The main airport in Rio de Janeiro is Galeão International Airport (GIG). It is the country’s second-busiest international airport. Below I outline the very best Priority Pass lounges at Rio de Janeiro airport and the best non-Priority Pass airline lounges too. Rio de Janeiro Galeao International Airport has 2 connected terminals, linked by a covered walkway with a travelator.
If you are flying internationally, there are four lounges you might have access to, which are all in the same place; GOL Premium Lounge, American Airlines Admirals Club, Plaza Premium Lounge, and the Star Alliance Lounge.
Rio de Janeiro is a famous seaside city in Brazil with a glorious beach. This fantastic city sits between beautiful mountains and white sandy beaches and is renowned for its rhythms and its people wide open smiles. Famous landmarks include it’s Copacabana and Ipanema beaches and the 38m Christ the Redeemer statue on top of Mount Corcovado. Sugarloaf Mountain, the sprawling favelas and the world’s largest Carnaval festival also make this a must-visit city.
Once you arrive at Rio de Janeiro, we have reviewed the best hotel executive club lounges in Rio de Janeiro and the best luxury hotels in Rio de Janeiro. Wherever you decide to stay, in Rio de Janeiro or elsewhere, book via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts and free perks at hotels including the Four Seasons, Hyatt, Ritz-Carlton, InterContinental and more.
Typically, our free benefits at luxury hotels include:
- Room upgrade to next category
- Complimentary breakfast for two per bedroom
- Complimentary Welcome Gift
- $100 USD equivalent Hotel experiential credit per room per stay
- Early check-in / late check-out (subject to availability)
- Complimentary Wi-Fi
Free Airport Lounge Access
If you have not paid for Business Class or First Class, you can still access lounges at Rio de Janeiro Airport for a fee or for free if you have a Priority Pass. Paid entrance is also sometimes possible using cash or you can get in for free if you have a Priority Pass which comes free with the Amex Platinum card. You can also access most Priority Pass lounges for free using the free American Express Gold with its two free Lounge Club passes. To get extra referral points and advice on these free-lounge-access cards and more, have a read of our best credit cards for luxury travel.
1. Star Alliance Lounge In International Departures, Terminal 2
Rio de Janeiro Galeao International Airport serves six Star Alliance carriers, including Avianca, Avianca Brazil, COPA, Lufthansa, TAP, and United.
Star Alliance passengers traveling in business or first class can access this lounge, as well as those holding Star Alliance Gold status and Air Canada Maple Leaf Club and United Club members traveling in economy. First Class passengers and Star Alliance Gold members can bring along one guest.
The design of this lounge is really nice with locally-sourced wood, stone and concrete, and elements of greenery and local plant life. A range of art, photography, and cultural items are placed in the cupboards against the walls and are backlit. Because of all the greenery and stone formations, you feel more like you are in a garden than in an airport lounge. The best seats are in front of the floor to ceiling windows and offer a great view of the tarmac.
There is a fully serviced bar, a hot and cold buffet, and live cooking stations where guests can request dishes from the menu. The food here is very good with big rectangular buffet places of meatballs and sauce, chicken stroganoff, potato wedges, ravioli, rice, and a bowl of hot chicken soup.
Veggies, salad, cut fruit, fresh rolls, cold cuts, and cheese finishes off this extremely tasty and appealing food offering, plus there is self serve wine, beer, coffee, and soft drinks in addition to the manned bar for cocktails, etc.
Toilets are located inside the lounge, alongside three en-suite showers, luggage lockers, and a number of private work areas.
This lounge is excellent and probably the best at Rio airport. The decor is stylish and welcoming, the seating is in useful booths and by the window, the food is appealing and tasty. This is what we consider to be the best airport lounge in Rio airport.
2. American Airlines Admirals Club In International Departures, Terminal 2
This lounge can be found at the South Pier, Airside in Terminal 2 of Rio de Janeiro RIOgaleão Tom Jobim International Airport. You will actually find this lounge on the 3rd level of Rio International Airport’s Terminal 2, you reach it via a lift or escalators.
Inside, this lounge is modern and reminds me of Ikea with red seats and brightly colored striped rugs in some parts and more relaxing dark brown sofa seats and muted lighting other parts. There are three showers which is useful.
The entire lounge looks out at the planes through floor to ceiling windows, which is really nice. In fact, IMHO the prime seats are the desk seats that are located right by the window and look out at the tarmac (as they face towards the window). There’s also a cafe and buffet area.
The buffet includes self-service alcoholic drinks which include a nice array of spirits, wine, and beer. There are also bottled water and soft drinks in big fridges. There’s also a coffee machine for hot drinks.
There is plenty of food too, with some burgers and baps (the burgers were under a heater lamp and looked a little dry), a pasta area with spaghetti, tomato sauce, meatballs, and veggies, cheeses and cold cuts, chicken crepes, and rice. A really filling and nice spread. There is also soup; tomato and two other flavors, various bread and salads, cut fruit, whole fruit, and some pastries and desserts too.
While there is plenty of food in this lounge and while this is one of the best lounges at Rio de Janeiro RIOgaleão Tom Jobim International Airport, some of the food looked a bit foul so you might not want to try much of it regardless of the breadth of choice. In terms of design and the big windows, this lounge gets a thumbs up.
