The Airport Lounges of NAIA Terminal 1 Ranked from Good to Best – and How to Get in for FREE

Just because you’re flying out of NAIA Terminal 1 with budget airlines Jetstar or Lucky Air to Singapore or Kunming, China respectively, doesn’t mean you need to have a budget experience prior to boarding. Even if you don’t have access to the exclusive airline lounges some full service airlines have because you’re not flying Business or First Class with them, there’s a way to have an equally luxurious and pampered experience (such as taking a hot shower before a long flight) by using the airport lounges instead – and it’s possible to get in for free.

(Featured photo taken from www.miascor.com/Lounge)

In case you were wondering what all the fuss is over airport lounges, consider this: Instead of looking for a vacant seat at the crowded boarding gates (at any of NAIA’s terminals), you can wait at a more comfortable area with cable TV, reading material, an exclusive washroom and possibly even a computer to use and shower! (Taking a shower at the airport – at least to me – is one of the most pampering, luxurious, best-things-in-life-are-free moments you can have, especially before a long-haul flight!) Instead of spending on overpriced but inedible airport (or budget airline) food, you can actually have all the warm food, snacks and beverages you want – at no additional cost. Since you have to show your boarding pass upon entry, most lounges also offer a ‘boarding call’ service where their staff personally approach the guests when it’s time for boarding. No risk of missing your flight there! Being able to use a lounge is basically getting to experience the first half of flying Business/First class (before the flight), despite flying coach. Now it’s possible to use the lounge by being a Business or First class passenger, paying a fee upfront or spending a lot on your credit card, but it’s better if you could get inside, every time you have an upcoming trip, completely free and with no strings attached. Wouldn’t you agree? 🙂

At Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1, or NAIA 1 as we locals like to call it, there are 3 airport lounges which cater non-exclusively to Business class or First class flyers of several airlines as well as economy class passengers of all other airlines. Since all three offer refreshments, wifi and newspapers/magazines, I ranked them mainly based on the other facilities they offer. All three lounges manage to excel in one aspect but fall short in another, so it was kind of difficult to decide which one was good, better or best. Nonetheless, these are the three lounges as follows:

 

GOOD: Miascor Lounge

Miascor Lounge is the most popular lounge at NAIA 1 among economy class flyers due to the extensive number of credit cards they honor for free entry. As such, this lounge is usually crowded. It is one of the two airport lounges that has a view of the runway and plenty of natural light in the room.

  • Shower? Yes
  • Business Center / Computers? Yes
  • Space? Limited
  • Usually Crowded? Yes
  • Variety of Food? Limited
  • View of the Runway? Yes
  • How to Get in For Free:

I enter for free using my Citi Premiermiles Visa (using 1 of its 2 free Dragonpass credits per year) or my Unionbank Miles+ Platinum Visa card, but apart from these two of the best travel credit cards in the PH you can also get in for free if you have:

  • Diners Club International or Premiere
  • Security Bank Mastercard or World
  • Unionbank Platinum Visa or Mastercard Debit or Credit card
  • Asia United Bank (AUB) Gold or Platinum
  • Eastwest Priority Banking Visa Infinite
  • most RCBC credit cards (except Classic and Gold cards)
  • BDO American Express Platinum and Classic Platinum (issued in the Philippines)
  • BDO Diamond Rewards card
  • Globe Platinum membership
  • Priority Pass membership

 

Dining and lounging area of MIASCOR Lounge, NAIA 1
Food area (on the right) of MIASCOR Lounge, NAIA 1
Food served at MIASCOR Lounge, NAIA 1
Beverage, liquor and snacks area of MIASCOR Lounge, NAIA 1

 

Bread and pastries area of MIASCOR Lounge, NAIA 1 with lounge attendants in view
Computer at the Business Center of MIASCOR Lounge, NAIA 1
The restrooms cum shower area of MIASCOR lounge NAIA 1

 

BETTER: Pagstop Lounge

Pagstop Lounge would have been the best of the three, if only it had its own shower facilities. What makes this lounge usually crowded is the fact that it serves a lot of airlines’ Business Class passengers.

