As one of the biggest players in the U.S. credit card market, JPMorgan Chase has just announced that they will begin construction of their own airport lounges, the first one to which is scheduled to open in Boston sometime in 2022.
This is a clear response to American Express and their popular Centurion Lounges and a similar market entry by Capital One for members of their premium cards.
Since Chase increased the annual fee of their card by $100 to $550 last year (although they are currently offering $100 off as a Covid related statement credit) customers have voiced that the price is too expensive considering it’s on par with the Amex Platinum which offers the Centurion Lounges.
JPMorgan Chase has published this press release related to their lounge investment plans:
On the heels of acquiring cxLoyalty’s leading travel and loyalty business, JPMorgan Chase takes another step in its commitment to providing elevated value and experiences throughout the end-to-end travel journey – now at the airport:
JPMorgan Chase will introduce travelers to a new airport lounge: Chase Sapphire Lounge® by The Club. This entry will bring to life key aspects of the travel journey and offer a fresh approach to the lounge experience with locations to be announced in select markets over time.
“Travel has always been important to our customers who aspire for compelling and elevated experiences,” said Marianne Lake, Co-CEO of Chase. “We’re investing in meeting our customers where they want to be as more and more of them have the confidence to travel again.”
JPMorgan Chase is bringing these lounges to its customers in collaboration with the industry experts in global airport lounges and experiences, Airport Dimensions.
For more than a decade, Chase Sapphire has activated lounges across the country at marquee events, serving as hubs for unique access at culinary, entertainment and cultural experiences. That same inspiration will come to life in airports, providing access to exceptional, authentic and regionally inspired food, drink, art, entertainment, and wellness.
This could be a way for Chase to position themselves and their Sapphire Reserve cards to be considered more premium and to shed the reputation of being an expensive card without it’s own lounges.
There are two factors however that currently leave it in the air what these lounges are actually going to be. For one they’re called Sapphire Lounges (sounds like a Gentleman’s Club) but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t just let any Sapphire card member in. Chase offers the Sapphire Visa Signature card ($95/year) and the Sapphire Reserve Visa Infinite ($550/year). It would make very little sense to start supplying airport lounges to their low price cards.
The other thing is that these facilities are branded “by The Club“. The Club is an airport lounge operator with quite a few locations throughout the U.S. by Airport Dimensions, a Collinson company.
I wonder if this just means Chase turned to an experienced developer for airport lounges in order to establish their own or if there is a closer cooperation between The Club and Chase Sapphire Lounges in the future. So far The Club has been a run of the mill Priority Pass and contract lounge, nothing wrong with that but I found them to be rather uninspiring.
All Chase Sapphire Rewards cardholders currently have a full membership with Priority Pass which includes the use of “Airport Experiences” such as restaurants (Amex has excluded those). I can’t see the PP membership benefit to go away as it became pretty much standard for all premium cards.
Chase will open their first Sapphire Lounge sometime in 2022 at Boston-Logan airport and subsequently other U.S. airport locations. So far there hasn’t been anything announced in terms of who will have access to these facilities or what the exact offers are going to be.
If they plan to go against Amex Centurion Lounges the bar is pretty high and the normal standard of The Club isn’t going to cut it. I’m looking forward to hear more about this project in the coming year.