Lounge image above provided by Chase

Ever since American Airlines opened the first airport lounge in 1939, these enclaves have become a refuge for travelers to escape from bustling terminals and public waiting areas. Today, credit cards have made airport lounges more accessible than ever. Travelers have come to demand better amenities during transit, thus sparking competition between credit card companies to offer the best exclusive lounge experiences to their cardholders.

Chase is one of the newer players in the lounge race. Their Chase Sapphire Lounge combines the prestige of the Chase brand with the allure of their luxurious Sapphire Lounges located in airports worldwide. In this article, we’ll give you a glimpse of these spaces, how to access them and how they compare to other popular lounge offerings. Ultimately, we’ll uncover how Chase is redefining what it means to truly experience comfort in transit amidst the hustle and bustle of modern air travel.

Dive into the Chase Sapphire Lounge Experience

Lounges these days can be pretty hit-or-miss, especially those within the United States. Your average U.S. Priority Pass lounge, for instance, is often overcrowded with very limited food and drink options.

With the Sapphire Lounge collection, Chase aims to deliver a lounge experience that’s a cut above the rest. These spaces have brilliant interior finishes and gorgeous seating areas for you to enjoy your food and drink. You’ll find a buffet selection with many hot and cold options, in addition to made-to-order food that’s served directly to your table. You also have unlimited access to coffee, tea, wine and craft cocktails, so you can sip to your heart’s content.

Certain lounges come with bonus amenities, including showers, wellness areas, nursing rooms and taprooms with local brews on tap. Many of these amenities can be reserved simply by scanning the QR code at your seat.

One added bonus is that Chase integrates bits of each city’s unique culture into each Sapphire Lounge. So expect to find local Boston beers at the Sapphire Lounge at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) and hearty bowls of wonton noodles at the Sapphire Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). In addition, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) has a special Sapphire experience called the Sapphire Terrace.

Chase Sapphire Lounge at Boston Logan

Chase Sapphire Lounge at Boston Logan | Photo courtesy of Matt Morais, Google Maps Photos

Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)

The Chase Sapphire Lounge at Boston Logan (BOS) is the first of its kind in the United States. Open daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m., the lounge is located between the B and C terminals, closest to gate B40. Terminals B, C and E are connected airside, so you’ll be able to access this lounge if your flight boards through any of these gates. From the entrance at the gates level, take the elevator up to the fourth floor to enter the 11,640 square-foot lounge.

Upon checking yourself in (we’ll discuss airport lounge access requirements later), you’ll need to decide where to sit. Chase offers so many options, it can be hard to choose! There are plenty of awesome lounge-style and restaurant-style tables for small groups and families to sit together, as well as sofas and private booths for solo travelers. Much of the seating is arranged along a main corridor, close to the floor-to-ceiling windows with excellent views of the runway. Big bonus points if you’re an avid plane-watcher.

Chase Sapphire Lounge at Boston Logan (BOS)-food and drinks

Chase Sapphire Lounge at Boston Logan (BOS) - food and drinks | Photo Courtesy of Nemo Chen, Google Maps Photos

Once you’re seated, it’s time to order food and drink. Like most other lounges, you have free reign to grab as many small plates as you want from the buffet. The selection changes to match the time of day: you might find breakfast hashes and french toast in the early hours, and ricotta plates and lasagna in the evenings.

However, the lounge’s real leg-up comes from its made-to-order menu, inspired by local award-winning chef Douglass Williams. The made-to-order dining concept is unlike what you’d get from most other Priority Pass lounges. Popular menu items include the Sticky Buffalo Chicken, Shrimp Risotto Milanese and The Sapphire Burger, which has often been lauded as one of the best burgers at an airport. You can order simply by scanning a QR code on your table.

Let’s not forget the drink list, which is uniquely Boston. One of the main highlights of this lounge is the taproom selection, featuring local beers such as the Notch Session Salem Lager or the Castle Island IPA. The open bar also serves a collection of wines, along with signature and locally inspired cocktails. And of course, you have unlimited access to coffees, cold brew, teas and spa water.

The food and drink at the Sapphire Lounge is superb, but there are a few other amenities you’ll rarely find elsewhere. Take, for instance, the Wellness Room, where you can get a zero-gravity massage or use one of the two available shower suites to freshen up before your flight. You can book either of these amenities using the QR code at your table.

Overall, the Sapphire Lounge at Boston Logan is fantastic. Travelers will enjoy the luxurious but practical amenities offered in this microcosm of Boston’s distinctive culture.

Chase Sapphire Lounge at Hong Kong (HKG)

Chase Sapphire Lounge at Hong Kong (HKG) | Photo Courtesy of Faith Mirza, Google Maps Photos

Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)

The Chase Sapphire Lounge at Hong Kong (HKG) opened its doors in Oct. 2022, making it the first-ever Sapphire Lounge. It’s close to gate 40, which is somewhat centrally located in HKG Terminal 1. HKG is a massive airport though, so it can still feel like a significant trek away from other gates. The 11,948-square-foot lounge is open daily from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m.

