American Express is doing something really innovative by opening up their own lounges at airports which their cardmembers frequent most. The footprint is small, but the lounges they do have blow the ones run by US airlines out of the water. They definitely rank as some of my favorite lounges in the US.
American Express has started opening up more of their own airport lounges in part because quite a bit of value has been lost in terms of the lounge privileges of The Platinum Card® from American Express. The card used to get you access to American Admirals Clubs and US Airways Clubs, though that was discontinued last March. Furthermore, guesting privileges have been reduced at Delta SkyClubs as of last May.
Prior to this month, American Express had four Centurion Lounges in the US:
- The Centurion Lounge Las Vegas LAS Airport
- The Centurion Lounge Dallas DFW Airport
- The Centurion Lounge New York LGA Airport
- The Centurion Lounge San Francisco SFO Airport
Just this month AmEx opened up their fifth Centurion Lounge, at Miami Airport. Furthermore, this summer they’ll be opening a Centurion Studio at Seattle-Tacoma Airport, which will apparently be a smaller/toned down version of the lounge.
AmEx Centurion Lounge Miami access requirements
There are a few ways to access The Centurion Lounge:
- Those with The Platinum Card® from American Express and American Express Centurion Card receive complimentary access
- Those with either of the above cards may bring their spouse and children under the age of 18, or two travel companions as guests
- If you have an American Express Card other than the ones listed above, you can purchase a day pass at the entrance for $50
AmEx Centurion Lounge Miami hours and location
The Centurion Lounge is open daily from 5AM till 11PM. Given that there aren’t many super late redeyes out of Miami, that should cover just about all imaginable departures.
The Centurion Lounge Miami is located in the D concourse, which is the terminal out of which American Airlines primarily operates. The elevator to the Centurion Lounge is located near gate D12, which is around the middle of the concourse. Some terminals at the airport aren’t connected airside, but this should cover all American flyers, and also passengers on some other carriers.
AmEx Centurion Lounge Miami review
What’s especially exciting about The Centurion Lounge Miami is that it’s at Miami Airport, which is otherwise one of my least favorite airports in the country. So while The Centurion Lounge Dallas has always been my favorite, that’s a nice terminal to begin with. In other words, the difference between the terminal and lounge isn’t quite as drastic as at an airport like Miami or New York LaGuardia.
As explained above, the elevator to the lounge is located near gate D12, which is in the central part of the American terminal.
There’s an Admirals Club nearby as well, so when you get to the circular atrium of sorts you’ll see all kinds of signage and advertisements for the lounge.
The lounge is located on the fourth floor, so it’s quite a bit higher than the main concourse. My first thought was that this was good news in terms of tarmac views.
Once outside the elevator the entrance to The Centurion Lounge is right there.
The design of the lounge is in line with all of the other Centurion Lounges, including the entrance having a “plant wall.” We were quickly checked in by the friendly associate and given the password for the wifi (which is the same as at all the other lounges).
This is the second Centurion Lounge to offer an Exhale Spa (the other is in Dallas), where you can receive complimentary 15 minute treatments. It’s worth noting that while the lounge is open daily from 5AM until 11PM, the spa is only open from 9AM until 8PM.
We weren’t proactively asked if we wanted a treatment, which I appreciated. Not everyone knows about the spa, so it’s easier to get an appointment when it’s on a request basis, as opposed to them proactively offering everyone treatments. I find in the Dallas lounge they’re super proactive about offering everyone a treatment, and that’s why it’s usually impossible to get one within a few hours.
Despite the lounge being extremely crowded, we had no problem securing treatments within an hour.
The spa menu read as follows:
Anyway, more about the lounge itself.
Across from the reception desk is some seating, which seemed to be the only part of the lounge which wasn’t overcrowded. There were two comfortable chairs across from the entrance, and then a long bar area with high-top seating.
The lounge itself is about 8,000 square feet, making it one of the larger ones. For context, The Centurion Lounge LaGuardia is ~5,000 square feet, while The Centurion Lounge Dallas/Ft. Worth is ~9,000 square feet.