  • Shower? No
  • Business Center / Computers? Yes
  • Spacious? Yes
  • Usually Crowded? Yes
  • Variety of Food? Good
  • View of the Runway? Yes
  • How to Get in For Free:

I get in for free using my unlimited Priority Pass membership courtesy of my Citi Prestige Visa Infinite card, but you can also get in using the PP membership offered by BDO Platinum or Metrobank Travel Visa Platinum but you will be charged if you don’t meet a certain minimum spend. You can also get in using Lounge Key (https://www.loungekey.com) available to all passengers worldwide.

 

 

Enter Pagstop Lounge, NAIA 1 for free using the Citi Prestige Visa Infinite card

 

Entrance to Pagstop Lounge, NAIA 1

 

Sandwiches and cakes offered at Pagstop Lounge, NAIA 1

 

Sample of food served at Pagstop Lounge, NAIA 1

 

 

 

BEST: Club Manila Lounge

The only airport lounge without a view of the runway since it’s hidden on the second floor of NAIA 1 and not near the boarding gates, Club Manila Lounge offers a lot of privacy for its guests. It is the best because it offers the most amount of space out of all three lounges (as you can see in the photos) and it also has the most variety of meals and snacks available. The only downside the last time I went there was its lack of computers and dim/gloomy ambiance, but this is probably because there were a only few guests so they didn’t turn the lights all the way up.

  • Shower? Yes
  • Business Center / Computers? No
  • Spacious? Very
  • Usually Crowded? No
  • Variety of Food? Best
  • View of the Runway? No
  • How to Get in For Free:

I enter for free using my Unionbank Miles+ Platinum Visa card – the same card I use to enter the Miascor Lounge (it lets you enter both.) It’s also possible to use other cards.

Incidentally, this is the lounge used by Oman Air when I flew Business Class with them for the first time earlier this year.

 

Dining and lounging area of Club Manila Lounge, NAIA 1
Dining and lounging area of Club Manila Lounge, NAIA 1 with the entrance/exit in view
The good variety of food including fruits and salads at Club Manila Lounge, NAIA 1
The other side of the refreshments area
Dining and lounging area of Club Manila Lounge, NAIA 1

 

 

Finally, here’s a summary for your convenience:

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Hi! I'm Kevin, a published travel writer, and this is my travel blog about first and business class flights, airport lounges, shopping, visa information and local travel credit cards for mileage programs. In 2017, I fulfilled my personal goal of visiting over 30 countries before I turned 30 years old and I would be more than glad to help you achieve your own #travelgoals too. ;)

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11 Responses

  1. Marcia

    Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an extremely long comment but
    after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr…
    well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted
    to say great blog!

  2. Laurence John V. Almario

    This is a LIE MIASCOR DAVAO AIRPORT did not recognized our credit cards we have BDO platinum/ priority pass and RCBC platimum and security bank mastercard. The lady at the lobby did not allow us enter the lounge I will report this directly in our bank… Its seems she is not aware or not being given prior seminar.

    • thetravelguyshops

      Hi Laurence 🙂 I don’t know if I can make the title of my blog post any clearer, but it is about “The Airport Lounges of NAIA Terminal 1.” I can’t speak for Davao airport but I’m sorry about your experience and hope it’s resolved soon. Also thank you for commenting.

  3. Laurence John V. Almario

    Our flight was last November 24, 2017 via Philippines Airline bound to Japan over Manila. MIASCOR and Bank as no coordination I even show the website indicating the previlage of our card. Stupid lady at the entrance counter 11-24-2017 evening shift.

    • thetravelguyshops

      Hi, I’m confused. Miascor Lounge is at Terminal 1 and PAL uses Terminal 2…

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