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TPG readers' favorite international airports to spend a long delay in

March 08, 2020
7 min read
canopy park Singapore Changi Airport
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On the heels of our recent post about which domestic airports travelers prefer to be stuck in during a long delay, TPG Lounge reader David O. described a recent experience at Singapore Changi Airport, then asked the rest of the group to share which international airports they wouldn’t mind spending a long layover in:

"Today I woke up in the Singapore airport. Spent the night in a Yotel, a super cool small hotel room in the Jewel (think Mall of America, but on steroids). There are lounges everywhere! The dinner last night was one of the best I've had in or out of an airport. So what are your favorite international airports? Do you ever plan trips to hit them up? I certainly feel like so many international hub airports are exponentially better than domestic hubs." — David O.

Here’s a look at some of our favorite answers. (Some responses have been lightly edited for style and clarity).

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Your favorite long-layover airports in Asia

While Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) was hands down our TPG Lounge members' favorite international airport to spend time in, other airports like Seoul (ICN), Hong Kong (HKG) and Tokyo (NRT and HND) also received special shoutouts.

"I have been through the Jewel a few times and it's still my favorite airport in the world. Beers in a sunflower garden? Koi ponds. Cactus garden. Movie theatre. A plethora of lounge options. They even have a slide to a gate!" — Nelson S.

"Well, Singapore is definitely the best but unfortunately, unless I'm going to Southeast Asia, I won't get to stop at it often. I also like Tokyo Haneda a lot." — Kevin K.

"I’ll go through Hong Kong any day." — Allison T.

"I like Seoul because they have a public lounge where travelers can rest and take a shower for free. The new terminal is modern and very spacious. There's a variety of cafes, and if you have a four- to eight-hour layover, there's a free city tour. Well, it's actually $10, but hey, that's the cost of lunch. The six-hour tour was pretty good." — Renato P.

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Related: Layover lowdown: Singapore Changi airport

If your layover is long enough, do a free city tour of Seoul. (Photo by Patrick Foto/Getty Images.)

"Another vote for Changi. My second choice would be Incheon for the long layover tours." — Kathy F.

"Seoul has been rated number one for a while and for a reason; it's the best. I live 30 minutes away and visit sometimes even when I'm not traveling." — Kelley K.J.E.

"Singapore would be at the top of my list. I had a layover in Tokyo and the ANA lounge was nice. Food was decent, with noodles or curry to order, and the showers were clean.They also had a device that poured the perfect beer." — Bill A.

"I have a 12-hour layover in Singapore coming up. We're flying in Singapore Suites and I have heard great things about the airport and the Private Room lounge." — Charlene A.

Related: The best credit cards for airport lounge access

Your favorite long-layover airports in the Middle East

Doha (DOH) was a big hit as far as Middle Eastern airports were concerned, with some TPG Lounge members describing how they'd spent time in some of the airport's fabulous lounges, spas, nearby hotels or took advantage of Doha day tours offered by the airport.

"I enjoyed the Emirates Lounge in Dubai (DXB) with my family. We had a huge spread, on-demand dining, lots of places to relax and a coffee bar with free -lowing desserts." — Paul L.

"We had a 15-hour layover in Doha last June and booked a night at the airside hotel (didn’t have to go through security). The spa was lovely and reasonable and we had dinner at one of the new lounges, which was fabulous. And yes, there were plenty of restaurants." — Carolyn S.B.

"I've done Changi and Doha a few times and both are marvelous but now my new favorite is Istanbul (IST). Absolutely phenomenal. I stayed at The Westin Doha Hotel & Spa once and the Oryx Rotana Doha and took a cab from the airport to the hotel. Did some sightseeing and would highly recommend visiting The Pearl-Qatar, Souq Waqif, Katara Cultural Village and Doha Corniche. I was there in February once and then in late October and the weather was wonderful. The St Regis Doha is wonderful as well. For a 12-hour layover you can also check out Villagio mall. The Al Mourjan Business Lounge is wonderful, with lots of food variety. By the way, DOH does provide free tours of Doha so do take advantage of that as well." — Asma Z.

Related: Buying access to Qatar's incredible Al Safwa first lounge in Doha

Have you been to the Al Mourjan Business Lounge in Doha? (Photo by Zach Honig/ The Points Guy.)

"We loved the Qatar Business Class Lounge in Doha. With a sleeping room, great shower and lots of choices of food, it's an easy way to do a long layover!" — Christine P.S.

"At Doha, pay for the spa access, which lets you swim in the pool! That was my favorite layover activity and it was so nice to swim and use muscles in between flights." — Julia B.

"The old Turkish Airlines lounge in April 2018 was phenomenal. I can’t even imagine the new one! Singapore is no doubt on the list, too!" — Rod B.

Related: Oh my Gözleme: A review of the Turkish Airlines Business Lounge in the new Istanbul airport

Brownie points for London's Heathrow airport

Though hardly any European airports were mentioned, London's Heathrow did get a few shoutouts from readers who considered it their favorite for food and certain lounge perks.

"Personally, I like LHR. Great shopping and tons of great restaurants. Thinking of Yo Sushi! with the sushi carousel." — John L.

"That Qantas lounge at LHR with the gin bar is insanely good, too!" — David O.

Why choose just one?

Some of our TPG Lounge readers wrote in singing the praises of more than one international airport they'd be alright with spending lots of time in. Unsurprisingly, Singapore Changi Airport continued to make the list of travelers' all-time favorites.

"We were just at The Jewel and Changi. Stayed at the Crowne Plaza. The Hilton at Narita has also been fine for us. Love the Virgin Atlantic lounges in London." — David S.

"Singapore, Istanbul and Doha." — Shane N.

"Agree with Singapore. Also like Frankfurt, Munich (MUC) and Doha." — Laura H.W.

"Seoul, Munich, Hong Kong and Singapore. Good food and shopping." — Hannah G.

Featured photo of Singapore Changi Airport by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.

Featured image by (Photo by Ethan Steinberg / The Points Guy)

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees