Skytrax, the company best known for its airline quality rankings (you have probably seem airline ads trumpeting their ‘5-star Skytrax Airline’ credentials), has published its list of the top 10 independent airport lounges.
Note that it is not clear what the methodology was. Skytrax rankings are generally based on reader feedback but they do not have massive coverage of airport lounges, especially third party ones.
Here is top 10 for 2017:
2 Centurion Lounge, New York La Guardia
3 Plaza Premium Lounge, Hong Kong
4 Centurion Lounge, Dallas Fort Worth
5 SATS Premier, Singapore Terminal 1
6 Aspire by Swissport, Heathrow Terminal 3
7 Plaza Premium Lounge, Vancouver
8 dnata Lounge, Singapore Terminal 1
9 Centurion Lounge, Las Vegas
10 Plaza Premium Lounge, Brisbane
I have only been to two of these lounges – Aspire in Heathrow Terminal 3, which I reviewed here, and Plaza Premium in Heathrow Terminal 2, reviewed here and photo below.
I do rate both of these facilities highly. Aspire has a small communal nap area which is rare in independent lounges, and of course is brand new. (As the lounge is brand new – it opened in October 2016 – the ranking cannot be based on the volume of positive reports.) Plaza Premium in Terminal 2 at Heathrow is a very classy facility with impressive food offerings, although it has no natural light.
I would also put Plaza Premium at Heathrow Terminal 4 up there, probably ahead of Aspire in Heathrow Terminal 3.
I’m surprised to see nothing from No 1 Lounges up there, although the Gatwick North facility suffered badly last year due to being used as BA’s overflow lounge. I haven’t been to the new Gatwick South No 1 Lounge yet (Anika reviewed it here) but my ‘hard hat’ visit before it opened made me feel that it should be an unbeatable combo of size, views and No 1 service quality. As always, though, awards such as these must be subjective.
The majority of these lounges can be accessed with a Priority Pass card (buy one here, or get one free with an American Express Platinum) or a Lounge Club card (two free visits with the free American Express Preferred Rewards Gold).
PS. If you’re wondering what a Centurion Lounge is, I explained them in this article. They are American Express-owned lounges which can be accessed by Platinum and Centurion American Express cardholders.
How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (August 2022)
As a reminder, here are the four options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit card:
The Platinum Card from American Express comes with two free Priority Pass cards, one for you and one for a supplementary cardholder. Each card admits two so a family of four gets in free. You get access to all 1,300 lounges in the Priority Pass network – search it here.
EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.
If you have a small business, consider American Express Business Platinum instead.
Additional lounge visits are charged at £20. You get two more free visits for every year you keep the card.
There is no annual fee for Amex Gold in Year 1 and you get a 20,000 points sign-up bonus. Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.
HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard gets you get a free LoungeKey card, allowing you access to the LoungeKey network. Guests are charged at £20 although it may be cheaper to pay £60 for a supplementary credit card for your partner.
The card has a fee of £195 and there are strict financial requirements to become a HSBC Premier customer. Full details are in my HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard review.
PS. You can find all of HfP’s UK airport lounge reviews – and we’ve been to most of them – indexed here.