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Randos Over Loyalists? Capital One Makes This Change, Of Course

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Capital One Lounge Access

Capital One Lounge Access Changes

Things change.  And so it is with Capital One.  I initially found enough to appreciate at their first two airport lounge offerings, more prominently at DFW and less so at IAD.  But they seem to have fallen off a bit in my experience, most recently the latter.  I eventually want to check out the newest DEN offering, but for different reasons now.  Instead of primarily enjoying the amenities, I’m more intrigued to see if it hasn’t been chewed up already.  Perhaps Capital One is noticing the downward trends.  Regardless, with December’s Capital One Lounge access policy changes, they seem to have chosen randos – their cash, more specifically – over loyal customers.

Capital One Lounge Access

The Old 

For those who aren’t familiar or can’t recall, the Capital One Lounge access policy has been historically loose.  As I previously described, primary cardholders of the Capital One Venture X or Venture X Business have unlimited access to the lounge, plus complimentary entry for two guests and the ability to pay $45 each for additional ones.  Venture X authorized users also have complimentary access.  Venture and Spark Miles cardholders get two free visits annually and pay $45 per additional visit.  If this isn’t enough, any random traveler can buy into the lounge for $65 per visit.  Children two and under are free with a parent or guardian.

The New 

The Capital One Lounge flood gates still remain open, with one clear change.  Effective 1 Jan 2025, Venture and Spark Miles cardholders no longer receive two free annual visits.  Instead, these cardholders have the opportunity to pay $45 for lounge visits, right off the bat.

Capital One Lounge Access
The DFW lounge’s BLT sandwich – perhaps the last thing I’ve enjoyed from Capital One.

Capital One Gets It Wrong

To be clear, I slightly applaud Capital One for tightening their lounge access policy, even in a small form.  And hey, they let us know well in advance of the 1 Jan 2025 effective date.  But as I previously described and many of you have also experienced, lounge crowding has become an increasing issue, especially given the relatively lean Capital One Lounge footprints.  Kudos to Capital One for doing something.  But it’s not significant enough, and they targeted the wrong clientele, in my view.

How big a bite out of the crowds is swiping biannual complimentary lounge visits from Venture and Spark Miles cardholders?  Capital One could’ve taken away complimentary access for guests of premium cardholders, similar to Amex.  Or they could’ve also raised the fee for all guests.  I’m not necessarily endorsing either of these options.  Still, one thing’s unsurprisingly clear:  Capital One wants more money.  Perhaps that’s why they’re keeping what I consider to be the most Capital One customer-unfriendly aspect:  anyone can soil a Capital One Lounge by forking over $65.

In That Sense…

…a Capital One Lounge is more like a party pass where an individual pays extra to drink mass quantities while sitting within a fenced-off portion of dilapidated parking lot before a sporting event.  Hey, at least the air’s fresher outside.

But maybe Capital One isn’t choosing randos over loyal customers – the latter can still buy discounted access for $45, right?  Aren’t they just treating Venture and Spark Miles cardholders more like outsiders, but with a $20 “discount?”  I would argue these cardholders lose more.  Paying outsiders experience no difference, while these cardholders will now pay to deal with the Capital One Lounge crowding issues.

Capital One Lounge Access


It seems Capital One is opting for the moneygrab while literally banking on existing Venture and Spark Miles cardholders not caring enough to make a change.  Many will shrug and rationalize paying another annual fee while an additional perk is taken away.  Meanwhile, I’ll keep listening to what Capital One is telling me, and I encourage you to do so, as well.  Right now, I’m getting the following message:  those Venture and Spark Miles cardholders’ free lounge visits don’t pay for Taylor Swift, Samuel L. Jackson, and Jennifer Garner.  Take action if you don’t like what you hear.  What’s Capital One telling you these days?

Disclosure: Miles to Memories has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Miles to Memories and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.

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Benjy Harmon
Benjy Harmon
Benjy focuses on the intersection of points, travel, and financial independence (FI). An experienced world traveler, husband, and father, he currently roams throughout the USA close to expense-free. Benjy enjoys helping others achieve their FI and travel goals.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. Agree w the others – typical overreaction by Benjy (and most blog writers) as any perceived change is seen as a person attack and “devaluation”. As stated in the first sentence things change. Why should Capital 1 give people with low fee cards any access? Seriously. If they want to have a premium card have something that differentiates it (like the Amex Platinum lounge access or the CSR PP access to their lounge in Boston). Also, seriously doubt ANYONE is paying $65 a person to get in. If so they never will do it again.

  2. Don’t care that they took the passes from $95 AF cardholders. I also doubt many people are lining up to fork over $65 to visit the lounge. Not much to see here.

  3. I wish Cap1 would release attendance numbers on how many people pay $65 to visit a Cap1 lounge. Probably not very many. Maybe if you are at DFW with a long layover.

    • I will say… It’s the nicest lounge at DFW currently barring flagship dining. I think it’s nicer than the flagship lounge if it’s not crowded.


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