American Express has their own network of “Centurion lounges,” which are a step above what travelers have become accustomed to from US airline-operated lounges.
I consider the American Express Centurion lounge in Dallas one of my favorite airport spots. It’s one of the two lounges I visit most often.
There’s a Centurion lounge already in Las Vegas and at New York LaGuardia as well and also San Francisco.
American Express Centurion Lounge San Francisco
There’s an additional known lounge in the pipeline for Miami, and a more modest lounge coming to Seattle.
The Miami lounge opens in early June.
The lease for the space is a public document, and reading through it reveals a lot about the lounge. (HT: Thadeus Winston)
Discussions about building the American Express Centurion lounge in Miami began in the fall of 2013. They settled on the former British Airways lounge space that’s been unoccupied since 2007. The lounge is on level 4 at gate D-12.
The lounge is approximately 8500 square feet.
It was expected that the Centurion lounge would cost American Express $5 – $6 million to build to lounge. Rent payments are initially $1 million a year, with a 3% annual escalator. It’s a 10 year lease with 2 five year extensions that can be cancelled with 6 months’ advance notice on each extension by either side.
The airport also takes a percentage of fees charged to consumers. Since food and beverages are complimentary in the lounge, the only fees that would appear to apply are 20% of day passes (which American Express charges to cardmembers below the Platinum and Centurion level).
Though the chef for the lounge was only recently revealed, they identified her over a year ago when the lease was approved (as she’s referenced by cooking style and qualifications although not by name in public documents).
We’ll see what the actual offerings are once the lounge opens, but lease documents suggest there’ll be a kids room and a spa.
It was anticipated that the lounge would host “300,000 US cardmembers annually” plus Latin American cardmembers. That’s a lot of customers passing through the lounge each day.
One argument for lease approval was that American Express cardmembers spend more on average than other cardmembers — three times as much as Visa and three and a half times as much as MasterCard. I’d expect, however, that:
- The existence of the lounge doesn’t bring that many more American Express cardmembers through the airport than fly through or out of Miami already.
- It likely draws business away from other concessions, as cardmembers spend time in the lounge instead of the terminal, or at the very least eat and drink in the lounge rather than at other restaurants and bars in the terminal.
Opening hours are expected to be 5am to 11pm.
Those Latin American cardholders will be pleasantly surprised if they are used to the a la carte so-called Centurion lounges at MEX and GRU.
Guess we Canadian Plat/Centurion cardholders don’t cut it to be counted. Looking forward to this new addition to the system, AA’s clubs at MIA are always overcrowded…though I expect this Amex lounge will face the same popularity fate as DFW’s. Did the application document hint at the end of the Amex/AA lounge access agreement? There was a rumour that this schism was in part the result of Amex’s application for the DFW lounge, to which AA was said to oppose.
Ever wonder why lounge membership fees keep going up?
Sure would be great to see a Centurion Lounge at ORD, but I’m sure that the amount of graft necessary in the Chicago area may be prohibitive to getting permits.
For me, the lounge benefit is a good reason to own the Platinum card. I had it for a year and just cancelled. They have recently started denying access to anyone who does not have a seat assignment on their boarding pass. I talked to the club manager at DFW, Mike F., and he indicated they are doing this because of overcrowding. On the surface it sounds ok. However, this procedure denies access to all airline employees who are on personal travel because they fly stand-by and typically do not have a seat assignment in advance. Its an unfortunate situation because a whole group of legitimate cardholders are being denied the club benefit.