Review of New Miami American Express Centurion Lounge

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The Miami American Express Centurion Lounge opened to the public this week on June 4th, and as much as I love Centurion Lounges, I’m “grounded” at the moment, so I asked a friend to review the lounge for us.  As luck would have it, a very frequently-flying-friend, Michael, and was willing to check out the 8,000 square foot lounge on opening day and share his thoughts.  Michael has top-tier status with United and American, flies more than I ever would want to, visits more lounges than I can count, and is the dad to two kiddos.  He is also the one who wrote this review of the Amex Centurion Lounge in San Francisco.  In other words, he was the perfect guy to check out the new Miami Centurion lounge.  Here is what he had to say…

The Miami American Express Centurion Lounge opened to the public on Thursday, June 4th, which means by the time you read this, there will probably be a dozen reviews of the lounge, all showing pictures of the food, beverages, and overall space. We’re going to do that here, too, but as this is a family/traveling with kids oriented blog, we’re going to also focus on some considerations when visiting the lounge with younger travelers.

Miami Centurion Lounge Elevator

Miami Centurion Lounge Elevator Entrance

However, as someone who appreciates blog posts where the lede isn’t buried, here are the quick highlights of the lounge before getting into the details:

  • Of the five Centurion Lounges, Miami’s has the best and most sweeping views of the airport runways. Fun for kids of all ages!
  • Just like at the Dallas lounge, Miami also offers complimentary spa services, including chair massages and manicures
  • Just like the Las Vegas, Dallas, and San Francisco lounges, Miami also has a Family Room, where kids can be a bit more rambunctious
  • Miami has signature cocktail offerings, just like its other lounge counterparts, and in the opinion of one reviewer (me), the “305 Special” is the best of the bunch
  • Families will find that the unique curved layout of the lounge will enable you and your younger travelers to better find privacy and nooks and crannies away from where most guests may be likely to congregate (i.e., by the bar and food)
  • The lounge is open daily from 5AM – 11PM for those with a valid Amex card and a same-day boarding pass for arrival or departure from MIA

Miami Centurion Lounge Entrance

As with the other Centurion Lounges, access to the lounge is complimentary for those with the Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express OPEN, and Platinum Card® from American Express Exclusively for Mercedes-Benz cardholders, as well as Centurion Cardholders and their guests (spouse + children or two guests).  If you don’t have one of those cards you can get admission for $50 if you have any other American Express card, space permitting.  That $50 day pass will also covers your minor childrens’ entrance fees, but any additional adults would also be $50.

Upon arrival in the lounge, to the naked eye it may appear smaller than the Dallas, Las Vegas, or even San Francisco lounges because the space in Miami is cylindrical, which is to say that it is curved as opposed to linear.  When you first walk in, you may not feel the full depth and breadth of the layout. In fact, there are what I call “two rings” of the Miami lounge: An “inner” ring, with one part which seems to curve and go on and on forever, and an “outer” ring which is where you get the magnificent and unobstructed views of the runway, and where the food and bar and computer workstations are located.

The Exhale Spa, is just to the left of the Member Services desk, between the “inner” and “outer” rings

The Exhale Spa, is just to the left of the Member Services desk, between the “inner” and “outer” rings

Similar to the “localization efforts” in each of the lounges, the Miami version offers up pictures of celebrities on the wall ranging from Julio Iglesias and Pitbull, to Dan Marino, Don Shula, the Miami Dolphins, and Jackie Gleason, just to name a few.

But what makes the Centurion Lounges better than any other domestic airline lounge are the comfort of the space, as well as the quality and quantity of the food and beverage offerings. In Miami, the signature chef is Michelle Bernstein, the wines were selected by Anthony Giglio, and the signature cocktails were created by Jim Meehan (who also created the cocktails at other Centurion Lounges)

Miami Centurion Lounge Bar

Miami Centurion Lounge Bar

Since I had a 10 hour layover in Miami on the lounge’s opening day (lucky me!) I was able to sample both the breakfast offering as well as the lunch/dinner offering. I had heard that there were some breakfast items that were not quite ready for prime time on opening day, but from what was on offer, it was delicious, and certainly much better than what you would be able to get at most airport fast food restaurants or airline lounges.

The Miami Centurion Lounge breakfast spread included:

  • Charred corn with sausage and potatoes
  • Shakshuka – tomatoes, feta & roast chillies, with pita bread
  • Margherita quiche
  • Lemon ricotta pancakes
  • Fresh fruit selection
  • Lemon curd, muffins, and bread

Miami Centurion Lounge lunch and dinner offerings:

  • Minty pea sop, crème fraiche, snap peas
  • Fried chicken with honey and Tabasco sauces
  • Kale and creamy mashed potatoes
  • Shrimp cocktail ceviche
  • Salad bar offerings

And finally, save room for desserts such as vanilla panna cottas with strawberry basil compote and brownies!

