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Credit Cards

Capital One opens its newest lounge at Washington Dulles Airport complete with craft cocktails and barista-made coffee — here's how to get in

The opening of Capital One's second airport lounge comes almost two years after the first at DFW.

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Jasmin Suknanan / CNBC

For frequent travelers, one of the most tangible benefits of select Capital One travel credit cards is airport lounge access.

While Capital One partners with 100+ Plaza Premium Lounges, and Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card holders can access 1,400+ lounges through Priority Pass, the issuer only has a few lounges of its own. But that's starting to change.

On Sept. 7, 2023, Capital One opened the doors to its brand-new lounge at Dulles International Airport (IAD) in Washington D.C. This comes almost two years after opening its first lounge at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW) in Texas.

Below, CNBC Select shares a first look at the new all-inclusive lounge and explains how you can access it.

What to expect at the new Capital One lounge at IAD

The new Capital One lounge is located inside the IAD's main terminal, just past the TSA Pre-Check security area. Travelers coming from a different concourse within IAD must take the underground tram and take the stairs up to the security mezzanine level to access the lounge. All concourses at IAD are connected within the secure area, so you can get to the lounge regardless of your flight's departing gate.

The lounge's standard hours are 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. However, it will operate on a reduced schedule of 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the soft opening, which runs from Sept. 7 to Sept. 15, 2023.

The Capital One Lounge at IAD featuring tables, seating and plenty of natural light.
Jasmin Suknanan / CNBC

The IAD Capital One Lounge measures 8,500 square feet, so it's a decent size, but still smaller than the 10,000-square-foot lounge at Dallas/Forth Worth International Airport (DFW) and the soon-to-open 11,200-square-foot Capital One Lounge at Denver International Airport (DEN).

The back of the lounge has both booth seating and arm chairs. There are also flight boards located on the wall so travelers can check for updates to their flight.
Jasmin Suknanan / CNBC

Upon entering the lounge, you're greeted by a front desk and, directly to your right, two rows of lockers. You can use the lockers to temporarily store your coat, backpack and other belongings you don't want to carry around with you in the lounge. There are also multiple flight boards posted throughout the lounge to help keep you up-to-date on the status of your flight.

The color scheme is an inviting combination of cool-toned grays, greens and blues with specks of pink and warm yellow sprinkled in. The color palette, coupled with the rows of greenery and plenty of natural light, makes the space feel friendly and unpretentious.

There are outlets by almost every arm chair in this section of the lounge.
Jasmin Suknanan / CNBC

Just past the lockers is a seating area with pull-out chairs and booth-style seating. Beyond that is what the lounge calls a "family-friendly" area because of the large, triangular children's play table occupying the center.

Kids can sit at this triangular table, which comes equipped with outlets so they can charge their tablets or other electronic devices.
Jasmin Suknanan / CNBC

The entire lounge loops around, but if you're in a rush you can find most of the essential amenities without straying too far from the front desk.

Back toward the front of the lounge, there's a grab-and-go station with a selection of canned sparkling waters, fresh juices, fruit, granola bowls, jarred salads and packaged sandwiches. On the far left, there's a coffee and pastry bar which, unlike the DFW Capital One Lounge, has a barista to handcraft a coffee drink for you. However, if you're really in a time crunch, there's also cold brew available on tap.

The espresso bar toward the front of the lounge offers a variety of espresso drinks, cold brew and even a selection of teas, including green tea, Chai, Jasmine and English tea.
Jasmin Suknanan / CNBC

Just past the coffee bar, there's a small hallway with four gender-neutral restrooms and a parent's room. Unlike the DFW Capital One Lounge, there are no shower suites.

Beyond that, the lounge has a work area consisting of semi-private seats and desks that provide plenty of room for laptops. However, no matter what part of the lounge you're in, you'll always have easy access to a power outlet. There are outlets and USB-A power ports built into most tables and seats so you'll have no problem charging your devices before your flight.

Semi-private seating options are a great place for passengers to get away from the bustle of the lounge and tuck themselves in a corner where they can focus on work or reading.
Jasmin Suknanan / CNBC

At the very back of the lounge is a sophisticated bar area featuring lots of additional tables and seating. The seating is made up of mostly booths and upholstered armchairs.

