Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

And the Priority Pass ‘Lounge of the Year 2018’ award nearly goes to ….. Aberdeen Airport

Links on Head for Points may pay us an affiliate commission. A list of partners is here.

Airport lounge network Priority Pass has unveiled the winners of its ‘Airport Lounge of the Year 2018’ awards.

Whilst it is easy to take such awards with a pinch of salt, the fact that the Priority Pass awards are based on 52,000 reviews from cardholders does give them some credibility.

The global winner for 2018 was Sala VIP Internacional at Quito International Airport in Ecuador.

To quote:

Sala VIP Internacional put the customer experience at the heart of their recent lounge expansion and pride themselves on offering services that will cater to everyone’s needs. One of the main highlights of this lounge is the outdoor terrace with panoramic views of the city, providing a space that captures the light and colour of Ecuador’s vibrant capital. The lounge is fitted out with ample seating and distinguished locally sourced furnishings, providing a luxurious and cultural feel. The lounge menu, designed by renowned local chef Andrés Miño, includes international and Ecuadorian cuisine, and guests can enjoy a variety of wines from the lounge’s private cellar, while watching Quito’s beautiful sunsets. This modern and elegant lounge is open around the clock and features private working spaces, dedicated sleeping areas, a massage room, and showers for guests to refresh themselves before a long flight or during a layover.

More relevant to HfP readers are the European winners.

Northern Lights lounge Aberdeen

The overall European winner was the Primeclass Riga Business Lounge at Terminal E at Riga International Airport, Latvia.

The good news is that the European runner-up award was the little-known Northern Lights Executive Lounge in Aberdeen.

I am very pleased about this.  I reviewed the Northern Lights lounge in May 2018 – see here – and was very impressed.  It was actually the best lounge, adjusting for the airport it was in, that I visited last year and it is great to see it getting broader recognition.

As I wrote last May:

“a lot of small clever ideas come together to create something impressive”

The Northern Lights lounge can be accessed by Priority Pass unsurprisingly (buy one, or free with American Express Platinum), Lounge Club (free with American Express Gold) and all other major lounge pass networks. It also hosts premium cabin passengers on certain airlines who do not have their own lounge.

If you want to book in advance and will be paying cash, you can book on the Aberdeen Airport website here.

Northern Lights lounge Aberdeen

The other Priority Pass lounge winners

Here are the winners of the other awards:

Africa & Middle East

  • Regional Winner: Ahlan Lounge at B, Terminal 3, Concourse B, Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates
  • Highly Commended: Marhaba Lounge, Terminal 3, Concourse A, Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates

Asia Pacific

  • Regional Winner: Miracle First Class LoungeInternational Concourse D, Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Thailand
  • Highly Commended: SATS Premier Lounge, Terminal 3, Singapore Changi International Airport, Singapore

North America

  • Regional Winner: Lounge 19, Terminal 1, Mexico City Benito Juarez International Airport, Mexico
  • Highly Commended: The Club MCO, Terminal B, Concourse 4, Orlando FL International Airport, United States

Latin America and The Caribbean

  • Highly Commended: Eldorado Lounge, Terminal 1, Bogota El Dorado International Airport, Colombia

It is worth noting that, if you’re in Dubai, you can access the Ahlan First Class lounge in Terminal 3 Concourse D – which is better than the Ahlan lounge which won the award – via DragonPass.  This lounge is used by a lot of airlines for their First Class passengers and has free flowing champagne and a la carte dining.  You can read more about that in this HfP article.  It does not accept Priority Pass unfortunately.

If you have been to any of the lounges above, please let us have your thoughts in the comments below.


Getting airport lounge access for free from a credit card

How to get FREE airport lounge access via UK credit cards (September 2021)

As a reminder, here are the three options to get FREE airport lounge access via a credit or charge card:

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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

You also get access to Plaza Premium, Delta and Eurostar lounges. The card has a sign-up bonus of 60,000 points which is a special offer running to 2nd November 2021.  Our American Express Platinum review is here. You can apply here.

Nectar American Express

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold is FREE for the first year. It comes with a Priority Pass card loaded with two free visits to any Priority Pass lounge – see the list here

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 a 20,000 points sign-up bonus.  Full details are in our American Express Preferred Rewards Gold review here.

HSBC Premier World Elite Mastercard

A huge bonus, but only available to HSBC Premier clients Read our full review

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.

Comments (36)

  • J says:

    I think when you say take it with a pinch of salt, that should be a bucket of salt. On my recent visit to SATS Premier Lounge, Terminal 3, Singapore Changi International Airport recently, it was appalling…. dirty and no food replenishment. Qatar use it and even the check in lady was embarrassed to say it was being used and said it was only slightly better than Dnata T3 in Changi which they used before which was shocking. It would be interesting to see how many votes a lounge needs to get Highly Commended?

    • Gail says:

      Ditto re Changi lounge. A complete joke. Changi gets such good publicity but I found it to be a small low quality shopping mall with nothing to offer besides hype.

  • Lady London says:

    I’ve been in Plaza Premiums at Changi a few times(paid, at that time) and happy to return to them.

  • Cantab says:

    Problem with recommending the Northern Lights Lounge is why would you spend anything more than the bare minimum amount of time at Aberdeen airport?

    It is tiny and efficient, so I have never been more than 15 minutes from front door to through security and at the gates.

    I guess if you’re rocking an unlimited PP then the lounge would be worthwhile for the 30 minutes max. you’re there but for any limited (Lounge Club via Amex Gold) or pay per entry lounge passes you’re not going to be there long enough to get your money’s worth.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.