time you level up, you'll get your mitts on the next skill in line; and, naturally, bigger level number equals more impressive skill. Ed described this as being akin to a battle pass system after playing the preview, and it's a good comparison if you want an idea of how linear skill progression in this game is.

While you're on the lookout for Saints Row advice, why not check out our guide to the game's extensive character creator, as well as our guide to meeting up with your friends in Saints Row multiplayer?

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Saints Row (2022)

PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC

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Rebecca Jones avatar

Rebecca Jones

Former Guides Writer

Rebecca is now geeking out about multi-platform games on VG247, but rumour has it that if you chant "Indiescovery podcast" three times in front of your PC monitor, she'll reappear in the RPS comments section.