Soon, American Express will no longer be the only credit card issuer operating airport lounges! While there had previously been rumors that Capital One was opening airport lounges, it’s now official. This isn’t the only positive announcement from Capital One today, as it was also revealed that Venture and Spark miles will become more valuable.
Capital One lounges at DFW and IAD
Capital One has revealed plans to open airport lounges at two locations:
- the Capital One Lounge Dallas Fort Worth Airport (DFW) will open at the end of summer 2021
- the Capital One Lounge Washington Dulles Airport (IAD) will open in 2022
While Capital One has yet to release specific lounge details, in early 2020 we learned that Capital One had won a bid to open a lounge at Washington Dulles Airport. Assuming Capital One still plans to use the same space, the living room will be 9,100 square feet and will be located right past security, so it won’t be near the doors.
What amenities will Capital One lounges offer?
Capital One Lounges are described as modern, light and airy spaces full of amenities that offer relaxation, rejuvenation and exploration. We can expect the following amenities at Capital One lounges:
- A selection of take-out food, including menus prepared by local chefs, healthy selections made with locally sourced ingredients and sustainable packaging; expect a cold brew from the tap, still or sparkling water, sandwiches, salads, fruit, snacks and more
- A restaurant-quality dining experience in the lounge with touches such as handcrafted cocktails on tap, local beers and regional wines
- A coffee bar, with options like freshly brewed coffee, cold tap brew, and a full-service espresso bar
- Wellness-oriented amenities like a cycling and yoga room, relaxation rooms, nursing rooms, and shower rooms with luxury toiletries
- Semi-private work areas with outlets at each seat
- Soundproof relaxation rooms with blankets, eye covers and earplugs
Here are some renderings that Capital One has provided to salons:
Who will have access to the Capital One lounges?
So who will have access to the Capital One lounges? Keep in mind that Capital One’s most premium travel rewards credit cards, Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (review) and the Capital OneÂ® SparkÂ® Miles for business (exam), have an annual fee of less than $ 100.
Therefore, Capital One is in a different situation than American Express, where there is a card with a very high annual fee that you would expect to receive with lounge access.
At this time, Capital One has not disclosed the conditions for access to the lounges, except to say that “Capital One customers will be able to benefit from special cardholder rates, depending on their card.”
It looks to me like these will be pay-as-you-go lounges, and Capital One cardholders will get discounted prices. Beyond that, I guess we could see this evolve in several ways:
- Maybe Capital One is introducing a premium travel award card with a higher annual fee, and that’s the first step in that initiative.
- I could see Capital One offering free cardholder tours – maybe one free tour per year, or maybe a free tour if you spend a certain amount on the card.
- If nothing else, I imagine Capital One will make it easy and straightforward to redeem Venture or Spark miles to access the lounge; presumably this will be coded as a trip, although I could see some sort of formalized and simplified way to redeem miles this way.
- While unlikely, it could be a contract lounge or Priority Pass lounge, and Capital One sees this more as a branding opportunity than anything else.
My take on Capital One airport lounges
I have to say these new Capital One airport lounges sound really good. Some first thoughts come to mind:
- Looks like Capital One could operate the first lounge in the US to make full use of caffeine, with cold drinks and espressos brewed by a barista.
- I love that Capital One is embracing take-out dining options, as the concept of take-out to lounges has historically hardly been offered (the Air Canada Cafe Toronto is an exception)
- A major opportunity or challenge (depending on how you look at it) is that no Capital One card will give you free access to these lounges; On the one hand, this means that these lounges may not be crowded, while on the other hand, having to pay for lounge access each time changes the circumstances under which many people would consider using the lounges. lounges (in other words, you’re not going to stop for a cold brew if it costs you $ 50 to get in, and you only have five minutes to spare)
- We’ll have to wait for more details to draw too many conclusions, as we don’t know details like how many square feet these lounges have and where in the airports they will be located (at least we don’t know for sure in the case of l ‘DFW location)
At the end of the line
Capital One will open airport lounges, starting with a lounge at DFW in summer 2021, then a lounge at IAD in summer 2021. What we know about Capital One lounges so far looks fantastic – take out food, restaurant quality food in the lounge, espresso bar, nap rooms and much more.
However, many questions remain, such as how access to these lounges works (including pricing for purchasing access).
What do you think of Capital One’s plan to open airport lounges? What kinds of entry requirements and costs do you expect?