American Express Centurion Lounge Review- Wow!
The American Express Centurion Lounge in terminal D at Miami International left me with one impression. WOW!
As a frequent airline traveler, especially on international flights, I have grown to truly appreciate the use of the airport lounges hosted by several of the major airlines or their alliance partners. During a layover or a delay it’s really nice to have a place where you can go without all the busyness and noise of a crowded terminal. There is a sense of relaxation when you have a nice comfortable chair to sit in, high speed Wi-Fi, free drinks, free food, magazines and newspapers to read. Don’t forget how it is the nice to have a clean restroom too! For family travel many lounges also tote a kids’ room or a play area. Business travelers typically have access to a room with printers, copiers, and fax machines, etc. The best part of taking advantage of an airport member lounge is it just gives you that VIP feel and experience.The American Express Centurion Lounge in Miami International left me with one impression. WOW! Click To Tweet
Another nice perk that many forget about is the concierge service available to you when you have access to an airport member’s lounge. The concierge can monitor your flight and notify you of any boarding time changes. Did you know they will also help you make flight changes, work on getting you on the upgrade or standby list, or book other travel? The concierge service is a hidden gem.
I frequent American Airlines’ “Admirals Club” lounges, as well as United Airlines “United Club” lounges depending on which airport terminal I find myself in. I also take advantage of Priority Pass lounges in many international locations. When flying internationally I will also visit other airline lounges. Some are definitely better than others and no two are the same. I’ve been in some really nice lounges at one airport, just to be disappointed in the same lounge brand in another airport. Overall I’ll tend to choose visiting an airport member’s lounge, with all the amenities, over sitting at the gate in a rock hard and uncomfortable chair, along with a $4 USD bottle of water.
So how did I get that WOW impression recently? During a layover in MIA I noticed one of the new American Express Centurion Lounges in terminal D, just outside my arrival gate. Honestly, I would normally jet set over to the nearest Admirals Club lounge, but since I had never been in a Centurion Lounge and I had several hours I decided to check it out. Having an American Express Platinum, Business, or Corporate card provides you with free access to the Centurion Lounge, while other Amex cards provide you access with a $50 charge (possibly worth it if you have an Amex and no other airline lounge access).
Like most airport lounges you first gain access to the Centurion Lounge by a concierge that checks your status to gain entrance. Nothing special there but the people were very friendly and helpful. My real first impression happened when I walked into the main lounge area. It was very contemporary and bright, unlike many lounges that are dark and old feeling. I liked the change of pace and the decor. It also had a great veiw of the airport and runways. The only downside I could find was the lounge was very busy and slightly crowded. But that changed over the space of time as people left to catch their flights. During part of my stay the lounge was almost empty. Overall the acoustics were good and easy to make a call even when crowded.
Even though it was busy, the group I was with had no problem getting service at the bar or at our table we sat at. Service was fast and friendly. Top shelf drinks were complementary, unlike at other lounges where they offer some sort of generic house brand free and charge you for anything mid-shelf and above. I started at this point to feel the Wow. Then came the food. Now I had the WOW!
Over the years most airline member lounges have made cut backs in both the drinks and food departments. I won’t mention by name the lounge at DFW that served food worse than the plastic wrapped sandwiches and wraps you get at the “not so cheap” vendor near the gates. In most cases, lounges only provide free snack foods and an occasional small bites type buffet. This was not the case in the Centurion Lounge!
“Having an American Express Platinum, Business, or Corporate card provides you with free access to the Centurion Lounge, while other Amex cards provide you access with a $50 charge.”
I was fortunate enough to be there during the last minutes of their breakfast fair and for start of their lunch fair. It was the best of both worlds. For the breakfast buffet they had an amazing eggs and salsa dish (it was Miami), a beet salad with goat cheese, a barley salad, a quiche, fruit, and other great-tasting and visually appealing dishes. When they changed out for the lunchtime the food only got better. They offered a dish of perfectly grilled chicken thigh covered with chimichurri sauce over some of the best polenta I’ve ever had. I was blown away that this caliber of food was not only being served at an airport, but it was included for free! The portions were nice as well. The servers made sure everything was laid out and nothing was missed. Everyone in my group was extremely impressed.
Years back Amex partnered with other airline lounges, but in recent years they pulled away and have launched their own branded Centurion Lounges. It was really nice to see the caliber of facility, service, food, and drinks they have included into their lounges for their card holding members. American Express Centurion Lounges have upped the anti on providing airline travels with that VIP experience. As they expand their network of lounges they are going to give the airline lounges a run for their money. As word gets out it will undoubtedly increase their cardholder membership. At least if you are a frequent flyer it now makes sense to be a member or travel with someone who is.
My hats off to Amex and their Centurion Lounges. I will seek them out at each airport where they are located. Bravo!
Full Disclosure: I am in no way paid by or receive any compensation from American Express or for this review. I just felt compelled to write it. They make money from my use of my Amex card and it’s nice to see some perks back.