Compared to the Sapphire Lounge in Boston, the HKG lounge is noticeably more of an “open-air” concept. Much of the lounge sits on a wide, open terrace that overlooks the rest of the terminal. And much of the seating consists of individual and larger tables along the terrace, giving travelers an area of respite above the busy terminal to relax and people-watch. Further back, there are booths and workstations designed more for heads-down focus time.

At the HKG lounge, dining is a locally inspired experience. At the buffet, you’ll get your typical selection of cold finger foods like small sandwiches and charcuterie-style snacks. There are also a handful of hot dishes that feature Asian dishes such as congee, Thai green curry chicken and hot and sour soup.

Like BOS, HKG has a menu of made-to-order items that you can order by scanning the QR code at your table. These items feature local Hong Kong staples such as wonton noodle soup and egg tarts. Our favorite was the char siu pork rice, an absolute must-eat in Hong Kong and the Sapphire Lounge’s rendition definitely did not disappoint.

Chase Sapphire Lounge at Hong Kong (HKG) - bar area

Chase Sapphire Lounge at Hong Kong (HKG) - bar area | Photo Courtesy of Vitaly Kosachenko, Google Maps Photos

The bar area at this lounge is slightly less glamorous than its BOS counterpart, but there’s still a well-stocked selection of beers, wines and spirits to choose from. But what really caught our eye was the signature cocktail menu, featuring creative drinks that highlight unique Hong Kong flavors. The Hong Kong Cooler is made with vodka, elderflower liqueur, lychee liqueur, lime juice and ginger syrup. The Night Star is an alcoholic take on an HK coffee milk tea (yuenyeung), featuring Baileys Irish Cream, Ceylon tea, fresh milk and house-made coffee syrup.

Of course, no drink list is complete without a good selection of non-alcoholic beverages as well. Here, you’ll find all the coffees, juices and soft drinks you’d expect at any lounge. You’ll also find Twinings tea blends in a variety of flavors.

While all of the provided food and amenities were top-tier, bonus facilities such as shower suites were conspicuously missing. Given that the Plaza Premium lounges at HKG have shower rooms available, this seems like a missed opportunity by Chase. But overall, this is a small oversight that shouldn’t take away from the awesome and unique aspects of this lounge.

Sapphire Terrace at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)

Sapphire Terrace at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) | Photo Courtesy of Joseph Raczynski, Google Maps Photos

Sapphire Terrace at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)

The Sapphire Terrace at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) is located near gate 1 of the Barbara Jordan Terminal. It’s located on the mezzanine level, so you’ll need to take the stairs or elevator up to access the entrance. The 5,000-square-foot space is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Sapphire Terrace is part of Chase’s portfolio of lounges but isn’t considered a full-on lounge experience. This is partly because there isn’t a buffet or menu from which to order food and drink like there is in the other two lounges. Rather, there are a few vending machines with grab-and-go items available for guests. Items include cold options such as salad mixes, sandwiches, and parfaits, so it’s nice to see some healthy options. Of course, the lounge also offers plenty of free snacks and drinks.

Sapphire Terrace at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)-food and drink vending machines

Sapphire Terrace at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) - food and drink vending machines | Photo Courtesy of jillybukikay, Google Maps Photos

As its name suggests, the Sapphire Terrace is literally an outdoor terrace. This means that almost all the seating is outdoors, where guests can lounge back, enjoy their snacks and plane-watch. If you’re up for it, there are also lawn games like cornhole.

This space is a very unique concept by Chase, but it’s not for everyone. For one, it can get scorching hot during the summer months in Texas. In addition, since the seating is outside amongst all the plane traffic, it can get pretty loud, so it’s definitely not a place to be taking a call. However, if you can access the lounge and you don’t mind walking to the end of the terminal for some free food and drinks, it’s a unique experience that’s definitely worth checking out.

What Do You Need to Get Into Chase Sapphire Lounges?

Currently, the requirements to get into each lounge are slightly different. Chase will probably begin to standardize lounge entry requirements as they continue to open new Sapphire Lounge locations. The following table summarizes what you need to get into each Sapphire Lounge.

LoungeEntry RequirementsAdditional Notes
Sapphire Lounge at BOS• You must be a Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholder, and have activated your complimentary Priority Pass Select membership.
• Present your Priority Pass Select membership card at the counter for unlimited entries.
• Sapphire Reserve cardholders can bring two additional guests per visit free of charge.
• Other Priority Pass members (i.e. from other card issuers) get one free visit to a Sapphire Lounge per calendar year. Sapphire Reserve cardholders get priority access when lounges get full.
Sapphire Lounge at HKG• You must have an active Priority Pass membership (i.e. from any credit card that offers it).
• Present your Priority Pass membership card at the counter for unlimited entries.
• For regular Priority Pass members, the Sapphire Lounge at HKG is exempt from the “one visit per year” rule. Any Priority Pass membership works for unlimited entries.
• Priority Pass members can bring two additional guests per visit free of charge.
Sapphire Terrace at AUS• You must be a Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholder.
• Present your Chase Sapphire Reserve card at the counter for unlimited entries.
• Sapphire Reserve cardholders can bring two additional guests per visit free of charge.

