Centurion Lounge in Miami Seeing Lots of Abuse, Raises Concern at American Express

I just got off the phone with American Express Platinum customer service.  I realized I hadn’t linked my Hilton Honors account to my American Express account.  This meant I wasn’t receiving my complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status.  I also wanted to request a new Platinum Card as my chip appears to no longer work.

Towards the end of my conversation, I decided to bring up my recent experience at the American Express Centurion Lounge in Miami.  My mom and I were laying over in Miami and decided to try for an earlier flight.  Because of this, we lost out seat assignments for the later flight.  When we checked into the lounge, we were told we couldn’t come into the lounge as we didn’t have seat assignments.  My mom and I both questioned the agent as we had both been allowed into the lounge without seat assignments before.  The agent said that there was nothing she could do.  After we had continued to question this rule, the agent began to show some attitude.  Needless to say, we were not happy about our brief visit.

Anyway, I asked the Platinum Card representative if this was indeed a rule and he said yes.  As a matter of fact, any lounge that isn’t affiliated with a particular airline won’t allow you into their lounge unless you have a seat assignment or boarding pass from another flight with a seat assignment.  He explained to me that many agents don’t enforce this rule.  However, he did say that the American Express Centurion Lounge in Miami is the one exception in which this rule is enforced 24/7.

American Express Centurion Lounge DFW

American Express Centurion Lounge DFW

Miami Location Seeing a lot of Abuse, Freeloaders

I asked why any one location would be singled out and he replied, “The Centurion Lounge in Miami sees a lot of abuse, it’s actually going to be at the center of a staff meeting in a couple of days.”

According to this American Express representative, the Miami location has seen an absurd amount of non-passenger managing to get into the lounge.  I assume this also includes airline and airport employees.  Note that, for obvious reasons, airline employees are not allowed to visit American Express Centurion Lounges when traveling on non-revenue passes.  As someone who occasionally gets to non-rev, I can vouch for this.

However, I’m still amazed that non-passengers are such a big issue at this lounge or any lounge for that matter.  When the representative said “abuse” he confirmed that “Quite a few non-passengers and people without tickets have been using the lounge.  Apparently, it’s a really nice lounge.”   Now I don’t know about the Miami lounge being “a really nice lounge” but it is always very crowded.  Supposedly, a bunch of people with fake tickets who managed to get past the TSA checkpoints had been stopping by for some food and drinks.

Breakfast at the American Express Centurion Lounge LGA

Breakfast at the American Express Centurion Lounge LGA

I honestly don’t know how this can be that big of an issue.  I know (or hope) that non-revenue passengers can’t be the source of this abuse because only passengers with seat assignments get into the lounge.  Non-revenue passengers (from my experience) don’t get seat assignments until boarding commences.  Additionally, once they have a boarding pass, there’s virtually no way of telling it apart from a revenue customer.  This means that there are actually people forging tickets or using alternate boarding documents to force their way into the lounge.  That amazes me.

As previously mentioned, this issue is going to be at the center of an upcoming staff meeting.  The Platinum Card representative also told me that the poor customer service I received would also be addressed.





I’m still a little curious to who is “abusing” the American Express Centurion Lounge in Miami.  Before I received my Platinum Card in September, I tried visiting the Miami lounge with my Gold Card and was told that non-Platinum Card holders would be restricted from accessing the lounge till further notice.  This means that there’s a bunch of freeloaders with Platinum Cards out there!  Hopefully, this issue gets addressed, and the lounge won’t be as busy.

What do you think about the representative’s claim of lounge abuse?  Have you heard anything about this?