A year ago Chase revealed that they would launch the new ChaseTravel.com. They promised over the summer that they were on target for a 2022 release. They didn’t hit that, but they’ve been in hiring mode recently and they’ve continued assembling the pieces.
- Buying cxLoyalty as a booking platform. The company used to run Chase Travel. Chase moved to Expedia, then bought cxLoyalty and now they have their own platform.
- Buying The Infatuation which also includes Zagat, as a mechanism for offering robust advice to customers. They’re building out hotel recommendations alongside existing dining guides, and the dining guides are actually quite good as far as these things go.
- Acquiring travel agents at Frosch International Travel because reasons.
- Launching airport lounges in partnership with Collinson (the parent of Priority Pass runs The Club lounges through their Airport Dimensions subsidiary).
Chase expects their travel platform will generate $10 billion in sales initially 2023, and $15 billion within a couple of years, becoming the third largest travel agency behind Expedia and Booking.com. Already Chase generates 25% of total leisure travel spend on its cards.
Last summer we learned that there were plans for a total of 9 Chase Sapphire lounges, but only 6 locations had been detailed. Back in September we learned about Washington Dulles lounge plans. In December we learned about Philadelphia. And now we learn from Thrifty Traveler the plan for Dallas – Fort Worth.
The lease is for space near gate D35 and is set to last 10 years, at a minimum cost of $6,448,706; 3% annual increases; plus a percentage of gross revenue.
The full slate of Chase Sapphire lounges appears to be:
- Boston: between Terminals B/C
- Dallas: Gate D35
- Hong Kong: Terminal 1 (Open)
- Las Vegas: Concourse C
- New York LaGuardia: Central Terminal
- Philadelphia: D/E connector
- Phoenix: Terminal 4
- San Diego: Terminal 2
- Washington Dulles: Concourse A
Chase Sapphire Reserve cardmembers, who receive Priority Pass cards anyway, will have free access. So it seems will anyone with a Priority Pass card (including one issued by another bank). That may seem weird, but Chase does want to be introduced to American Express’s and Capital One’s best customers, even if they don’t want to increase the value of those bank’s premium cards. Ironically, unless something changes once the first U.S. lounge opens, these Chase Sapphire lounges won’t be open to Chase Sapphire and Sapphire Preferred cardmembers!
Ultimately Chase sees an opportunity to capture more travel spend, and keep customers in their ecosystem. They see the same opportunity in the home and auto ecosystems, but haven’t really captured those. Travel booking helps them capture their customers’ travel spend in terms of experience. They’ll capture the booking commissions (which could reach $750 million, not pocket change even to Chase). And they’ll have even richer data to cross market to their customers – and to rent to other firms.
J.P. Morgan Chase is going up against American Express and now Capital One in the travel portal and lounge business. The problem is that nobody yet does online travel really well. Expedia hasn’t actually gotten better from a consumer standpoint in 20 years. Instead they spend a lot on advertising to bring customers to their site, and they sell those customers to hotels. They don’t actually add value to a customer’s trip, guiding them towards better experiences.
Travel is complicated and advice is missing. You go online and see schedules and price, or location and property features, but little to tell you whether to take that 45 minute connection in Chicago in winter, whether for your trip you should go out the night before or take the first flight rather than last flight of the day, and what kind of backup options you may have.
Google was supposed to disrupt travel search and booking but that’s been the next big thing in the space for over a decade. Whether or not banks deliver, having more competitors can only benefit consumers.
It’ll be exciting to watch but I remain skeptical because most acquisitions turn out badly and nobody has really done it yet because it’s hard. Chase has the resources but so does Google, and they have the AI programmers and personal data with which to do mass customization and personalization in a really unique way – yet they haven’t managed it (though Google Flights is quite useful). We’ll have a window soon enough, even though not quite as soon as we’d been promised.
[…] lounges at airports in partnership with the company behind The Club and Priority Pass. They had talked up a total of 9 lounges last summer as part of their broader Chase Travel efforts, and the locations of those 9 lounges are […]