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Choosing the best airport lounge at MIA — and how you can get inside

June 30, 2022
16 min read
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Miami International Airport (MIA) is one of the U.S.' largest gateways to the Caribbean, Central America and South America. Not to mention, it serves one of the country's largest metro areas and is also close to a major cruise port. In short, if you're a U.S.-based traveler, there's a good chance you have — or eventually will — visit or transit through MIA.

With the way air travel has been going these days, you may find yourself delayed, arriving early or building in extra time during a layover, so there's a chance you'll have some extra time on your hands when you visit. Thankfully, the airport has had somewhat of a lounge renaissance in recent years, offering a number of places to unwind and pass the time.

There are an American Express Centurion Lounge, multiple Admirals Clubs and a Delta Sky Club, among others. You'll also find a number of Priority Pass lounges, though some locations at MIA are still closed due to the pandemic while others frequently suspend access due to overcrowding.

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If you do find yourself in the Miami airport with an hour or two to spare, which lounge should you choose? Let's run through some of your options and discuss how you can access MIA's many lounges.

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American Airlines Flagship Lounge (near D30)

The American Airlines Flagship Lounge is one of the most exclusive lounges at the Miami airport, as there's no credit card or membership program that will grant you access to it. Should you have the right status and tickets to get in, you'll find it located in concourse D near gate D30. It's open every day from 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The space is massive, spanning almost 29,000 square feet. There are approximately 475 seats spread across several distinct seating areas. Seating options range from chaise lounges and sofas to private nooks and spots with high-top stools. Almost all of the seats have power outlets and USB ports either built in or adjacent to them.

Lounge amenities include shower suites, a business center with a printer, a TV room and smaller spaces designated as quiet zones.

The main dining room offers a buffet, a live-action cooking station and lots of seating. First-class passengers have access to the Flagship First Dining room, which offers a sit-down, restaurant-style experience.

During our visit, the buffet featured hot items like pork tamales, Peruvian-inspired roasted chicken, shrimp creole and yuca, as well as several different salads and a charcuterie board. Meanwhile, the live-cooking station offered marinated steak with fresh vegetables. For drinks, there was a self-serve bar that included top-shelf liquors like Johnny Walker Black Label, Grey Goose and Patrón.

How to get into the Flagship Lounge

Access is available to passengers traveling in first or business class on qualifying same-day international and select domestic flights marketed and operated by American Airlines or one of its Oneworld partners.

Qualifying international flights include those between the U.S. and Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand and South America (excluding Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela). Eligible domestic flights include premium transcontinental routes, as well as longer Hawaii flights with Flagship-marketed service.

Additionally, access is available to American Airlines AAdvantage members with Platinum, Platinum Pro or Executive Platinum elite status who are traveling on a qualifying long-haul international itinerary. Of note, Oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members of foreign programs get access, even on domestic American Airlines itineraries.

It's also possible to buy a $150 day pass to the lounge, depending on availability, when traveling on an American Airlines or Oneworld partner flight.

Related: These are the best credit cards for lounge access

American Airlines Admirals Club (near D30)

The American Airlines Admirals Club by gate D30 is directly adjacent to the Flagship Lounge — in fact, it shares the same entrance. Like the Flagship Lounge, it's open from 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

The lounge is huge, but it still gets crowded, particularly during peak hours. You shouldn't have trouble finding an open seat if you're traveling solo, but families may not always be able to sit together.

Like most Admirals Clubs, the D30 location features a modern design and an array of seating options to choose from.

Almost all seats offer access to power outlets, and the Wi-Fi is fast and easy to connect to. Other amenities include showers, a small children’s room and a conference room.

Food and beverage options here are similar to what you'll find in other Admirals Clubs. The complimentary snack selection during our afternoon visit included items like build-your-own barbecue sliders, soups, salads, crudites, hummus, cheese cubes, snack mixes and a selection of desserts. There's also the popular made-to-order avocado toast station in the mornings. Just as popular is the made-to-order guacamole station, which is available every afternoon.

The full-service bar offers a selection of complimentary house wines, well liquors and beers, with more substantial food and higher-quality drinks available for purchase from a menu.

How to get into the Admirals Club

You can unlock complimentary Admirals Club access for you and up to two guests by having the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®.

Additionally, access is available to AAdvantage Platinum, Platinum Pro and Executive Platinum elites traveling on a qualifying long-haul international itinerary. Those who participate in international Oneworld frequent flyer programs and have Oneworld Emerald or Sapphire status also get access, even on domestic itineraries. You can also purchase day passes to the Admirals Club, though their use may be restricted during busy time frames.