3. GOL Premium Lounge In International Departures, Terminal 2
This lounge can be found in International Departures, Terminal 2 of Rio de Janeiro RIOgaleão Tom Jobim International Airport. This is probably the lounge that most of my readers will be using with the exception of those that are flying American Airlines as you get access to this lounge when flying Iberia Delta, Air France, KLM, Emirates, and British Airways out of Rio plus it’s a Priority Pass lounge.
Unfortunately, this lounge is not that great looking with rather nasty carpeting and lots of round orange bench seats that are not ideal for relaxing on or working from. There are some useable seats by the windows but overall the look and design of the seating in this lounge isn’t great.
The buffet, on the other hand, is fairly decent. it is long and there is plenty of food on offer with penne pasta with cheese and tomato sauces, a chili bowl, potatoes, and chicken with veggies and rice. There’s plenty of salad and nice rolls as well as puddings which include chocolate truffles, cheesecake, and mousse. For drinks, there is coffee, juices, canned soft drinks, and beers plus there is a bar with a bartender who will serve you wines, spirits, and cocktails.
There are showers but they are dated although still useful. This lounge has the best food of all the lounges in Rio airport but the American Airlines and Plaza Premium lounges look nicer, so which lounge you choose really depends on whether food or look is more important to you.
4. Plaza Premium Lounge In International Departures, Terminal 2
This lounge is open 0700 – 2300 every day and can be found at the South Pier, International Departures, Terminal 2 of Rio de Janeiro RIOgaleão Tom Jobim International Airport. Access this lounge by taking the escalator right after the duty-free shops to Level 3.
The Plaza Premium Lounge in International Departures, Terminal 2 is a large lounge and can be found in the South Pier, a new extension of the airport. There are three Plaza Premium Lounges in Rio de Janeiro’s international airport Terminal 2 but only this one caters to international departures and you can access this lounge using your Priority Pass.
This lounge is pretty stylish, particularly for a Plaza Premium lounge, with lots of diagonal wood designs in the ceiling, matching brown and mustard yellow rugs, and plenty of varied and comfortable seating.
There is a long buffet area which offers cake (looked like a sponge), chips and dips, various salads and dips, cut fruit, quiches, and muffins, plus there are some hot dishes including spaghetti, a hot chicken and veggie, and a hot red meat and veggie dish and hot rice. There’s also fresh juice, sodas, and a coffee making machine.
The best seats in this lounge and probably any lounge at this airport are the blue thrones by the window. These seats look out at the planes through the floor to ceiling windows and have footstools and little coffee tables next to them. They are a prime spot to watch the planes.
The Rio Plaza Premium Lounge also has 6 shower cubicles and these are clean and classy. Probably the best showers at this airport. Yes, this is an excellent Priority Pass lounge and although the food at the American Airlines Admirals Club lounge is better, overall they are both excellent lounges.
5. GOL Premium Lounge In Domestic Departures, Terminal 2
In terms of domestic lounges, the GOL Premium Lounge in Domestic Departures is one of the best. This lounge can be found in Domestic Departures, Terminal 2 of Rio de Janeiro RIOgaleão Tom Jobim International Airport.
This lounge can be accessed by Smiles Gold and Diamond members traveling with GOL or partner airlines, customers traveling Premium Economy class with a domestic connection with GOL and Priority Pass, Lounge Club, Lounge Pass, Diners, Lounge Key and Dragon Pass cardholders, and many more.
Much like the GOL lounge described above, they favor the number of seats over the usefulness of the seats in this long and offer lots of round bench seats that aren’t much good for sitting or working, unfortunately. The look is similar too, not overly stylish.
The buffet, however, is fairly decent for a domestic lounge with plenty of pre-made fresh rolls, desserts, muffins, and fruit. Hot options are pasta and chicken croquettes. Drinks are plentiful and include water, soft drinks in cans, coffee machines, and alcoholic drinks including canned beers, wine, and cocktails from a manned bar. There are also showers you can make use of.
Your other option for Domestic departures is the Plaza Premium Lounge a short walk away. Which is best? The GOL Premium Lounge In Domestic Departures has better food but the Plaza Premium lounge is more stylish and feels less worn.
6. Plaza Premium Lounge In Domestic Departures, Terminal 2
This lounge is open 0600 – 2200 every day and can be found in the restricted area on Level 1 in Terminal 2, after security, towards the gates. This is a big lounge with 220 seats and is really stylish. This lounge can be accessed by those with a premium credit card from American Express, such as the Platinum Card® from American Express, which gives you and 2 guests complimentary access. If you have a Priority Pass membership, you can also access this lounge.
The seating is plentiful and smart with lots of single, double, and group seats set around tables and the lounge feels modern and on-trend. The food is plentiful too with hot pasta with a range of sauces, Pumpkin soup, hot dogs, roast beef, rice, chicken, etc. On the cold buffet, there’s a huge salad area with a bunch of salad items as well as olives and some potato chips. While the array of food in this lounge is more than enough to fill you up, the quality isn’t great or that appealing.
Drink-wise there are sodas, coffee, beer, wines, and spirits. It’s hard to choose between this and the GOL Premium Lounge In Domestic Departures. This one looks nicer, the GOL has better food.
7. Plaza Premium Lounge In Arrivals, Terminal 2
This lounge is open 1400 – 2200 every day and can be found in the non-restricted area on Level 2 of the car park building in Terminal 2. It has shower rooms, private relaxation suites, a VIP room, and a meeting room. We have not reviewed this lounge.
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