In general, any Priority Pass member gets one visit to any Sapphire Lounge in the network per calendar year. Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders get unlimited lounge access, but you still need to present your Priority Pass Select membership for entry. With the exception of the Sapphire Terrace at AUS, just showing your Sapphire Reserve card is not enough, so be sure to activate your Priority Pass membership before you travel.

What Advantages Do Chase Sapphire Lounges Offer?

The current portfolio of Sapphire Lounges, though small, is already making positive waves in the travel community. Compared to most other domestic Priority Pass lounges, the Sapphire Lounges offer a more well-rounded and relaxing lounge experience, particularly in the following areas:

  • Crowd levels: Because lounge access is mostly limited to Sapphire Reserve cardmembers, you can expect fewer crowds at Sapphire Lounge locations. Priority Pass lounges can get overcrowded due to the number of credit cards that offer complimentary membership these days.
  • Food and drink selection: You’ll find a larger buffet selection at most Sapphire Lounges. In addition, you can get made-to-order specialty food and drink delivered directly to your table.
  • Lounge quality: Some Sapphire Lounges offer additional bonus amenities, such as relaxation rooms, a nursing suite and showers. Overall, Chase puts a lot of attention into the decor of the lounge, making sure that each location exudes luxury.

How Chase Sapphire Lounges Compare to Other Premium Lounges

In the United States, Chase’s main competitors in the premium airport lounge race are American Express and Capital One. How does Chase stack up against them?

In terms of footprint, American Express is the clear winner: there are 13 Centurion Lounge locations in the US, and 11 additional locations internationally. Compared to that, Chase and Capital One are playing catch-up. Chase has three locations, and Capital One only has two.

From a lounge quality standpoint, each issuer’s lounge network offers a unique set of amenities for their cardmembers. Honestly, there’s not much to complain about with any of the three. All of these lounges are leagues above other domestic Priority Pass offerings. Food is made-to-order and of great quality, and the lounges themselves are made to be luxurious spaces to relax before your flight. You could nitpick at small details, but overall you can’t go wrong with any of them.

One comparison strategy might be to use annual fees and other cardmember benefits to determine which lounge network is most worthwhile. Here’s a quick analysis:

  • Chase: The Chase Sapphire Reserve® has an annual fee of $550. With the $300 annual travel credit, the fee is effectively $250. For that, you get unlimited access to Chase Sapphire Lounges, and the best Priority Pass Select membership of the three issuers (it also gives you access to Priority Pass restaurants and experiences).
  • American Express: The Platinum Card® from American Express (rates & fees) has an annual fee of $695. It doesn’t come with a general-use travel credit, so we’ll assume that the effective annual fee is also $695. For that, you get unlimited access to Centurion Lounges. You also get a complimentary Priority Pass membership, but this is limited to Priority Pass lounges only.
  • Capital One: The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card has an annual fee of $395. It comes with a $300 travel credit, and 10,000 bonus miles per cardmember year valued at $100 minimum, so the fee effectively is -$5. In other words, Capital One is essentially paying you $5 for unlimited access to Capital One Lounges. You also get a complimentary Priority Pass membership, but this is limited to Priority Pass lounges only.

As you can see, there are pros and cons for each issuer. Capital One is the most cost-effective way of gaining access to a lounge network, but its footprint is also very limited. Chase is more expensive, and while their network is also very limited, you do get Priority Pass Select—an added bonus that opens the door to many other airport experiences. Amex is the most expensive, but they have the largest network. Your best choice may depend on your home airport and where you tend to travel most frequently.

Last but not least, there’s the subject of overcrowding. American Express frequently runs into overcrowding issues at certain Centurion Lounges, mostly due to their “two free guests” policy. In response to this issue, as of 2023, Amex Platinum cardholders must now spend $75,000 per year on the card to retain the privilege of bringing additional guests. As expected, this change received a very negative response from the travel community, but Amex needed a solution for better crowd control.

In contrast, Chase and Capital One are newer to the game and have smaller lounge networks, so they’ve yet to implement similar measures. It may be a few more years before we see whether this trend of increased spending requirements will continue with other lounge networks. For now, if you tend to travel with family and friends, it’s much easier to bring guests into the Chase and Capital One lounges.

Ready to Experience Luxury in Transit?

By now, you should have a good idea of what to expect inside Chase Sapphire Lounges: made-to-order food, locally-inspired drinks and top-of-the-line amenities like shower suites and wellness rooms. All it takes to get in is a Priority Pass membership, though you’re limited to one annual visit. If it makes sense for you, the Chase Sapphire Reserve card is worth it so that you can unlock unlimited access to the lounges.

Access to premium airport lounges like the Sapphire Lounge is just one way to boost your travel experiences. To really start experiencing luxury in transit, consider taking 10xTravel’s free travel course.