Chase’s effort to increase the appeal of its Sapphire-branded credit cards by entering the airport lounge market began in 2022 when it introduced Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club at Hong Kong International Airport.
Its first US-based premium airport lounge opened at Boston Logan in mid-2023, followed in January 2024 by the back-to-back launches of Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club at newly renovated Terminal B at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, and the Sapphire Lounge at JFK, the latter representing a joint endeavor between Chase and Etihad Airways, which previously operated the space.
The subject of this report is the new facility at JFK’s Terminal 4 — also called Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club with Etihad Airways — which I was able to sample before a long-haul flight to India.
Located post-security on the mezzanine level above the departures concourse, this facility is an evolution of Etihad’s prior lounge at the same location. It serves Etihad’s business and first class passengers as well as Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders (with the complimentary Priority Pass Select membership).
Priority Pass-only members can also use one of their visit entitlements to access a US Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club location once per calendar year, subject to availability.
First impressions are of a bright, natural light-filled space. The entire southeastern wall is made up of floor-to-ceiling windows which offer views of the terminal ramp area with the pair of 04/22 runways in the distance.
A lot of work has gone into changing the finishes in the lounge to match the Chase aesthetic. The matte gold-colored panels that once dominated the exterior of the former Etihad-focused lounge have been replaced by light-colored wood paneling. Inside, the angular and triangular designs that previously adorned the centrally situated bar area are gone, replaced by chain mail-esque panels.
The seating is all new, as is the herringbone patterned wooden floor. Inside and out, the lounge is certainly more restrained than its Etihad-exclusive days. But it still comes off as rich, modern and classy.
Apart from the open plan main area, the lounge offers a separate, quiet corner to work, plus two reflection rooms which previously served as prayer rooms for Etihad guests.
Each gender-segregated restroom features a shower, making this a great spot for freshening up. Soaps and shampoos are from Brooklyn-based Apotheke, which match the premium image of this space.
A coffee, juice and soda station sits on one side of the open expanse, with an open buffet counter around the corner. Each table has a QR code that leads to a menu that can be used for a-la-carte dining and ordering.
My partner and I took advantage of both the buffet and digital menu to satisfy our pre-flight peckishness and we were not disappointed. The Shakshuka from the buffet and the menu-ordered Breakfast Bao were both delicious.
Though it was morning, we sampled three different wines, justifying our decision by reminding ourselves of the time zone at our eventual destination of Mumbai. The French Rosé in particular, was phenomenal. Chase certainly isn’t skimping on the quality of the alcohol on offer.
Service at the lounge was another particularly bright spot, from the warm welcome to the quick response to requests, delivery of napkins and swift clearing of empty plates.
Our bartender was friendly and helpful with wine suggestions. During our morning visit, there weren’t too many people in the 8,000 square foot facility. However, our flight was at 11am, not a particularly busy time on a Wednesday at JFK.
For Chase customers previously restricted to mediocre Priority Pass options at this terminal, the Sapphire Lounge at JFK is most welcome. This new effort from Chase is a great way to start a long journey from a terminal that hosts several 12-plus hour flights out of the US.
Competing with the American Express Centurion Lounge and Capital One Lounge programs, Chase plans to soon open new lounges at Las Vegas (LAS), Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX), Philadelphia (PHL) and San Diego International (SAN).
If our JFK experience is anything to go by, Chase customers can look forward to a significant improvement in their future travel experiences across a number of US airports.
- Etihad designs enlightening new Abu Dhabi Terminal A lounge complex
- JAL First Class Lounge at Haneda brings the nostalgia and charm
- Come dine with me at BA’s Heathrow T3 First Class Lounge
- Seeking the premium in Miami’s Centurion Lounge, by Amex
Featured image credited to Karun Mukhi