Related: The ultimate guide to American Airlines Admirals Club access

American Airlines Admirals Club (near D15)

American Airlines offers a second Admirals Club on the third floor above gate D15. This one is open from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily.

Like the lounge by gate D30, this one is also very large, spanning more than 14,000 square feet. It, too, features a simple yet modern design. Perhaps more importantly, it's a relatively quiet space.

Based on our experiences, this lounge doesn't get nearly as crowded as the Admirals Club at D30 or the American Express Centurion Lounge. As a result, you'll usually have better luck finding open seats here.

There are multiple buffets across the lounge, and the selection is identical to the D30 Admirals Club. That means you'll find snacks such as barbecue sliders, soups, salads, crudites, hummus and cheese cubes. Like the other club, there's also a made-to-order avocado toast and guacamole station.

As with the other club, there are power outlets at nearly every seat. The Wi-Fi is extremely fast, too. There are also amenities like a business center and a small children’s room.

American Express Centurion Lounge (near D12)

Located not too far from the Admirals Club by gate D15 is MIA's American Express Centurion Lounge. Found near gate D12, this lounge is open every day from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

(Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)

Offering a total of 12,300 square feet, this Amex lounge is one of the larger Centurion lounges in the network. It benefited from an expansion a few years ago.

Inside the stylish space, which is bright thanks to large floor-to-ceiling windows that wrap around it, you'll find multiple seating areas, including ones with dining tables, sofas, communal tables and individual workstations. Additionally, there are buffets and full-service bars.

Despite its size, overcrowding is, unfortunately, still a major issue here. You'll often need to join a waitlist to get in, and even once inside, you'll likely have trouble finding an open seat during most hours of the day.

There's a reason the lounge is popular, though. As with most Centurion lounges, the food and beverage selection is top-notch, exceeding what you'll find in most domestic airport lounges.

The buffets feature dishes created by Michelle Bernstein, a James Beard Award-winning chef from Miami. During our early evening visit, options ranged from watermelon salad and carrot ginger soup to braised brisket and vegetarian picadillo.

Meanwhile, the full-service bars offered tasty cocktails like the 305 Special, which consisted of tequila, Aperol, lime juice and grapefruit juice. The only problem? There were lines for both the buffets and the bars.

Other amenities included a shower suite, speedy Wi-Fi, plenty of power outlets, a family room and a spa with complimentary 15-minute massages and manicures.

On paper, the lounge checked all the right boxes. However, it was so crowded that it was almost less relaxing than waiting in the main gate area.

How to get into the American Express Centurion Lounge

The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express provide complimentary access for you and up to two guests (at least, until Feb. 1, 2023, when the guest policy changes) when visiting within three hours of your flight's departure time.

The Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card and Delta SkyMiles® Reserve Business American Express Card technically also get you in, but you must be flying Delta Air Lines, which operates out of another concourse.

Related: Your complete guide to Amex Centurion Lounges

Corona Beach House (near D23/D24)

Sometimes, the best option is to skip the lounge altogether and enjoy a free sit-down meal at the Corona Beach House restaurant. Eligible Priority Pass members can get a complimentary meal worth up to $30 here. Best of all, you can use that credit toward gratuity, unlike most Priority Pass restaurants. The only exclusions are to-go orders and grab-and-go items.

The restaurant, which is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., is located immediately after security between gates D23 and D24. There's a good amount of seating, though you may need to wait five to 10 minutes to get a table during busier periods. Menu items include chicken wings, burgers, sandwiches, tacos, salads and pasta.

How to access Corona Beach House

You can get a free meal at Corona Beach House worth up to $30, including taxes and an automatic 18% gratuity, with an eligible Priority Pass membership. You may also be able to get one for your guests. Memberships obtained through cards like the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve® would be eligible, while those through Amex-issued cards would not be eligible for the restaurant benefit.

Related: US restaurants that are part of Priority Pass

Delta Sky Club (near H3)

Delta may not have a hub in Miami, but it keeps a sizeable Sky Club in the connector between the H and J gates.

After clearing security in the H gates, take a left and the lounge will be on the left hand side of the hall. The lounge is open daily from 4:45 a.m. to 7:45 p.m. to roughly align with Delta's flight schedule.

After taking the elevator or stairs up to the second floor, you enter the lounge and turn left to check in. You're then greeted by a huge seating area, with high-top seats against the wall and lounge chairs throughout the center of the room. Each has power outlets available, and the lounge chairs have power stations with USB-A and -C ports. You'll also find additional seating to the right of the elevators, opposite the check-in desk.

There's more seating as you move toward the back of the lounge. These range from lounge chairs to tables to desks, which are ideal for taking Zoom calls. Seating wraps around a large bar area at the center of the lounge.

