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In a dizzying season of change, Capital One is tossing its hat to the travel rewards circle with product enhancements designed to help customers improve their overall travel experience. While some changes are more esoteric (like planting a tree when you make a reservation), others could move the market in a more user-friendly direction.
Many Venture and Spark cardholders appreciate Capital One Miles for their versatility. Providing a way to cover travel purchases you’ve already made, Venture and Spark miles can be applied to any qualifying travel purchase. You also have the option of transferring miles to a number of travel partners. None of these features will go away during this update, but a new one is being added to the mix.
Starting with the beta, Capital One is launching a travel portal developed in collaboration with Hopper. Hopper Fame is an app that successfully tracks and predicts prices in the travel market, enabling customers to buy at the best possible price. Capital One’s new portal incorporates this technology so you can easily control your travel expenses.
But wait, there is more. In addition to tracking you and encouraging you to buy at the best time, Capital One also includes free price drop protection. This handy little feature will monitor your flights and reimburse you if your flights become cheaper between purchase and take off. In future versions, the portal will also offer this functionality for hotels and rental cars.
Other types of insurance, including cancellation for any reason, can be purchased in the app. The new portal will be available initially for the Capital One Venture Rewards credit card, the Capital One VentureOne Rewards credit card, Capital One® Spark® Miles for Business*, Capital One® Spark® Miles Select for companies* and the Capital One® Walmart Rewards® card* card holders.
Salon Revolution Salon
So far, Capital One has announced the roll-out of three lounges: Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) will open later this year and Denver International Airport (DEN) and Dulles International Airport (IAD) are Planned for 2022. Features like the Peleton bikes and branded toiletries are above the crease details, but the most impactful offering can be one of the mundane.
One of the details of the lounge is the addition of on-the-go options for travelers who have short layovers or just want a snack for their next flight. According to Matt Knise, vice president of Capital One: “From our research, we have found that most salons today focus only on longer stays as opposed to more common and shorter stays and that few are successful. to meet travelers’ standards for food selection and comfortable, quiet places to relax or work.
While this may seem like a small improvement, anyone who has had to wait 90 minutes for the Centurion Lounge while managing a 60-minute layover understands the value proposition. Not to mention that airline lounges generally prohibit or at least discourage take-out food and drink. Add to that the much lower annual fee than other lounge access cards and Capital One’s lounge network could generate real interest.
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Consumers have been trained to read “improvement” as “devalue,” but the changes Capital One made to its mileage program is a clear positive. Between the price prediction tool and price protection, booking through the Capital One portal should offer value for those who want to use their miles for airline tickets. But customers who prefer to use Venture or Spark Miles to cover other travel purchases still have that option, so the Capital One Miles range retains its flexibility. And with the new airport lounge options, you can even take it away.