American Express Adds a 5th Domestic Centurion Lounge to Its Pipeline: Welcome to Miami!

Last month I mentioned that American Express was adding a new Centurion lounge in Miami’s North Terminal where American Airlines operates.

That turns out to be true, as American Express is now confirming Miami as a 5th lounge in its domestic US pipeline — after Las Vegas and Dallas Fort-Worth which are both open and San Francisco and LaGuardia which are on the way.

American Express Platinum lost access to American and US Airways lounges at the end of March and lost guest privileges at Delta lounges May 1.

But they’ve got a growing network of their own lounges, which are generally better than airline offerings. And the card comes bundled with Priority Pass Select, which provides access to a variety of airline lounges (such as Alaska Airlines lounges in the U.S.) and independent lounges.

The Miami lounge will be ~ 8000 square feet Centurion Lounge at Miami International Airport, so about 10% smaller than the DFW lounge.

It’s going to be in the North Terminal, will offer top notch food and drink offerings that guests of American Express’ other US lounges have come to expect, and will have a complimentary spa like DFW has.

Access:

  • Centurion and Platinum cardholders: Cardmember may bring in their spouse and children or two guests
  • Other American Express cardholders: $50 per adult (children complimentary when accompanied by paying adult)

Everything inside the lounges — include food, drinks, and spa — are complimentary (although per US custom, tipping is expected but not required in the spa, I think $5 per 15 minute treatment is about average).

Timing of new lounges:

  • The LaGuardia lounge should be opening this summer.
  • And both San Francisco and Miami are slated to open by the end of the year.

American Express has cardholder data on where their Platinum and Centurion cards have been used for access in the past, as well as where cardholders who travel reside. They also know they’re mostly shut out of hub airports dominated by United and American. So it’s no surprise we’ve seen Dallas, Miami, and San Francisco. And a premium brand can’t ignore New York (although a second New York location and a Chicago location wouldn’t surprise me a bit).

Since their offerings are better than airline club lounges in the U.S. it’s one of the many things they’re doing that’s keeping me a Platinum cardholder.

American Express partners and benefits have long come and gone. I do miss the old domestic companion ticket benefit (it was tough to use but lucrative). It was only when it was clear American would lose Continental as a partner that they added US Airways lounge access. And they’ve already announced unlimited Boingo internet access starting next month as well as an improvement in their Global Entry fee reimbursement to offer an option for TSA PreCheck reimbursement instead (the fee reimbursement program itself is only a few years old).

It’s fantastic to see American Express continue to invest in its product this way! And since I travel to South Florida often, this lounge will be a welcome addition for me personally.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Gary,

    Can you tell us how many lounges the airlines each have in the US?

    In my experience, the lounges rarely work. I rarely have a layover that is long enough to enjoy the lounge or the lounge is located in a different terminal and not worth going.

    I am not sure anyone would schedule themselves a long layover for the express purpose of enjoying a lounge. I’d sooner pay for my drink or cookie or whatever and save the time.

    Are there any cheap credit cards that give lounge access anymore? Or only the ones that charge approx. $500/yr.

  2. Gary, given that they are branded “Centurion” lounges, do you see much risk that free access for Platinum card holders might be at risk as the lounge network grows?

  3. That is the best news I have heard all day. I fly alot out of MIA. @farbster.- Overall Ceturion members are a tiny slice of total cardholders. I cant see them doing that at all. This is a fight against American for sure. They may change some of their lounge alliances as they continue to add in major business cities. Maybe they are looking to drop Delta?

  4. It baffles me that airlines still run their own. Why not close them, let someone else operate them. For club access as a perk, I’m sure they could negotiate a bulk rate that lets them gift you access. Once there are a few more of these, I will drop my DL Reserve, and switch to straight AmEx.

  5. @swag – quite the opposite, it began as a test as being free for Centurion members only (Las Vegas) and was then built out to include Platinum cards. This is a replacement in some sense for the airline lounge relationship that both cards have had with several airlines, since they’ve lose US Airways/American/Continental in recent times.

  6. @farbster – the number of lounges operated by each airline can be found on the airline’s website. United, Delta, and American all have more lounges than American Express does of course (Amex is new at this, and building nice spaces from scratch for the most part). I find the DFW lounge pretty convenient to get to for a short stay on a standard layover although of course taking the train both directions does kill time that I could be working in American’s lounge in the given terminal (eg if I arrive in and depart from C then going to the Amex lounge entails 2 train trips I wouldn’t otherwise have to take).

    There are cheap cards that throw in Priority Pass Select but those don’t come with lounge visits (eg Amex Hilton Surpass). There are also similar ones that come with Lounge Club (a nearly identical product, e.g. Chase Ink Bold/Plus) and that comes with 2 visits per year. The United Club card can often be found with no fee the first year.

  7. But are these lounges before of after security? I can never relax in a lounge until after I’ve been through security because I never know how much time it will take.

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