New Chase Sapphire Airport Location Revealed: Permit Issued At Austin Airport

Update Noon Eastern: While Chase’s use of the space is confirmed the Austin airport offering will not be a permanent space or part of the lounge network. More to come!

Chase is building out a series of Sapphire 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 now known: Boston; Dallas – Fort Worth; Las Vegas; New York LaGuardia; Philadelphia; Phoenix; San Diego; Washington Dulles; and Hong Kong (which is already open).

However it wouldn’t be surprising to see them opportunistically add additional lounges, especially in cities where there are strong concentrations on premium Chase credit card customers. And based on City of Austin permit records it appears that there are plans for a Chase Sapphire lounge at the Austin airport.

There have been some musical chairs happening with potential lounge space at the Austin airport. I’ve heard for some time that plans for the new American Airlines Admirals Club announced in fall 2021 are on hold, and the location of the club will be changing. The airport’s Terminal West Expansion and Infill may provide two new lounge location options, and these would be closer to the gates American operates out of.

That’s made me wonder about how the space that American was planning on going into would be used. Austin almost got an Escape lounge/Centurion Studio lounge but just before the pandemic the award of space blew up at the City Council.

  • Airport Dimensions, which operates The Club (and is part of the UK’s Collinson Group which owns Priority Pass) disputed the award.
  • They said their proposal had a higher Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program score, even though the question isn’t whose score is highest rather whether the awardee meets the required threshold
  • They said Manchester Airport Group, which was being given the space, is a foreign company. Locally-owned is an impermissible decision-making criteria under federal rules, but it was still odd because even though Airport Dimensions is based in the U.S. it is owned by a.. foreign company.

Then the pandemic happened. And hope of a non-airline affiliated lounge seemed lost. Currently there are United, American, and Delta lounges but no independent lounges. And since the airline lounges all limit access to passengers actually flying on their carrier or its partners on the same day, there’s no lounge accessible to passengers of the largest airline at the airport, Southwest (or Spirit Airlines, for that matter).

Current access rules offer that Sapphire lounges are accessible to Sapphire Reserve cardmembers and Priority Pass cardholders. So premium American Express and Capital One customers should have access to this lounge as well, to the extent it comes to fruition. I’ve reached out to both Chase and the Austin airport for more information.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. They’re taking their time opening these CSR lounges. The Boston one was originally supposed to open in “early 2022” which was then pushed to “fall 2022”. I haven’t heard an official update since then, but it still hasn’t opened yet.

  2. That’s nothing compared to Capital One. the lounge at IAD was announced on March 3, 2020 with an opening date of 2021. It will be three years after the announcement in a few weeks and there is very little progress at IAD.

    C’mon, we all know the WMAA is totally corrupt but even United was able to build their Polaris Lounge and it required much more extensive construction than just renovating an old food court.

  3. Why are passengers at Southwest inn Las Vegas and Los Angeles being ignored and deprived of access to a lounge while they wait there ? I fly 30-50 times a year R/T Vegas-LAX on Southwest. This is one of the most delayed routes in the US. The food and stores were redone over the past couple of years and still are weak at best and lacking appeal. I’m an Amex platinum, Chase Sapphire and Citi AA card holder that all get me lounge access including Priority Pass. I try to get to LAS & LAX as close to flight times as possible because of the lack of lounge access and my desire to not be stuck in a boarding area for what turns out to be a longer than expected time with all the delays this route experiences. I read the article about Sapphire lounges and Southwest sending select passengers Priority Pass access. What good does it do if there is No Lounge in the whole Terminal? I’m SW A-List Preferred & Companion Class but I look for every opportunity to fly AA. I just can’t justify spending 3-4 X the fare for AA as compared with SW just to have access to a lounge. Hopefully Southwest will realize they need to be competitive in more than fares – amenities for its best customers are extremely meaningful!

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