Also in the heart of the lounge is a food and drink area. There, you'll find a bar that's stocked with complimentary beer, wine and liquor, as well as Delta's premium drink offerings. You can pay for premium drinks with your credit card or Delta SkyMiles.

Behind the bar is a buffet with the usual Delta Sky Club offerings: salads, snacks, two hot meals and bags of chips and other prepackaged items. To the right, you'll find brewed coffee, an espresso machine and a water dispenser that has both still and sparkling water.

How to get into the Delta Sky Club

You can access the Delta Sky Club when flying international business class on Delta or one of its partners, such as Virgin Atlantic. Likewise, SkyTeam Elite Plus members can enter when flying on any international flight or when connecting to an international flight. You can also enter with a SkyClub membership or with The Platinum Card® from American Express or the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card as long as you have a same-day flight on Delta.

Related: The ultimate guide to getting Delta Sky Club access

Turkish Airlines Lounge (concourse H in the South Terminal)

As an American Airlines hub, it's not too surprising that there are not a ton of airline lounges available for those traveling through Miami on other alliance carriers. However, there are some options for different airlines.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The almost 10,000-square-foot Turkish Airlines Lounge on the upper level near both concourses H and J is not only available for eligible Star Alliance passengers, but also to those flying with other airlines in that area who have a Priority Pass membership.

This lounge feels very similar in design to the main Turkish Airlines Lounge in Istanbul, offering curved decor features and wood accents throughout.

The space was pretty busy during our holiday weekend visit (unlike the day when most of the above photos were taken), but we were able to secure some seats together.

In addition to a full bar, a mix of both hot and cold food was available when we visited. Items served from the buffet, which is staffed by an attendant who will plate anything you request, included some salads, small plates, cold sandwiches (think: pesto on butter bread and cucumber wraps) and cookies.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

If you're planning on visiting, be sure to take advantage of the mobile ordering option, which had the lounge's best food and was the most convenient dining option. Through this option, you can order via a QR code at your table and have your items delivered directly to you. The scannable menu available during our afternoon visit had dishes like falafel, vegetables, couscous and cheese tortellini.

Don't forget to also stock up on Coca-Cola products and other beverages while in the lounge to avoid paying for these drinks in the terminal.

How to get into the Turkish Airlines Lounge

When space is available, the lounge is accessible to those with a Priority Pass membership, which you can easily get just by having the right credit card in your wallet.

Additionally, those flying in international business class on a Star Alliance airline and those with Star Alliance Gold status flying on a Star Alliance carrier (even domestically on United Airlines) can also enjoy this lounge.

LATAM VIP Lounge (near J6)

Despite breaking ties with American Airlines, LATAM Airlines has maintained a large presence in Miami and still offers its LATAM VIP Lounge at the city's airport.

This lounge has interesting hours that vary by day, with the doors opening at 11 a.m. every day except Saturdays, when it opens at 6 a.m. Its closing hours depend on the day, too, but typically, it'll shut its doors between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.

(Photo by Victoria Walker/The Points Guy)

Once inside, you'll find a plethora of seating options, including lounge chairs and tables with chairs that are more conducive to work. A buffet with various hot and cold items is also available, plus a self-serve beverage area with alcoholic and nonalcoholic options.

How to get into the LATAM VIP Lounge

Those flying LATAM business class or premium economy can access the LATAM VIP Lounge.

Additionally, those with at least Platinum elite status in the LATAM Pass frequent flyer program also enjoy access, even when flying in economy. Just note that Platinum and Black elites can only access the lounge when traveling with LATAM, while Black Signature elites can access it when flying with any partner airline. The lounge maintains other airline partnerships, too, so you may have access when flying other carriers.

Bottom line

There's no shortage of lounges at Miami International Airport, especially if you're flying out of the D gates.

While the Centurion Lounge and Flagship Lounge are the flashiest of the bunch, providing stunning places to recharge your electronics, get a snack and relax before your next flight, you may actually fare best at Corona Beach House if you have a Capital One- or Chase-issued Priority Pass membership and want some more substantial pre-flight grub.

Other Priority Pass options can be hit or miss. The Turkish Airlines Lounge at the H gates refused one of our reporters entry, citing overcrowding. Likewise, the Club America lounge at the F gates was closed when we visited the airport in May 2022, despite being listed as an option on the Priority Pass website.

Regardless of which lounge piques your interest, be sure to plan ahead, as you may need to find an alternative option if your top pick is busy or closed. Know, too, that you may find your options are limited if you're not flying with American, Delta or one of those carriers' partners.

Additional reporting by Benji Stawski and Summer Hull.

Featured image by (Photo by Benji Stawski/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases