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. We have already outlined the best airline lounges at Rio airport overall.
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. Of these, your Priority Pass will get you access to the GOL International lounge (and the GOL Domestic lounge) and all three Plaza Premium Lounges (one International Departures, one Domestic Departures, and one Arrivals lounge)
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 benefits 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. 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. It is the best International Departures lounge in the airport for food, but if you like to sit in a stylish environment, you might prefer the Plaza Premium lounge, which has a poorer array of food but feels and looks more stylish.
As outlined above, 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 seating arrangement in this lounge isn’t great.
On the other hand, the buffet 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.
2. Plaza Premium Lounge In International Departures, Terminal 2
This lounge is open from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm 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. This is the other Priority Pass lounge for International travelers, and both lounges are accessed from the same International lounge area in departures. This lounge can also 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.
The GOL lounge above is definitely the best lounge for food, but this lounge is the best for decor and finding a really nice seat by the window to watch the planes. The food isn’t bad either, just not quite as good as the GOL lounge.
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.
3. 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.
However, the buffet 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, a coffee machine, and alcoholic drinks, including canned beers, wine, and cocktails from a staffed 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.
4. Plaza Premium Lounge In Domestic Departures, Terminal 2
This lounge is open from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm 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.
4. Plaza Premium Lounge In Arrivals, Terminal 2
This lounge is open from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm 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.
Note: Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor.
Disclosure: Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.