Enhanced and expanded: A review of the Amex Centurion Lounge in Miami
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The American Express Centurion Lounge network is growing fast, with new locations having opened recently in Charlotte and Phoenix, and a much-anticipated opening happening tomorrow, March 9, in Los Angeles.
It's no secret that we're big fans of Centurion Lounges. And, so are a lot of other travelers, which leads to the existing locations being chronically overcrowded.
When it originally opened, the Miami Centurion Lounge was immediately one of my favorites with its spa and amazing tarmac views, but, it also seemed to be the location that suffered most from overcrowding. But, thanks to a recent renovation and expansion, the lounge is much larger and offers a ton of seating options and lots of top-notch amenities. Read on to find out why this location remains one of my favorites.
The lounge is in the airport’s D Concourse, home to America Airlines' Miami hub operations. The location is ideal for American flyers, but you can also enter the lounge if you’re flying from another terminal. However, you’ll need to re-clear security and walk to your departure gate, which could take a good chunk of time.
The lounge is located near Gate D12 on the fourth floor. You’ll need to take one of two Amex-branded elevators to get upstairs.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of signage throughout the terminal for the lounge.
And you can’t miss the entrance, since there’s even more branding at the elevator bank.
The Amex Centurion Lounge in Miami is open daily from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Customers can enter a Centurion Lounge by presenting The Platinum Card® from American Express ($695 annual fee. See rates and fees), The Business Platinum Card® from American Express or The Centurion® Card. Visitors are entitled to bring two guests (or immediate family, if you carry a Centurion Card), and lap infants don’t count against the two-guest allotment.
The information for the Centurion Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Cardmembers with other versions of the Platinum card (i.e., Schwab, Ameriprise or international cards) also have access. Authorized users with Centurion or Platinum cards can also enter — you may add up to three authorized users to the personal Platinum card for a total of $175 per year (see rates and fees) — but those who have Platinum’s complimentary additional Gold card don’t have access. This is the best strategy if you need to get a family larger than three into the Centurion Lounge.
Platinum cardmembers only have access to Centurion lounges up to three hours before a departing flight. When connecting through the airport, Platinum cardmembers must have an onward boarding pass to enter the lounge.
Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express cardholders receive complimentary access to the Centurion Lounge when flying Delta with a ticket purchased on any American Express card issued in the U.S. You’ll be able to bring up to two guests for a fee of $50 each. But Delta flies from the South Terminal so it’s a trek if you want to visit the Centurion Lounge.
With the recent expansion, Amex did a great job of adding more seating areas.
The first thing I noticed, though, wasn’t the new seating, but rather the high ceilings. The extra volume helped make the lounge feel less crowded.
Plus, the large windows made for great planes potting and let in a ton of natural light.
There are seven distinct seating areas throughout the lounge. Just as you enter, there’s some wraparound seating along a narrow corridor on each side of the main welcome desk.
This area was consistently the quietest, as most people didn’t even realize that there was seating here. If you’re looking for privacy, this is definitely the place. The only thing missing is outdoor views.
There’s a variety of seating options along the corridor, including some counter-top seating and multiple signature Amex green recliners.
The rest of the lounge was consistently busy throughout the day. As you pass the reception desk, the main dining area is located just to the right. There’s a bunch of two- and four-top tables spread out around the signature bar.
Just before the dining room is a small lounging area. There are a few seating options here, but you’ll find much more at the other end of the lounge.
Connecting the two areas of the lounge is a narrow hallway lined with the Centurion Lounge standard chairs.
As you get to the newly expanded area, you’ll pass the large co-working table, small business center and library.
Next to this was the overflow dining area. There’s a smaller, more compact buffet here, as well as plenty of tables and counter seating.
And behind this overflow dining room was the main relaxation area. There was plenty of seating, including solo chairs in all types of arrangements. There’s bound to be something that works for you.
Thanks to the lounge’s expansion, it never felt overly crowded. It definitely got full during the day, but the high ceilings and fantastic tarmac views combined to make the lounge feel even larger than it is.
Like the lounge in Dallas, this location has lots of amenities.
The highlight was the the Exhale Spa, which is open from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. and offers appointments on a first-come, first-served basis. I had an excellent 15-minute back massage when I visited, and I observed others enjoying a free mini-manicure.
There’s also a family room for those traveling with kids.
For such a large lounge, I wish that Amex had installed more than one shower. The shower suite is well-appointed, but the wait can often exceed an hour.
If you’re looking for extra privacy to take a call, there are two phone rooms in the new lounge expansion.
I really appreciated that there were two sets of restrooms in the lounge.
In terms of the basics, Amex did a great job at putting power outlets everywhere. Every seat I checked was within earshot of an outlet and some even had USB ports too.
The password-protected Wi-Fi was speedy at 139 Mbps download and 109 Mbps upload. However, there were a few dead zones in the lounge where I couldn’t pick up a signal.
Depending on how often you’ve called Amex for help over the years, the fact that the company’s "hold" music was playing over the lounge’s speaker may or may not be considered an amenity too.
Food and beverage
Like all Centurion Lounges, the food and beverages were well above-average.
The centerpiece of the gastronomic experience is the buffet located near the entrance. The menu is curated by a James Beard Award-winning chef, Michelle Bernstein, who’s infused some of her Latin roots into the selections.
A continental breakfast was served from lounge opening until 6 a.m. and featured a fruit-and-yogurt bar and some pastries.
At 6 a.m., the full breakfast appeared, which included orange-scented pancakes, scrambled eggs, breads, oatmeal and potatoes.
The cuisine transitions to all-day dining at 11:30 a.m. Then you’ll find a full create-your-own salad bar, tomato soup, braised greens, creamy polenta, cauliflower in chickpea stew and coconut-simmered chicken.
The overflow buffet in the newly expanded area had more options, including sandwiches, hummus, tuna salad, crudités and two soups — corn and pea.
The beverages were just as good as the food. And thanks to the expansion, there are now two bars in this lounge -- a first for Centurion Lounges.
The main bar served a full selection of cocktails by Jim Meehan of the New York City speakeasy Please Don’t Tell.
The other one was a beautifully designed wine bar. You could only order from the wine menu or choose from one of the beers on tap -- Islamorada, Sunset Blood Orange IPA and Presidente.
There are also two self-serve Franke coffee machines in each dining area. They whip up a delicious latte.
The Centurion Lounge in Miami is one of my favorites. At last, there’s plenty of room for everyone to spread out.
Aside from the wide range of seating areas, the lounge features great cocktails, delicious food and top-notch amenities.
Plus, there are expansive tarmac views and high ceilings that combine to create an upscale relaxation space.
This lounge puts the nearby Admirals Club to shame, so if you’re a Miami-based American Airlines flyer, it’s definitely time to consider The Platinum Card® from American Express.
All photos by the author.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card click here.