Miami’s Amex Centurion Lounge Is Nation’s Busiest, Expansion Coming

More evidence showing that Miami International Airport has an exceptionally high level of premium travelers comes from American Express.

The company’s Centurion Lounge at MIA is the most popular of any lounge they operate nationwide, according to Amex. The lounge opened in mid-2015 and logged 380,608 visitors in the first 12 months of operation alone.

Entry is provided free to holders of the Amex Platinum Card, which has an annual fee of $550. Guests are offered light food and drinks, a shower and mini-spa, and a view of the runway.

The lounge has been so overcrowded that is has drawn complaints. On Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, a waiting list is often necessary to get in. The lounge is at or near capacity for half of operating hours, which run from 5 am to 11 pm.

Amex has been working with Miami Dade Aviation for over a year on an expansion plan that will add 4,083 square feet of space to the lounge (the existing lounge is 8,541 square feet.) Outdoor rooftop and balcony space will be enclosed. Seat count, which is currently 140, will increase by about 100.

The company is proposing to spend $6.7 million on the expansion. The original lounge space cost $9 million to build out.

Dade commissioners are scheduled to vote on the deal today (July 13) at a committee meeting. If approved, rent will increase from $1.1 million to $1.6 million for the new space, but Amex will be credited $2 million for core and shell work to enclose the rooftop.