Pretty soon American Express will no longer be the only credit card issuer to operate airport lounges! While there had previously been rumors of Capital One opening airport lounges, it’s now official. This isn’t the only positive Capital One announcement today, as it has also been revealed that Venture and Spark miles will become more valuable.
Capital One Lounges coming to DFW & IAD
Capital One has revealed plans to open airport lounges at two locations:
- The Capital One Lounge Dallas Fort Worth Airport (DFW) will open in late summer 2021; it will be located in Terminal D near Gate 22, and it will be 10,000 square feet
- The Capital One Lounge Washington Dulles Airport (IAD) will open in 2022; it will be located near the security checkpoint (so not near any gates), and will be 9,100 square feet
What amenities will Capital One Lounges offer?
Capital One Lounges are described as modern spaces that are light and airy, full of amenities that provide relaxation, rejuvenation, and exploration. We can expect the following amenities at Capital One Lounges:
- A grab & go food selection, featuring curated menus by local chefs, healthy selections made with regionally sourced ingredients, and sustainable packaging; expect cold brew on tap, still or sparkling water, sandwiches, salads, fruit, snacks, and more
- A restaurant-quality in-lounge dining experience with touches like craft cocktails on tap, local beers, and regional wines
- A coffee bar, including options like freshly brewed coffee, cold brew on tap, and a full-service espresso bar
- Wellness-focused amenities, like a cycling and yoga room, relaxation rooms, nursing rooms, and shower suites with luxury bath amenities
- Semi-private work areas with outlets at every seat
- Soundproof relaxation rooms, featuring blankets, eye covers, and earplugs
Here are some renderings that Capital One has provided of the lounges:
Who will have access to Capital One Lounges?
So, who will have access to Capital One Lounges? Keep in mind that Capital One’s most premium travel rewards credit cards, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card (review) and the Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business (review), have annual fees of under $100.
Therefore Capital One is in a different situation than American Express, where there’s a card with a very high annual fee that you’d expect to come with lounge access.
As of now, Capital One hasn’t revealed access requirements for lounges, other than to say that “Capital One customers will be eligible for special cardholder pricing, depending on their card.”
It sounds to me like these will be pay-per-use lounges, and Capital One cardmembers will get discounted pricing. Beyond that, there are a few ways I suppose we could see this evolving:
- Maybe Capital One is introducing a premium travel rewards card with a higher annual fee, and this is the first step in that initiative
- I could see Capital One offering some free visits for cardmembers — perhaps one free visit per year, or perhaps a free visit 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 for lounge access; presumably this will be coded as travel, though I could see some sort of a formalized and simplified way to redeem miles this way
- While not likely, it’s possible that this could be a contract lounge or Priority Pass lounge, and Capital One views this all more as a branding opportunity than anything else
My take on airport Capital One Lounges
I have to say, these new Capital One airport lounges sound really great. A few initial thoughts come to mind:
- It sounds like Capital One may operate the first lounge in the US to fully do caffeine right, with cold brew and barista-made espresso drinks
- I love that Capital One is embracing grab & go dining options, since the concept of taking stuff to go from lounges has historically almost never been offered (the Air Canada Cafe Toronto is an exception)
- One major opportunity or challenge (depending on how you look at it) is that no Capital One cards will likely get you into these lounges for free; on the one hand that means 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 lounges (in other words, you’re not going to stop in to pick up a cold brew if it costs you $50 to enter, and if you only have five minutes to spare)
- We’ll have to wait for more details to draw too many conclusions, since we don’t know details like how many square feet these lounges will be, and where in airports they’ll be located (at least we don’t know for sure in the case of the DFW location)
Capital One will be opening airport lounges, starting with a lounge at DFW in the summer of 2021, and then a lounge at IAD in the summer of 2021. What we know about Capital One Lounges so far sounds fantastic — grab & go food, restaurant quality food in the lounge, an espresso bar, nap rooms, and much more.
A lot of questions remain, though, like how access to these lounges will work (including pricing for buying access).
What do you make of Capital One’s plan to open airport lounges? What kind of entry requirements and costs are you expecting?