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

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.

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