This should be interesting, even though we don’t yet fully know what to expect.
Capital One opening airport lounge in Washington
It has been announced that Capital One has won a bid to open their first-ever airport lounge at Washington Dulles Airport.
This is just a few miles from Capital One’s headquarters, so it’s fitting that this would also be the first airport where they’d have a lounge.
The lounge is expected to open in 2021, and Capital One says that this is another way that they provide their customers “unique travel benefits, along with exclusive access and experiences, in areas they are passionate about.”
Those are all the details that Capital One has officially shared as of now, but they should provide more details soon.
What amenities will the Capital One Lounge offer?
View from the Wing notes that some details have been filed with the airport authority, which tells us at least a bit more about what to expect:
- The lounge will be 9,100 square feet
- While the lounge will be Capital One branded, it will actually be run by TAV Operations Services, which operates Primeclass lounges, and others
- The lounge will be immediately past security, so it won’t be near any gates (at Dulles you first have to get on a train); I guess this is convenient if you’re originating at Dulles, but less convenient if connecting
- The lounge will have “high quality” dining, “premium” liquor and wine, a conference room, a quiet room, a workout room, a kids play room, showers, and spa services
- Construction will cost at least $7.5 million
Those are a lot of amenities to squeeze into 9,100 square feet — a gym, spa treatments, shower rooms, and more? Wow!
Who will have access to the Capital One Lounge?
The precedent for credit card airport lounges is Amex with their Centurion Lounge.
What makes Capital One different is their lineup of credit cards. Capital One has some great travel rewards cards — including the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card (review) and Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business (review) — but these aren’t really premium, high-annual fee cards. Both cards have $95 annual fees that are waived the first year.
In other words, I doubt everyone with a Venture or Spark card would receive complimentary access.
The way I see it, there are a couple of ways this could most likely play out:
Is Capital One introducing a premium credit cards?
There have long been rumors of Capital One introducing a premium travel rewards card, so could the introduction of this lounge be an indication that’s happening soon? Capital One introduced a transferable points currency just over a year ago, so as they’re getting more into expanded travel rewards, this is a logical expansion.
Is this just a Capital One branding opportunity?
Could this be more of a branding opportunity, rather than an actual lounge for Capital One cardmembers? In other words, it could be a paid access lounge or a Priority Pass lounge, with maybe a discount or extra perks for Capital One cardmembers?
Perhaps Capital One cardmembers can get a discount on access, get a certain number of free visits per year, or get upgraded food or spa treatments for free?
While this is Capital One’s first airport lounge, the bank is unique with their “Capital One Cafes,” described as follows:
Our Cafés are inviting places where you can bank, plan your financial journey, engage with your community, and enjoy Peet’s Coffee. You don’t have to be a customer.
I imagine the airport lounge concept will be different, but we’ll see…
I’m excited to see Capital One get into the airport lounge game, though as of now this is still a big mystery, as we’ll have to see what they have up their sleeve.
Will Capital One be introducing a new premium credit card that comes with access to this lounge, will this just be a Capital One branded lounge that’s open to everyone, or what?
What do you make of the new Capital One Lounge IAD?