Rio de Janeiro airport is also known as Galeão International Airport (GIG). It is the country’s second-busiest international airport. Below I outline the best airport lounges at Rio de Janeiro airport. 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.
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 access airport lounges for free if you have an unlimited Priority Pass or an Amex Platinum card. To get extra bonus referral points and advice on the Platinum American Express and other free lounge access credit cards, 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 stylish, almost rustic, with locally sourced wood, stone, and concrete, and elements of greenery and local plant life. A range of art is on the walls, and cultural items sit in the open cupboards against the walls, which are backlit in a trendy way. Because of all the greenery and stone formations, you feel more like you are in a garden than in an airport lounge. This lounge has nice views of the planes if you select the right seats.
There is a fully serviced bar, a hot and cold buffet, and live cooking stations with a complimentary menu. The food here is very good with big rectangular buffet plates of meatballs and sauce, chicken stroganoff, potato wedges, ravioli, rice, and a bowl of hot chicken soup.
There are also veggies, salad, cut fruit, fresh rolls, cold cuts, and cheese, plus there is self serve wine, beer, coffee, and soft drinks, along with a staffed bar for cocktails.
Toilets are located inside the lounge, alongside three en-suite showers, luggage lockers, and many private work areas.
This lounge is probably the best at Rio airport. The decor is superb and gives the lounge character, the seating is in useful booths, and by the window, the food is appealing and tasty.
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 airport on the 3rd level in Terminal 2.
Inside, the lounge feels like a classy Ikea setup with red seats and brightly colored striped rugs, along with more relaxing dark brown sofa seats and muted lighting. There are three showers within the lounge.
The entire lounge looks out at the planes through floor-to-ceiling windows, and there are some great seats that are located right by the window and look out at the tarmac. There’s also a cafe and buffet area.
The buffet includes self-service alcoholic drinks, including 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 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 is very good.
3. GOL Premium Lounge In International Departures, Terminal 2
This lounge can be found in International Departures, Terminal 2 of Rio de Janeiro airport. This is probably the lounge that most of my readers will be using except for 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 or working. 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 and tired. This lounge has the best food of all the lounges in Rio airport, but the American Airlines and Plaza Premium have a much better ambiance, 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 can be found at the South Pier, International Departures, Terminal 2 of Rio de Janeiro 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 airport extension. 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 which are arguably 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 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.
6. Plaza Premium Lounge In Domestic Departures, Terminal 2
This lounge 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.
Note: Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor. Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.