Starting in the back corner of the lounge, there’s a long and narrow hall with window seating, which has some fantastic tarmac views. The type of furniture is nicely varied throughout the lounge, as you can see below. It’s modern, simplistic, and practical without looking cheap, in my opinion.
Then the lounge widens a bit, with plenty more seating.
Past that is the dining and bar area, which has a bit over a dozen tables.
Then in the very back corner is the bar, which has the typically adorable “American Express” decorations.
As I said above, the views from the lounge really are gorgeous. Not only do you have a great view of some gates, but you also have great runway views.
In terms of food, the lounge has a coffee/water/tea station, which also has some cookies. There’s an espresso machine, though it wasn’t working when I was there.
The buffet was located just past that. Full disclosure, I’m probably not the best person to judge food, since I was not feeling well yesterday.
The food spread is of course infinitely better than anything you’d otherwise get at a US airline lounge. There was a nice salad bar, whereby you could make your own salads.
Then there were several hot dishes. They weren’t really my style, as I’d prefer lighter food while traveling, so I’d probably stick to the salad bar, personally. But I know a lot of people love the “heavy” dishes in The Centurion Lounges.
Dessert consisted of vanilla panna cotta.
The servers in the lounge were fantastic. They were constantly roaming to clear plates/glasses, and to see if anyone wanted anything to drink.
As mentioned above, I scheduled a 15 minute deep tissue massage.
The spa is quite nice, and has both a manicure station, as well as two massage chairs.
I find the therapists in The Centurion Lounge Dallas to be fantastic. Like, really, really good, and find that they do wonders between flights.
I’m not one to often complain about massages… especially free ones (though they’re not really “free,” since I think it’s only fair to tip)… at airports. But this massage was just freaking terrible. I don’t know if it was the guy’s first time giving a massage, but I’ve never had such an unpleasant (and not unpleasant in the sense that you feel great afterwards) confusing, and poorly thought out massage. Like, when my eight year old great-cousin sat on my shoulders as I walked through Frankfurt last week, well, that felt better on my back. The guy was very nice, though…
I’m hoping that this is an anomaly, or maybe just because the lounge is new? Regardless, I wouldn’t take a massage with the same guy for free in the future, even if I weren’t to tip.
Lastly, the lounge has separate restrooms for men and women. The mens restroom has two stalls and one urinal, which seems not especially sufficient for such a large lounge. Not surprisingly there was often a queue.
Is there diminishing marginal return with these lounges?
So here’s the deal. I love The Centurion Lounges. I really think what American Express has done is absolutely brilliant, and they’re adding real value for cardmembers. And when I first visited the one in Dallas, I was excited. The spa was awesome, the lounge wasn’t overcrowded, and the food was tasty.
But the more I visit these lounges, the less sure I am how American Express can properly manage them in the future. The Centurion Lounge opened just two weeks ago and was packed for most of the four hours I spent there. Just about every seat was taken, it was loud, and it was chaotic. Yes, the food is better than a US airline lounge. Yes, the drinks are better than a US airline lounge. Yes, the service is (generally) better than a US airline lounge.
But when I get back to the basics, the single thing I’m looking more for than anything in an airline lounge in the US is a quiet place from which to work. Admirals Clubs are far from glamorous, but they do have “proper” cubicle workstations where I can set up shop and work comfortably and efficiently for a few hours.
I guess the bigger thing is that I don’t know how American Express will control crowds in the future. The past few Centurion Lounge visits I’ve made, they’ve all been above efficient operating capacity. And I assume that will only get worse over time, especially as the lounge network expands and more people (presumably) get the card for access to the lounges.
All things considered The Centurion Lounge Miami is fantastic. In absolute terms I still prefer the The Centurion Lounge Dallas DFW Airport and The Centurion Lounge New York LGA Airport. But at the same time Miami Airport is one of my least favorite in the country, so this lounge changes it from an airport I did everything in my power to avoid, to one I’ll gladly transit in the future.
Have you visited the AmEx Centurion Lounge Miami? What has been your experience with Centurion Lounge crowding?