Capital One made a big splash on the lounge scene back in 2021 when it opened their first lounge at Dallas-Ft. Worth Airport (DFW). It seems every travel blogger I’ve ever heard of rushed out for a visit. Anticipation was high and it seemed the new lounge delivered. Since then, Capital One Venture X cardholders (the only cardholders with unlimited free access) have been wondering when the next lounge would open.
While we don’t have a firm date for the lounge at Washington-Dulles International Airport we do have a much clearer picture (literally) of their progress.
Washington-Dulles (IAD) happens to be my home airport and I was there last night to board a flight. As I proceeded through TSA PreCheck I noticed some differences in the construction barriers located just beyond security where the new lounge is being constructed. I was last at Washington-Dulles just a few weeks ago and didn’t see the signage that was visible last night. I ventured over and was surprised to see that the barriers were down and the windows were uncovered.
Capital One Lounge: What Is It?
Before I discuss the pictures of the Washington-Dulles club, I wanted to recap what the Capital One Lounge concept is. The concept that Capital One has rolled out is also remarkably different from any other domestic US lounge. There are numerous grab and go options, specialty drinks and a variety of food items to sample in the club. As well, there are meditation rooms, showers and a Peloton workout room.
Capital One Lounge Washington-Dulles Progress Pictures
How much of these amenities will ultimately end up at IAD remains to be seen. The view from the windows shows a remarkably similar look and feel to the DFW lounge, including the grab and go/refreshment areas.
The lounge at Washington-Dulles is located on the upper level of the airport just past the TSA PreCheck security area behind ticketing. The space it occupies used to be the control tower for the airport.
There appear to be two large rolling doors as entryways to the club. I suspect only one will be in operation to control access. The doors work fine for symmetry but it strikes me as odd that a club this small would have two access points far enough away as to require an employee at each.
It was hard to tell from the windows how much space there is in the lounge. My recollection of the tower (I toured it many years ago) was that it would be tough to have a sizable lounge in that space. The limited view seems to back that up.
Is The Capital One Lounge A Valuable Benefit For Venture X Cardholders?
The DFW club has already started to see signs of overcrowding. During my recent visit virtually every seat was filled. I’ve also heard reports of a waiting list to get into the club. The DFW club has a number of separate seating areas and a pretty sizable capacity. The lounge at Dulles seems like it will be noticeably smaller.
IAD is a much smaller airport than DFW but there are still millions of business travelers departing, arriving and connecting at IAD. The location of the lounge makes it a bad fit for connecting passengers unless you have a long layover. The only gates close to the lounge are the Z gates, the domain of Air Canada, Frontier and a handful of United regional flights here and there.
Capital One Venture X cardholders pay a $395 annual fee. The card comes with a $300 annual travel credit, so the card is actually quite affordable if you travel even just a bit. The addition of high-quality lounges is a huge boon for an affordable credit card. I’ve held the Venture X card in my wallet for a bit over a year. I started out enjoying the bonus categories on the card, including 10X Venture Miles on hotels booked through their travel portal.
Along the way I’ve had a few bumps and bruises with the card. I’m still not 100% sure it’s a great fit for business travelers, but it’s a solid card. Between the Bilt Rewards Mastercard, my AMEX Gold and Chase Ink cards, I don’t actually put a ton of spend on my Venture X card.
Crowded lounges aren’t going to be a huge plus for cardholders. And, the number of lounges announced (Denver and Las Vegas airports are the only other confirmed locations) make it a benefit most won’t be able to use regularly. However, the lounge product is a really solid step forward for a bank that is trying to appeal more to business travelers and folks who spend a good amount on credit cards.
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