June 19, 2024

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Now Arriving at an Airport Lounge Near You: Peloton Bikes, Nap Pods and Caviar Service

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A handful of new lounges opened by credit card issuers, including Capital One and American Express, have recently landed in airports across the United States, promising posh spots of refuge for select travelers awaiting their flights. At La Guardia Airport, caviar service will be available for pre-order. At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, travelers can get complimentary massages, and at Denver International Airport, there are nap pods. In addition to amenities, the new lounges provide an ambience reminiscent of a luxury hotel lobby, both in interior design and scale, and fit several hundred people at a time.

“Lounges have certainly gotten busier, so we’ve expanded our footprint,” said Audrey Hendley, president of American Express Travel, which in February opened its largest Centurion lounge, at 26,000 square feet at Hartsfield-Jackson, bringing its total number of lounges in the United States to 14.

Broadly, there are three types of airport lounges available to travelers: airline operated; shared-use spaces that aren’t limited to one airline or frequent flier status (think Priority Pass); and credit card lounges. Many are operated in partnership with lounge development companies.

For more than a decade, American Express was the only credit card issuer with lounges in the United States. That changed last year, when Chase Sapphire and Capital One each opened locations at major airports across the country, with plans to unveil a handful more in the coming years.

The proliferation is driven in part by changing demographics and travel patterns of fliers today. This year may set a record for the number of air travelers, with an estimated 4.7 billion people expected to fly globally. According to a survey published last May by the polling firm Morning Consult, younger travelers are more inclined than older generations to book travel with credit card loyalty programs, and those in the Gen Z age group, in particular, have signaled a declining loyalty to airline frequent flier programs.

While credit card companies saw opportunities to expand their brand awareness with lounges, the facilities also provide additional benefits to card members who pay hundreds of dollars in annual membership fees. Card fees range from $395 a year for a Capital One Venture X to $695 for an American Express Platinum.

Here are the latest highlights of new credit card lounges from around the country.

Domestic locations: John F. Kennedy Airport’s Terminal 4, La Guardia Airport’s Terminal B, Boston Logan International Airport by Gate B40.

Forthcoming locations: San Diego International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Harry Reid International Airport in Las Vegas and Philadelphia International Airport.

Who can use: Travelers with the Chase Sapphire Reserve, J.P. Morgan Reserve or Ritz-Carlton credit cards who have activated their Priority Pass memberships. Those without these cards but who have Priority Pass can enter once a year. Chase Sapphire Reserve and J.P. Morgan Reserve cardholders can bring up to two guests per visit for free, and additional guests cost $27. Those with the Ritz-Carlton card can bring unlimited guests at no extra cost.

What’s on offer: Locally made draft beers and coffee, menus designed by local restaurants, private bathrooms with showers and, at La Guardia Airport’s 16,200-square-foot space spanning two floors, three suites with caviar service that can be reserved up to 72 hours before a flight ($2,200 to book).

Domestic locations: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Denver International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Los Angeles International Airport, Harry Reid International Airport, Miami International Airport, Kennedy Airport, La Guardia Airport, Philadelphia Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Forthcoming locations: Reagan National Airport later this year, Newark Liberty International Airport in 2026.

Who can use: Eligible American Express cardholders, and those with Delta’s SkyMiles Reserve Card or Reserve Business Card; details vary based on the card. Complimentary guest access depends on credit card use; American Express Platinum and Business Platinum Card Members who spend $75,000 or more a year can bring up to two guests in free per visit.

What’s on offer: A whiskey bar, phone booths and work stations, wellness rooms, food by local celebrity chefs, complimentary massages, game rooms and wine tastings

Domestic locations: Dallas-Fort Worth Airport’s Terminal D, Denver Airport’s Concourse A, Dulles International Airport’s Main Terminal.

Forthcoming locations: Harry Reid International Airport.

Welcomed travelers: Venture X and Venture X Business cardholders, who can bring up to two guests per visit. Additional guests cost $45. All other travelers can pay $65 per visit to enter.

What’s on offer: A fitness room with Peloton bikes, nap pods, shower suites, small plate dining options and grab-and-go food, luggage lockers, coffee bars.

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024.

Christine Chung

2024-04-11 09:02:16

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