Photo: Capital One

Move Over AmEx: Capital One and Chase Are Entering the Airport Lounge Game

Airports + Flying
by Maren Engh Sep 16, 2021

For many years now, American Express has dominated the airport lounge game. The Centurion Lounges are heralded as some of the best lounges around, with custom cocktails, chef-inspired cuisine and comfortable spaces for relaxing before your flight. Until now, no other credit card offered a dedicated lounge outside of Priority Pass or lounge collections through third parties. Chase and Capital One are finally joining the party, albeit a bit late. Here’s what we know about Capital One airport lounges and the Chase Sapphire lounge.

Chase airport lounges

Chase is launching the “Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club” collection managed by an operator of a number of airport lounges that you may be familiar with through Priority Pass: The Club. In general, The Club lounges are not the most remarkable out there, so it will be very interesting to see if Chase plans to compete with AmEx’s Centurion lounges.

The Chase Sapphire lounge locations

As of today, there are three planned openings. Two are US-based and the other is international. You’ll soon find these new lounges in:

  • Boston Logan Airport (BOS) between Terminal B and Terminal C
  • New York Laguardia (LGA) Airport in Terminal B
  • Hong Kong (HKG) in Terminal 1

At this time, there are limited details available as to what the lounge plans are and when they open, but we can expect to see them in late 2022 or 2023.

How to access the Chase Sapphire lounges

Here’s where it gets interesting. From what we’ve read, access to the lounge will be through Priority Pass, meaning, anyone with a Priority Pass can access the lounge…including AmEx Priority Pass holders. That means, particularly for the US market, there will likely be some pretty big capacity issues. That also means that these new Chase lounges likely won’t be as premium or luxurious as AmEx’s owned and operated Centurion Lounges.

Capital One airport lounges

If you weren’t particularly aroused by the sound of the Chase’s managed by The Club airport lounges, you may be more excited to hear about the Capital One lounges that were announced this year. Capital One’s lounge announcement came with the promise of premium dining quality, a host of amenities and even Peloton bikes!

Unlike the Chase airport lounges, there is talk of unique features and amenities, like cold brew stations, local cuisine, craft cocktails and relaxation and yoga rooms.

The Capital One airport lounge locations

Capital One’s first airport lounge opening will be in Dallas at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW) in Terminal D. This lounge is set to open at the end of 2021 and will be just steps from the AmEx Centurion Lounge, putting it in direct competition with them. Boasting 10,000 square feet, this lounge is determined to take on a share of the premium travelers market.

Two additional US-based Capital One lounges are set to open in 2022 in Denver (DIA) and Washington Dulles (IAD).

How to access the Capital One lounges

While there is no real information on access and cost yet, there are rumors of an entrance fee depending on your credit card. Most of the Capital One credit cards come with a pretty low annual fee when compared to the now $695 annual fee on the AmEx so there is no surprise that access will come at a cost. They are, however, guaranteeing lower entry fees for particular cardholders. My bet? They may just be launching a new premium card of their own in the future to compete with the likes of the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum.

The bottom line

The bottom line is that AmEx is no longer the only fish in the pond. Despite Chase’s somewhat disappointing sounding lounge network, there are now two additional competitors in the space competing for credit card business, particularly with the Capital One lounges. This may just push AmEx to increase their own locations to stay on top. Stay tuned for more details on opening dates and new locations.

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