Review: Air Margaritaville Miami Airport (Priority Pass Restaurant)

Filed Under: Airport Lounge Reviews, Trip Reports
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Priority Pass is the world’s largest network of independent airport lounges, with over 1,200 locations around the world. The number of Priority Pass members has increased greatly the past couple of years, ever since the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card was introduced, since now there are quite a few credit cards with lounge access.

Priority Pass has gotten creative when it comes to the “lounges” they’ve added to their network. For terminals in which they struggle to reach a deal with a traditional lounge, Priority Pass has in some cases come to agreements with restaurants.

The idea is that Priority Pass typically pays a lounge a fixed amount for each guest who enters, so instead Priority Pass pays restaurants a fixed amount, in exchange for giving their members a dollar credit that they can spend towards food and drinks.

At this point Priority Pass has about two dozen restaurant locations at US airports, including the following:

Air Margaritaville Miami Airport Priority Pass details

Miami Airport has three Priority Pass restaurants, one of which was added last year, and two of which were added this year. Two of these are landside (before security), while one of them is airside (after security).

A few weeks ago I reviewed Viena Restaurant, which is one of the two Priority Pass restaurants that’s landside at Miami Airport. I was impressed, and thought it was possibly the best Priority Pass restaurant I’ve been to yet.

Recently I had the chance to check out another Priority Pass restaurant at Miami Airport. I visited Air Margaritaville. Priority Pass members receive $28 of food and drinks per guest.

Priority Pass members can bring as many guests as their particular membership type allows (for most credit cards this includes two guests). You do need a same day boarding pass to get the credit here, though there’s no rule that it needs to be an outbound boarding pass (so you could use this upon arrival, if you wanted to).

Air Margaritaville is open daily from 6AM until 11PM, so it’s useful whether you want to grab breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

As a reminder, here are some of the popular credit cards that come with a Priority Pass membership:

Card# Of Guests Who Get Free AccessAuthorized User AccessCost To Add Authorized User
Chase Sapphire Reserve®2Yes$75 Per Person
Citi Prestige® Credit Card2Yes$75 Per Person
The Platinum Card® from American Express

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.
2Yes$175 For Up To 3 People, $175 For Each Additional Person Beyond That (Rates & Fees)
The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.
2Yes$300 Per Person (Rates & Fees)
Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

No access to Priority Pass restaurants as of August, 2019.

Air Margaritaville MIA review

Air Margaritaville is located landside, before security. Miami Airport has some of the worst security lines, so obviously this is ideal if you’re originating in Miami and arriving early, rather than if you’re connecting (unless you’re coming off an international connection, in which case you’ll be landside anyway after clearing immigration).

Air Margaritaville is located on the departures level by door 11, near the security checkpoint for the E Concourse (this is also where the CLEAR checkpoint is, though annoyingly there’s no Pre-Check here).

If you’re dropped off at the American Airlines check-in counter, just turn left when looking at security and walk about five minutes.

You can’t miss Air Margaritaville, as it’s just a few feet from the security checkpoint.

Air Margaritaville Miami Airport

We visited around 10AM, and the restaurant wasn’t very full. The restaurant opens up into the terminal and has what looks like patio furniture. The main dining area consists of typical tables with mostly two seats each.

Air Margaritaville Miami Airport

Then there’s also an area with a few high-top tables, as well as a bar area, so there are plenty of seating options.

Air Margaritaville Miami Airport

Air Margaritaville Miami Airport

We were seated immediately and greeted by a friendly server. I immediately let him know we’d be paying with Priority Pass, and he confirmed that was fine. He presented us with the breakfast menu, which read as follows:

The first thing I noticed was that the menu had the calories listed. Holy mackerel. I know it’s probably a good thing to have a menu that’s realistic about how many calories things have, but just wow.

The pancake breakfast had 2,810 calories?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

And a single pancake side had 1,000 calories?!?

I ended up ordering a cappuccino to drink. The cappuccino wasn’t great. It was served in a small mug, tasted bitter, and wasn’t even filled to the top.

Air Margaritaville breakfast — cappuccino

With the calorie contents so clearly displayed I decided to order a fruit platter with key lime yogurt dip. It was quite good.

Air Margaritaville breakfast — fruit plate

Ford ordered the western omelet without cheese, which he enjoyed.

Air Margaritaville breakfast — omelet

Since we had plenty of credit I also decided to order a pancake on the side, just to see what a 1,000 calorie pancake looks like. Well, the pancake sure was huge (I don’t think the picture does justice to that), but I’m still not sure how exactly it was 1,000 calories. If it really was, I’m never having another pancake again.

Air Margaritaville breakfast — pancake

Anyway, service was friendly and quick. The guy taking care of us was nice, and our food was delivered within about 10 minutes of ordering.

At the conclusion of the meal I wasn’t even presented with a check, but rather the guy just brought over the Priority Pass card reader, swiped my card, and had me sign. Our boarding passes were never verified.

I gave the server a cash tip (I always recommend tipping at Priority Pass restaurants in the US, because your Priority Pass membership works no differently than a gift card here, and servers on the US rely on tips to make a living), which he was appreciative of.

After the meal we headed through security and straight to our American Airlines flight.

Air Margaritaville Miami Airport bottom line

Despite my initial shock at the 2,810 calorie pancake breakfast, Air Margaritaville was better than I was expecting all around. The service was friendly, the restaurant is conveniently located if originating travel in Miami, and my fruit plate and Ford’s omelet were good.

Personally I think Viena Restaurant probably still has better food, so that would be my first choice. However, Viena Restaurant is only open for lunch and dinner, so for breakfast I’d return to Air Margaritaville in a heartbeat.

I guess next I’ll have to check out Corona Beach House, which is the only Priority Pass restaurant located airside. At that restaurant the credit is also $30 per person, and they apply gratuity towards that. Let’s see how the food is, though.

The following links will direct you to the rates and fees for mentioned American Express Cards. These include: The Business Platinum® Card from American Express (Rates & Fees), and The Platinum Card® from American Express (Rates & Fees).

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  1. Margaritaville restaurants are always pretty good, but it is fast casual, so not healthy. The calories probably came from the butter and the syrup, and assumed you would use it all. Me? I never use “pancake syrup,” but will use real maple if they got it. And you always use less of the real stuf. Great review!

  2. I would wager the calorie count assumes you are pouring on the corn syrup provided.

    Which is a good assumption. I hate menus that say 500-2200. Useless!

    And to those who said that calorie counts on menus wouldnt change behavior, may I present this post.

  3. @lucky. I’ve eaten at Air Margaritaville a few times and as long as you don’t order any salads, you are golden. They make good steak, fries are crispy. But avoid the salads at all cost. The lettuce was not fresh and The dressing was aweful

  4. A 6″ buttermilk pancake would have anywhere from 75-100 calories (depending on exactly what’s in it and how it was cooked), a tablespoon of butter has about 100 and, a serving of generic syrup anywhere from twice to three times that.

  5. @JJJ it’s also likely the two pads of butter are 200 kcals themselves. The pancake itself is probably under 500 calories.

  6. Calorie counts are required of restaurant chains – it was added in the Obamacare legislation. I find it useful in deciding what to order.

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