The bright, airy lounge offers an overall comfortable and welcoming atmosphere.
Jasmin Suknanan / CNBC

The full-service bar features four signature cocktails, as well as various beers from local breweries on tap. In fact, one of the biggest goals of the lounge was to create an experience that's reflective of the DMV (DC, Maryland and Virginia) region. You'll find that certain features within the space, from the art on the walls to the ceramic drinking cups, were sourced from artists and studios in the area.

Travelers can find the bar at the very back of the lounge where they can sip on some signature cocktails.
Jasmin Suknanan / CNBC

Capital One also partnered with award-nominated mixologist Will Patton, who has worked at several Michelin-starred restaurants in the area, to bring their cocktail selection to life. One signature drink it brought to the lounge is called the Bee's Knees, which is made with Bombay Sapphire Gin, Suze, Lemon and Kombucha Honey Cordial. The Bee's Knees is also available at Bresca, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Washington D.C.

Guests can also rehydrate with a number of non-alcoholic drinks available on tap, including some unique options like agave vanilla cream soda, pineapple cream soda, regular and zero-sugar cola, iced tea and lemonade.

The lounge's signature cocktails (from left to right): Directions to J Street, Cherry Blossom Margarita, the Spring Ricky and the Bee's Knees
Jasmin Suknanan / CNBC

Opposite the bar is a buffet of elegantly plated hot and cold small bites. Some of the menu items (many of which are prepared using local ingredients) include house-made pastries, Tennessee hot deviled eggs, chicken sausage and mashed potatoes with an apricot demi glaze and potato and artichoke kugel.

Tennessee hot deviled eggs are one of the many light bites available at the lounge. It features house-made pickles, hot sauce and crispy shallots on top.
Jasmin Suknanan / CNBC

Who can access Capital One lounges?

There are a handful of ways to access Capital One lounges. One of the simplest ways is by being a Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card or Capital One Venture X Business Credit Card* holder. Venture X cardholders, including authorized users, receive unlimited access, as well as two complimentary guest entries per visit (each additional guest costs $45).

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

  • Rewards

    10 Miles per dollar on hotels and rental cars, 5 Miles per dollar on flights when booked via Capital One Travel; unlimited 2X miles on all other eligible purchases

  • Welcome bonus

    Earn 75,000 bonus miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening

  • Annual fee

    $395

  • Intro APR

    None

  • Regular APR

    19.99% - 29.99% variable APR

  • Balance transfer fee

    $0 at the Transfer APR, 4% of the amount of each transferred balance that posts to your account at a promotional APR that Capital One may offer to you

  • Foreign transaction fees

    None

  • Credit needed

    Excellent

  • Terms apply.

If you have the Capital One Spark Miles small business card, you can enjoy two complimentary lounge visits per calendar year (additional visits can be purchased for $45). This may be your best option if you don't travel enough to commit to the Venture X's annual fee but still want to have an upgraded experience when you do travel.

If you don't have any of the above card the good news is you can still access the Capital One Lounge by paying $65 for each visit. Children accompanied by eligible cardholders can get into the lounge for free. All visitors must also present a boarding pass for a departing or connecting flight that same day. Access is not available to passengers with boarding passes for arriving flights with no onward connection.

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Bottom line

Capital One's portfolio of airport lounges is finally growing. The new Capital One Lounge at IAD is an exciting addition to the airport that's tastefully and thoughtfully designed. Whether guests are traveling with kids, need a quick pit stop to grab a few refreshments or have some time to kill and want to enjoy a wide selection of handcrafted drinks, there's something here for almost everyone.

Capital One has plans to unveil a third lounge location at Denver International Airport (DEN) and a fourth location at Harry Reid International Airport (LAS) in the future. It's also developing a culinary-focused concept called Capital One Landings, which will create a focused experience for travelers who are passing through and likely won't need to stay very long. These are coming to LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).

Catch up on CNBC Select's in-depth coverage of credit cardsbanking and money, and follow us on TikTokFacebookInstagram and Twitter to stay up to date.

*Information about the Capital One Venture X Business Credit Card and Capital One Spark Miles has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of the card prior to publication.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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