We spent about half of our one-hour layover in the Avianca Lounge before venturing down the hallway to the adjacent VIP Lounge to check it out. The generically-named VIP Lounge primarily serves LATAM, a Chilean airline that flies to many destinations in South America, which was formed by the 2015 merger of LAN Chile and Brazil’s TAM Airlines. In Miami, it’s the flights previously operated by TAM that have remained in Concourse J (I had actually flown on TAM’s Miami to Rio de Janeiro route back in 2014 and had departed from the same concourse).
The lounge is accessible to LATAM business class passengers as well as Priority Pass members.
Once the agents at the front desk have processed your entry, turn right and head down a long hallway until you reach the lounge on your left.
The VIP Lounge is essentially a big L-shaped room, and feels much more spacious than the Avianca Lounge down the hall. This is mostly because the main seating area has a lofted ceiling and overlooks the main passenger terminal below.
There’s a brighter seating area towards the back of the lounge as well, where you’ll find several TVs showing local sports and news.
The lounge had a bar, which I thought was impressive for a contract lounge (I may be wrong, but I don’t believe LATAM actually operates the lounge despite using it as the primary lounge for its business class passengers). However, although there was a staff member stationed behind the bar, there didn’t appear to be any bartender service – instead it was self-serve, with liquor bottles and glasses being placed out on the bar top.
There was a food spread both on the bar top itself and in the area near the entrance of the lounge. On this particular evening, the lounge had put out cold cuts, fruits, and a delicious clam chowder for its guests.
I was glad that we had saved some room in our stomachs when eating at the Avianca Lounge, since the food offerings in the VIP Lounge were far better. The clam chowder in particular was delightful.
One last thing that particularly impressed me was that the lounge had Häagen-Dazs ice cream. They’re kept in a small freezer behind the bar, and they seemed to be the only thing that fell under the responsibility of the staff member stationed there – to grab a carton of Häagen-Dazs whenever a guest asked for one.
We were pretty full after consuming another wholesome meal in the VIP Lounge, dessert and all. At about 9:30pm, we headed back down to our boarding gate for our Air Canada Rouge flight back to Toronto, bringing our fantastic trip to St. Kitts to a close.
Out of the two lounges at Miami Airport’s Concourse J, I’d say the VIP Lounge ranks ahead of the neighbouring Avianca Lounge by quite a margin. The VIP Lounge’s interior design is spacious and varied, and the lofted ceiling and glass walls overlooking the boarding gates contributed to an airy, modern feel.
The food in the VIP Lounge was also delicious and a level above what their next-door neighbour was offering. If you’re a Priority Pass member and can take your pick of the two lounges, I’d recommend the VIP Lounge in a heartbeat.