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

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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 (August 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

30,000 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 30,000 points.  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)

  • G says:

    Primeclass lounge in Muscat has to be worth a shout. They have 8 rooms that can be booked out on Priority Pass for a maximum of 6 hours. Great for an overnight layover.

  • SammyJ says:

    Can anyone advise whether I’m likely to get access to the LHR T5 Plaza Premium for 4 people with a Dragonpass? It would be 2pm-ish on May bank holiday Monday- not sure if that’s a busy or quiet time? I’m so used to being turned away at London airports!

    • Polly says:

      Is it not possible to pre reserve like priority pass? It’s annoying having to precook, but at least you get to use your pass. With the PP again, turn Away’s are more and more frequent, so they stress this £5 reserve fee..sucks…

      On lounges, Prague, Dublin, Bordeaux all awful. No hot food, floppy rolls or sandwiches. PP should have minimum standards at least, that each lounge should adhere to.

      • Rob says:

        Plaza was always totally empty until they did the tie-up with NatWest. Now less so. However 2pm is not exactly peak so you should be OK.

        • Graham Walsh says:

          I still prefer it in there to the BA lounges. However no chicken wings last week, but the Green Thai curry was very nice.

        • Leo says:

          Just out of interest – what’s the Aspire like in T5 these days? I use the PP with Amex so I’ve never tried the Aspire.

          • Alan says:

            Was appalling when I last tried it. Queued out the door, almost no seats and poor food. The Edinburgh one is far better in comparison!

    • Nathan says:

      2pm-ish may be OK, I was in on Friday from 1-3 and it was only half full. That said, it is quite small and the seating very much geared to solo travellers. The food, best non-F in T5?, and the view of the planes make it worth the attempt though IMHO.

  • Matt B says:

    Slightly OT but lounge related – I have ‘acheived’ platinum status via ebookers and so have 2 free lounge passes through lounge buddy. However for the life of me cannot see how I can redeem them! Can anyone help?

  • Bootlace says:

    Bravo Aberdeen, great food, very homely (for a lounge) and a very impressive whisky wall.

  • Graham Walsh says:

    Can’t remember which lounges I’ve been to in DXB. Would have been PP where VS or Emirates fly out of. Don’t remember any of them being memorable. Plus it’s usually early in the morning for flying back to the UK so all breakfast stuff.

  • Nathan says:

    I’d give an honourable mention to the ‘Airport World Lounge’ lounge at MUC, it’s modern, clean, spacious and split over two floors, the food is above average, beverages of std premium brands, free-flowing local bubbly, and it’s opposit the BA gates in T1 too. The reviews of the BA Galleries lounge, humourously bad, meant we didn’t even think of seeking it out.

    On the downside, despite Munich gathering Best Airport accolades, the passport control on departure (why??) was of Stansted level efficiency. Added to which, premium passengers were ‘fast tracked’ past a closed window and expected to push in at the head of a very long queue of economy customers! It was a bit awkward but I thought it hilarious given the number of British and Irish tutters in the queue, the sharp-elbowed Romanian grandma directly behind, but soon in front, made me laugh audibly, which probably endeared me even less to the queue members 🙂

    • Lumma says:

      There’s no BA lounge in Munich any more. The world lounge is for BA premium customers now

  • Doug M says:

    I did LHR-MIA with Virgin last year, and was impressed with the Virgin Clubhouse in Heathrow. However the Delta lounge in MIA was rubbish. Small space and huge queue to get in, which I eventually ignored, as clearly the entry staff were fully occupied rebooking people. No meaningful food. I’d say if you average the two lounges, either end, you’re far better off with BA/AA than Virgin for all the general love affair with the Clubhouse.

  • Colin JE says:

    On a connected note I saw the Times reported a Which survey of best and worst paid uk lounges.
    Southend came bottom followed by Edinburgh’s Aspire lounge as second worst. Joint third worst were Belfast Causeway, Luton Aspire and… Heathrow T5 Aspire!
    Details are behind the Times paywall but if you’re not a Which member you can see it reported here https://www.timesandstar.co.uk/news/national/17522116.uks-worst-airport-lounge-identified/

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      Good to see Manchester’s 1903 lounge securing joint top. It’s a really good facility.

    • RussellH says:

      Amazed to see our local daily mentioned here!!!

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