First, let’s get the crazy Chase and travel stat out of the way.
At a recent investment presentation, Chase proudly proclaimed that $1 out of every $4 spent on leisure travel by Americans is spent using a JP Morgan Chase Card.
In 2017, it was estimated Americans spend a total of $480 billion on travel, so you can see why that stat is huge — and why “owning” travel matters so much to banks. Chase further proclaimed that circa one third of the total spending is by Chase customers.
It’s an ultra-competitive market right now, with each leading bank iterating on key ideas from how people book travel, to bringing better travel experiences — like airport lounge access.
Amex has made incredible moves in owning key travel companies and relationships, as has Capital One in recent years, and each opened their own airport lounges. After lots of rumors, Chase officially is too.
Chase Airport Lounges Coming
Chase Lounges were always on the way to airports, but no one outside of the business knew exactly how many, or precisely where. Many of those details are now out in the open. We now know Chase plans to launch lounges in…
- New York LaGuardia
- Boston Logan
- San Diego Terminal 2
- Hong Kong International
- Phoenix Terminal 4
- Las Vegas Terminal C
Details on two more airport lounge locations which are reportedly under contract are expected soon. This puts Chase in solid competition against American Express with the Centurion Lounge concept, as well as Capital One, with its ever expanding lounges.
It’s expected that Sapphire Reserve members would be the firs to benefit, but major changes to both the Reserve and Sapphire Preferred may indicate more to come for Preferred.
US airport lounge standards were long regarded as dismal compared to international standards, but Amex began to shift that paradigm with Centurion Lounges. It might be time for Chase to do the same.
Raising The Standard
Amex’ chef and bartender driven lounge partnerships, sourcing food worth eating and drinks worth a tipple fundamentally changed consumer expectation in the US, and that elevated experiencing belonging solely to Amex cardmembers was a key to acquisition in recent years.
Capital One’s lounges are the first bonafide competitor to the Amex Centurion Lounge offerings. Food and beverage has been outstanding in these Capital One spaces, as has the innovation with grab and go for the time constrained.
Fewer people automatically enjoy Capital One lounge access via Venture X, so joys of overcrowding have been less of a problem. Lounge demand clearly isn’t an issue for Amex. The premium card giant was forced to tighten access, to prevent sub-par trip experiences.
It’ll be interesting to see whether Chase attempts to raises the bar on airport lounge standards again, or simply aims to offer safe haven spaces for cardmembers, so as not to look outdone in the premium market by the others. Let’s hope for the former.
New ChaseTravel.Com Coming
Chase has quietly made quite a few acquisitions and deals in recent years in the online media and travel booking space. Apparently, customers will start to see and feel those changes soon.
CXLoyalty will once again power travel bookings for ChaseTravel.com, and investments in Tock, Zagat and The Infatuation will power a rich and expansive dining experience. If travel is the biggest battle ground among premium credit cards, dining is definitely the second.
Much like with lounges, there’s a lot of wait and see about key details. Will there be more confidence inspiring, user friendly features like those introduced by Capital One Travel? Or will there be substantial discounts, like those offered via American Express with the Premium Air Program?
However it shakes out, it’s a great time to hold a premium rewards credit card in the United States. And if you really want to win, maybe a few of them.