Whoa: Capital One Lounges Opening At Two Airports

Filed Under: Capital One
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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)

Bottom line

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?

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Comments
  1. In the DC area Capital One has at least one Peets coffee sites in a Capital One banking area. Capital One clients receive a 50% off discount on custom specialty and coffee drinks.

  2. I have a Spark for Business card and would look forward to this. I maybe only see the inside of IAD or DFW once a year (usually for International) so a plan to buy access to the lounge at a discount rate would be helpful. I know this is a predominately airline-centric blog, but I can’t be the only person that spreads their travel methods around. I usually only fly when someone else is paying for the ticket, or it is transcontinental. I am based out of Charlotte, NC area so I drive/train as much between NYC and Florida as fly. On a broader note, as I have been paying attention to F&J fares, I wonder if lounges will move towards more of a subscription model for access than just a points basis as flying trends evolve. I suspect the pool of super milers will decrease over time.

  3. Cap1 is adding new transfer partners and new 1:1 transfer ratio with certain partners, an upgrade from 2:1.5.

  4. Do not like cold brew coffee. When coffee is not very hot it takes a ton of sugar to combat the bitterness.

    Just drink black coffee (if it is high quality) or tea if it is not.

  5. I dont get your obsession with “barista-made” if the beans and inputs are bad it doesnt matter if it is hand crafted or straight from a machine, cheap product is cheap product regardless of the method. What airline or lounge isnt trying to cut costs right now.

  6. I hope they don’t just open in the same airports as Centurion lounges. Open where there’s less lounge coverage, like ORD.

  7. DFW and IAD are already lounge-rich.

    I agree with David – someone needs to give ORD some love for the domestic terminals.

  8. I’m with you guys, I don’t get the “tap” craft cocktails either, but that’s Capital One’s claim.

  9. @ ConnGator — And I don’t like beer, but you don’t see me telling people to drink cold brew instead. 😉 We all have our different tastes. Not only am I a huge cold brew fan, but it is a popular drink in the US.

  10. @Ben, et.al. Tap cocktails are an emerging trend at bars. Sort of like the alcohol equivalent of the Coke Machine.

    https://content.kegworks.com/commercial-sales/commercial-draft-systems/specialty-on-tap/cocktails

    https://www.diffordsguide.com/encyclopedia/358/cocktails/draught-cocktails-draft-cocktails

    I am sure the liquor will not be top shelf but I mean really can it really be that bad? Any different than tap beer? Has to be better than can cocktails. It is more about efficiency and cost control there.

  11. I wonder if Capital One employees will get free access to the lounges. Capital One’s headquarters is in McLean, Virginia – immediately adjacent to a Metro station. Once the Dulles Airport expansion of the Metro Silver Line opens up (also in 2022), it would be a straight shot of 8 stops from Capital One HQ to Dulles on the Silver Line.

  12. A pre-security lounge at IAD is basically useless. While IAD has one of the best Pre-Check and Clear checkpoints nationwide, the main security checkpoint can be slow during a departure bank and you still need to take the train or mobile lounge out to your gate. The latter part of this makes it a hassle even for those who get expedited security. That being said, I’m pretty sure the DMV is one of Capital One’s biggest markets so IAD makes a ton of sense.

  13. I personally cannot wait for the “regional wines.” North Texas and the DC metro area will really give Bordeaux a run for its money. If we’re lucky, maybe they’ll have an Oklahoma Muscadine available too!

  14. I, too, find the notion of a tap cocktail to be odd, especially so when they try to describe it as “craft.”

    But then… Isn’t a frozen margarita a tap cocktail?

  15. @ Alex – In addition to the IAD location being close to their McLean HQ, the DFW location is close to another major Capital One Office in Plano, TX. I’m not sure employees will get complementary access given they have over 50,000 employees, but I would imagine they want the first two lounge locations to be close to “home” so they can keep an eye on them, observe them as pilot sites, maintain quality control, etc

  16. I have both the Amex Platinum and CSR cards (plus Amex Gold). I’m getting less value from CSR due to 4x membership rewards points on Amex Gold. Am I better of dropping (or downgrading) CSR and picking up a Citi card that provides lounge access?

    Appreciate any thoughts

  17. I see this idea coming to hotels too, vending machine made craft cocktails to replace the need for an actual bar. But oh wait how will it prevent underaged purchases.

  18. I would like to know why my comments were removed ben? I simply commented that Dallas and DC are rowdier cities.

  19. @ The Honourable Reginald — Your comment actually hadn’t been removed, you just left it on the post about Capital One mileage transfers rather than this one. But now that you’ve brought it up, I did remove it. And if you need an explanation for why your comment was inappropriate (“this lounge may be overrun with the ‘urban’ types,” really?!), then, well…

  20. @Ben – I’ve had a couple frustrating convos with this ‘Reginald’ fellow on some travel subreddits (I think not 100% sure – similar name). I’m not sure if he’s a troll or actually like this. Thanks for moderating out comments like that!

    He certainly always has something to say when non-European, non-American, non-East Asian airlines are discussed.

  21. Sorry if the comments offended. I certainly would appreciate some explanation. I am 71 years old and not sure what I am allowed to say in this day and age.

    I simply noted the presence of a certain group in DC and Dallas, and noted that lounges should consider banning oversize white tshirts and colorful athletic wear.

    I’m sure many would agree – dress codes are much more lax than when I started flying in the late 70s. I still wear a shirt and pants tucked in, at the very least, even when flying economy!

  22. Reginald is clearly a troll. Ben – can you consider banning this man from commenting permanently?

    His comments are barely relevant and clearly meant as bait.

  23. It’s interesting. I thought I would hate pay-per lounges. But now that I think about it, I’d rather have the option to not pay for it if it sucks or is crowded.

    Think about it: you’ve already paid your AF for CSR, Plat, whatever. If it’s a subpar lounge experience, then you’re up a creek. You should not have prepaid.

    But if it’s good, you might consider paying for it. It really depends on your frequency, whether you get it through your fare class, and free market. It might lead to better lounges, even.

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