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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.
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
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 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.
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.
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)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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:
- American Express Centurion Lounge DFW
- American Express Centurion Lounge McCarran
- American Express Centurion Lounge LaGuardia
- American Express Centurion Lounge San Francisco
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.