Miami Centurioni Lounge Dessert

Miami Centurion Lounge Brownie 

Oh, and one must sample some (or in my case, all…) of the wines and cocktails.  You can read a full review of Micheal’s day sampling many of the Miami Centurion Lounge’s drinks over at Le Chic Geek.

Miami Centurion Lounge Cocktail Menu

Miami Centurion Lounge Cocktail Menu

My favorite was the “305 Special,” a mix of Casa Dragones Blanco Tequila, Aperol, Lime Juice, Grapefruit Juice, so named after the original area code for Miami.

Miami Centurion Lounge 305 Special

Miami Centurion Lounge 305 Special

For families traveling with young children (or adults who are acting like children) the Centurion Lounges are great in that most offer a family room where kids can be kids, and Miami is no exception to having this carved-out space.

Miami Centurion Lounge Family Room

Miami Centurion Lounge Family Room

Miami Centurion Lounge Family Toys

Miami Centurion Lounge Family Room Toys

Miami Centurion Lounge Toys

Miami Centurion Lounge Toys

Photo by Gary Leff -View From the Wing

Photo by Gary Leff -View From the Wing

But what if your kiddos are bored with the family room activities and are still jumpy, or are simply a little too old for the family room? This is where the unique layout and footprint of the Miami Centurion Lounge has its advantages. One portion of the “inner” ring seems to curve and go on forever. Because it is curved, sound tends to be absorbed more easily, making it possible for a family with kids to be able to find a quiet and comfortable nook that will be less likely to disturb other lounge visitors.

This Centurion Lounge is the second one to directly challenge American Airlines on their home turf (Dallas being the other), and honestly, with the food, beverage, and aesthetics that American Express offers, it really makes the AA Clubs look like distant also-rans.  In my home airport of San Francisco, the Centurion Lounge there has successfully kept me away from the United Clubs for at least seven months.  Frankly, there’s no better place to spend time at an airport than in a Centurion Lounge!

Finally, since this was the first day of operations, I did speak with some officials who let it be known that the “Centurion Studio” in Seattle would be opening up at the end of June/beginning of July, which, if the opening timeline holds true, is just mere weeks away!  I can’t wait to try that location out, too, even though it will not offer as robust a selection of drinks and food items.  Sadly, that location reportedly will not have a full bar, nor does it have a kitchen due to space constraints and facility limitations. Still, given the quality and execution of the American Express Centurion Lounges, it would not surprise me if Seattle’s “Studio” becomes the go-to gathering spot at that airport.

If you are curious about more details on the other four open Centurion Lounges, here are those reviews:

If you have any plans to stop by and visit the Miami Centurion Lounge, I’d be curious to hear your thoughts and impressions, especially if you are traveling with young kids!

Many, many thanks to Michael for providing this detailed review of the Miami Centurion Lounge!  I look forward to our next stop in Miami so we can check out the lounge for ourselves!  As long as Amex keeps adding and maintaining these high quality lounges, we will continue to really benefit from having an Amex Platinum card.

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.

Comments

  1. We trying out the Amex Miami lounge for the 1st time today! After checking in, it felt smaller than I was expecting & was packed. We found a place to sit for breakfast & the lemon pancakes were my fav. Plenty of fresh fruit & muffins to keep kids happy. The kids room is a great option to have with a wii & has been empty the whole time we have been here. The “inner circle” mentioned in the post is currently closed but will have about 35 extra seats. The bathrooms could have definitely been cleaner or more kept up so that was disappointing. We’re coming back thru in a few days & I will try out the spa. 🙂

    • So we connected back through MIA & tried the lounge again. I felt underdressed compared to the clientele there but that’s my own issue. Lunch was delicious–boneless fried chicken, fancy mashed potatoes & several kinds of salads. The buffet was out of most things when we arrived but was excellent once they restocked. There was an older couple who moved a chair from one of the seating areas to accommodate their “service dog” so Baby could sit up higher & eat fried chicken! ugh. Front desk staff were super nice but I thought the staff walking around cod have been nicer. We were drinking pop & water & they just took our glasses without asking if they could refill. I found that odd but that’s jus me. They do have a diaper changing station in the women’s restroom for sure. 🙂

  2. I’m in the lounge as I type this. This is a very welcome addition to Miami and a welcome opponent to the Admirals Club. I was in the one in Vegas a while back and my friend (Amex Black) got a free Johnny Walker BLUE. Blue Label is hard to come by, that’s a serious step for them!

    I’m so glad this is here. As a frequent flyer this really makes my time at the airport more enjoyable. Nice review, it’s SPOT ON.

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