SCOOP: Amex Expanding Miami Centurion Lounge By 50%

Pending approval by the Miami Dade County Board of County Commissioners, which is expected to come at its September 7, 2017 meeting, American Express will expand the size of its Miami airport Centurion lounge by about 50%.

American Express is understandably reticent to discuss it until they have final approval and would share only,

[A]s our Miami Centurion Lounge continues to be popular amongst our Card Members to visit, we are exploring opportunities to expand this location. As discussions are still underway, we cannot confirm any further details about these plans at this time.

However full details of the plan — and a lot of insight about use of the lounge — is available on the County’s website.

American Express has a 10 year lease running through mid-2024 (with two five year extensions available to them) for the Centurion lounge space in the airport.

The Centurion lounge is currently 8541 square feet and cost $9 million to build out. American Express pays $1.1 million a year in rent. Even knowing how expensive airport space is to rent, I’m surprised by the $137.50 per square foot cost of the space — and of course the $1000 a foot in buildout cost (which is so high it almost has to be either an exaggeration or include costs not traditionally covered in these numbers).

The lounge opened two years ago. In its first 12 months there were 380,608 total visitors to the lounge. That’s about 1000 a day on average, though it peaked with 1615 guests on Sunday, January 3, 2016.

The heaviest usage days are Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It surprises me that Saturday is apparently a bigger day than Sunday. American Express and the airport recognize that “customer satisfaction is diminished by complaints of overcrowding.”

So here’s the plan: there’s an outdoor balcony space that will be connected to the lounge and they will be “further enclosing outdoor space adjacent to the balcony” and this will yield a total of 4000 additional square feet or 50% growth in total space at a cost of $6.7 million. That figure includes $2 million for core and shell and $4.7 million for interior improvements.


Outdoor Balcony Space Adjacent to Bar

American Express will get a $2 million rent credit for spending $2 million expanding the size of the lounge (which they will in turn be paying rent on, the 4000 square feet of expansion space will cost $500,000 more a year).

(HT: Marty K.)

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. The expansion is long, long overdue for this lounge. I love it, but it does get so crowded at times.

  2. This is great news! The lounge is very busy and it’s too small for the amount of traffic that flows through it.

  3. It may help ease the overcrowding but they will still have issues. The kitchen cannot keep up with the current numbers and even just trying to get to the food area is a fight.

  4. Yep. Ain’t nothing better than outdoor seating in South Florida’s rainy season (90°/90% humidity with daily rain – often torrential). Brilliant!)

    To be fair, it should be great in season. But it’s it’s not a reliable expansion number.

  5. This is great news. Now if only Amex would crack down on the “travel hacker” abusers of the Ameriprise platinum card, Miami overcrowding might be a thing of the past.

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